A Colonial Luxury Retreat at AMANGALLA, Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

A Colonial Luxury Retreat at AMANGALLA, Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

by Leslie Hammond April 30, 2016

Recognized by Unesco as a world heritage site, Galle Fort is a fortified coastal town of colonial architectural splendor. Tucked away on a quiet corner of Church Street sits the most legendary hotel in town, the Amangalla. Formerly, the New Oriental Hotel, this 150-year heritage hotel reopened as Amangalla in 2004 with restorations by Sri Lankan architect Kerry Hill. With a refined simplicity, the architecture has been elegantly preserved with interior design elements that honor the past with every modern comfort imaginable. The details are exceptional from the custom block printed bedcovers in vibrant colors of poppy pink or marine blue paired with dark jack wood 4-poster beds, 19th century antiques, magnificent lush gardens hugging every walkway, a simple trio of pineapples resting in a turn of the century bowl, to the colonnaded veranda with original decorative tile flooring in indigos and burgundy checks. Details are enhanced with butler service to attend to your every request. It’s all quite romantic and dreamy, a place to relax over cocktails and long conversations on the Veranda watching life go by, maybe until sunset, a place to quietly read a book and unwind without interruption. As quoted in Joe Simpson’s collection of stories about this landmark, beloved proprietor Nesta Brohier is quoted, “I sit in my gardens and everything is soon all right again.” This is the essence of Amangalla, a place to detach from the outside world, where the main noise of life comes from the chirping birds and geckos or a passing Tuk Tuk, where the responsibilities and distractions of the outside world seem much less urgent. Make sure to schedule enough time here to enjoy all that South Sri Lankan offers while quietly retreating at Amangalla. Read the interview below with Amangalla’s Hotel Manager, Audrey Schallhauser for a detailed look at how to make the most out your stay at Amangalla.

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The Space In-Between – Interview with Auguste Garufi, Contemporary Multi Media Artist in New York

The Space In-Between – Interview with Auguste Garufi, Contemporary Multi Media Artist in New York

by Leslie Hammond March 27, 2016

I met Auguste Garufi 10 years ago at his studio in New York. If you visit his studio, you will certainly be impressed with his extensive body of work on display. His living legacy, currently an estimated 10,000 works of art, is diverse yet interconnected with one concept building upon another. Garufi creates art as a vehicle to explore the existence of relationships within the world. Motivated by the creative journey, rather than simply creating products, the space in-between the initial idea and the final piece is most valuable to him, providing understanding and knowledge. While his works are aesthetically beautiful and interesting on the surface, the artwork offers deeper revelations for the observer. Since our initial meeting, it has been fascinating to see how his work has evolved and the new media introduced each year. Suffering a substantial loss of equipment and work during Hurricane Sandy, this destruction provided Auguste Garufi with opportunities for reflection and discovery resulting in a revival of existing works and new concepts. With a new simplicity and focus to his work, he is creating his most complex and best work to date. Read the interview with New York contemporary multi media artist Auguste Garufi for an overview of his current work and focus for 2016.

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Discover Tequila – A Shot of Mexico

Discover Tequila – A Shot of Mexico

by Leslie Hammond December 05, 2015

If your only reference to Tequila is a mind-bending hangover, it is time for a refresh. 

Tequila Espiritu De Mexico, the tourism arm of the legendary Jose Cuervo Tequila brand is forging the redevelopment of Tequila, Mexico. Led by Jose Cuervo’s visionary, Juan Beckmann has personally funded the project with USD $250 million with the goal of bringing 1 million tourists to Tequila annually by 2020. Year 2040 marks Beckmann’s 100 year birthday, and this refreshed, redeveloped Tequila will be Mr. Beckmann’s gift to a community that has contributed so much to his family’s success for generations. Phase 1 has been completed including a luxury hotel, state of the art conference facilities, distillery tours, fine tequila tastings, and the Jose Cuervo Express Train making it easier and more entertaining for tourists to travel to Tequila. Once only accessible by car or bus, tourists can now relax in luxury on the train, while taking in the breathtaking views of the blue agave field landscape and sipping on fine Tequila. Phase 2, scheduled for completion in September 2016, will include enhancements such as additional guest rooms and a 4000sm shopping mall. The mall will feature a regionally focused Arts and Crafts Center and Museum where visitors will be able to watch regional crafts in the making. Authenticity will be the key asset to their development and discovering the charm of Tequila and Mexico’s heritage.

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