travel

The Dalmar, Ft Lauderdale

A  Midcentury South Florida Lifestyle Hotel

 

I felt as if I was transported into a Slim Aarons photo at The Dalmar complete with midcentury breeze blocks, references from both Florida and California during the Golden Age of Travel, and of course, a champagne vending machine giving me these vibes….

Getty Images: Leisure and Fashion. Slim Aarons, 1961

 

Several restaurants were closed while we were there due to COVID, but I wanted to share what was open and the spectacular design details, so you can add it to your Ft Lauderdale list.

Lobby and check-in

The open, lattice work work behind the check-in mimics a large scale breeze block pattern tying it to the adjoining lobby bar and seating area. The gold linework detail in the terrazzo and mother of pearl floor creates runway affect, which subconsciously adds to the wayfinding, drawing you to the desk. It also helps define the two seating areas on either side and adds another beautiful, subtle material to the mix. Check out this muted teal slab wall, and they lined the seam up with the doors. So beautiful.

Lobby Bar

This material nesting we see on the corner edge, built up countertop with contrasting piping, and the lowered server station make this an outstanding bar design. This material looks like it might be an onyx and a view of the front (without barstools) shows downlight washing a beautiful book matching of the material. Lovely details.

 

Lobby Bar Seating

An excellent, one-size-does-not-fit-all, approach was taken here, as we see multiple seating options for varying types of bodies, sizes, functions, and needs. An array of conversational areas and communal tables means creating social areas for people to meet or smaller tables for private discussions. An overall orange and blue (and shades of a minty teal) guides the palette, rich woods warm up the space, white breeze blocks take us back to a specific era, and a casual collection of images creates a sense of place and sparks memory.

 

Rose’s Coffee Bar

One the ground floor as you enter, this outdoor space off the coffee bar with geometric tile and living wall feel like a garden in the middle of the city. Perfect spot for coffee with a little buffer from street noise. Love the coffee bar lighting, too.

 

When I share a blog, I consider three readers: The person who knows nothing about design but is interested in beautiful spaces, places and travel. My fellow designers, to show ideas and how other designers have treated each space and situation, and lastly the potential future client who reads this to educate themselves, because maybe, they are thinking about a project of their own someday. I tell you this because you might fit into one of these categories, and while the next pictures may be of little interest to you, they might be for someone else in this group.

 

Transition spaces

While these seem unimportant, corridors, vestibules and other transition spaces support the experience. I find in some projects, clients want to spend less on these spaces, and I understand that, but these spaces are important to continue the vibe. They also receive a lot of abuse with high traffic and things like careless people in a rush or weary travelers with suitcases. The vertical, stack bond, blue tile is like a gorgeous ocean blue in varying shades highlighted by indirect lighting originating from the ceiling cloud above and uplighting from the floor. Lighting is absolutely everything for mood. Don’t skimp on it. These 3-diminesional tiles in the second photo add a graphic detail and play tricks on the eyes making you question if they are in fact 2-D or 3-D. I love tactile materials that begged to be touched, and a mirror in a vestibule at a hotel is a necessity. We need one last look before we dash out.

 

Although I couldn’t get great shots of the rooftop pool overlooking downtown, I wanted to share these two images from their Instagram page. And because I have this little obsession with carts.

Oh, and that vending machine I mentioned. We all love full service, but sometimes grab and go is just easier when we want a little more speed and less interaction with folks.

 

 

Hope you loved this destination!! Looking forward to everything being back open!

XO,

Cassandra

 

 

 

 

1 Hotel Miami Beach

Material Matters

I have been wanting to share the interior of this hotel since we returned last month. If you were to ask me what my style is, this would be it. I’m becoming more and more minimal as I age and have decided I need less and less around me to make me happy.

 

I always enjoy it when people go to my website and see the projects I have worked on and say, “I see you really like color.” For me, that means I’m doing my job. My projects are a reflection of my client’s homes and businesses, design aesthetics, tastes, styles, colors, products, and demographic we are trying to capture. Not mine. Working with clients gives me the opportunity to explore a variety of design aesthetics, color and styles different from my own personal tastes. I like to say,” I love coloring with all the crayons in the box, but I want to come home to something visually quiet.” This hotel is the silence and texture I crave.

Designed with eco-friendly principles in mind, the hotel is LEED certified and built with reclaimed materials throughout. Both the hotel and operations are designed and run on the best sustainability practices by focusing on environmental impact, recycled building materials, local food sourcing, and things like water and air filtration systems. Even the hangers are made from 100% post consumer recycled materials. This philosophy touches every detail in the hotel like no plastic keys to enter your room and all natural bath products. They even use recycled chalkboards in the room for notes and doodles to cut down on paper waste.

Not only is the mindful approach practiced in the the physical nature of the building and daily practices of sustainability, but also in the spiritual. The hotel hosts full moon celebrations every month to celebrate the changing of the tides, cosmos and energy with the rise of the full moon, as well as, once a month observing something called Dark Sky. That evening, they dim the lights in the lobby and illuminate the area with candles to raise awareness of global brightening and consumption. Reminds me of Bali’s full moon celebrations and day of silence and darkness offering respect to our planet.

The colorless interior, white upholstery, organic and textural materials, concrete, stone, and wood provide visual silence and a place to rest the busy mind. One of the other spectacular things about this hotel is the lighting.

Little nooks and niches for chatting in hotels are a favorite of mine. It allows us to somewhat hide out yet still be somewhat in the middle of things. You get to decide who you want to chat with and how social you want to be. These are spaces that allow us opportunities to chat with those passing by but also discourages them from chatting with us, if we don’t want them to. Often people respect those in a niche or off by themselves, as if they are having a private, not-to-be-disturbed conversation. For me, it’s a non-committal space in a public environment, meaning, I can be around the action and hear the buzz of the lobby and see people, but not be forced into a social setting, if I choose not to be. Sometimes we just want to be a spectator and not a participant. Maybe we’ll be a participant the next night. 😉

The restaurant was closed while we were there, which wasn’t a bad thing for these photos. 😉 Notice all the lighting in the shelves, the cocktail tables, and that custom light fixture over the bar. Can’t wait to go back during the Dark Sky night and have dinner and drinks here by candlelight.

Little details everywhere: barnacles growing on the corners of walls, the heart shape engraved in the door, the weathered wood halls and doors to the rooms, candles and branches everywhere, and the entry to the gym which is incredible itself. As both a residential and commercial designer, it’s always interesting to see how other designers try to conceal or divert the eye away from mechanicals in commercial interiors. *rolls eyes* They are a necessary evil in our projects and seeing how they visually blocked them here with the candles and branches, yet kept it open for proper air flow, is probably something no one else would have noticed but another commercial designer.

The art installations on site also raise awareness and conversation about the philosophy the hotel carries and highlights what we are doing to our planet. These are all recycled items from the ocean. Recycled tv and computer monitors depict animals living inside, as if one day, that might be the only way we will see and remember some of them, because of the destruction we have caused. If it weren’t so sad, this whale might actually be beautiful. A closer look shows the random trash that went into making it. We must do better.

So I don’t leave you on a sad note, I’ll leave you with the best part, the roof!!! Aren’t these cabanas are glorious??

Hope you enjoyed it!! Have you stayed at a 1 Hotel before? Now I have to put the others on my list.

XO,

Cassandra

 

 

Jekyll Island Club

Slow Living

Just recently we returned from a lovely week at the Jekyll Island Club on the coast of Georgia. Not our first time, but each time I am struck. It is a course of study in architecture, design and fine living. Such an easy getaway from Atlanta, and it’s as if time slows at the Jekyll Club – a place where croquet is played on the front lawn, porches overlook the gardens and beautiful historic trees, and architectural masterpieces line the street to the Jekyll Island Club Resort – a once seasonal destination for the wealthiest people in the world.

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Amed, Bali

Above the Clouds | Beneath the Sea

On the northeastern side of Bali lies Amed. This tiny fishing village is quickly attracting scuba divers and snorkelers from all over the world for the beautiful coral gardens and marine life in the Bali Sea.

Here in a Amed you won’t find the traffic, tourism, and the commercialism of other places in Bali. The streets are narrow, shops and restaurants are small and limited, but the black sand beach, clear water visibility, coral gardens, dive shops, and the hospitality of local Balinese in this growing town, along with the price to stay here, are charming and affordable.

Villa Paradiso

Built in the traditional Balinese style with teak wood doors and windows and tile floors, the villa had all the amenities. Doors opened on all sides to allow the breeze to blow in, the private pool was in the front courtyard, and the one room cottage in the back had an open-air shower. We chose to stay in the cottage in back of the villa, which we loved, instead of the main villa with our friends. I practiced yoga and meditation of the porch every morning overlooking the garden. There are stone and pebble designs are all over Bali, similar to our shower, and volcanic rock is a main building materiel on the island. Black and white represents the balance of opposites (happy and sad, good and evil, etc) and you’ll see black and white buffalo check fabric all over the island at temples and around trees. This pattern is seen as sacred and usually means the spirit resides within. Balinese also incorporate Animism into their religion, and believe the spirit resides in trees, plants, animals, etc. As mentioned in the previous post about Bali, prior to cutting any part of a sacred tree, the priest will ask the tree spirit first. All of these sacred trees are wrapped in black and white fabric, which you’ll see more of below.

Offerings Basket

All over Bali you will see the offerings basket outside homes, businesses, etc. These baskets have different colored flowers, representing different Gods, dried rice, and are sprinkled with holy water. They are made from palm leaves and strips of bamboo, which act as straight pins to keep the leaves together. The villa has a full staff, and one of the ladies taught me how to make the baskets. They make offerings each day to the Gods thanking them for their many blessings, and the lady is the one to make the offering for the business each morning to bless the business, the workers and the customers. This day was the day of the full moon, so the Balinese have a special celebration for that (the Balinese celebrate everything) with offerings, a dance, and special decorations made from dried palm leaves that are folded. Everyone wears traditional Balinese attire, which is often mismatched in color.

Bali Sea

Beach, snorkeling, and a sunset boat ride on a traditional Jukung are musts. We snorkeled off the beach in the coral gardens with a guide. If you’ve been on a black sand beach, you know how hot the sand can get, so take some shoes you can get wet and leave right by the water, so you can slip them on when you get out. The water is very clear and is easy to snorkel right off the beach with good visibility of the coral and fish. The jukung is a traditional fishing boat, so it’s not luxurious, but the sun setting behind Mt Agung (the volcano that has been erupting recently) is gorgeous, along with the view of all the villas and hotels from the water.

Pura Lempuyang

Pura in Balinese means temple. If you are anywhere near this side of the island, you have to go to Lempuyang. Also known as the temple of a thousand steps, this is one of the nine key directional temples in Bali, said to protect Bali from evil spirits. The location, position and layout is considered to be one of the most sacred structures and natural points on the island and marks each of the eight cardinal directions. There are three sections, each relating to Balinese cosmology and corresponding to the three Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Lumpuyang is sutiuated on Mt Lempuyang and consists of six temples ascending to the peak of the mountain. There are 1,700 plus steps, and it take 2 hours to climb to the top, 2,000 ft above sea level. It’s magical and spiritual. If you don’t find spirit here, I doubt you will. It is moving, jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring. Below is the first temple where you are greeted by the giant Naga (dragon) heads, whose tail extends up the staircase to the top of the first temple. Red, black and white fabric represents the three Gods, and black and white covers the tail reminding us, this is a sacred place. Covered by that cloud behind me in the photo below at Lempuyang’s famous gate in the clouds is the towering volcano, Mt Agung. As we got to the top of this first temple, for a brief moment, the clouds parted and the volcano silhouette became visible. It’s hard to believe something so massive and almost menacing is just behind those clouds. Mystical and magical Bali will make you believe in Animism-that spirit resides in everything around us. The journey at Lemupyang will prove it to you.

Dining

We had coffee every morning at Pazzo Bali across the street from the villa. The service was excellent, and the restaurant overlooks the Pazzo Hotel pool. We were blown away to find out it was only $50 a night to stay here. If you’re on a tight budget, there are so many options in Bali.

We had dinner at Apa Kabar on the beach one night and the food was great, but with this kind of setting, I would have been fine with plain toast. 😉

The Balinese love their birds and flowers. Most all the homes have at least one bird cage outside, sometimes more, and as I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs, the marigold is everywhere in Bali. Marigolds are around all the statues in Bali, as offerings to the Gods, and many have frangipani flowers tucked behind their ears or in their hair, if there is room.

This is my third in the Bali series. I have one more blog post to share from another side of the island. I hope you have enjoyed it!

Xo,

Cass

 

Fort Morgan, Alabama

Damn the torpedoes…

…no, I’m not talking about the Tom Petty album released in 1979. I’m referring to the famous phrase, “Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!” ordered by US Navy Admiral David Farrgut during the American Civil War. A phrase many of us are familiar with and learned as children in US History class.

Oh, let me guess, “I’m not into history,” is probably what you’re thinking. Well, that’s ok, this isn’t a history lesson. It’s not about dates and boring chronological events for you to remember. What it is, is a trip to one of the most memorable places on the Gulf Coast.

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Packing Essentials

So, every trip requires certain essentials, pieces you must have depending on location, weather, activities, etc. I usually start thinking about these things way in advance, as I daydream about my adventures. I like to lay my things out and usually try to pack based on one or two color combinations, so I’m not forced to bring 10 pairs of shoes, belts and accessories to go with each outfit. For most avid travelers, especially those of us who go to Europe often, we’ve already mastered that and found out a long time ago, nothing is worse than being saddled with too much luggage while trying to get in and out of buses, airports, boats, trains, and taxis. Even the upgraded rooms in Europe are small, so there is just no where to put all the luggage. Most of us have made that mistake once or twice and have vowed never to do it again. Strategic packing is key, and I’ve found there is an art to it. It’s a fun pre-trip challenge I look forward to.

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