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Anywhere, Anytime

Global

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Were travel, art, architecture, fashion, food and adventure meet. Founder and global adventurer Geren Lockhart was "Born Packed" when she started traveling at a young age and never stopped. This site follows along on her journey. 

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ONE ELEVEN SEMINYAK, BALI

Geren Lockhart


One Eleven Resorts, Bali is an all-villa, all adult oasis just off a major artery in Seminyak the most populated part of the island. Describing One Eleven's location as central would be an understatement. A long narrow strip of land dotted with nine almost identical villa compounds that are hidden in plain sight. The property as a whole is a spacious and peaceful respite from the wonderfully chaotic streets just a few meters away.  The architecture is organic, spare and contemporary which put me immediately at ease. Individual service is central to the One Eleven experience. The ratio of staff to guests has to be at least one to one, and it shows. After the chaotic 90 min journey from Ubud, the thought of further motoring to my next appointment with Giuseppe Verdacchi at his chocolate factory Primo Bali seemed daunting. What happened next was my first experience with the service component of One Eleven. I asked for some general directions and help navigating around the extremely oppressive traffic jams in central Seminyak and the front desk staff immediately suggested that I just park my car and have the hotel car, and driver take me. YES! is all I had to say, and bam I was completely immersed in One Eleven. At that moment I realized the crew here were going to guide me as well as provide a shield from the chaos that is possible when in Seminyak. Normally I do a lot of research, have local contacts that allow me to immerse myself beyond the tourist norm and don't even think of asking the concierge for advice. Not this time. They're doing the challenging, and frustrating work that you don't want to do, it's blissful. 

Inside the walls of your villa compound, you're presented with a private pool, spa pagoda, open air living room and kitchen as well as an enclosed bedroom and expansive bathroom suite. Keep an eye on the time of year for maximum relaxation. If it's too hot or too humid you might find yourself squirreled away in the bedroom more than you want to be because that is where the full on enclosed air conditioning rules. I spent most of my awake time in the relaxing and perfectly sized pool. I didn't partake of any of the spa treatment but the idea of having a private spa pagoda in the villa is great. I did make use of space by making it into a serene spot for morning meditation and yoga. Dinner at the on-site but open to the public Shiro is a lovely moment of Tokyo level sushi and other dishes in a gorgeous room with a very good sake list and is a must do during your stay. I am already plotting my return. I did have a glitch come up with the electronic key to my villa; it was a situation that could have been frustrating but ended up being funny and entertaining. Below is a photo of the human spiderman that instantly scaled a palm tree and the wall of the villa to get to the other side so that he could open the door. There was no extended back and forth, no question about the possible steps, just an instant solution to a minimal problem. Leading to the assumption that there would be a plan for a permanent fix, and there was. Easy no stress results to challenges have become shining highlights for me when I travel especially to far-flung spots on the planet.

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The bathroom game at One Eleven is epic. The room is properly massive with a giant tub, separate shower, and toilet rooms, a wall of windows and best of all a stash of AMAZING products. There are two sets of products, his and hers which warrant the suitcase space needed for anything you don't gobble up while you're in residence. Robes are something I think sets hotel properties apart when they're done right. Here you have two great choices. I opted to have a short term love affair with the cotton Kimono version. Worth purchasing. I still have pangs of regret that I didn't beg to find out if that was even possible. I did however keep encouraging the very charming, very English general manager David to put those divine products into the market, they're all locally made and compete with the best of the beauty world. I would have stocked up on the sunscreen by the gallon if I could have. 

After an early morning swim in my private pool, I took a long early morning walk down to the beach which was necessary since I was coming back to a giant made for me breakfast in the villa. Each morning you'll be offered a variety of options for breakfast and with so many choices and so much food, the exercise gave me an excuse to indulge. The best part is that after you choose your pleasure the charming staff will kick into gear and whip up your wishes in the villa kitchen while you lounge and enjoy a coffee in the sun. My stay was short, and I only partook of this experience once opting for a local specialty, nasi goreng. This typical local favorite is a perfect rice bowl of sorts; the direct translation is fried rice but nasi goreng is so much more than that. Done right its a savory, spicy addicting mixture of rice, proteins, and vegetables incorporated with a creative mixture of spices that builds from garlic, chili, and ginger. One Eleven does nasi goreng perfectly. Your breakfast spread will include an expansive offering of fruits, jams, cereals, juices like the dragon fruit below, and more. Far to much food but worth the extravagance and you can swim it off straight from the table if you're feeling especially guilty. 

One Eleven Resorts


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THE WATERHOUSE SHANGHAI

Geren Lockhart

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The Waterhouse at South Bund is a diamond of a design hotel tucked quietly away in a 1930's ex-Japanese Army headquarters in the neighborhood of South Bund in Shanghai. It is a raw and organic take on the melding of the old with the new, designed and re-built by the local celebrity architect and design firm Neri & Hu design and research office. They created a space that feels unique in the middle of the "older" part of town which is being torn down and replaced by peach high-rises holding thousands of apartments. The Waterhouse is a welcome respite from Shanghai which can be really, really, really full on pretty much all of the time. Standouts for the property are the art collection, the Tracy Emin neon behind reception makes sure you know that art is crucial when you've just walked thru the door. The owner of the property is a collector, but of chairs, he's obsessed. There are all kinds of chairs throughout the property, the most bizarre is the vintage barber chair that sits outside my door set in an open space as a piece of sculpture. 

The rooms are spacious and well appointed if a bit Jetson's in their user experience. Frosted glass walls divide the bathroom from the main bedroom and portal windows slice and dice your views of the city and skyline which really did engage me in looking at the city differently. Beds are placed in the middle of the room, they function as storage, work table, and bed all in one. Comfortable...very comfortable. Robes, slippers, stationary, and amenities remind me of East London (where they also own the Town Hall Hotel) or Williamsburg and to be honest these memories were a welcome normalcy which I often yearn for when tromping through Asia. The best way to sum up the rooms is chic new loft. They're peaceful despite their lack of adornment. 

The food......ahhhhhhhh, THE FOOD. Jason Atherton of Maze fame in London steps out on his own for the first time with Table No. 1 at The Waterhouse at South Bund, and he wins. Big big winner. I have told many people since my stay that the food was stellar for anywhere in the world. Not just stellar because it was western cuisine in the Eastern part of the world. From the coffee at breakfast, to the snacks waiting in my room when I would plop down after a long day at the factory and most likely in a car for hours it heightens the experience at the hotel by many notches. The clientele at dinner is the Shanghai version of a cosmopolitan crowd you almost solely encounter in London making for a great mix of locals and visitors. The menu is smaller bites and plates of heightened but not fussy concepts. Wonderful ingredients, some of which are grown on the property, are combined together in familiar but not expected ways. I will confess that once I had the food, I didn't eat anywhere else for the rest of my stay. It wasn't my first trip to Shanghai and I had a compulsion that this may be the only time I get to partake of Jason's genius at Table No. 1. The staff is well trained and knows the experience that the chef is trying to create. The kitchen which you can look into from the courtyard is a well oiled machine, reminding me of the kitchens of Spain or the UK the chefs all looked to be on their way to greatness of their own. It was a family environment of ex-pats really focused on the reason they are there. 

The Waterhouse at South Bund is a hotel standout from a design and culinary perspective, they have some kinks to work out with the flow of the rest of the service but I don't speak Mandarin and you can't complain that you can't communicate if you don't speak the native language....

I would stay again, and anytime I am in Shanghai you can bet you'll see me at Table No. 1, probably more than once! I had a mid-day flight and the team packed me a take away meal from the restaurant so that I didn't have to have plane food. A very good tip if you're departing home from the hotel. It made the long trip home a bit better.

The Waterhouse at South Bund

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