Bali Work-cation: Alila Villas Uluwatu

Our recent Bali jaunt with Herr Hubby unfortunately wasn’t all fun in the sun…it actually was a working vacay – or a work-cation – for moi.Yes, working during your vacation can be a painful drag but at the end of the day, who am I to complain? I’m simply grateful and extremely humbled by the fact that people are willing to give me the opportunity to work and that I get compensated quite comfortably for what I do. And the perks ain’t half bad either, duckies…

I juggle a few working “hats”, as most of you know, if you’ve been following The Bamboo Stiletto for a while. Yes, I blog but The Bamboo Stiletto is simply what I like to do when I have spare time. Just as I like to create hand-poured soy candles, play around with scents, container jars and packaging, and sell them at bazaars. Blogging and soy candles are fun but we’ve all got bills to pay, don’t we, honey bunnies…and blogs and candles don’t exactly rake in the buckeroos.

As our favourite diva, Mimi (the eternally precious Mariah Carey) once said on MTV Cribs as she was sashaying around her fanta-bulous Manhattan penthouse apartment in her pink high-heeled fur-trimmed mules, ” Somebody’s gotta work hard to pay for this s—“. I feel you, Mimi, I feel you, girl!

So, duckies, The Bamboo Stiletto moonlights as a “wordworker” for hire, or, to use the more professional term, as a content development specialist on retainer to a select group of five-star hotels in China. Which basically means I’m responsible for any English language content they might need, from writing press releases to food and beverage promotional material to website content.

My newest major “hat” is as magazine editor for an English-language lifestyle magazine targeted at expats in south China; I springboarded to this magazine from my previous editorial post at a website, which, technically speaking, was my first break into media and incidentally, was offered to me partly because of this blog, The Bamboo Stiletto. Ha! I may not make any money out of this blog but, my dear Stiletto-istas, it has led to the most wonderful opportunities 🙂 See what I mean about being humbled and grateful???

One other major “hat” I do wear is as PR consultant for a bijou collection of extremely high-end resorts, in glamorous locations like Bali and Phuket. I work from my little home office in Casa Stiletto but essentially, I can actually work from anywhere, as long as I have my smartphone, my laptop and a good wifi connection.

The Bali work-cation afforded a perfect opportunity for me to meet and greet some of my clients who are based there. So, for one day while Herr Hubby was happily enconsced swimming, dining & drinking, and even shopping, with my gal pals, I trotted along with my boss, from Seminyak to Uluwatu to Jimbaran for a day of meetings with clients and resort site inspections.

It was a rainy day and I only had my iPhone camera but managed to sneak a few pics – here’s a look at a stunningly beautiful resort that’s a perfect blueprint as a hide-away for the rich, famous and fabulous. Feast your eyes on Alila Villas Uluwatu:

Ocean & pool view from the lobby

Ocean & pool view from the lobby

that same view...

that same view…

the incredible cliffside pavilion hanging over the edge of the ocean...a sought-after venue for weddings. imagine!!!

the incredible cliffside pavilion hanging over the edge of the ocean…a sought-after venue for weddings. imagine!!!

the sheer drop from the pavilion to the ocean down below...Uluwatu is the spectacular southern tip in Bali where the Indian & Pacific Oceans meet

the sheer drop from the pavilion to the ocean down below…Uluwatu is the spectacular southern tip in Bali where the Indian & Pacific Oceans meet

hallways leading to the restaurant...

hallways leading to the restaurant…

We had a quick look at one of the spectacular three-bedroom villas:

ok, each villa has its own private gate like this, in case you have a fleet of limos ferrying you around...

ok, each villa has its own private gate like this, in case you have a fleet of limos ferrying you around…

...and what money (or Mastercard) can buy you.View? priceless.

…and what money (or Mastercard) can buy you.
View? priceless.

view from another angle...remember that cliffside pavilion as a wedding venue? heck, you can have it right here!

view from another angle…remember that cliffside pavilion as a wedding venue? heck, you can have it right here!

I also couldn’t help but admire the tasteful, thoughtful little touches scattered around the resort, such as these:

a little floral, herb and spice vignette at the spa

a little floral, herb and spice vignette at the spa

a charming corridor

a charming corridor

beautiful driftwood installation art

beautiful driftwood installation art

I loved what they used as a condiments tray in the restaurant during our old Balinese children's wooden game board. From my childhood in the Philippines, we had a similar one, called "sungka"!

I loved what they used as a condiments tray in the restaurant during our lunch…an old Balinese children’s wooden game board. From my childhood in the Philippines, we had a similar one, called “sungka”!

And speaking of lunch…here’s where this post ends as I’ve got Sunday night dinner at home to prepare with Herr Hubby. Let me love you and leave you with these fantastic images of Alila Villas Uluwatu in your head, to dream about for YOUR next vacay. Wouldn’t that be fabulous, dah-lings???


Eye Candy Friday: Bamboo Stiletto Escape, Chile

Summer’s last hurrah is here, Stiletto-istas!
This week’s missive from The Bamboo Stiletto’s aspirational style bible, Architectural Digest, caught our wandering eye and we knew we just had to share it with you. Before the August heat completely dissipates, let our Eye Candy Friday tempt you on a final summer fling and flirt with our personal favourite from AD‘s selection of dream-worthy eco-luxury escapes successfully combining stylish design with impactful sustainability.

Who says green and glamour can’t go together? So what say you, girls & gays, are you ready??? (all images below courtesy of Tierra Patagonia, Chile):

Back in the ’90s, when we realized that Patagonia was more than just an outdoor apparel company that we were extremely fond of, we dreamed of visiting the region & its pristine mountains, lakes, glaciers, forests & rivers (while wearing colour-coordinated, climate-appropriate Patagonia outfits, of course:) We did make it to Chile’s capital of Santiago, we did see some pampas (love that word! brings us right back to Latin America) & moseyed all the way down south to Valparaiso, paying homage to its most famous son, poet Pablo Neruda. Fond, fun memories of Chile but we never made it to Patagonia. Not yet anyway. Who knows, instead of that random person out there chewing the scenery…maybe someday, that could be moi? Dreamy gentleman companion optional:)

The intimate 40-room Tierra Patagonia was designed by a trio of awardwinning Chilean architects: CazĂș Zegers, Roberto Benavente, and Rodrigo Ferrer. Its look is deliberately rustic-sleek & low-key, awash in neutral hues with pale woods & lush, comfy textures – the better to set off the jaw-dropping outdoor scenery. This cozy-chic living area is where we can totally imagine lounging around after switching outfits, from our Patagonia outdoor kit to Ralph Lauren cable knits & cords!

Sitting on the shores of Lake Sarmiento at the edge of Torres Paine National Park & the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, surrounded by dramatic vistas of windswept dunes, lake & mountains, Tierra Patagonia is an eco-luxury traveler’s wet dream. Interiors, with furnishings sourced locally, are designed by Alexandra Edwards & Carolina Delpiano to take advantage of the amazing views. So, grab a swing, stay calm and…chill. (High heels & glass of Chilean shiraz optional)

Of course one of our fave images is of the library! This resort has even provided chic little daybeds just in case all the fresh air (and your book) lull you to sleep. No worries that reading lots of books during your holiday might spoil your eco-travel cred, Tierra Patagonia uses low-energy LED lighting. Also, proper insulation and design has made heating and airconditioning less of a necessity. So, INHALE that fresh air, people! (and don’t forget to exhale).

Now if you really can’t keep your eyes open, after all that lounging, relaxing, chilling with wine, reading books…hehe, just kidding, we know you’d be out there on the dunes, baby! trekking, hiking, kayaking, mountain climbing & all kinds of exhausting outdoor stuff in all that pure fresh air…so at night? You’ll be happy to know this is what your crib looks like. I don’t know about you but I’d probably zonk out right on that furry white rug on the floor right there.

So, are we ready to pack our bags, viajemos y hablamos Espanol, Stiletto-istas queridas??? If you are, make your ressies now by checking out and be sure to share your Tierra Patagonia stories with us afterwards. If you’d like to browse through the entire selection of Architectural Digest’s glamorous sustainable stays, read the original article here.

We’ve got some  major saving up to do before we can jet off to the other side of the world…but  meantime, a girl can dream, can’t she? We’re already saving up for a trip to the World Cup (soccer) in Brazil by 2014 anyway and guess what’s only a skip, hop, plane ride away from Rio de Janeiro...andale, viva Patagoniaaaaaa!!!

Happy Eye Candy Friday dreams & a fantastic weekend ahead to y’all & your loved ones! 🙂

It’s Boracay Bliss on Eye Candy Friday!

sun, sea, sky…and the purest white sand you’ll ever see: Boracay

It may be Friday the 13th but we’ve only got good vibes for you lucky ducks out there because it’s our 3rd edition of Eye Candy Friday…welcome! Where The Bamboo Stiletto takes you to visit beach houses/holiday homes by real people, or resorts and other holiday escapes, so that you and I can have some dreamy holiday fantasies over the weekend.

Now call me completely biased but one of our most favourite beach destinations in the world is the tiny island of Boracay in central Philippines, a speck of a gem lined with a seven-kilometre beach of the purest fine, white sand that’s rapidly becoming one of the hottest tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. We still remember our first visit to this island, in all its rough, rustic charm, with no electricity, when the only resort of note was Friday’s, the only place to hang out was Jonah’s (the place for ice cold fresh mango shakes) and the only bar to hit at night was Cocomangas. These days, Boracay has acquired a sheen of Makati sophistication (with prices to match) but somehow, despite the burgeoning tourist traffic and commercialization, the island’s allure is still there. We hope that success won’t spoil this little island paradise and will be properly sustained as we hope to keep coming back year after year.

Back in the day, it used to be that if you couldn’t get a room at Friday’s, you had no choice but to somehow “rough” it on the island…now, that’s no longer the case. You are spoilt for choice in Boracay as long as you are willing to splurge because, according to one of our closest girlfriends and one of the island’s permanent residents, Boracay “no longer has a slow season”. So just take a deep breath, pull out that credit card and you may just want to make this particular five-star luxury resort – a Bamboo Stiletto favourite – your address on your next Boracay holiday:

private white sand beach

an enticing pool beckons…

lots of little nooks designed to get you horizontal

a quick look at the Filipino art installations – is that a spear & shield??? – in the guestroom

nice recessed area on the stone wall to make the flat screen tv unobtrusive…and we like the matching stone patterns on the cabinets below

seashell clusters on sand…an innovatively beautiful way to bring the outdoors in. isn’t it cute???

plush & comfy daybeds on the balcony…get off your feet & grab a margarita!

grab someone…anyone!…and hold hands during the loveliest sunset on the planet

This resort was so incredibly photogenic – talk about eye candy – that if I post all my photos of its exteriors and interiors, we’ll be here until Sunday, so I’m forced to edit down to the ones you are right now viewing. You know what this means, dontcha, means you’ve gotta go and see it for YO self!

When you’re staying at this particular resort, somehow you just lose the inclination to leave it, even though Boracay’s main strip is renowned for its nightlife. What for??? Everything that you could possibly want to do on an island beach holiday…the beach, the pool, the spa, dining & drinking and re-charging one’s batteries in peace and solitude and serenity, it’s all in one place, right here. And that could only be the Shangri-La Boracay.

of course stay at the Shangri-La Boracay…no other place will do!

For your next island beach holiday, just do yourself a favour. Book your stay at the Shangri-La Boracay right here and let them handle everything. Just pack a bikini, a camera, bring sun protection and your favourite weekend arm candy. You won’t regret it!

Where do you want to go on your next island beach holiday, Stiletto-istas? DO share!!!

Eye Candy Friday, 2nd Edition: Cozy High at the Carmel Highlands, California

Welcome to our second edition of Eye Candy Fridays! Where The Bamboo Stiletto features real beach houses owned by real people and real holiday places at terrific destinations by the sea or up in the mountains we’d all love to visit – and not just the fantasy places that exist in the make-believe worlds of TV & the movies. So that we can all have something to dream about over the weekend!

Last week on Eye Candy Friday, we visited the beautiful cliffside beach home, a genuine labour of love, by a lovely Australian-Filipino couple in Bali, Indonesia. Today, let’s venture north all the way to northern California, over two hours’ drive from San Francisco and just a little way past the postcard-perfect, picturesque town of Carmel, to a cozy oceanfront cabin up in the dense, rugged hills of the Carmel Highlands, with staggering, jaw-dropping views of the coast of Big Sur.

I do love the uniquely northern California vibe of utilizing lots of natural wood and stones organic to the area, that palette of browns and greys so different from the tropical whites and bright colours that I’m used to – and also love – in Asia. There’s also something very soothing about that northern California palette and the roaring thunder of ocean waves nearby makes a nice rhythmic soundtrack.

After a delayed flight out of Shanghai, a missed trans-Pacific flight in Hong Kong followed by a sleepless night in San Francisco (that’s a whole another story altogether…), we were just dogbone-tired and weary. A real kick-ass, extra chilled vacation stay at this serene sanctuary of a cabin in a five-star resort overlooking the Pacific was exactly what we needed:

the cabin’s rustic-chic exterior

here it is from another angle, peeking out from the treetops

the private little pathway leading to the cabin

The cabin is part of the Park Hyatt Highlands Inn, Carmel and the one we stayed in – officially known as a One Bedroom Oceanfront – has two storeys. Accommodation is very residential in style (which we love) but also, as befitting a Park Hyatt, luxurious (we can’t complain!) Upon entering the cabin, one is immediately greeted by the kitchen to the side and a living area/dining area in front, with doors opening out to an oceanfront balcony.

the living area, awash in warm browns, apricot and honey hues and accents of blues which match the colour of the ocean outside the balcony windows…

that sun-bleached driftwood art installation in the cozy living area is pretty neat, isn’t it?

sweet loveseat…cuddle up!

really like the bleached wood nesting tables & the clear glass base lamp

A quick look at the compact yet functional kitchen:

confession: the kitchen didn’t see any action at all during our stay, with two award-winning gourmet restaurants within the resort and what with the sheer number of world-class restaurants in nearby Carmel as well as in Pebble Beach. we just couldn’t be persuaded to stay in.

And the staircase leading to the bedroom and bath downstairs:

The entire lower floor is devoted to a spacious bedroom and equally spacious adjoining bath – loved it!!! Tall windows on one side of the bedroom face the ocean. At night, all you can hear is the peaceful sound of ocean waves crashing against the cliffs, lulling you to blissful sleep:

sea, sky & sleep…what’s not to love?

wood paneled sliding doors can be closed to afford more privacy to the bathroom

a simple, elegant vanity & sink in the bathroom

the spacious bath & jacuzzi, wide enough for two

In the evenings, after one of those incredible dinners that seem to just proliferate in this part of the world, with the abundance of fresh, organic ingredients, amazing seafood and the California people’s inherent pride in and appreciation for good eating – it was always delightful to come back home to the cabin by the ocean and snuggle up to the warmth of this:

life’s simple pleasures

And simply glorious to wake up to the sight of this:

when nature just makes you catch your breath…

To book your own dream vacation at the Park Hyatt Highlands Inn, Carmel, browse the resort’s site here. Make sure to tell us about it!

The Monterey area of California remains one of The Bamboo Stiletto’s most favourite places in the world and from these photos, you can see one of the reasons why. Doesn’t this make you just want to hop onto a flight to San Francisco and drive to Carmel…like, NOW???

Thank God It’s Eye Candy Friday, everyone!

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