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An Imperial Stay at The Majestic Malacca

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An Imperial Stay at The Majestic Malacca

To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure.
— Freya Stark
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Slightly contrary to the quote above, Malacca wasn’t exactly a strange town to me. It was a destination that held mystique and history, a place we used to road-trip to from Penang when I was a small child but have no real recollection of. So I scheduled a brief stop in this diverse port city before heading to Singapore for my flight home to LA.

I wanted to make the most of my time in Malacca and its rich cultural history, including experiencing the unique style of architecture that the Peranakans fused together from Malay, Chinese, and European influences. I gravitate towards the the juxtaposition of old and new and The Majestic Malacca easily stood out among the choices i was contemplating. Its proximity to the famed Jonker Street area yet with a bit of distance from of the bustle appealed to my love of tranquil settings.

Upon arriving, i immediately felt the warmth of the staff, welcoming and friendly without being overwhelming. The lobby area of The Majestic has preserved its historical architecture and colonial style, with pops of mint green throughout and styled with Peranakan wares and timber wood furniture.

Welcome tea

Welcome tea

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I didn’t mind basking in the sun by the pool as I waited for my room. A short while later, a young staff member showed me to my room, carrying an ornate basket of welcome tea served in a traditional Peranakan pot. After explaining all of the rooms features, she poured a taste for me, and I sipped it slowly, savoring the subtle sweetness of the lychee-infused black tea and the world I had just been transported into in the bright, airy room with all of its colonial-style comforts. I breathed deeply and gazed out at the Malacca River, which winds its way down to Jonker Street, and contemplated where’d I’d explore first.

Loved this claw foot tub

Loved this claw foot tub

Making plans for my short stay

Making plans for my short stay

My favorite part of the hotel was the lobby bar, where guests can interact and mingle, or just lounge while planning their next outing. A unique highlight was their Gin O’Clock, where at 5pm on Fridays, the bar cart is stocked with garnishes, liqueurs, and recipes beautifully printed cards for traditional cocktails with a Malaccan twist, unique to the culture and area. Although i’m not normally a gin person, i tried the Gin and Tonic, with their house-made pandan-infused gin (Pandan is the ‘vanilla of the east’) and i wish i could’ve taken a bottle home! Another popular one was the Malacca Collins, which includes a splash of Gula Melaka syrup, a sweetener unique to Malacca and Malaysia. Made of sugar from local palm trees, Gula Melaka evokes hints of chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, or coffee, depending on how its processed and distilled.

Although I couldn’t quite fit a spa appointment into this quick trip, Spa Village at the hotel is known for its therapies based on the healing traditions practiced in Peranakan culture. By combining age-old traditional remedies sourced from indigenous ingredients, the treatments offered are believed to cleanse, replenish and reinvigorate, both physically and mentally.

I spent most of my two days exploring the vibrant food and cafe scene in Malacca, and the Majestic was the perfect respite to return to after a day of being out and about in the heat and bustle.

Where else do you like to stay in Malacca? I’d love to hear more about your adventures below in one my favorite cities in Malaysia.

The Majestic Malacca | 188, Jalan Bunga Raya, Melaka, 75100 Melaka, Malaysia

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Hotel Review: 24 Hours at The Robey Chicago

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Hotel Review: 24 Hours at The Robey Chicago

After two days staying and exploring the downtown Loop area of Chicago, we were ready to switch gears to a more neighborhood vibe. We came across The Robey on a whim, just during a quick search online, and were immediately drawn into its modern, minimal design with a touch of art deco details. We loved its location in the Wicker Park neighborhood and the fact that it was a part of the Design Hotels group of properties cinched the deal - we knew it would be the perfect way to spent our last 24 hours in the Windy City. 

Set in a gorgeous Art Deco building from 1929 and converted into a cozy boutique hotel that doesn't feel like it has 89 rooms, every detail from the moment you step through the doors contributed to the feeling that every detail was thoughtfully executed. 

I always love the feeling of an actual key on a keychain vs. a key card.

I always love the feeling of an actual key on a keychain vs. a key card.

The hotel is named after Robey Street – now  Damen Avenue.

The hotel is named after Robey Street – now  Damen Avenue.

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Due to budget, we ended up in one of the smaller room layouts, a little corner nook on the 3rd floor. And yet, we were impressed with the use of space, the carefully selected amenities, and the amount of window light flooding in. Everything in place was exactly what was needed - not too much, not too little...from the carefully constructed nightstand, to the frosted glass separating the bedroom and the bathroom.

We were traveling with our 1 year old son and they even had a crib they wheeled into the space - not an ugly yet functional crib that would have served its purpose just fine- but a beautiful white mini-crib that looked like it had its rightful place in the minimally designed room. I knew then that we'd definitely come back the next time we found ourselves in Chicago - that mix of child-friendly yet visually appealing details is so rare in most accommodations! 

We enjoyed taking our time settling in the room, reading the carefully curated publications displayed on the marble coffee table, and simply luxuriating in the afternoon light pouring through the window after a drive across town earlier that morning.  

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In search of a midday drink and nibble, we moseyed downstairs to check out the bar/cafe on the 2nd floor, which also happens to double as a popular workspace for locals in the know during the day. 

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The next morning before checkout, we headed downstairs and had breakfast at Cafe Robey, conveniently located in the lobby. Its always a nice bonus having a good breakfast option in the hotel that doesn't make you feel like you're missing out on a favorite neighborhood spot. By the time we settled into our food, the place was a nice, slightly buzzy mix of locals and visitors, giving it a feeling of it being a warm neighborhood favorite instead of just a place that locals avoid.

For how design-centric the hotel is, we loved that it was also family-friendly, basically satisfying our travel criteria all in one. It felt casual yet intentional, stylish yet not uptight. If you happen to be there without children, the rooftop bar and pool is highly recommended. The pool was still under construction during our visit (which happened during a wet spring anyway), but I can imagine many glorious summer days spent on the rooftop surrounded by panoramic views of the city along with the bar's handmade cocktails. 

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if you have the time for more Chicago adventures, read on for more design-centric sights in this iconic city.

The Robey Chicago | 2018 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 | (872) 315-3050

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A Visual Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Architecture Studio in Oak Park, Chicago

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A Visual Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Architecture Studio in Oak Park, Chicago

Frank Lloyd Wright is synonymous with iconic American architecture, and thus its impossible for any design aficionado to visit Chicago without a pilgrimage to his home and studio in Oak Park, just outside the city limits.  Although my husband, an architect himself, had been here many times, we went once more so I could see this historic landmark where FLW spent about two decades designing multiple homes in the neighborhood and exploring design elements that lead to the famed Prairie Movement. 

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Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
— Frank Lloyd Wright

On our last morning in Chicago, we hopped into our rental car after a hearty breakfast at The Robey Cafe and drove away from the skyscrapers into Oak Park, a quintessential American upscale suburbia with lush green lawns and stately Craftsmans. Just down the block is another Chicago landmark-  Ernest Hemingway's childhood home, another significant sight worth visiting if you have ample time in the area. 

I highly recommend arriving early before the tour and doing a leisurely stroll of the neighborhood, where 25 homes and buildings in this small area were designed by Wright, making it the largest collection of Wright's buildings in the world. Oak Park retains its quiet splendor and its quite enjoyable to wander around, imagining it at the time when two great American icons spent time here. Curbed Chicago has a pretty comprehensive description for the walking tour with brief descriptions of the various homes designed/remodeled by Wright.

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The studio and home is only accessible by guided tour so purchasing timed tickets online before arriving is highly recommended. We milled around the gift shop while waiting for the tour to start and had the luxury of roaming the house with a relatively small group and a very knowledgable guide.

It was pretty incredible walking through the drafting room, seeing where the drawings for so many buildings began as sketches and formed into full fledged buildings still standing today. Wandering inside the home structure and taking in the details and intentional way he continued to expand his vision while committing to using particular architectural elements felt pretty inspiring. All the restored details and prized artifacts blew me away by how timeless they remain. 

Hopefully you'll get a chance to stop by and admire the home as well! 

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FLW was a fan of Japanese prints, many of which were displayed in the studio area.

FLW was a fan of Japanese prints, many of which were displayed in the studio area.

Timeless exterior.

Timeless exterior.

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Picturing all of the life and creativity happening in this beautifully lit space.

Picturing all of the life and creativity happening in this beautifully lit space.

Manicured gardens outside.

Manicured gardens outside.

Memorabilia in the bedroom.

Memorabilia in the bedroom.

Below are a few of my favorite homes in Oak Park with the FLW stamp, all pretty distinctive and yet belong perfectly on the block. 

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Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio | 951 Chicago Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302 | 312.994.4000

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Friday Five: 5 Essential Stops in Minneapolis

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Friday Five: 5 Essential Stops in Minneapolis

Minneapolis in the summer is the ultimate American city. With a prime combination of culture, history, and active lifestyle, it's no surprise that the Twin Cities has topped many "Best Of" lists of cities to live, work, and play. Bikers abound on the 129 miles of on-street bike lanes, families and picnickers lay blankets and pitch hammocks at Gold Medal Park, and the North Loop is an extremely walkable neighborhood with hip eateries, coffeeshops, and carefully curated boutiques around every corner. While the sheer number of things to do and see can be staggering, here are our essential picks for a weekend visit to the city. 


1. SPYHOUSE COFFEE

The fourth and newest opening of this local favorite is in the North Loop neighborhood, where creative energy seems to emanate from all of the beautifully designed boutiques and eateries. Stocked with handpicked coffees, and selections of pastries and teas, this stunning space is the ideal place to start your day.

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Spyhouse Coffee: 907 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401


2. FOUNDRY HOME GOODS

After sipping on coffee or tea at Spyhouse, wander over to Foundry Home Goods, where the shelves (and tables) are stocked with a beautiful collection of items locally and abroad - from Minnesota-made beeswax candles, towels and table linens from Ethiopia; bath towels from Japan and hearty jute baskets from Morocco, among many others. 

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Foundry Home Goods: 125 N 1st St, Minneapolis, MN 55401


3. THE BACHELOR FARMER

Just across the street, marked inconspicuously by a graphic icon of a white coffee cup with a swirl of steam, is the Bachelor Farmer, a cafe and restaurant serving fresh and simple creations inspired by the region. The cafe serves house made pastries, fresh squeezed juices, and loose leaf teas. We especially loved the selection of creative magazines (Apartamento, Monocle, Gear Patrol, among others..) available for perusing while sipping tea by the window table. 

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The Bachelor Farmer: 50 N 2nd Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401


4. MILL CITY MUSEUM

Honoring the city's history as a flour milling powerhouse, the Mill City Museum has been restored with many features of the original mill, including flour bins, milling machinery, and a wheat house. Located in the Historic Mississippi Riverfront District, the surrounding area is perfect for picnicking along the river, where there are usually a group of food trucks parked on the weekends. 

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Mill City Museum: 704 South 2nd St. Minneapolis, MN 55401


5. GUTHRIE THEATER

The innovative architecture of the Guthrie Theater can be enjoyed even without seeing one of it's world class performances. Designed by acclaimed architect Jean Nouvel, the iconic cantilevered bridge with incredible views of the river is open to the public, in addition to the bar and dining venue

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Guthrie Theater: 818 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55415


Feel free to share any additional suggestions and/or additions in the comments below if you have other stops that shouldn't be missed!

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