Like Boracay, Astoria Current is Back and Better Than Ever

The resort boasts not only some of the finest views on the Philippine holiday isle, but also a brand-new annex with an additional 45 rooms.

Photo: Astoria Current

Closed for six months earlier this year to facilitate an island-wide cleanup, Boracay is back and better than ever. And so, too, is Astoria Current.

Located at Station 3 on the southern end of Boracay’s famous White Beach, the resort boasts not only some of the finest views on the Philippine holiday isle, but also a brand-new annex with an additional 45 rooms, including one-bedroom suites and deluxe rooms with direct pool access.

More than that, the four-story building features a 230-square-meter function room on its ground floor that is suitable for any occasion, from intimate get-togethers to grand celebrations. With more space for guests, Astoria Current is helping to set the pace for the ongoing development of Boracay as one of Asia’s favorite beach destinations.

For more information, call 63-36/288-1818.

More information here.

This article originally appeared in the December 2018/January 2019 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Current Affairs”).

The Luxe List 2018: Alila Bangsar

The Alila’s 143 guest rooms are simple, spacious, and stylish, with lots of cotton and wood and not an iota of single-use plastic.

The 41st-floor lobby at Kuala Lumpur’s Alila Bangsar.

From an intimate tented camp in the green foothills of Bali to a converted 19th-century Jesuit retreat in Tamil Nadu, our editors and reviewers have roamed the Asia-Pacific region to bring together DestinAsian’s annual collection of the year’s top hotel openings. Read on to discover which new properties stood out from the rest in terms of service, setting, amenities, and a singular sense of style.

At a glance, the Alila’s location in suburban Bangsar may seem like a minus. But with direct access to a light-rail station, easy proximity to the nightlife of Jalan Telawi and former printing factory turned gourmet hub APW, and enough distance from the hubbub of downtown Kuala Lumpur to be considered a retreat, it is in fact the hotel’s gain.

Another plus is its clutch of excellent food and beverage outlets. At Pacific Standard, a vintage Hollywood–styled bar on the 41st floor, mix master Ruben Anandha will inquire after your mood before concocting a cocktail to match (if in doubt, his chocolate negronis will hit the spot). Next door at Entier, Fukuoka-born Masashi Horiuchi, a former sous chef at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in London, presents dishes that entwine French culinary techniques with a nose-to-tail philosophy: think rich oxtail consommé and chicken baked in a salt crust.

Occupying the top five floors of a 41-story apartment tower called The Establishment, the Alila’s 143 guest rooms are simple, spacious, and stylish, with lots of cotton and wood and not an iota of single-use plastic. Communal lounges with complimentary coffee and snacks on each floor complete the picture. It’s great value.

60-3/2268-3888; alilahotels.com; doubles from US$87.

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2018 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“The Luxe List 2018: Alila Bangsar”).

Put Your Best Face Forward at Los Angeles’ Museum of Selfies

The newly opened museum celebrates the art of self-portraits with fun and quirky exhibits dedicated to helping you create your best shots.

Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

According to a newly opened Museum of Selfies in Los Angeles, the selfie isn’t just a silly by-product of the social media age, but a cultural phenomenon with roots dating back 40,000 years.

Co-founders Tommy Honton and Tair Mamedov said: “Selfies have a surprisingly rich history, and go back as far as people have been making art.”

Honton explains further, “Rembrandt did hundreds of self-portraits, Albrecht Dürer five, Van Gogh dozens … What’s the difference?

“Yes, artistic technique and scale is one thing, but in reality, if cell phones and cameras had existed, everyone would have taken them.”

Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Love it or hate it, there’s now a whole museum dedicated to the art of self-portraits — and it’s full of photo-worthy exhibits that are bound to have a place on your Instagram feed.

Fun facts about the selfie trend are just the tip of the iceberg. For instance, did you know that in New York, 61.6 percent of selfies are taken by women? The divide in Moscow is even more extreme, at 82 percent.

Thought-provoking exhibits are aplenty, including a copy of the Russian government’s recommendations for taking a selfie safely, which was created after several accidents and 12 selfie-related deaths in the country; as well as David Slater’s controversial monkey selfie — it ended up in a legal battle over copyrights as the monkey took the photo with the man’s camera.

Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Guests will find themselves posing with Colette Miller’s “Angel Wings” and whipping out their cameras for Artist Darel Carey’s multi-dimensional room, which is created with plastic tape. The latter was so popular that the museum described it as a “selfie magnet.”

Also featured is an exhibit mimicking the rooftop of Los Angeles’ tallest building, Wilshire Grand Centre. In reality, it’s a realistic photo of the ground below, printed on a platform — all the better to capture that death-defying selfie.

Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

And before you leave, be sure to take a seat in a Game of Thrones-esque throne made out of selfie sticks — what else?

The museum will stay open in Glendale for two months initially, with yet-to-be-announced plans of extending its run.

More information here.