Plenty of consideration goes into planning a trip; from sampling the local cuisine to taking in all the sights, a balanced itinerary can make all the difference when it comes to taking in the best of a destination within a short period of time. However, sometimes there’s that single standout experience, which becomes the cornerstone the rest of the trip is built around.
We spoke to travel designer Nikki Pang at bespoke tour operator Lightfoot Travel for the best travel experiences for design-lovers that make even the most far-flung locale worth a visit.
Hotel: Phum Baitang - Siem Reap, Cambodia
It comes as no surprise that Phum Baitang won four awards at the Asia Hotel Design Awards this year, including the coveted title of Asia Hotel Design of the Year. This luxurious Cambodian gem, whose name translates as “green village”. is nestled amongst lush green paddy fields. Designed by Paris-based AW2, the property’s design inspiration comes wholly from that of an authentic Cambodian village. The 45 villas have thatched roofs and are perched on stilts positioned across acres of lemongrass gardens along with outdoor infinity pools.
Restaurant: Ammo, Hong Kong
Designed by Joyce Wang of Wang Studios, this award winning restaurant and bar is located in the beautiful heritage site of a former 19th century explosives compound; dramatic interiors are starkly juxtaposed with modern furnishings. A heavy focus on copper throughout the restaurant gives it an industrial feel and references the site’s military past. Lush green foliage outside the floor to ceiling glass windows soften the edges, and the spiral staircase-like sculptures that hang from the ceiling make for a unique touch.
Train Journey: Belmond Hiram Bingham, Peru
Experience the stunning landscapes of Peru as you travel to Machu Picchu in the comfort of the luxurious Belmond Hiram Bingham train. The carriages are designed in the style of 1920s Pullman trains and are painted in royal blue and gold with polished dark wooden paneling and brass details. The Observation Deck is the perfect place to appreciate the stunning beauty of the Andes Mountains from the comfortable couches.
Spa: The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland
Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, The Chedi Andermatt’s Spa and Wellness Centre is one of the most luxurious in Europe and the ultimate escape. Featuring floor-to-ceiling glass windows and curved walls covered with materials such as stone, this spa is a masterpiece of comfortable, clean and modern architecture that combines so well with the natural beauty of its surrounds. Heated stone floors, open fireplaces and piles of cashmere rugs create a perfect setting for guests to sit back and enjoy the spa’s eclectic blend of Swiss Alpine chic and Asian Zen.
City: Shanghai, China
With over 4,000 design-related agencies and institutions, Shanghai is home to Asia’s biggest and most important international design event: The Shanghai Design Show. Presenting a platform for Asia’s architects, interior designers and property developers, the event showcases a variety of designs from different brands and galleries. Make sure to enjoy a drink from the rooftop of the Peninsula Hotel when you visit; the view of 100-year old colonial architecture on one side versus Pudong’s gleaming skyscrapers perfectly contrasts the old with the new.
Additional text: Leanne Mirandilla
Production: Kissa Castañeda
Lead image courtesy of Phum Baitang