High Fashion on Pulau Tengah – Photographs by Eric Frideen

Swedish fashion photographer Eric Frideen is hardly unfamiliar with exotic islands and beautiful beaches – travelling to beautiful locations to photograph beautiful subjects in beautiful clothes is part and parcel of his job. And so, we were lucky enough to have Eric point his lens at Pulau Tengah when he, his wife Niki and their large extended family spent a week-long family reunion on the island in 2009. Here is a selection of Eric’s beautiful photographs.

A little bit about Eric: Swedish born photographer Eric Frideen started out assisting several international photographers in his late teens before taking the step to set up on his own in Stockholm, Sweden. After establishing himself as one of his country’s leading talents he decided to move to London in 1997 and has since worked with many international clients. They include Banana Republic, Nautica, Burberry, Thomas Burberry and Gerard Darel and editorials for British Elle, British Marie Claire, Austalian Harpers Bazaar, German GQ, US Vogue and numerous other international magazines. He is currently based in London but travels the world extensively always keeping his cool, calm skandinavian style.

More about Eric Frideen here:  http://www.serlinassociates.com/#/ericfrideen/biography/http://www.eric-frideen.com/

Sam@Really Savvy joins us on a trip to Batu Batu

The internet is an amazing place that allows us access to all sorts of people that you would never otherwise meet. And thus I met Sam Tyers, fresh off a 15-hour flight, in an Australian bar on Robertson Quay one Friday evening to talk about Batu Batu and responsible tourism (we had emailed each other photos so that we’d be able to pick each other out amongst the Friday-night-post-work crowd). After a couple of drinks, I invited her to join us the next morning on a mish-mash trip part-family-holiday-part-Wild-Asia-reconnaissance-mission to Pulau Tengah. Three days of snorkelling, attempted reef-mapping, jungle-trekking and children’s entertainment ensued. Read about her experience and her thoughts on Batu Batu here.

Sam is the founder and owner of Really Savvy, a roaming responsible tourism consultancy. Describing herself as “location independent”, she has worked and lived in Thailand, Indonesia and China. Sam holds a masters in Advanced Environment and Energy Studies and is also a qualified dive instructor. “We were founded on the belief that travellers shouldn’t have to choose between sustainability, quality and fun when they go on holiday – they can have all three!” a sentiment that we share wholeheartedly. We hope too that our responsible / ethical aspirations can be realised. Thanks Sam!

Last Thursday on Pulau Tengah

I’ve been meaning to post some photos from last week’s site visit to the island with our architects, interior designers and engineers. We had blue skies and sunshine all day, the sea was mirror-flat, the waters crystal clear. We swapped in our wooden fisherman’s boat for a fibreglass fast one for the sake of time efficiency (15 minutes from Mersing jetty to Pulau Tengah!). The only downside was that I didn’t have a single moment to swim or snorkel all day – although we did get a chance to take a quick look at the coral through the water when we arrived as the tide was extremely high and the water extremely clear…

Nevertheless, the trip was very productive. We have now finalised the placement of our swimming pool, decided on the final layout for our villa bathrooms, worked out where to put our children’s playhouse, given our engineers the problem of designing an economically efficient yet ecological waste water solution (based on the lay of the land and the layout of the resort) and have – I think – finally settled on a design for our bar.

Our attempt to cultivate some indigenous island plants (as screeners) in our “nursery” is working well and I’m excited to have found that the builders have made some great home-made carts which can be used to move luggage and all sorts around the resort once we operate. They are now used for carting around construction materials but once that’s done, they can be spruced-up with some sandpaper and re-incarnated as luggage trolleys. PLUS they match the villas (as they appear to be made from off cuts from construction).

Here are some of the photos from the day.

We arrived at high tide (almost 3m) and were able to go all the way onto the beach on our boat...

...where we were greeted with some delicious home-grown coconuts

Transparent waters - perfect snorkelling weather...

Looking north-west from the restaurant. Prime views of the sun setting over mainland from this spot - imagine loungey sofas and a cold drink of choice in hand.

Follow this walkway and you get to the "long beach" or "pasir panjang" where you'll find our beach bar and island and reef centre.

YP (our architect) and Hashim (one of our contractors) discuss the best width for individual steps. I think they decided on 30cm.

Sham (ID) deliberates on where to position the bar without blocking the view.

The cart!

Nurturing the "green leafy plant". If anyone knows its proper name, let us know.

A home-made rainwater harvesting system at one of the builder's huts.

This sandy path heads through the coconut grove to the southern villas.

Views of Pulau Besar from the bar with mainland in the distance

Leaving the island at the end of the day

Design inspiration: a short-short-list

In preparation for tomorrow’s day trip to Pulau Tengah with our consultants, I was compiling a short-list of my favourite design inspiration photos for Batu Batu and thought I would share a shortened-short-list with you. I use these pics when speaking to fabric and furniture suppliers, curtain-makers and any other potential partners to give them an idea of what we are trying to create on our island.

It’s interesting to see that from my catalogue of hundreds of images, I ended-up only picking ones from the Six Senses Resorts and the Alilas. If that’s the way Batu Batu turns out, I won’t be disappointed! Here you go – enjoy.

Six Senses Resort - Design Inspiration

Six Senses

Six Senses

Six Senses

Block colour cushions

Batik cushions at Alila Villas Uluwatu

Restaurant at the Alila Soori

From beach bars to turtles – what’s it all about?

So, where do you start when you have a big blank page – or a big blank blog? And you’re new to blogging and dizzied by all the new words you’ve learnt over the last couple of days… Perhaps it’s best to provide some thoughts on why we’ve set this up in the first place.

There are two main reasons: Firstly – it is an excellent way for us to document our experiences from development through to the opening and running of the resort. A diary in words and pictures of our route – which we can look back on further down the line. There is so much to talk about and so many facets to this development. My musings from here on for the next year are likely to cover a wide range of topics from furniture and fabrics through to dive centre design, favourite beach bars to responsible management of waste water, vietnamese boat people to bamboo blinds, fair trade suppliers to staff uniforms, updates on construction to conversations with local fishermen, children’s activities to turtle and reef conservation.

The second reason for writing this blog is more experimental. I want to know whether our little hotel development can be influenced or directed by people out there via this blog. Can potential guests help us make decisions so that future experiences at our hotel are tailored to their preferences and needs? When we design our restaurant menus and meal payment structures, can the market provide us with their opinions so that we create something that we know people want and like? Can we stock our library with the right books by creating lists of top 10 books to read on a desert island and asking you to comment? Can we fill our iPods with music you want to hear when drinking a cold beer with sand between your toes? Can people more knowledgeable than ourselves recommend solar water heaters or provide suggestions on best boat designs for our use?

Until the next post, here are some pictures to keep you going.

Southern villas from the sea

The Long Beach - Pulau Tengah

Pulau Tengah from the air