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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Nostalgia of Travel: Explore Asia's Finest Colonial Residences with Secret Retreats

Talabgaon Castle
For centuries Asia has always been a place of wonderment and intrigue. All throughout history, explorers like Alexander the Great, Marco Polo, Vasco de Gama and Christopher Columbus were fixated on reaching the shores of the Orient. Captivated with the opulent silks, delicate teas and exotic spices of the Far East, by the early 15th century, also known as the Age of Discovery, Europe had developed a full-fledge trading route with Asia, exchanging precious commodities, craftsmanship, and a sense of aesthetics.

"Almost every country in Asia has been under European influence and many of our member's properties are witnesses of the colonial past, which is reflected in the aesthetics of their interiors, the architecture and the memorabilia". - Stephane Junca, Managing Director of Secret Retreats

Secret Retreats offer some of the finest residences, hotels and boats throughout Asia that reflect a charm of yesteryear. Weaving a thread between these hidden gems is the literary figure Kim, a tribute to Rudyard Kipling, whose quests and escapades takes us on an exploratory journey around the Orient. Return to the nostalgia of travel and discover some of Secret Retreats' finest colonial residences peppered throughout Asia.

Satri House, Laos
Located in the heart of Luang Prabang, Satri House was the original residence that belonged to Prince Soupha-nouvong, who in 1975 became the first president of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Echoing a rich history, Satri's polished terracotta floors and porches overlooking the exotic garden and swimming pool, take you on a journey back in time.

Talabgaon Castle, India
A hundred-fifty year old fort situated in the heart of Rajasthan, Talabgaon Castle was built by the owner's ancestor, Mr. Thakur Vijay Singh ji Rathore. Recently restored into a heritage resort, Talabgaon Castle is the only property with its own Polo field and stables. Enjoy a horse trek through the peaceful countryside as you imagine its colonial past.

Qing Wang Fu's, China

Qing Wang Fu is an exquisite property located at the original Cambridge Street of the former British Concession of Tianjin. The hotel was designed by Zhang Lande, Chief Eunuch of the royal family of late Qing Dynasty, and was regarded as a top-class residence for the Chinese living in the old British Concession. The entire building features a perfect combination of Chinese and Western aesthetics with granite plaster walls, azure stone rails and traditional Chinese flower-and-bird patterns that are carved with Belgian craftsmanship onto the window panes.

The Samar Villas & Spa, Cambodia
Located in Siem Reap near the magnificent Angkor Wat temples, The Samar is a blend of traditional Khmer architecture and contemporary design, this nine bedroom property offers a sense of refinement and warmth typically found in a beautiful family home.

Tugu Malang, Indonesia

Located on the island of Java, Tugu Malang offers a rich Dutch colonial past from everything that a lover of history and culture may wish for: delicate silks, hand painted batiks, sumptuous Ikat textiles, antique statuettes, enigmatic masks and leather puppets.

Cabochon, Thailand

Centrally located in Sukhumvit, Bangkok, Cabochon's architecture is reminiscent of 1920s Shanghai and is a homage to the owner's father. Antiques fill the Club Lounge from honey-brown leather trunks to an elegant Asian-designed red sofa.

Chakrabongse Villas, Thailand

An oasis in the middle of Old Bangkok, Chakrabongse Villas was built in the early 1900s and belongs to descendants of the Thai Royal family. The seven spacious rooms are mostly in the traditional Thai style, decorated with woodwork and silks.

The Jahan, Vietnam
With its beautiful wrought iron balustrades and tapered bow, the Jahan criss-crosses the Mekong River, linking Vietnam to Cambodia. The vessel features twenty-six light cabins with balconies decorated in the colonial spirit, featuring dark wooden floors and colourful fabrics that create a convivial atmosphere.

For further information on Secret Retreats, please visit our website:

SECRET RETREATS is a collection of some of the finest boutique residences, hotels and boats throughout Asia—a brand that provides experiential experiences for the discerning traveller. Conscious of the uniformity of luxury hotel chains around the world that deprive today's travellers of authenticity and individuality, SECRET RETREATS sets a new reference point in the hospitality industry by advocating exclusive boutique hideaways and promoting experiential travel experiences.

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places