Wednesday, 13 March 2013

We've Moved - Come and Join Us

The BECKER MINTY blog has relocated to the new look BECKER MINTY website. 

Come and join us at where you'll find three blog streams - Instore, Interiors, and Inspiration - that cover all the elements of our beautiful world.

We'd also like to introduce you to BECKER MINTY Interior Design by Thomas Bucich. 

Allow us to indulge your senses through the elements of space, form, light, texture and finish. Led by designer Thomas Bucich, BECKER MINTY offers a comprehensive Interior Design and Style Service to create bespoke interiors and furnishings to suit your individual desires, ensuring the highest attention to detail, quality and luxury.

Services include: Interior Design & Documentation, Custom Cabinetry, Furniture Design, Colour, Finishes & Art Consultation, Interior Styling, Commercial Design, Branding & Marketing Concepts

One final word on this site...we bid a very fond farewell to Rodney Hinde, who worked with us as Interior Decorator and Stylist, not to mention as our own witty and urbane design blogger, and who has now gone off to his next adventure.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Really Great Karma

Our holiday did end on quite the glorious note.
And the mediterranean theme continued.
At Nammos Beach Club.
So named for Nammos beach in Mykonos.
And decorated for it as well.
And before anybody suggests that this may be incongruous, it wasn't.

Sure Bali is part of a continent with its own very rich aesthetic traditions. 
And sure local inspiration abounds.
Maybe visitors can tire easily of things being 'too Asian'.
Which may beg the question: why are they there?

But this beach club was so seemlessly inspired, conceived and executed, and so sympathetic to the natural surrounds.
It is within the Karma Kandara resort, close to the southern most point of the island.
It was the furthest we ventured the entire week.
Except for those who visited Ubud.
I'd been there once before.
Heard it described as the Leura of Bali.
Once was enough for me.

But this spot I could visit time and time again.
We hired a bus to get there. 
From memory it was about a 3 hour ride.
The driver waited.
All day.
While we luxuriated in the sun, frolicked in the shallow water, and supped lavishly.
And as the sun started to set, we headed back to our villas.
There were 11 of us that day.
And we shared the fare which was the equivalent of about $AUD100.

Sometimes I really did struggle with how inexpensive this luxury costs, and therefore how little the locals get paid. 
It feels somehow fraudulent to live like a king on a shoestring.
Although we did spend a lot.
And we had a truly fabulous time.
But Bali is almost completely dependant on Australian tourism for its income.
And life there is inexpensive
So it would seem wrong not to go.
And I've already declared my undying love for the place.
And my commitment to returning.

And when I look at the image above of this beautiful beach.
With clear water.
No waves.
And sumptuous sun lounges between me and the sand, I am reminded why.
And it's a lot closer then Greece.
Even though I'm sure they could do with some Australian visitors too. 

Friday, 14 September 2012


When we weren't living it up in the lap of currency-exchange-friendly luxury, or sampling the Asian fusion cuisine of locally inspired eateries we very much enjoyed both the interior and the menu of Petitenget.

Delivering every Australian's expectations of a European-style brasserie in the tropics, Petitenget was something my travelling companions and I lazily described as 'that cute little French place on the corner'. Due no doubt to the look of the name we imagined being roughly pronounced as 'petite onjay'.
Kind of forgivable I suppose.
But not really.
For despite the fact that we were driven past this restaurant in air conditioned comfort almost twice daily for an entire week, not one of us noticed that it actually took its name from the name of the street it sits on.
By the time we did make the association it was almost time to leave the island.
And in our infinite sun-soaked wisdom felt sure the name must therefore be Dutch.
I have since discovered that this very long street and other places in the general region take their name from a local temple.
Called Temple Petitenget.
So it's a local word.
Shouldn't surprise me.
This is an area that gives us place names like Seminyak. Legian. Denpassar.
Sadly though, developing a knowledge of local language and culture, beyond 'Selamaat' and 'nasi goreng' is fairly low on the average tourist's list of Getting to Know Bali.
And I am as guilty as anybody.
Somebody who would secretly see himself as an aesthete and a linguist is actually as much a philistine as the next person.

So in blissful ignorance we supped on the slightly Asian infused essentially Mediterranean style fare we find at home.
And even though we were only there for a week, at least twice in that time we desired something 'familiar'.

But the food was great.
The service pretty good.
And the environment really very beautiful...
For anybody who enjoys Noosa, Mosman or Woollahra.
Which, apparently, we do.

Big W

One venue we visited several times was the W.
Now I'm sure we all remember when the Blue at Woolloomoolloo was the W.
Loved it then.
Still do, in fact.
And about 15 years ago I stayed at the W in New York.
Lexington and 57th.
Mind totally blown.
But the W in Bali.
Completely out of this world.

From the long driveway.
To the W set with leaves and flowers.
The lagoon pools.
Woo Bar.
Lounge areas.
It feels like its own little lavish principality, tucked away from the sights of the rabble.
If Seminyak has become the French Riviera of the region, then the W is Monaco.
Without the gamble.
A guaranteed win. 


One of the holiday highlights, and the scene of the main event, Sarong was an absolute delight.

Set back from the road, the entrance to this restaurant created the sensation of a fabulous walled garden,  great splendour concealed behind. 
Unlike the venue in the previous post Sarong delivered on its promise.

Once inside the temple like gates the meandering path leads you across a serene lawn to something truly splendid.
The building meets all your expectations of 'classic Balinese' without any hint of touristy tackiness.
And the styling is exactly my thing.
Dutch colonial meets relaxed glam.
Aristocratic Safari.
Are they even categories?
Now I know I keep banging on about this whole colonial thing, but I will remind you that Indonesia was in fact a Dutch colony. 
And there are many reminders of this in carved motifs, the occasional street name, and indeed whole buildings. And it's all just a little bit reminiscent of the whole Anglo-Indian thing you know I love so much. 
You know, oppressive white people creating stylish surrounds in a tropical clime.

But it was done in a very contemporary classic kind of way. 
Modern seating with interesting textures.
Tables that were at once slightly rustic, yet quite refined.
And your classic Louis XVI fauteuil, which although not quite right for the locale, somehow worked to remind us of the former period of gracious European life.
Finish it all off with chandeliers and organza curtains, and I'm pretty damn happy.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Potato Head

The new hot favourite beach club in Bali has the unfortunate name of Potato Head.
Apparently everybody's talking about it.
So much so, that when I expressed my desire to return to Cocoon, I was quickly shushed, with the assurance that Potato Head was THE place.
And that nobody goes to Cocoon anymore.
Even though we'd been there the day before.
So, keen not to miss out on all the excitement, I agreed to go there.
We accessed it via a very long driveway, always a suspense builder.
And upon our arrival at the entrance the amazing structure both delivered and promised so much.

It had fabulous glamour written all over it. A collage of painted wooden shutters contrasting beautifully with monolithic concrete. The image provided by the shutters is said to be inspired by the work of Gustav Klimt. I could sort of see it, but the connection seemed tenuous at best.
The shutter concept continued inside, and I was really loving the reference to casual beach side living, even in such an environment.

However, the rest of the concept once inside the great wall of shutters did not seem to me to hang together very well. I didn't like it at all. It seemed a fusion of things that should never be introduced.
I do need to qualify this by saying that I have always been more of a fan of the small venue. 
And exclusive. 
And while I understand the decisions behind creating a larger venue, I always feel the owners are casting too wide a net. 
Hedging their bets.
Trying to attract a range of demographics through an unsettling cocktail of spaces and decors.
And losing any edge in doing so.

And one of the defining decors in this space is one that I have always just found daggy and suburban
That 1950s / 60s retro Scandinavian thing.
Which seemed totally irrelevant to the locale.

I will concede that there were elements that worked well.

Like the bar area immediately upon entry. There was a sense of California, which strangely worked really well, the Palm Springs elements possibly permitted by the palm trees. 

But then in the main dining area they'd taken the retro furniture thing too far, and I felt like I was in the Brady Bunch's family room.
But beside the pool.
It really didn't work.

And then there was the pool area.
I mean, obviously it was quite nice. 
But your only lounging options were big communal daybeds.
In two big uninspired rows.
That bore little stylistic relationship to any other features.
And appeared to be occupied by that widely caught demographic I was talking about before.

Now I am not hung up on cool.
I don't have to go to the latest and greatest.
I am happy with something that is new to me.
But I also like venues tried and true.
I like places to be fun, and interesting.
And cohesive.
None of which I can really say about Potato Head.
Plus the service was dreadful...

Now generally the service in Bali is not especially efficient. 
And I feel it's not right to complain, when you consider how little the locals are paid.
But it's usually very friendly.
Everything is at least served with a smile on the side.
But not here.

I did, however, have one favourable experience at this legendary club.
A beverage in which I felt unqualified to partake:
The Millionaire's Martini. 

In fact I had two.
So as a result, my memories of the ingredients are kind of hazy.
But I know it involved some passionfruit.
And basically came with a Bellini on the side.
Which upon reflection probably helped with the disjointed decor.
And made my final impression as delicious as my first.


The first outing on our first full day in paradise saw us revisiting Cocoon, the scene of some luxurious poolside memories from my previous trip.
Those of you who haven't visited Bali are perhaps reading this thinking poolside? but surely there's beautiful beaches?
Yes, there are.
But not in Seminyak.
Well perhaps the beaches are nice, but the crowds on the beach are not.
And nor are the peddlars.
And the water is not that clean.
And it's kind of warm.
So it's all about poolside.
And not just your own pool.
Nor the communal pool at the resort.
But the pool at the Beach Club.
So called because it's beside the beach.
Or perhaps even across the road from the beach.
But not actually on the beach.

Upholstered sun lounges.
That are yours all day long.
Perfectly positioned and stable umbrellas.
No sand.
Yes, no sand.
And staff.
Endless staff.
To bring you towels.
And beverages.
You need never get up.
Except of course to dip in the cool, still, clean water.

Although should you so choose there's private day beds....

And quite the range of indoor and outdoor dining and bar options...

Since returning home I have read that Bali is fast becoming the St Tropez of the southern hemisphere.
Now I didn't notice celebrities, royalty or excessively large motor launches.
But there is a decidedly mediterranean flavour to much that is on offer there, while still retaining a clear local identity.
Quite the fusion.
And Cocoon exemplifies this perfectly.
Chic, comfortable and location appropriate.