Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Amantaka Launches New Buddhist Learning Centre

At the foot of sacred Mount Phousi, sits the UNESCO protected Luang Prabang, Laos, home to Amantaka. Resting on a large garden estate, the resort is a sanctuary of calm with an array of private pools, yoga studio, spectacular central pool and state-of-the-art Aman Spa. 

Embodying the living spirituality of Luang Prabang, Amantaka has launched a Buddhist Learning Centre, designed to educate and immerse guests on the practice and principals of Buddhism, bringing the resort closer to the local community and customs.

With strong ties to the spiritual community since its conception ten years ago, Amantaka, true to its name which means ‘teaching of the Buddha’, is supporting local monasteries by creating this Buddhist Learning Centre within the resort. As part of the experience abbot Sengdao Santikaro offers daily private teaching for guests for up to an hour and a half, asking pertinent questions, to guage the guest’s knowledge of Buddhism, before talking through the five principals of good living. Each session will also explore how meditation enables individuals to recharge, switch off and be present. The activity takes place at the resort’s yoga studio, which is converted into a space of openness, learning and connectivity, where guests come away enlightened and bonded. In addition to this practice, Senior Monk Sombath Watsiphoutthabat offers personalised tours of Wat Siphoutthabath temple, giving a glimpse into his world for a truly authentic encounter.

On arrival at Amantaka, guests are presented with a welcome gift; an offering to take to the temple. Handcrafted by the resort team, from locally sourced banana leaves stacked and weaved around forty-two dried flowers, guests are invited to visit the temple to make their offering. Escorted by a member of Amantaka’s staff, many of whom were previously monks, the experience allows the opportunity to hear stories and learn about the life of a monk, and for guests to begin their spiritual journey.

Buddhist practice is experienced through a variety of moments at the resort. Every evening, for 45 minutes, an Abbot makes his way through the property chanting, demonstrating Luang Prabang’s deep spirituality and commitment to faith. As dawn breaks, 70 monks walk their daily route past the entrance of Amantaka, offering an opportunity for guests to donate Alms. It is these moments that unite guests with local culture, immersing them in everyday life of the city and creating meaningful experiences to treasure.

Luang Prabang is home to numerous spiritual festivals, and Amantaka joins the celebrations, further fusing the property to local life. The Light Festival, an occasion to show respect to the spirit of the river, takes place annualy between 12th and 14th October. Temples are decorated with colourful candles, garlands and paper stars, but the highlight is the paper boat parade that makes its way around the town, towards the Mekong River. Amantaka’s General Manager Tom Rutherford personally escorts guests to watch the parade pass the front entrance of the resort, followed by an excursion on the resorts two boats. 

Throughout March, the Boun Mahasat festival tells the tale of the virtue of perfect clarity and is celebrated in temples across Laos. Guests can take part in the time-honoured festival by donating drinking water, a bag of rice and a soft drink to the monks and by watching their chanting, teaching and meditation each evening, paying homage to an important part of Laos folklore.

For those wanting to further their spiritual education at Amantaka, Buddhist Spiritual Master Geshe YongDong will lead Journey to Peace, a six-night retreat at the resort. Taking place from 22nd – 28th November 2019, Geshe will share the ancient lessons of the Bon Tibetan Tradition, enabling participants to find the serenity of mind and spirit they seek.

With lively festivals throughout the year, temples and monasteries within walking distance, Amantaka is a place of quiet contemplation infused by the spiritual tranquillity of Luang Prabang, further enhanced with the new Buddhist Learning Centre.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Stories of the Sea – The Second Chapter at The Manor

An enhanced ocean-inspired culinary journey

The Dining Room at The Manor 

The latest evolution of The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central’s ocean-inspired dining experiences has arrived at The Manor with Stories of the Sea – The Second Chapter offering diners an exquisite six-course set dinner menu featuring a selection of new dishes and a range of enhancements to the awe-inspiring menu.

Bluefin tuna rib by Balfego Sapin with blackberry, Sichuan pepper, kale

Chocolate from Valrhona, 5 curated textures finished with Japanese whiskey

‘Glacier 51’ Toothfish with parmesan risoni, chamomile tea 

Building on the success of the first iteration of the Stories of the Sea menu, the team of culinary artisans at The Manor, led by Chef David King, our Director of Culinary, have refined the menu even further to showcase a new range of the finest ingredients from the sea, including, Sicilian red prawns and Bluefin tuna from Spain.

The signature dish of the Stories of the Sea – The Second Chapter menu is the Balfegó Bluefin Tuna from Spain with its distinctive full flavor and firm texture. Served lightly marinated with balsamic vinegar, and served with kale, the tuna is then finished off with Sichuan pepper oil to draw out its inherent richness.

Hokkaido sea urchin, ocean trout roe with cauliflower

Sicilian red prawns with apple and sunflower honey, plankton and avocado oil, chervil

Spanish Octopus in Char Siu-style 

Among the other dishes that form part of the six-course dining experience is the Hokkaido Sea Urchin with Ocean Trout Roe, the Sicilian Red Prawn with green apple purée, sunflower honey and avocado oil, Spanish Octopus served Char Siu-style. The much adored ‘Glacier 51’ Toothfish is now offered with a delicate parmesan risoni and chamomile foam.

The journey is capped off with an element of theatre for dessert with a multi-layered Valrhona Chocolate sphere that is ignited with Japanese whiskey at the table. The Stories of the Sea menu is available with an enhanced paired wine and cocktail package featuring premium wines from America, Portugal and Italy, and have been selected specifically to highlight the freshness of the sea ingredients and enhance the flavour experience.

The Stories of the Sea – The Second Chapter set dinner menu is available daily from 6:00PM – 11:00PM and priced at MOP788+ per person, or MOP1,188+ per person with the paired wine package.

The St. Regis Macao, Cotai Central

For more information, please visit 
For reservation, please call +853 2882 8898 or send email to The Manor

Monday, September 09, 2019

Looking for Bali’s best bread? You’ll find it at Farine Sourdough Bakery

With a bounty of artisanal sourdoughs and decadent pastries, it’s no wonder this Berawa bakery has become an island favourite.

Bali may not have traditionally have been known for its bread, but that looks set to change with the burgeoning presence of Berawa favourite Farine. The bakery was launched by Mexicola Group Executive Chef Steve Skelly as a side-project of sorts, inspired by a demand for quality, artisanal sourdough that he couldn’t quite find on the island. 

“I was opening a fine dining seafood restaurant and was spending all my time sourcing the very best product I could find,” he says of the time. “I was designing plates, kitchens and menus. The last task on my list after sea salt was sourdough. I have tried bakeries all over the country but not one had bread that I was confident in.”

“I decided to start my own culture, or starter. This is what gives the bread its character, its point of difference. The idea behind Farine was simply to fill the gap of Artisanal sourdough baking in Bali.” The result is a booming bakery which specialises in San Francisco-style sourdough baked fresh seven days a week. 

Farine Bakery’s secret weapon is its natural dough process of yeast free sourdough loaves, these are long-fermented for up to 20 hours before baked, revealing a caramelised dark crust and flavorsome sour taste. But it’s not just bread that you’ll find at Farine, though loaves of multi-grain, hearty rye, and crusty sourdough still abound, but the range has expanded into bagels, French-style pastries and decadently stuffed doughnuts filled with tropical fruit jam. 

While Berawa is host to the only stand-alone location of Farine at present, the bakery’s goods can be found at a selection of all of the best cafes, restaurants and hotels around the island. 

You’ll find a sample of the current Farine menu below:

Classic Spelt Sourdough (1kg), Miche/dark rye Sourdough (1kg), Small classic spelt sourdough (750gr), Small miche/dark rye sourdough (750gr), Flax/Sunflower seed sourdough, Mixed seed Sourdough (1kg),  Small mixed seed Sourdough, Sesame Sourdough, Turkish Sourdough,  Baguette Sourdough, Bagel Sourdough, Doughnuts,  Croissant, Pain au chocolate (Chocolate tin), Hotdog buns/burger buns, Brioche, Banana cake, Brownie (piece), Sausage rolls.

Farine Sourdough Bakery
Jl. Pantai Berawa No.23

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Amankila Unveils New Infinity Pool Suites and on Property Experiences

Amankila’s unwavering mission to provide a carefully curated programme of energising and mind-broadening experiences continues with the introduction of new activities in and around the hotel alongside a series of property refurbishments. 

Launching three new infinity pool suites, a private cinema and new dining experiences, Amankila seeks to immerse guests in the cultural heritage of the island, exploring the authentic and lesser known east coast of Bali.

Infinity pool suites

August 2019 sees the arrival of new swimming pools in three existing suites. Surrounded by jungle yet with an unobscured ocean view, the Infinity Pool Suites have their own private entrance offering ultimate seclusion. An ideal choice for honeymooners, one of the new suites has an outdoor bale next to the swimming pool with two treatment beds for couples’ massages which can be transformed into a dining area to enjoy an intimate al fresco dining experience.

In addition, all the suites at Amankila have been upgraded with state-of-the-art technology including Bluetooth Bang & Olufsen speakers and, later this year, iPads which will include the guest directory, room service and spa menus so guests can plan their time at the resort seamlessly.  The property has also updated each mini-bar to include homemade cordials and ginger beer, as well as new Nespresso machines that use recyclable stainless-steel capsules. Throughout the hotel, Amankila has introduced sustainably sourced coffee from Java Mountain Coffee, a social enterprise with cooperatives based in Bali and Java, which seek to empower female farmers.

Private cinema

Launching in November 2019, Amankila will offer a private cinema experience in what was once part of the property’s library. Sporting a 55-inch screen and surround sound, the cinema will be available to book for individual screenings, sporting events and family movies and will offer a curated programme of lectures and films on the history and culture of the island.

Cooking classes

Led by Amankila’s team of talented chefs, guests can learn to make some of Amankila’s signature dishes with new cooking classes. Whether it’s Indonesian favourites nasi goreng or satay, the experience starts with a trip to the local market with the chef to select the ingredients. Back at Amankila fresh herbs are collected from its vegetable garden, while a communal table is prepared with all necessities including bumbu – a local spice paste. Available for children too, the classes are collaborative, with chefs teaching new skills and the history behind each recipe, before everyone tucks into the finished product for lunch.

New dining experiences

Amankila enjoys a unique setting on the east coast of Bali and as a result the sunrise from the property is unmissable. To create lasting memories, Amankila puts on sunrise breakfasts on top of Tamasari Hill, where a new bale, in traditional style, has been constructed. With a 360 view of Mount Agung, rice paddies, the villages of Manggis, Lombok island, the ocean, particularly visible in the early morning, guests can experience a picture-perfect vista of Bali in all its splendour. Down by the Beach Club, the hotel offers an evening dining experience on a newly erected deck, which sits over beach and is accessible by a set of steps on the cliff edge. Perfect for an intimate dinner for up to six or a cocktail party for 16, the area is furnished with comfortable lounge chairs, candles and large floor cushions creating an informal and relaxed atmosphere.


The ideal destination for an active break, Amankila has a whole host of outdoor activities available. From new Schiller bikes at the beach to aqua yoga in the pool, complete with floating mats, and outdoor Lebert Fitness equipment, the resort has plenty to satisfy those wanting to keep fit during their stay. With an in-house Pencak Silat master, guests can learn the traditional Indonesian martial art on demand, showcasing the property’s connection to the culture of the island. Away from the hotel, Amankila now offers ATV drives in the countryside and ancient villages of Manggis as well as rafting on the nearby Telega Waja River. Guests can enjoy stunning unspoilt access to waterfalls as the river moves through a prehistoric gorge, while watching villagers go about their day.


The Balinese are renowned for their respect for all living beings and creatures. History is celebrated, and reverence for Bali’s ancestors informs every aspect of daily life. From 19-21 September 2019, Amankila’s guests can delve into the lore and mystery of Bali to learn the secrets of this peaceful way of life, in which every aspect of life is celebrated. The three-night Wellness Within retreat will include trekking on the slopes of Mount Agung to discover the medicinal plants of Eastern Bali, learning the arts of story-telling and meditation from local healers and elders, practicing Balinese yoga, consulting with local spiritual healers, enjoying a sunset journey to reconnect with nature, and surrendering to traditional spa treatments using local ingredients. Life affirming and rejuvenating, this immersion in Balinese culture will share the lessons passed down through the generations on the Island of the Gods.

Lunch Festive @ Swiss-Belresort Dago Heritage

When your budget is tight but you still want to indulge, the solution is to hunt a value-for-money deals. Thankfully, there is a good lunch deal at Swiss-Belresort Dago Heritage, located in the Upper Dago at Lapangan Golf Dago Atas No. 78 Bandung.

Bancakan Nesi Timbel

Their Swiss-Kitchen Restaurant comes to enhance your lunch experience with the newly promo of “Lunch Festive” set menu on tray at only Rp 85,000 net/set, valid until 20 December 2019.

Japanese Chicken Teriyaki

Wrap up this hearty lunch set with choices of Indonesian or Japanese menu. The selected menu could be choose :

Set 1 - Japanese mixed Tempura Udon for miso soup, mixed tempura, udon, sliced fruit, crème brulee, and iced lemon tea

Set 2 - Japanese Chicken Teriyaki for miso soup, chicken teriyaki, coleslaw, japanese rice, chawn mushi, sliced fruit, yoghurt panna cotta, and iced lemon tea

Set 3 – Bancakan Nasi Timbel for sayur asem, nasi timbel, empal gepuk, karedok leunca, lalapan, peyek, sliced fruit, chocolate pudding, iced lemon tea.

Japanese mixed Tempura Udon

Gather your lunch buddies to enjoy this lavish selection lunch set at Swiss-Kitchen Restaurant, Swiss-Belresort Dago Heritage!

For further information, contact +6222 2045 9999, email to or follow social media for FB

Fanpage : Swiss-Belresort Dago Heritage also Instagram : @swissbelresortdago.


Boiler Plate / Company Description
Swiss-Belhotel International currently manages a portfolio of more than 145 hotels, resorts and projects located in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Bahrain, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Tanzania.

Awarded Indonesia's Leading Global Hotel Chain for eight years, Swiss-Belhotel International is one of the world's fastest-growing international hotel and hospitality management groups. The Group provides comprehensive and highly professional development and management services in all aspects of hotel, resort and serviced residences. Offices are located in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, China, Europe, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

The Third Good Food Summit Together with The Good Food Fund

SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute successfully held the Third Good Food Summit with The Good Food Fund of China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation from 15th to 17thAugust 2019. Advocating “Zero Waste”, the Third Good Food Summit with the theme of “Into the 2020s” aimed to brainstorm on the necessary and inspiring solutions and actions for the food industry in the coming decade.

Mr. Eddy Jailani Ram, Managing Director of Hospitality at OCTAVE Institute welcomed all the participants of Good Food Summit including exceptional scholars and entrepreneurs from around the world and gave a keynote speech about the concept of “Low-carbon Sustainable Living in Harmony with Nature” at SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute. A customized mindful culinary program curated by Mr. Paul Then, Executive Chef of SANGHA Retreat, along with resident nutritionist Ms. Gabrielle Luo using premium ingredients sourced from organic farms was also offered to guests to experience at the Summit.

The Zero Waste policy advocated by the Good Food Summit coincides with SANGHA Retreat’s pursuit of sustainable development and deep gratitude and respect for the resources taken from nature. From architectural and interior design to daily operations, SANGHA Retreat actively promotes sustainability through various creative and pragmatic practices. SANGHA Retreat’s long-term commitment to sustainable practices in daily operations include: instead of plastic bottled water, guests will be provided with purified water in reusable glass bottles; the leftover bath amenities in the guest rooms are reused in the laundry room; vegetable stems and roots are used to create juices or soups; used coffee grounds are used as organic fertiliser at the on-site Community Farm.

Key issues and topics discussed during the two-day summit include: how to achieve a plant-based diet; how to improve animal welfare; how to reduce food waste and plastic pollution; what we can do with food to achieve better public health and improve the environment as well as new trends in sustainable development in the global food industry.

About SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute

Located west of Shanghai on the outskirts of Suzhou, China, SANGHA Retreat combines Eastern philosophies backed by Western science to help people awaken to a life of greater purpose and personal wellbeing. With a focus on raising consciousness, it has been created for the needs of our time by visionary Fred Tsao, fourth-generation steward of a family business that started in The Shanghai Bund before 1906.

The 47-acre retreat, designed by Tsao & McKown, includes AT ONE guest suites; AT ONE Clinic, offering comprehensive wellness assessments and wellbeing programs; AT ONE Healing Spa with extensive spa treatment menu and hydrotherapy circuit; THOUGHT FOR FOOD restaurant; the Meditation Dome; and a seasonal schedule of fitness activities and mindfulness classes designed around the body’s circadian rhythm.