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.
But then I looked at reception.
The 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:
Naturally we were staying in:
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.
This Caribbean Paradise is all about a design heritage updated, classic combos re-freshed – after all Babe Paley was once at the bar.
and at her pool house famously photographed by Slim Aarons
unpacked found a bikini, we found the pool…
Bit of a splash and it’s down to the beach…till sunset
time to dress up for dinner – cue thrilled wife and Irish-husband requiring swift campari and soda – all on course so.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(chez Hick’s) nature is wild and rampant
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.
Blue and White: Striped, Floral, Geometric, Ikat, Plain. The white crest on those blue seas shimmers to an internal echo.
Martyn Lawrence Bullard doing it beautifully.
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.
Every time I past reception I smiled.
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 .
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?
Louvre and Trellis: plenty of filtered light and shade.
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
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 –
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.