Join me on a tour where the Singapore Sling and Pimms are drunk slowly in the lofty spaces of colonial hotels. Predominantly across Asia, Africa, India and the Caribbean, the traditional architecture of the European settlers adapted proportions and features to suit the tropical climate. Wide verandahs, high ceilings, shutters and ceiling fans.  I am currently researching this style for a proposed five star hotel project in Asia, so here are some recent interpretations on the theme.


The elegant proportions, restrained regular geometry and mathematical division of windows, atrium roof, column rhythm, as well as the deep balconies are what creates an unmistakably classic colonial reverence to this new hotel, The Siam.


siam bathrooms


The Spa entry of course


All the above images are The Siam, Bangkok. A boutique hotel with a modern take on 1920’s British Colonial meets Thai with the restraint of Chanel, right on the river. A Sukosal Family run hotel designed by Bill Bensley Studios in black and white theatrical style. I love a 5 star hotel that has a decent gym and even a boxing ring! not so relaxing, but POW!


A recently refurbished classic, Raffles Grand D’Angkor at Siem Reap, Cambodia, built in 1932 in the late deco-colonial style for the adventurous Indochines.




The Nam Hai in Hoi An, Vietnam with its 100 or so zen villas on China beach. French architect Reda Amalou created a contemporary, typically clean aesthetic, with interior designer Jaya Ibrahim. The restaurants of The Nam Hai are seriously exquisitely rich dark and sexy. Love those chairs – very colonial.


The French colonial grandeur of the Sofitel Metropole Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam doesn’t upstage the Opera House across the road. Behind its classical white façade of green shutters and wrought iron details reside over a century of Indochine stories dating from 1901.






The natural beauty if Vietnam’s sea, rainforest and mountains meets ostentatious colonial grandeur with Bill Benley’s graphic, high contrast design at the InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. Very strong pops of colour in the public areas.

And of course…….Raffles Singapore!

Images from Mr & Mrs Smith and hotel websites

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