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T Magazine: A Ride Across America | In Idaho, Two Sisters Get a ‘Truck Farm’ Off the Ground

Written By wartini cantika on Minggu, 27 Juli 2014 | 17.35

Over the course of eight weeks, Ben Towill, the co-owner of the Fat Radish, and the photographer Patrick Dougherty are biking 4,500 miles across the U.S. to talk to strangers about food. Each week, they'll file a dispatch for T about their discoveries.

Photo
The author helps the farmers he's met in Lewiston, Idaho, to herd chickens into their coop as a storm approaches.Credit Patrick Dougherty

As I reach the final 400 miles of this incredible adventure, following the Snake River west to Portland and then to our last farm in Salem, Ore., I have begun thinking about the experiences that will stick with me the most from this ride. This past week, we rode through the Tetons and into Yellowstone National Park, past wading fly fishermen in Montana and onto Idaho's Lewis and Clark trail (Highway 12) along the Lochsa River. Absolutely breathtaking.

SERIES
A Ride Across America

Read more of Ben Towill's weekly dispatches about food and how we eat it, filed as he bikes across the country. More…

But it's the people we've met who will stay with me and give context to the landscape. Camping on the shores of Montana's Bitterroot River would not be nearly as memorable had we not met John Faust, a retired fishing guide and local legend. Upon hearing that we had not tasted any of the river's trout, he jumped in his car and returned 20 minutes later with his wife Elna, a plate of smoked trout, some local knowledge of a secluded hot spring (which we promised not to share with anyone) and a story about his personal claim to fame: building a mechanical fish for "A River Runs Though It."

This week, we descended out of the mountains into Lewiston, Idaho, and found ourselves at River City Farm with Keegan Athey, 25, and her sister Dory, 23. The daughter of river guides from Colorado, Keegan worked as a guide herself after turning 18, until her interest in food pushed her to Colorado State to study soil and crop science and organic agriculture. In the spring she kicked off her first full farming season and is quickly becoming a leading champion of local food in the town of Lewiston. She is inexperienced and open about her mistakes (like the time she left the lettuce in too long and 50 days of growing turned into chicken feed and compost). But her attitude is infectious and she brushes off setbacks easily, viewing everything as a learning experience. She gave us a tour of her little "truck farm" (small-scale farm devoted to growing vegetables for the local community) and spoke optimistically about her CSA members and the improvements she hoped to make. As a storm blew in, we helped her herd her chickens back into their coop. Not easy work, this urban farming business.

Photo
Clockwise from top left: River City Farm in Lewiston, Idaho; sisters Keegan and Dory get to work; lunchtime at the farm; the retired fishing guide John Faust and his wife Elna of Darby, Mont.Credit Patrick Dougherty

Dory, who is about to begin a Master's in publishing at the University of Oregon, has spent the summer helping out on the farm. She stays out back in "the pool house," which is actually a tent next to a baby pool for the dog. She prepared a beautiful lunch of broccoli leaf wraps filled with miso carrots, homemade pita bread and a tomato, cucumber and pepper salad grown fresh on the farm. We finished with an apricot and blackberry crisp that was placed simply in the center of the table for everyone to dig into (see the chef's recipe below).

As the conversation turned to the future, the girls talked about their "pipe dream": combining their passions and skills to publish a magazine or even open a restaurant. For now, it is all about getting through the first year and connecting as much as possible with the community of Lewiston. But considering their enthusiasm, intelligence and ability to inspire, the pipe dream could become a reality.


Photo
All join in sharing an apricot and blackberry crisp from a single plate at River City Farm.Credit Patrick Dougherty

Apricot Blackberry Crisp

Yield: 1

Filling:
1 pound fruit, washed and roughly chopped if necessary (*Chef's note: we used roughly chopped apricots and whole blackberries, but you could use anything that strikes your fancy)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt

Topping:
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 wheat flour
1/3 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Lay the fruit in the bottom of a pie dish. We started with a layer of apricots and then sprinkled the berries over the top to fill in the nooks and crannies.

3. Sprinkle the ginger, cinnamon, sugar and salt over the top. Shake the pie dish to mix it up a little.

4. Mix the ingredients for the topping together with your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs, and then crumble it on top of the fruit.

5. Stick it in the oven for 20 or 30 minutes. We like ours pretty crispy on top, maybe even a little black on the very top. Serve whenever, hot or cold, with a handful of spoons. No plates allowed.


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In Transit Blog: Now Serving Comfortable and Casual

Photo Dish at Fera at Claridge's in London, where diners in jeans are now welcome.Credit Claridge's

Luxury hotels usually have formal restaurants to match their elegant ambience, but some high-end properties are creating more relaxed and casual dining options for their guests.

The Berkeley hotel in London, for example, recently relaunched the two-Michelin-star "Marcus" by chef Marcus Wareing with white and cream interiors that are meant to be less stodgy than the earlier dark-hued walls, furniture and floor. And instead of most diners following a coat-and-tie dress code, the new style is called "smart casual." Also in London, the Fera at Claridge's opened in early May in a space formerly occupied by Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's. Gone are the tablecloths, jackets and fussy service. Diners in jeans are now welcome and even encouraged to come into the kitchen to interact with the chefs.

In New York, the famous King Cole Bar and Salon at the St. Regis New York underwent a renovation in which tablecloths were banished, the mahogany bar was replaced with one in black onyx, and the consulting chef John DeLucie devised a menu with less-refined bites like meatballs based on his grandmother's recipe.

Glenmere Mansion, a Relais & Châteaux Property in Chester, N.Y., now has Frogs End Tavern, a cozy pub-like spot with items such as gumbo and burgers, and the Hotel Hassler in Rome has opened the Palm Court Restaurant & Bar (an alternative to its Michelin-starred Imàgo) where diners wearing shorts can stop in throughout the day for a full meal or just a coffee or ice cream. And Viks in José Ignacio, Uruguay, just opened the beachfront dining spot La Susana between its two beach properties; customers can choose to dine communally on rustic wooden tables in the sand.

The shift away from fanciness is a direct result of traveler demand, said Albert Herrera, the senior vice president of global product partnerships for the luxury travel network Virtuoso. "The ritual of formality has adapted to the changing palates of younger and more worldly travelers who want the choice of eating in a casual setting," he said.

A version of this article appears in print on 07/27/2014, on page TR3 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Now Serving Comfortable and Casual.


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In Transit Blog: In Wake of Disasters, an Air Travel F.A.Q.

Written By wartini cantika on Sabtu, 26 Juli 2014 | 17.36

Photo The last Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 leaving Kuala Lumpur. The carrier has retired the flight number.Credit Olivia Harris/Reuters

In the aftermath of the shooting of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 last week and the rocket strike near Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv this week, people planning to fly to the Middle East or on a route crossing Eastern Europe have been left wondering whether or not they could — or should — continue with their travel plans.

Below, we offer an F.A.Q. with some updates on both incidents and advice on how to find out if you're flying friendly skies. If you've got a question that we didn't answer, leave it in comments below and we may include it in a later post.

Q. Can I fly into Tel Aviv yet?
A. Depends on the airline. The F.A.A. lifted its ban on flights to Ben-Gurion International Airport late Wednesday night, less than 48 hours after a rocket fired from the Gaza strip landed about a mile from the airport. Delta, United and US Airways had all resumed service to the airport by Thursday night.
Air France and Lufthansa, the German airline  canceled flights there, as recommended in a statement from the European Aviation Safety Agency on Thursday, but will resume them. Air France flights will operate flights to Tel Aviv on Friday night, and Lufthansa said it would begin operating them in stages on Saturday.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas has also inspired Costa Cruises, the Italian cruise line, to cancel calls in Ashdod and Haifa, Israel, during two of its September cruises, the company said in a press release on Wednesday.
"The company is in constant contact with local and international authorities to ensure the safety of its operations. Costa will continue to carefully monitor the situation in Israel and nearby areas," the release said.
A warning posted on the United States State Department's Web site Monday recommended that American citizens refrain from any nonessential travel to Israel and the West Bank, because of the escalating conflict.

Q. What about the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane? Will my flight be affected?
A. The frequency of daily flights, both on Malaysia and other airlines, has not been affected, though Malaysia will now entirely avoid Ukrainian airspace, flying farther south over Turkey instead, the company said in a statement. On Sunday, however, the airline fell under scrutiny when flightradar24.com, a website that shows live air traffic around the world, spotted one of Malaysia's aircraft over Syria, a region considered by some to be as volatile and dangerous as the Ukraine and Russian border. ("As per the notice to airmen (NOTAM) issued by the Syrian Civil Aviation Authority, the Syrian airspace was not subject to restrictions," Malaysia Airlines said in a statement.)

Q. I booked through a code share partner of Malaysia Airlines. Will my flight also be rerouted?
A. OneWorld Alliance, of which Malaysia Airlines is a member, confirmed in a statement that all its member airlines had agreed to reroute planes away from eastern Ukraine. Those members include Malaysia's code share partners, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and Sri Lankan Airlines.

Other code share partners including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Jet Airways have also said they would avoid eastern Ukraine indefinitely; and on July 22, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement prohibiting United States operators from flying within the Simferopol and Dnepropetrovsk regions.

Q. Can I get access to my flight plan before departure?
A. While domestic flight plans for the United States are relatively easy to find online, those who want to know the exact trajectory of an international flight may have some trouble, Fredrik Lindhal, flightradar24.com's chief executive said on the telephone. Contacting the airline is the most logical solution as international plans are not typically published, he said. But tracking the flight on a site like his own in the days prior to your departure can also help reveal any changes being made to the flight's regular pattern.
FlightAware.com, another live flight tracking website, can offer the same, but tracking flights in this way is a lot like advertising, Mr. Lindhal said. "They always have to give that 'past performance will not guarantee future returns' disclaimer. The site can be an indicator, but at the end of the day its always up to the air traffic control and the pilot," he said.
"Flight bag" digital applications, as Jeff Price, an aviation management and security consultant in Denver called them, may also be helpful. ForeFlight, an aviation application for pilots, and Jeppesen's Mobile FliteDeck Pro, a similar app, are both available with a subscription, which costs about $100 a year, Mr. Price said.
But temporary reroute plans due to a situation like that in Ukraine would be provided directly to commercial air carrier flight operations centers by the air traffic controlling entity, he said. "It might just be a situation where the air traffic control reroutes the traffic on their own temporarily, through their flight clearances and radio transmissions."

Q. What should I take into consideration when choosing a carrier?
A. There is not much a passenger can do to affect the route of a flight, Mr. Price said, other than booking a series of one-way flights that might circumnavigate potentially dangerous areas.
"I think it's also reasonable to ask the airline what assurances they can give to the passengers that the route of a flight will not be over hazardous areas. Just like a passenger can be reasonably certain that their aircraft will not fly into a hazardous weather situation, like directly into a thunderstorm."

 


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In Transit Blog: The Brando, Both a Resort and a Lab

Photo At the Brando, a turtle finds creature comforts.Credit Pacific Beachcomber

Marlon Brando first visited Tetiaroa, a 12-island atoll 30 miles north of Tahiti, while filming "Mutiny on the Bounty." He bought it five years later, and briefly ran an inn, where he invited conservationists and researchers interested in the South Pacific ecosystem. This month, Tetiaroa continues this legacy with the opening of the Brando, a 35-villa luxury resort and scientific research lab.

The resort uses solar power, energy-efficient seawater air-conditioning, and a coconut-oil biofuel power station, all toward its (nearly realized) goal of being fully carbon neutral. It also piles on creature comforts. Thatch roofs shelter one-, two- and three-bedroom cottages featuring pitched ceilings, and bathrooms with access to outdoor bathtubs. Guests are encouraged to visit Ecostation, the science lab, where lagoon fish and crustacean populations, among other topics, are studied.


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T Magazine: A Ride Across America | In Idaho, Two Sisters Get a ‘Truck Farm’ Off the Ground

Over the course of eight weeks, Ben Towill, the co-owner of the Fat Radish, and the photographer Patrick Dougherty are biking 4,500 miles across the U.S. to talk to strangers about food. Each week, they'll file a dispatch for T about their discoveries.

Photo
The author helps the farmers he's met in Lewiston, Idaho, to herd chickens into their coop as a storm approaches.Credit Patrick Dougherty

As I reach the final 400 miles of this incredible adventure, following the Snake River west to Portland and then to our last farm in Salem, Ore., I have begun thinking about the experiences that will stick with me the most from this ride. This past week, we rode through the Tetons and into Yellowstone National Park, past wading fly fishermen in Montana and onto Idaho's Lewis and Clark trail (Highway 12) along the Lochsa River. Absolutely breathtaking.

SERIES
A Ride Across America

Read more of Ben Towill's weekly dispatches about food and how we eat it, filed as he bikes across the country. More…

But it's the people we've met who will stay with me and give context to the landscape. Camping on the shores of Montana's Bitterroot River would not be nearly as memorable had we not met John Faust, a retired fishing guide and local legend. Upon hearing that we had not tasted any of the river's trout, he jumped in his car and returned 20 minutes later with his wife Elna, a plate of smoked trout, some local knowledge of a secluded hot spring (which we promised not to share with anyone) and a story about his personal claim to fame: building a mechanical fish for "A River Runs Though It."

This week, we descended out of the mountains into Lewiston, Idaho, and found ourselves at River City Farm with Keegan Athey, 25, and her sister Dory, 23. The daughter of river guides from Colorado, Keegan worked as a guide herself after turning 18, until her interest in food pushed her to Colorado State to study soil and crop science and organic agriculture. In the spring she kicked off her first full farming season and is quickly becoming a leading champion of local food in the town of Lewiston. She is inexperienced and open about her mistakes (like the time she left the lettuce in too long and 50 days of growing turned into chicken feed and compost). But her attitude is infectious and she brushes off setbacks easily, viewing everything as a learning experience. She gave us a tour of her little "truck farm" (small-scale farm devoted to growing vegetables for the local community) and spoke optimistically about her CSA members and the improvements she hoped to make. As a storm blew in, we helped her herd her chickens back into their coop. Not easy work, this urban farming business.

Photo
Clockwise from top left: River City Farm in Lewiston, Idaho; sisters Keegan and Dory get to work; lunchtime at the farm; the retired fishing guide John Faust and his wife Elna of Darby, Mont.Credit Patrick Dougherty

Dory, who is about to begin a Master's in publishing at the University of Oregon, has spent the summer helping out on the farm. She stays out back in "the pool house," which is actually a tent next to a baby pool for the dog. She prepared a beautiful lunch of broccoli leaf wraps filled with miso carrots, homemade pita bread and a tomato, cucumber and pepper salad grown fresh on the farm. We finished with an apricot and blackberry crisp that was placed simply in the center of the table for everyone to dig into (see the chef's recipe below).

As the conversation turned to the future, the girls talked about their "pipe dream": combining their passions and skills to publish a magazine or even open a restaurant. For now, it is all about getting through the first year and connecting as much as possible with the community of Lewiston. But considering their enthusiasm, intelligence and ability to inspire, the pipe dream could become a reality.


Photo
All join in sharing an apricot and blackberry crisp from a single plate at River City Farm.Credit Patrick Dougherty

Apricot Blackberry Crisp

Yield: 1

Filling:
1 pound fruit, washed and roughly chopped if necessary (*Chef's note: we used roughly chopped apricots and whole blackberries, but you could use anything that strikes your fancy)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt

Topping:
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 wheat flour
1/3 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Lay the fruit in the bottom of a pie dish. We started with a layer of apricots and then sprinkled the berries over the top to fill in the nooks and crannies.

3. Sprinkle the ginger, cinnamon, sugar and salt over the top. Shake the pie dish to mix it up a little.

4. Mix the ingredients for the topping together with your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs, and then crumble it on top of the fruit.

5. Stick it in the oven for 20 or 30 minutes. We like ours pretty crispy on top, maybe even a little black on the very top. Serve whenever, hot or cold, with a handful of spoons. No plates allowed.


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In Transit Blog: One Room for Many Guests

Written By wartini cantika on Jumat, 25 Juli 2014 | 17.35

Photo NYAH (Not Your Average Hotel) in Key West, Fla.Credit Paul Stoppi/NYAHotels

For those who like traveling in groups but want an alternative to the cookie-cutter hotel room with rollaway beds, NYAH (Not Your Average Hotel) in Key West, Fla., has a solution: Each of its 36 rooms can be customized according to the number of guests, thanks to modular furniture that can be rearranged. Gustaf and Jesper Arnoldsson, brothers who own NYAH, came up with the concept for the hotel, opened in February. "We saw that sharing a room was not so much a move to save money as it was about having a unique experience," Jesper Arnoldsson said in a phone interview.

Cost-effectiveness is also key for guests who stay at NYAH (the average price is $35 to $80 a person a night depending on the season), especially in a city where hotel rates are pricey.


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In Transit Blog: In Argentina, Cycles and Cameras

Photo Cuesta del Obispo Pass, Argentina.Credit Ossian Lindholm

The 25-year-old bike touring company Ciclismo Classico has created a spinoff that focuses on seeing as much as doing. The charter destination for a series of photography tours — called TravelVision Journeys — is northwest Argentina. The four scheduled Vision & Vine treks will explore mountain landscape, indigenous communities and high-altitude vineyards. They were developed by Ciclismo founder and enthusiastic photographer Lauren Hefferon, who will co-lead the nine-day trips with the Argentine photographer and documentary filmmaker Ossian Lindholm. Destinations include the  Las Salinas Grandes salt desert, the small cities of Humahuaca and Cachi, and Los Cardones National Park.

"The trip will be physical, cultural and educational. The bicycle is a way to immerse yourself in a place and its culture, and so is the camera," said  Ms. Hefferon, who is personally planning, managing and leading the tours. "It's like another chapter opening up in my life, because so many of the elements are new to me."

Each tour will include some kind of collaboration with the local community. Travelers in the first outing will work with a school group to create a photo book and hope to raise money for the school from book sales, Ms. Hefferon said.

Ms. Hefferon is developing future trips to Sardinia and the wetlands of Pantanal in Brazil and Ibera in Argentina.

Argentina Vision & Vine costs $5,200 per person and departs from Salta, Argentina.


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In Transit Blog: British Souvenirs Made (One at a Time) in Britain

Written By wartini cantika on Kamis, 24 Juli 2014 | 17.35

Photo Interior of the New Craftsman, a recently opened fine craft shop in the Mayfair section of London.Credit The New Craftsman

If a double-decker bus paperweight or a William and Kate mug aren't your kind of mementos, consider the "the Real British Souvenir Shop" show through August at the New Craftsmen, a recently opened fine craft shop in the Mayfair section of London.

The smartly designed store, housed in a 19th-century leather breeches workshop, showcases work by some of the top makers, pieces rooted to the regions, traditions and craftsmanship of the British Isles. Shop curators work with a network of more than 75 British artisans across the country, some established and others emerging, from furniture makers and silversmiths to potters and glassblowers, all making contemporary craft using traditional techniques.

Items include Britannia Tableware, a limited edition of porcelain tableware produced in Wiltshire by John Julian Design that features a Britannia-themed images by the illustrator Laura Carlin; and Azook! a hand-block-printed cushion depicting an Isles of Scilly map by Cameron Short. "Azook" is Cornish for "all together," an expression used in the past by pilots of Cornish pilot gigs — traditional elm clinker boats found on the Isles of Scilly and in Cornwall — when they wanted their crew to pull hard on their oars together.

From Devon, you'll find commemorative jugs and mugs in the tradition of the Devonshire & Staffordshire slipware; and from Sussex, Thomas Smith's Trugs – the original English gardening trug (basket) now replicated worldwide. Vacationers will also be able to pick up iconic British whiskey tumblers hand-blown in London and silk scarves illustrating the Scottish craft, culture, fauna and flora.

Thirsty travelers should note that in August, the shop will hold a series of sit-down English afternoon teas around their Sussex table, as well as provide "takeaway tea bundles" to enjoy in nearby Hyde Park. If you'd prefer to shop from home, the New Craftsmen sells items online and ships worldwide.


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T Magazine: On Capri, a Chic New Shop Takes a Stand Against Sameness

Photo
Most of the items at Cabana were sourced or designed specifically for the store.Credit

"This whole business was against mass prestige," explains Helen White in the intimate space of Cabana, her newly opened shop on Capri. In a world in which luxury is becoming ubiquitous and traveling to Asia lands you in the same shops you'd find on Madison Avenue, she is indeed taking a position. Cabana is unique: almost everything in its edited collection of objects and clothes for resort life is not available anywhere else. Many items, from cutlery (bamboo-handled knives emblazoned with the store's name) to beach bags, are sourced and designed by White and custom-made for the store.

White, a mother of two who lives in London but has a house here, is originally from New York. She knows style (and hard work) from her years at Vogue as one of Anna Wintour's assistants and a fashion writing stint at Harper's Bazaar. Word of her unusual wares seems to have spread among the summer visitors to Capri, both fashionable and eminent; when I was there last month, a box covered in Cabana's distinctive watercolored wrapping paper was awaiting collection for the Saudi royal family.

Photo
Clockwise, from top left: Acrylic wheat salad bowl, about $230. Gilded rose quartz coasters, about $300. Hand-painted salt and pepper set (salt shaker not shown), about $270. Silicone crystal-design clutch, about $4,000. Shell ring, about $20. Linen flamestitch bag, about $100.Credit

While the products at Cabana may be for the beau monde, White's real motivation to open a store might actually be the grittier business of making things. "I love old men in their 80s who work with their hands," she says with a grin, referring to the artisans with whom she collaborates in silver, wicker and glass. There is a certain logic to this experiment being conducted on Capri; after all, shopping is one reason Jackie O. and Lee Radziwill used to come to the island, seeking the charming and the rare, doggedly shadowed by the photographer Ron Galella. There's no doubt all three of them would have ended up browsing here.

Via Fuorlovado, 1, 80073 Capri, cabanagloballuxe.com.


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T Magazine: An Elegant New Boutique Hotel in French-Colonial Pondicherry, India

Photo
La Villa, an intimate, six-bedroom hotel, was carved out of a 19th-century home.Credit

India's sliver of the Francophonie, the region where French is still the official language, occupies a grid of tree-lined boulevards just south of city of Chennai along the Coromandel Coast, facing east toward the Bay of Bengal. Streets bear names like Rue de la Campaigne and Rue Labourdonnais. Buildings in the White Town (also called the French Quarter) are still graced with long verandahs and elegant compound walls, a genteel French-colonial vision straight out of Indochina, inflected with the pastel calm of India's palm-fringed south. Since 2006 the town has officially been known as Puducherry, but most people here and across India still call it by its original name, Pondicherry, or its loving diminutive, Pondy.

Sylvaine Ségiyane Paquiry was born and raised in Pondy, attending the French School until 1991 when he left India and moved to France with his parents. He returned to his hometown in 2006 and within a year had opened La Villa Shanti, a midrange boutique hotel in the city's gracious heritage quarter. Eight years later, he has opened the doors to his second property there, La Villa, Villa Shanti's luxury cousin (he has been invited to apply for membership in the international consortium of boutique hotels and restaurants, Relais & Chateau, which first entered India in 2008). Though they target different audiences, both properties share the same principles of "transparency, honesty, simplicity."

Photo
A 12-table garden restaurant at La Villa will serve simple cuisine inspired by ingredients produced nearby.Credit

Working with Tina Trigala and Yves Lesprit, the same team of French architects that designed Villa Shanti, Ségiyane has approached La Villa as an exercise in adaptive reuse and heritage conservation. "Most people who own old colonial or Tamil houses have no choice but to demolish or sell, so the old colonial houses are threatened," he says. For La Villa, the team has taken a long-term lease on a 19th-century home called Villa Notre Dame de la Garde and transformed it into an intimate, six-bedroom hotel that combines a respect for the building's heritage with a clear-eyed approach to contemporary design.

Wherever possible, the original features of the building have been preserved, while in the newer portions of the hotel Trigala and Lesprit have worked with more modern materials to highlight the differences in period and style, rather than mask them behind a faux-heritage veneer. The lobby maintains the original ceiling beams and columns while replacing the floors with concrete and cement tile, sympathetic to, but careful not to imitate, the original building's style. In the bedrooms and bathrooms, imported French linens and toiletries from Fragonard are matched with humble bamboo accents from local markets. Doors in the newer part of the hotel have been fashioned from old teakwood doors sourced from the city's antiques markets. "How we've managed to match the two, the future and the past, is what sets us apart — how we've given another life to these popular items from the street," says Ségiyane.

Photo
The property boasts a modern swimming pool on the roof alongside local elements like old teakwood doors sourced from the city's antiques markets.Credit

When it opens officially on August 1, La Villa will have a rooftop swimming pool, a small boutique selling items sourced from around town and designed by the architects and a 12-table garden restaurant serving simple cuisine inspired by ingredients produced nearby (the proximity of the organic farms and cheesemakers at Auroville will make for an unusually broad selection). In the coming years, Ségiyane hopes to see La Villa and La Villa Shanti expand to other cities and towns across India, taking with them their ethos of "strong local identity" and a pared-down vision of luxury disconnected from the marble and gilt that dominate the country's five-star properties.

"Our vision of luxury is space, pleasure for the eye," Ségiyane says. "It's something that you don't see every day."

11 rue Surcouf, Pondicherry, India, lavillapondicherry.com.


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