A Dream Soho Loft.

Thursday, April 30th 2015

In a SoHo loft perched high above Grand St, behind a dark door tellingly marked with an anchor, an enormously dreamy space imagined and executed by the inimitable hands of Sibella Court (and friends) offered us an indigo oasis amidst the mayhem of New York Bridal week and the frenetic pace of New York City. 

An infinitely more beautiful experience than many hotel rooms (with the bonus of being significantly, vastly, more spacious) these lofts (there's a sister Loft 4 on the floor below), are a little like stepping into the pages of one of Sibella's many books, filled with unexpected, thoughtful, imaginative details at every turn. 

They're also filled with unexpected little discoveries of luxury, luxury in the true, unpretentious sense of the word. Besides jaw droppingly beautiful furniture throughout, there's gently crumpled linens in a signature palette of pales across bedding and drapes (bedding that feels amazing to crawl into each evening and drapes that pool on the floor framing impossibly large arch windows). Then there's the bathroom appointed with an antique mirror, Aesop and Diptyque candles, bottles of Voss mineral water waiting by each bed, iphone chargers, fresh flowers delivered weekly, Society Inc. crockery…you get the idea.

The whole space feels beautifully considered and elegant, yet completely effortless and relaxed, filled with details to make you feel at once at home (admittedly, the home of an impossibly stylish friend in possession of quite amazing SoHo real estate), but home none the less. Home in a way that a hotel room never does. 

Serene, supremely relaxing, light filled and honestly the loveliest space to pass time in, we literally lost track of hours (frantically writing and editing bridal week shows) each perched on the most enormous of indigo sofas, beneath sunlit branches of blossom. Pausing from our laptops to occasionally look up we'd find ourselves (happily) distracted by the layers and layers of styling, details that revealed themselves the longer you gazed…natural fibres, textures and tints, timber and indigo of every nuanced shade all nestled amongst antique flags, antlers, mirrors and custom hardware. For those with more spare time than us, there's also an enviable collection of books and reading material (a collection that remained shamefully untouched during our stay!).

Perfect for pretty much every occasion we can think of, this incredible space lends itself particularly well to honeymoons, girls weekends away, small scale events (think intimate dinner parties around the giant table) or anyone looking for a unique New York experience. 

We stayed in the indigo magnificence of Loft 5, which sleeps 4 people. One floor down, Loft 4 is slightly more adventurous in spirit, also sleeping four people, with one bedroom taking the form of a giant indoor tent! Visit Air BnB to book both Loft 5 (our loft, pictured!) and Loft 4.

Photography: Karissa Fanning / The LANE 

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One & Only Hayman Island.

Wednesday, January 21st 2015

Moments amongst impossible teal waters. Cocktails in coconuts sipped poolside. The romance of a free-spirit. Dancing on the sand under violet skies and by waters shimmering pink under a setting sun. Being busy doing absolutely nothing. Sailing at sunset. Days drenched in endless light. A private island escape in the middle of the Coral Sea. Feasts shared under new moons. Moments made with family and friends. Paradise is a feeling. A feeling we found at One&Only Hayman Island.

If there was ever a time to find paradise, that sense of infinite space, otherworldly landscapes, crystalline waters, dream-like simplicity, irrelevant time and unimaginable beauty, easy luxury and effortless style, it’s your wedding. On our continuing wanderings to discover the most magical wedding spaces worldwide, we found ourselves heading north, far north, to the incredibly chic and forever iconic Hayman Island in Australia’s Whitsundays. The luxury resort, synonymous with Australian style and celestial blue waters, was recently given an 80 million dollar makeover and reimagined by the One&Only Resort group, but don’t think for a minute this was a rebirth that took away Hayman’s soul and charm.

Evoking feelings of bygone beauty and of old Hollywood (think bohemian moments at Beverly Hills Hotel circa 1970) met with a tropical private island escape, it’s cool, effortlessly cool. Reminiscent of those iconic resorts around the world that charm with their almost nostalgic style and relaxed luxury, alluring the gypset and all their glamour. With its white façade, blue and white striped awnings and days spent in (completely white) pool suites diving off balconies into the iconic Hayman beachfront pool, sipping Gin Fizzes in one-pieces, lounging on striped sunbeds housed in private beachfront cabanas…this is the destination-wedding venue for those searching for paradise, in its most stylish form. It’s the venue for a little touch of Calvin Klein minimalism and broad-brimmed hats. For barefoot pool parties with guests and recovery days soaking in the sun. For welcome drinks at sunset and dinners on the palm tree lined sands. For unassuming and understated luxury. For those considering Australia as a destination wedding venue and for those wanting a destination venue without leaving Australia.

A little tropical rainforest, a little pool club meets a lot natural beauty and perfect white sandy vibes - aesthetically the One&Only Hayman Island works for a number of different wedding styles and creative visions. From ceremonial rituals with an enchanted backdrop of ethereal teal waters (painted with the majestic islands of the Whitsundays), long tables on the sand under open skies for 300 (or just for three), all barefoot and black-tie, fine dining restaurant spaces, tranquil rainforest gardens amongst tropical greenery to chic cocktail parties poolside. Unlike other destination resorts that allure with the promise of paradise and all-inclusive wedding packages (more often than not the kind where you choose your wedding from a list, pick chicken or fish for an alternative drop menu and tick a sash colour for cringe worthy chair covers), this is a venue where the focus is on style and the approach is bespoke. Where absolutely anything and everything is possible, while at the same time nothing is forced. It’s just a matter of deciding on the scope and style of what you would like to create (made easier when packages include an option to fly in for a site inspection) and the incredible team makes it all happen.

Meeting Teegan Deck (One&Only's Wedding Sales Manager) and the team of wedding specialists on the island, who oversees each and every wedding with an impeccable eye for style and a passion for creating the most beautiful and authentic events, we knew we had found a truly special space for a wedding. This is a girl who gets it. Supremely stylish herself, yet down to earth and completely approachable, she’s the kind of girl you want behind your wedding. Her dreams are big and her vision boundless. She, unlike the unsettling feeling that sometimes envelopes when meeting with a planner, is on your side. Making the impossible possible with a carefully curated, highly edited, impeccably picked list of brands to call on, to help translate your vision. She has a way with finding only the absolute best in an industry flooded with brands that sometimes aren’t aesthetically a good fit. She’ll find those evocative photojournalists, artful florists, detail obsessed planners and interior focused décor hire companies.  She’ll listen to your story and understand your spirit. You’ll sleep easy knowing this really will be a destination wedding without the stress, yet completely and uniquely yours.

Visiting One&Only Hayman Island, staying poolside and being treated to most of the seven dining venues (espresso martinis at Bar Fifty, coconut waters by the pool, tapas and a Gin Fizz at Aquazure are our must dos), our reveries naturally turn to what style of wedding does this space suit? Who is the One&Only bride? …. the options and spaces really are endless, from lavish fine dining and beachfront restaurants to dramatic verandah spaces completely surrounded by the tropical rainforest. However for us, the beauty of this venue is it’s breathtaking natural landscape of almost otherworldly proportions, the white shores and celestial blue waters, the views of the tranquil and lush islands of the Whitsundays, it’s iconic charm and unassuming, understated luxury. Those stand out things that have been refreshed, but not lost in the refurbishment and give the island its authentic soul. The most magical weddings, we imagine pay homage to these things and continue over languid days spent with family and friends sharing laughter, drinking and dancing. A story of fun, euphoria and breathtaking scenery, told through the eyes of an incredible photojournalist.

Pared back and understated luxury our imagined mood, with a wedding that is ultimately relaxed, fun and focused on timeless style and celebrations that continue over a number of days. Begin with an arrival dinner with family and friends on sunset as the sky turns violet and waters pink. Moments lost, food shared and Champagne sipped from crystal stemware around a long table on the shoreline (effortlessly draped in raw linens and lit by a blanket of stars) or in the enchanted and moodily lit private dining room of Fire Restaurant. Spend the morning of your wedding reveling in ocean swims and beauty rituals, followed by a simple, late afternoon ceremony either on the sands of coconut beach or on the islands helipad (both spaces that will allow for those undisrupted views and majestic backdrop of the islands). Opt for a reception under the stars by the iconic pool, the kind where guests greet the morning sun. Use the beachfront cabanas for guests to relax and serve roving canapés and refreshing cocktails and come night, the timber deck area for a dance floor that’s lit only by a single row of festoon lights.  We recommend keeping styling to the absolute bare essentials with a focus on more bohemian minimalism than bohemian luxe, a palette of dreamy whites and a satin slip, clean lines and floating hemlines. Flowers could either be plentiful or kept sparse, but definitely white.

Our must read tips for this venue

- The most beautiful time of the year for a wedding on Hayman Island is winter (April - November). The weather is cool, dry and waters the bluest of blue. For those that don’t mind the tropical climate and hot, sticky days, November through to April is low season.
- Flights are direct from many major cities to Hamilton Island, with a one-hour private transfer in a luxury boat straight to Hayman (it passes way too easily with Champagne and the magical Islands of the Whitsundays passing by). Just an 1 hour and 20 minutes from Brisbane for Australians logistically this so close and a really easy option for a destination wedding, giving that feeling of absolute seclusion. For other parts of the world, Hayman offers the ultimate in Australian style and all its natural beauty.
- What we love about this venue is that while there are all-inclusive wedding packages available, each and every wedding is bespoke and can be tailored to exactly what you are looking for.
- For destination weddings, One&Only Hayman Island coordinates all suppliers, each chosen for their incredible work and aesthetic fit for the super stylish. There is also a hair salon and spa on the island that can be used for the morning-of rituals (hair, makeup, mani and pedis with your bridesmaids).
- There are 160 rooms available that are spaced over three different wings. Our pick are the pool suites for guests (you can dive straight of your balcony into the beach front pool) and the private beachfront villas for the bride and groom or those thinking of visiting Hayman for their honeymoon. With an open-air pool in the middle of the room and a private beach at the front, you can still have privacy from your guest, family and rest of your bridal party.
- If you book your accomodation in advance you can save 20% of any room type (book by February 28th).
- If you are looking at exclusivity, it is possible to book the resort for exclusive use for your weddings. However the design and layout of the refurbishment has been really well thought out and during our stay, most times, we felt like we were the only ones on the island. 

Spicers Peak Lodge.

Wednesday, November 12th 2014

Imagine escaping to a majestic mountaintop for your ceremonial rituals. To a place where the air is cool and fresh, the landscape painted with rugged mountains, the space infinite. A place where the air smells of wood and of cedar, of earth and fire: a place where time is trivial and the silence enveloping. A place where you’re untouchable and can hear yourself think. Imagine being married in the kind of place that creeps into your soul and stays long after you leave. This is Spicers Peak Lodge...

Sun-soaked coastal ceremonies may come to mind when one thinks of a wedding in Queensland Australia. The summer heat, the salty breeze and beaches that seduce, but surprising to most be that there is so much more on offer. Spicers Peak Lodge, just 90 minutes from Brisbane city (2 ½ hours from the Gold Coast), located on Queensland Scenic Rim and in the mountains of the Great Dividing Range is seemingly worlds away from the often too familiar happenings of many weddings and awakens a longing for intimate celebrations of wholesome luxury. A well hidden gem, 8000 acres on a dramatic peak top location (reminiscent of those romantic winter ski chalets that come to mind when one thinks of places like Aspen and the French Alps), that the LANE team was lucky enough to experience on our ever continuing search for the most incredible wedding venues…..

After a winding drive on the dirt path that leads up the mountain to Peak Lodge you realise you are high, very high (this is Australia’s highest non alpine lodge) and are surrounded by breathtaking views, green fields, roaming cattle and the mountains of the Great Dividing range. At the top awaits a charming cedar lodge (covered in climbing ivy) with chimneys a blaze on a spring day, calling you to retreat. Thoughts of intimate destination style weddings that move effortlessly between festivities and celebrations over numerous days are imagined. This is the venue for those allured by the romance of seclusion, those that have that innate love of the wilderness and wide open spaces and those that want the intimacy of a destination wedding with touches of relaxed luxury.

From the awe-inspiring views to incredible food and luxe spa treatments, we quickly learn that Spicers Peak Lodge is effortless luxury. The touches are quiet and humble. They are personal and easy. It’s not the kind of luxury that’s pretentious or rigid, but rather the comforting kind that makes you feel like you’re staying in the beautiful home of an old friend. It’s quiet, welcoming and relaxing. You find logs of freshly chopped firewood at your door for the stone fireplace in your room and a handwritten note with chocolates by the bed. There are stacks of coffee table books and cashmere throws for warmth. The service is the same, with every step taken to make your stay comfortable. The staff know you by name, the car is parked and your bags await in your room (which is warmly lit by a blazing fire), all before you’ve had a chance to take in the incredible destination.

In the heat of the Australian summer many consider the coast the only option for a wedding, but the mountaintop location of Peak Lodge with the cool, fresh air makes this the perfect escape from the stifling summer heat. The days are pleasant and the light incredible, which means the celebrations can start early and continue all day. While the lodge has that beautiful rustic feeling of an almost winter-like ski chalet, the styling and aesthetic of weddings that would work at the space are endless. The stone fireplaces, dark wood accents and earthy materials combined with the focus on amazing food and wine have us imagining an effortlessly luxe wedding, ultimately refined, but with the nonchalance and relaxed mood of an intimate dinner party. Think raw beauty, romantic intimacy and natural surrounds. An outdoor dinner on the grass with one long timber table and a small gathering of guests sharing amazing food and company would be our pick. We recommending extending on the beautiful rustic touches that the space has with a mood that is purposefully restrained. Added refinement with oversized and artful arrangements of white and ivory peonies and roses.

The real beauty of Peak Lodge is in the incredible destination, breathtaking views and the rawness of the natural surrounds, which will really resonate with those effortless bohemian brides. If you’re after a gypsy-esque celebration there is a secluded campfire style spot amongst the bush land with rustic timber tables, log seating and a bonfire. Full of charm for an intimate and spirited ceremony that exudes that real sense of bohemian and free-spirited heart, we imagine the log seating arranged in a circle around the fire with a clearing at the top for the exchanging of vows and a bride adorned in a billowing and flowing silhouette of paisley prints. We also imagine this space hosting the pre wedding night celebrations for the boys (think Moscow mules by the fire), while the girls have cocktails by the infinity pool (the espresso martinis are amazing) or get pampered at the retreat’s spa.

If food and wine is a focus, this is the heart of Peak Lodge and the venues award winning restaurant is famous for their 7 course degustation dinner with matched wines (which we were lucky enough to be treated to during our stay). Come dinnertime, drinks and canapés are served in the communal lounge room followed by the most unbelievable meal. Beautifully presented and from produce source from local and organic suppliers, each course is told in the most descriptive detail. If you're considering this space it is even worth a stay prior to your wedding just to sample the menu. The highlights for us were the lamb served with quinoa porridge, onions and buttermik and the baramundi with almond, orange and za’atar.

While Peak Lodge can accommodate weddings of up to 100, the lodge sleeps 26 and can be book exclusively (which we would recommend to really create that secluded sense of intimacy with close family and friends that extends over a weekend). There are also two private timber lodges at the bottom of the property that are perfect for couples on their wedding night. With a double door stone fireplace, an infinity hot tub on the mountain edge and the most majestic views, you'll never want to leave. While buses can transport guests to and from the venue, it’s 2 hours back to Brisbane (2 ½ to the Gold Coast), so we don’t really recommend this option. If you’re considering larger guest numbers there are a number of ways to make this incredible venue work. Spicers Canopy (also run by the Spicers group) is a campsite located at the bottom of the property that can accommodate around 10 tents of two people. Wedding options at Peak are bespoke, so there’s even a possibility of having something like Homecamp (pop up glamping for guests) set up on the property!

Our must read tips for this venue

- Pack layers! You are high on a mountain so even on a warm spring day it can be cool at Peak Lodge. For brides, we imagine a billowing gown with voluminous sleeves.
- For those considering a weekend getaway or a short stay, packages at Spicers Peak Lodge are all inclusive. Three meals, food, beverages and mini bar are included as well as the seven-course degustation dinner menu.

Things To Do
If you're considering a destination wedding celebration or even a hens weekend away at Spicers Peak Lodge here’s a list of our must dos…

- Have an afternoon picnic with a rustic cheese board and wine at one of the mountain lookouts. The northern lookout (also an amazing proposal spot) was the most dramatic and our favourite. The views and afternoon light magical!
- There’s nothing like the magic of listening to music and sharing stories around the property's bonfire.
- The resorts spa (Spa Anise) is amazing! We were treated to the Peak Signature Massage where your body is wrapped in hot towels before a full body massage with beautiful plant oils! Bliss!
- The 7-course degustation with matched wines is a must! Foodie or not the food is incredible and the most perfect way to spent an evening!

Styling Ideas

Refined Rustic
Leith & Brooke's Rustic Hunter Valley Wedding / Bridal Gowns: Voluminous SleevesReception Decor: Crystal Cut Glassware / Flowers: White Hydrangeas / Styled Shoot: Tres Chic /  Photography: Dramatic Landscapes / Cakes: Fig Adorned

Bohemian
Kara & Jeff Real Wedding / Bridal Gowns: Folk Silhouettes / Bridal Gowns: Bo & Luca LibertasDecor Hire: Timbermill Rentals / Theme: Summer Whites / Theme: Sheer Simplicity  /  Flowers: LilacsFlorist: Fleuriste / Cakes: Gillian Bell / Food Styling: Flower Food / Photography: Dramatic Landscapes / Favours: Smudgesticks / Food Styling: Mulled Wine / Decor: Exposed Festoon Lighting / Flowergirls: Tea Princess Bohemian Dreams Collection

Head over the Spicers Peak Lodge website to see more of this incredible venue. 

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