Infrared therapy has taken off in the US, UK, and Australia in recent years as a health and wellness trend. This new style of therapy uses infrared lamps which emit waves that heat the body, penetrating deeply into joints, muscles and tissues. Singapore finally has our first dedicated infrared sauna studio with Pure Wellness Studio.

Tucked away in a conservation shophouse in the buzzy Duxton neighbourhood, the quiet sanctuary is home to the boutique space that boasts three sauna cabins, featuring the latest full spectrum infrared technology that heats the core of the body and can penetrate the skin up to 7cm, providing a deeper cleanse as compared to traditional saunas. With skin as the body’s largest detox organ, designed to eliminate toxins safely, this makes sweating, a powerful tool for detoxing — leading to increased health and wellness benefits.

Originally founded in Melbourne, Australia, Pure Wellness Studio Singapore was launched locally by founders Maxie Chan and Rachel Lim, after they experienced the benefits of infrared therapy first-hand. 

As a holistic wellness space, Pure Wellness Studio also curates a series of workshops and classes with two sessions every month that are meant to revitalize. Starting the series in November is a multi-level Vinyasa Flow class (6 November) that will challenge the body and awaken the spirit, and a Crystal Reiki Healing session (20 November) that introduces guests to positive energy interaction that is said to promote physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Sound healing and meditation classes will also soon be introduced. 

Right on the western tip of the African continent lies Cape Town, a city that offers some of the most breath-taking natural beauty in the world. With stunning beaches, towering peaks to climb, and remarkable vineyards, this idyllic locale city offers all that and so much more.

MUST SEES AND CULTURAL SITES

A place to start the tour of this city is a visit to the historic Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, which is famed for its bright and colourful houses. The area’s inhabitants are predominantly made up of Cape Malay who are descendants of Indonesian slaves from the 1650s.

The community is incredibly vibrant, and everyone is friendly. There are multiple stalls along the main street where different families sell a myriad of snacks – the koeksisters are a must (imagine doughnuts taken to the next level with a spiced infused honey with ginger).

When we were first introduced to Darel Carey’s monochromatic tape installations, we were mesmerised!

Darel’s work includes dimensional line drawings and immersive tape installations. Optical and spatial perception are his main focus; he uses lines to shape and bend the perceived dimensions of a surface or a space.

Earlier this year, Darel was recently in Bintan, Indonesia to add one of his incredible creations to the walls at The Sanchaya. We managed to catch up with him whilst he was in Singapore…

V&VPR: We LOVE your work! What inspired you initially to work with tape as your art form, and how has your style changed over time?

Darel: Thank you! Tape for me is a versatile medium I discovered while at Mending Otis College. Artists typically use tape as a means to an end, either to mask straight lines for paint, or for marking areas temporarily. While working with tape on a background grid for a group show, it dawned on me to use tape as a medium in itself, to traverse multiple surfaces and create immersive experiences. My style has gradually become more refined. I used to lay down lines without fully knowing how they would interact. The more pieces I create, the more familiar I become with the organic process, and how it affects the experience of the viewer.

V&VPR: You have quite a strong Instagram following – how has Instagram been instrumental in your success?

Darel: Using Instagram has enabled me to present my art to a worldwide audience, which led to many opportunities. Most of the people I’ve worked with found me on social media or online somewhere.

V&VPR: Do you believe social media also has its downsides when it comes to the world of art? Have you found that people copy your style, and do you think Instagram impacts the ability to be original?

Darel: Social media does indeed have its downsides. More people see more things from more and more other people. That can be negative in the world of art when it comes to copying or stealing styles or other intellectual property. I do see some of that, some copying and stealing, which I think is an unavoidable problem. The more people are copying, the less they are being original. My approach to this is to keep evolving in my art and philosophy, to keep refining my aesthetic and understanding, and to focus on my strengths. Pushing oneself to keep evolving is key to being original. Adapting quickly to new environments, like social media, will help you advance and stay original. What’s new is constantly changing.

V&VPR: You travel a lot with your work – having recently been at The Sanchaya – do you find that new cultures and places influence your style?

Darel: Every time I see and experience something new, I try to soak up some inspiration from it, and expand my horizon, especially while traveling. It may be a pattern I see in architecture, or intricacies in plants I’ve never seen, or nuances in social etiquette. At The Sanchaya, I experienced, and my art became part of, a juxtaposition of different styles from different times and places. I really enjoyed the colonial interiors and the Asian influence in architecture, surrounded by vegetation, all in front of the aqua-coloured coast, on the Northside of Bintan, Indonesia.

V&VPR: What’s next for you?

Darel: I have a few things going on in the coming months. I’m part of a group show at the Millard Sheets Art Center in Pomona, CA, on view until early November. I’ll be in New York soon to create a temporary installation at a tech conference, and shortly after I’ll be painting a mural in a residence lobby in Cambridge, MA. In the bigger picture, I want to expand and try new things, perhaps in the sculptural or digital realm. I also like to write, so maybe that will manifest in some way. I’m just happy to be creating, and grateful for the opportunities to do so!

Breaking free from the fixed pattern of the working week and head-first into new cultures and traditions can be overwhelming; from choosing the destination, to the accommodation, and planning every culinary tour and sidecar adventure in between. But what if we told you that you no longer have to spend hours researching and simply have to arrive at one of the Capella Hotels & Resorts‘ eight exclusive locations?  

This exceptional hospitality group focuses on crafting authentic, cultural experiences for its guests, combining a legacy of crafted luxury design with the highest level of personalised service. With this in mind, Capella Hotels & Resorts have recently launched Capella Curates service, offering exclusive adventures, which incorporate interesting characters, whimsical traditions, and the opportunity to hone unexplored skills. These experiences were thoughtfully designed to ensure you see the true soul of your destination – not just the hotel pool. Let’s travel around the world and see what’s on offer!

Heading first to East Asia, allow ‘Capella Culturist’, Troy, to take you on behind-the-scenes tours of South China’s villages, learning about the Li people and their rich crafts – you can even join Grandma to learn more about the infamous facial tattoo techniques practiced by the tribe.

Whizz through the streets of Singapore in the Capella sidecar, learning about the unique design and fascinating fengshui principles present throughout the urban architecture; the route will take in the Marina Bay Area, Singapore Flyer, Art Science Museum, and Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, amongst other highlights. 

Escape the humdrum of daily life with 24-hours spent in total solitude within a luxury tented camp nestled amidst the unspoiled beauty of Bali’s luscious rainforest. The Confined to Quarters experience begins with a traditional Balinese blessing ritual and yoga session, followed by a 2-hour Senja massage. 

Grab your gardening gloves and head to Düsseldorf , where the buzz of its vibrant city is surrounded by agriculturally rich countryside, with picturesque hills and farmland aplenty. Capella is committed to supporting some of the country’s smaller farmers, and their exclusive experience offers the opportunity to join Chef Philipp on a culinary tour to local farmer, Christian Benninghovens’, famous farm.

Capture the essence of Shanghai’s culture by joining professional photographer, Mr Wang, on his one-man mission to capture the truth of the world. In Capella Shanghai’s Print, Shoot, Retouch experience, guests will be shown to the city’s best-kept, most Instagrammable experiences. Highlights include traditional shikumen terraced houses, quirky art deco buildings, and the best spots to capture the city’s infamous skyline. We’d give that a ‘like’!

Not forgetting the mini travellers, the latest addition to the Capella Hotels & Resorts portfolio, Capella Bangkok is set to cause a stir when it opens later this year. They are offering Little Monks, the chance to experience mindfulness and clarity from an early age and the team are dedicated to encouraging guests to interact with notable characters across the city through their Capella Curates Programme. 

Capella Hotels & Resorts are masters in the craft of the stay, offering experiences curated for the curious mind, blending nature, history, and the finest attention to detail. So, what’s stopping you? We’ll see you there…!

Singita opened Kwitonda Lodge on 1st August in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The brand new lodge and private house is positioned on an unrivalled location where a third of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas can be found, marking the next exciting chapter of the brand’s ongoing conservation journey in Africa. As well as supporting important conservation efforts during their stay at Kwitonda Lodge, guests will be able to enjoy awe-inspiring views across the vast Virunga mountain range and volcanoes.

Kwitonda Lodge is designed to honour Rwanda’s people and the country’s fertile land, contributing significantly to conservation efforts, community partnerships and ecotourism to preserve and protect Africa’s wilderness for future generations. Situated a ten-minute walk away from the park’s headquarters, guests can take part in a humbling gorilla-trekking experience to witness these incredible animals in their natural habitats.

Each of the guest suites are beautifully decorated and include private heated plunge pools and massage areas, as well as indoor and outdoor fireplaces for travellers to relax in their secluded haven. Singita has included a dedicated conservation room, gear room for all trekking equipment, and an extensive on-site nursery and vegetable garden to provide fresh produce for the lodge’s farm-to-table food ethos.

More than 500 local artisans and builders were involved in crafting features like the lava rock walks, exquisite woven ceilings and hand-fired terracotta brickwork – ensuring an authentic translation of local culture into the design, while boosting local employment and business.

Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House are go-to destinations, offering an experience unlike any of Singita’s other destinations. It embodies the gentle, rejuvenated spirit of Rwanda with finishes that include raw and burnished timbers, natural pigments on walls and hand-fired terracotta tiles, and long-lasting furniture pieces anchor each room and space, providing a profound sense of groundedness. Its design creates a sense of place, purpose and perspective, tying in perfectly with the serious and soul-centering experience of meeting  gorillas up close on treks.

As expectant parents seek to make the most of their last few months of alone time before their new arrival, the ‘Babymoon’ has seen a continued rise in popularity. For Singapore-based families, The Sanchaya and Capella Singapore provide two of the most luxurious options, without the need for flying, making them perfect for trips up to the last trimester. 

The Sanchaya

Bintan’s most sought-after estate has launched Baby Love – a 3 night stay designed especially for parents to-be. The all-encompassing experience includes one 60-minute massage for both guests, with options including the “Mum to Be,” a prenatal massage that uses gentle techniques to relieve the discomforts of pregnancy. 

Also included is a traditional English Afternoon Tea, a cocktail/mocktail session, and return Emerald class ferry tickets – The Sanchaya is situated less than an hour from Singapore by boat, removing the need to fly and making it the ultimate convenient escape, even in the later stages of pregnancy. 

Capella Singapore

Throughout the last decade, Capella Singapore has cemented itself as one of the most luxurious hotels in the region. 

Nestled in the lush rainforest of Sentosa Island, Auriga at Capella Singapore is a peaceful cocoon for expectant parents to rest and rejuvenate ahead of their new arrival. 

Priced at SGD 718, the Couple Babymoons experience includes a Prenatal Massage and Organic Rose Facial for mums-to-be, and a New Moon Swedish Massage and Gentlemen’s facial for dads-to-be, as well as a nourishing hair and scalp treatment for two. After a morning of relaxation, the pair are invited to  afternoon tea at Chef’s Table, where they can enjoy an array of bite-sized sweet and savoury favourites and an extensive Ronnefeldt tea selections.

This week, the Global Wellness Summit took place in V&VPR’s home base of Singapore. Having led campaigns for the likes of The Sanchaya, Guavapass, and Capella — brands that see wellness as a core business pillar — we were particularly excited to learn more about the integration of nature and wellness into luxury travel. Read on for our summary:

With more proof than ever of the strong link between nature and wellness, people have started seeking ways to incorporate ecotherapy into their everyday lives. This has led to the boom of the nature economy and these days, wellness has become an integral aspect of luxury travel — promoting health, spirituality and a deep connection to surrounding nature.

The Wellness Benefits Of Nature

Outdoor activities have proven to be staggeringly good for the brain. A study by the European Society of Cardiology, found that brisk walking for at least 25 minutes daily could add at least three years onto an individual’s life. This simple activity helps repair DNA and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and breast or colon cancer. Those who participate in ‘green exercise’, a term that describes working out in the outdoors, will also find that it lowers blood pressure, increases creativity, decreases depression, and increases blood flow.

In a 2009 study by a team of Dutch researchers, it was also found that those who lived within about half a mile of green space had a lower incidence of getting ill with diseases such as depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, asthma and migraines. Taking these insights, hospitality operators can and should incorporate a variety of outdoor activities for different health and fitness levels, into their programmes.

Applying Nature Into The Hospitality Industry

Some of the most intuitive hotels and spas take advantage of their beautiful locations to offer more outdoor programming, including highly customised packages tailored to individuals for a completely unique wellness experience. As the benefits of immersing in nature become more well-known, hotels and spas are tapping into what makes their destination unique, focusing on guest excursions to appreciate picturesque landscapes and expansive views of the destination scenery.

Biophilic design, a design concept within buildings to increase guest connectivity to the natural environment has become increasingly popular – properties far from any natural beauty have brought the outdoors inside, showcasing local flora and fauna within their establishment to reap the same health and wellness benefits.

These seemingly little steps will almost certainly have a positive effect on customers’ and employee’s wellbeing, and we look forward to seeing hospitality companies put their own creative spin on the subject. Visit the Global Wellness Summit page for the full in-depth report.

Go beyond the usual sights and sounds of a Tokyo city tour, and venture west to the Izu Peninsula – a fascinating geological treasure located on the Pacific coast of the island of Honshū, Japan. The landscape of this former island has been shaped by volcanic activity over millions of years, and is peppered with volcanoes and carved by both river and sea, making it the perfect respite if you’re looking for the best of what nature has to offer.

The cobalt-blue Pacific Ocean surrounds Izu and provides the backdrop to a rugged coastline of bays and towering precipices. Curated to suit the adventurous, conscious traveller, the Izu Geo Trail by Walk Japan features an immersive itinerary where you’ll be staying in beautifully located inns, enjoying bountiful seafood cuisine, and luxuriating in soothing onsen hot spring baths while taking in spectacular geological formations, beaches, waterfalls, literature and epoch-making history. 

Starting in Tokyo, Japan’s bustling capital city, travellers will make their way by train to Izu Kogen in the Shizuoka prefecture where the trail begins. Led by Walk Japan’s expert Tour Leaders, you’ll have the opportunity to venture to some of the most scenic and untouched areas of the Izu Peninsula, accompanied by the sound of waves crashing against rocky cliffs and echoing through sea caves. On clear days, you may even be able to catch spectacular views of the iconic Mt. Fuji.

Removed from the noise and distractions of the modern world, guests can thoroughly appreciate Japan’s picturesque landscapes and natural scenery. Whether it’s gentle ascents through a native beech forest, visiting a 1,200 year old shrine off the sparkling white sandy beach of Shirahama, or climbing Cape Irozaki – Izu’s southernmost point offers an impressive viewpoint, even the most seasoned travellers will feel entirely spirited away in the ethereal beauty of this mesmerising peninsula. 

If you’re looking for some fun activities to spend time with your friends and family, Scott Dunn is here to make your wildest dreams come true. From stunning wild walks or airborne adventures on hot air balloons, Scott Dunn curates experiential excursions to discover areas of outstanding beauty in some of the world’s most inspiring destinations.

Being the pioneers of luxury travel, Scott Dunn crafts walking itineraries and hot air balloon adventures providing a multi-sensory way for you to explore a country and uncover the culture, history and landscape while admiring magnificent views.

Scott Dunn’s Rainbow Mountain Trek in Peru is an off-the-beaten-track exploration of diverse landscapes and remote corners of the Peruvian high Andes. The tour includes a trip to the ancient Inca citadel of remarkable wonder of the world, Machu Picchu for a privately guided tour.

The most exhilarating part of the journey is the high-altitude Ausangate Trek, when you will embark on a challenging 4-day trek through the Vilcanota Cordillera mountain range, reaching altitudes of over 5,000 metres. You will get to visit and take pictures of the well-known Rainbow Mountain with its vivid colours and snow-capped Ausangate peaks. After a long day of trekking, comfortable lodges with spectacular views of the Vilcanota mountains, comfortable beds and thermal feather duvets await. You will also get to take a trip in a hot air balloon drifting gently high up in the sky, and sweeping over dramatic landscapes.

Scott Dunn’s balloon adventure across the Maasai Mara gives you a chance to float above the untouched beauty of one of Africa’s greatest wildlife Reserves. You will have the opportunity to watch the sunrise over impressive plains, home to Africa’s most diverse and renowned eco-systems and wild animals. Ideal for families or groups, Mara House is a private residence tucked away in a prime wildlife area outside the Maasai Mara, fully staffed with an in-house chef, house manager and its own safari guide for flexible game drives and safari walks through the national park.

Through these activities, Scott Dunn offers exclusive experiences mixed with adrenaline-pumping adventure, and without substantial loss of creature comforts.

Location, location, location — the first thing we consider when choosing our home base during vacation. Over the past year, a range of excellent hotels have opened in Kuala Lumpur but want to know which ones are our favourites? 

The Westin Kuala Lumpur has one of the best locations in the city if tourist attractions, shopping malls and nightlife are your priorities. Located opposite Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and adjacent to Starhill Gallery, getting around the Golden Triangle is incredibly convenient. The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is one of those alluring establishments that captures the evocative spirit of travel. Built during Malaysia’s boom years before World War II, the hotel evokes a luxurious colonial atmosphere. Conveniently close to Sentral Station, the hotel is also near the National Museum, National Mosque, Islamic Arts Museum, Lake Gardens and Bird and Butterfly Parks. A bit further out from the city centre, Alila Bangsar is near a slew of sleek, hip cafés and tasteful hole in the walls in Bangsar. This modern skyscraper is situated in the lively, millennial neighbourhood of Bangsar — a 15-minute drive from the manic buzz and tourist footprint that is downtown KL. 

Some more budget-friendly options include The Kuala Lumpur Journal, which is just off one of the city’s main thoroughfares, Jalan Sultan Ismail. Right in the city’s entertainment and shopping area Bukit Bintang, it’s also only a five-minute walk from the street food hub of Jalan Alor. Located in a historical colonial house with lots of character and charm, The Yard Boutique Hotel is another convenient yet cost-effective option and is ideal for travellers who like to combine the excitement of a buzzing city with absolute tranquillity.