Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hotel Design Bliss...

Last weekend we traveled to Las Vegas for a work-related trip.  It was an incentive trip for the top sales reps at PolyOne, the company for which my husband works.  As such, we joked that we were merely 'the overhead', but we were happy and thankful to be included nevertheless. We stayed at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental.  It was starkly opposite from either of my two previous Vegas experiences.  Granted, my prior trips were with a bunch of friends during the time everyone was getting married (think, a relatively tame 'bachelorette weekend'). On those trips we stayed at the Mandalay Bay, which was very nice with great restaurants and fun entertainment, but a typical 'Vegas' hotel.

First, the hotel entrance was situated in a quiet serene courtyard filled with tall willowy trees and huge black lamp-like heaters.  Even the outdoor HEATERS were of interesting design!  As you walked through the front doors, it was a sigh of relief NOT to see or hear any slot machines or blackjack tables.  Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed the occasional game of blackjack in which I play a few hands, laugh among the fellow winners/losers, and move on to the next adventure.  But, I am OK with this in very small doses.  Furthermore, in my humble opinion the entire city feels like an over-commercialized, manufactured culture of loud noise, 'loud' lights, luxurious-though-trite restaurants/clubs, and loud people, in general...of course, I am certain that I have never been one of these loud people ; )  Nevertheless, I must admit, plenty of fun times have been had, and I am certain they will continue.  I am just pointing out that given my choice, I would much rather spend a weekend adventuring through an authentic, history-rich, quaint city with more character, whether it be found in the cobble-stone streets, the significant landmarks, the iconic old-school locally-adored restaurants, the beautiful landscapes, the interesting natives, etc.

OK, OK, OK, back to our hotel...it was its design bliss I was attempting to discuss, right? Asian decor is certainly successful in providing a quiet, calm, sanctuary-like experience.  I have never fully understood (nor paid much attention to) the concept of Feng Shui, but I have heard of this term from time to time, in the context of interior design.  So after visiting this beautiful hotel, I became curious about its meaning.  I found some interesting descriptions on Wikipedia as follows....

"Feng shui (/ˌfʌŋ ˈʃweɪ/ ( listen) fung-shway,[1] formerly /ˈfʌŋ ˌʃuːi/ fung-shoo-ee;[2] Chinese: 風水, pronounced [fɤ́ŋ ʂwèi]) (or Fung shui) is a Chinese system of geomancy believed to use the laws of both Heaven (Chinese astronomy) and Earth to help one improve life by receiving positive qi.[3]

...Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. Feng shui was suppressed in China during the cultural revolution in the 1960s, but since then has increased in popularity...

...Today, feng shui is practiced not only by the Chinese, but also by Westerners. However, with the passage of time and feng shui's popularization in the West, much of the theory behind it has been lost in translation, not paid proper attention to, frowned upon, or scorned.

Robert T. Carroll sums up what feng shui has become in some cases:

"... feng shui has become an aspect of interior decorating in the Western world and alleged masters of feng shui now hire themselves out for hefty sums to tell people such as Donald Trump which way his doors and other things should hang. Feng shui has also become another New Age "energy" scam with arrays of metaphysical products ... offered for sale to help you improve your health, maximize your potential, and guarantee fulfillment of some fortune cookie philosophy."[46]

Regardless of whether or not it has been lost in translation, I am curious about this concept of Feng Shui (not in a trendy, pretentious, hokus-pokus way, as is alluded to in the above passage), but in a real, "what exactly does it mean, and how is it achieved" sort of way...but again, I digress!  What I DO know after experiencing the Asian-inspired design elements of clean lines, graphic/geometric patterns, a nature-inspired color pallete, etc., is that any ounce of stress or anxiety seemed to melt away amidst these peaceful surroundings! Or, perhaps it was simply a 78-hour (but who's counting) break from our rather 'busy' toddlers!

Without further ramblings, I wanted to share some pictures of this beautiful property below.

Pool deck

View from our room

Since my Mom has always loved floral design, I always appreciate such interesting arrangements. These pretty center-pieces adorned the tables at a pool side dinner one evening.

Casual pool side dinner...the food was amazing by the way!

I had to take this pic of the color scheme of the pool restrooms...I have been recently debating a new wall color for our master, and someone suggested a deep blue/green/grey called BM's Duxbury Gray since we have various brown tones throughout the room.  Although it is very pretty color-combo, we opted for a grass-green paint color so we could pretend to live in a lush landscape year round!

The grass-like color of these cushions sealed the deal for my leaning-toward-green indecision on our master paint color....who is afraid of color? Not me! 

I even managed to squeeze in a Pilates class...first experience with a Reformer...since a foot injury has sidelined high impact cardio/running for the past 10 months, (yes, 10 months, which is why I am a little crazy!) I am becoming a Pilates addict!

Beautiful award-winning spa

Little coffee/bakery shop in the hotel....loved the following quotation on the chalk board, "Behind every successful person is a substantial amount of coffee!"

This was the carpet in our room...absolutely LOVE this fretwork design!!

When you take the elevator up to the hotel lobby and the doors open, this is the first thing you see: a HUGE sculptural wall of gold metallic shapes made into a strong graphic pattern...amazing!

Close up pic of this high-impact wall

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