In Praise of the Pineapple II

I swear I didn’t know, that small insignia on the hotel site hinted at it, but when we arrived: ‘Welcome to Paradise’, it had pineapples all over it. Irie Man. Initially the view beyond was calling.

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But then I looked at reception.

IMG_2669The heritage key system caught my eye, but it was the counter below that really said ‘hello and welcome’ to me, sporting that potent symbol of hospitality:

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Naturally we were staying in:

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Here Ralph Lauren’s classic decor has stood the test of time.  Plenty of creamy white, colonial mahogany, lacquered bamboo are pepped up by shades of blue and white, splashes of hot pink and of course …pineapples.

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 This Caribbean Paradise is all about a design heritage updated, classic combos re-freshed –  after all Babe Paley was once at the bar.

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and at her pool house famously photographed by Slim Aarons

Once we’d unpacked found a bikini, we found  the pool…

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Bit of a splash and it’s down to the beach…till sunset

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 time to dress up for dinner –  cue thrilled wife and Irish-husband requiring swift campari and soda  – all on course  so.

dress up in the Caribbean

We were here a couple of weeks – Time unfurled gently with ample opportunity to soak up the tropical island scene. Nature’s lush abundance creates a vivid  palette: infinite blues, myriad lush green and pale shades of sand and stone – all in bold graphic shapes.

This landscape is best off-set by clean geometric lines, clear colours and natural materials:

The hotel feels like a beach house your family has visited for time immemorial –  even if it is your first visit. Debo Mitford when Duchess of Devonshire remarked:  ‘All nice rooms are a bit shabby’ – she’s right: they make you feel you can put your feet up, flick through a photo album and wave a cocktail glass enthusiastically.  But it’s artful collusion and housekeeping that achieves this, she was gimlet eyed on a vase out of place – same applies here.

Ralph Lauren understands ‘the heritage’ allure better than any other designer and businessman. In every lifestyle Lauren explores he pares his vision down to a timeless aspirational essence: Safari, Polo, Tennis, Library, Chalet, Navajo, Beach, Downton meets Country Life… the list goes on.   His success has turned him into American royalty.

Lauren channels Downton

AW 2012 Downton comes home

When I returned home I tracked down his house featured in Vogue Living, they describe it as a house of layers: The furniture a combination of good antiques and his own designs.  Cream-covered sofas and chairs, layered with cushions and throws, pictures are placed against one another in front of mirrors and tapestries(sounds vaguely familiar)

 They conclude it is luxurious, comfortable and subtle.  I love the tree outside gently inviting contemplation:

Lauren says of his creation: It has a timeless essence that I have always loved – everything that I have created has tended towards timelessness.  

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Ralph Lauren ‘Home’.

So if  you fancy a slice of timeless Caribbean chic …to cheer the winter blues? create that bathroom sanctuary ? or go on-go wild down in chilly Cornwall, here we are:

SETTING THE SCENE:

First look to the past, the Caribbean was a colonial outpost for over 300 hundred years, Jaimaca was conquered by the Brits in 1665 and only relinquished in 1962. English and French design have a place here, particularly in mahogany a local hardwood.

india hicks island life

 Lauren wrote the forward to India Hick’s book ‘Island Life‘, her house  echoes many of his principles,  the easy white scheme above is grounded by the dark circular table and pairs of chairs beyond.

A SENSE OF PLACE

Your thinking Tropical right? remember the climate: brilliant sunlight, salty air, humidity, sand all take their toil.  This is no place for fine silks or delicate schemes.

India Hicks Island Life 2 arren williams

(chez Hick’s) nature is wild and rampant

COLOURS:

White: In grey Northern climates shades of white can feel cold, even clinical, here white works every time.  Clean, cool and chic, it makes the perfect backdrop.

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Blue and White: Striped, Floral, Geometric, Ikat, Plain.  The white crest on those blue seas shimmers to an internal echo.

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Martyn Lawrence Bullard doing it beautifully.

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and again

Actually what really got me on this trip was STRIPES – never have before despite Slim Paley’s best ( and it’s so good) –  but  now I get it. I admit, I have been a little slow – after all Regency England introduced them, inspired by fluted columns and they’ve been going strong ever since.

Looking back to the entrance.

 Every time I past reception I smiled.

The bar is mahogany and cream, striped banquettes, black and white photos and of course I loved the faux-bamboo-palm-tree pillars.

The bar: super simple, easy chic.

Mahogany: A tropical hardwood discovered in the West Indies, it became a staple of Georgian furniture and beyond, particularly valued for it’s deep lustre which reflected silver and candlelight beautifully. Lauren and Hicks use it to great effect:  Vintage shapes are timeless, mahogany’s colour adds depth and when antique that  inimitable patina of time .

IMG_3082Hick’s Hepplewhite style ‘shield back’ chairs and mahogany dining table are cheerfully accessorised by vintage pineapple centrepiece and table lamps, beneath a Victorian chandalier.

At Home in the Bahama’s – At home in the Cotswolds: timeless chic anywhere, quite a feat.

Added Textures: sisal, sea grass, rattan, wicker, hemp, cotton, linen, beach stones, tongue and groove panelling, nautical brass and nickel. Shall I go on?

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Hicks

Another easy arrangement to relax in

Lauren

Louvre and Trellis: plenty of filtered light and shade.

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Hicks

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Exterior of a cottage in Pineapple Paradise – endless louvred shutters

Accessories: It’s the sea right? it’s tropical – what fun?… shells, boats, coral, palm trees, hurricane lamps, pineapples, hats, flip flow, baskets, parrots, bamboo.

and of course, don’t forget a cocktail or two… a Colonial tradition worth continuing

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Well now were back (shivering) in those dark Northern climes,  blessed pineapples and palm trees seem very far away, but I think I will hold onto stripes

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Chloe, Etro, Moschino, Dries van Noten, Marc Jacobs,  Oscar de la Renta, Dolce and Gabbana – stripes, stripes, stripes

After all they’re big for SS13 and a girl’s got to have something to look forward too when cast out of Paradise.

Photos of Roundhill, Jaimaca –  by me.

Images of Hicks, Bullard and that delicious looking cocktail: ‘Rooms to Inspire by the Sea‘, by Annie Kelly.

Ralph Lauren Home, Vogue Living Jan/Feb 2005.

Babe Paley, Slim Aarons.

Fashion shots from Vogue magazine, much leafed through on the interminable journey home.

2013 resolution/wish: Return to Pineapple Paradise to welcome in 2014.

One day soon I am going to embrace 2013, slowly and in stripes.

One thought on “In Praise of the Pineapple II

  1. Pingback: Royère Chic | adecorativeaffair

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