Artisans of life, each Secret Retreats Member in their own unique manner showcases their country’s most precious gifts, particularly when it comes to the sense of place, art, culture, community and cuisine. Shunning traditional hospitality experiences, they all wish to welcome guests in unconventional and wondrous ways as a personal host rather than a hotelier.
As connoisseurs of the finer things in life, each engaging property owner ensures guests are treated to unique cultural experiences while staying true to their own individual passions. Read on to learn more about the visionaries who set set the scene behind some of the finest boutique residences, hotels, restaurants and cruises in Asia.
Andrew and Marit Miners - Misool, Indonesia
"Saving the World’s Richest Reefs"
As the visionaries behind Misool, an eco dive resort and conservation centre situated in Raja Ampat in Indonesia, Andrew and Marit Miners have successfully turned a former shark finning camp into a sanctuary for baby sharks averaging a 250% increase in fish biomass over a five-year period…
Lamphoune Voravongsa - Satri House, Laos
"Luang Prabang’s Protector of the Past"
Born in Laos, but exiled to France at a young age, Lamphoune Voravongsa returned to her roots after 30 years abroad. Dedicated to showcasing Laos’ art, culture and history, she purchased the former residence of Prince Soupha-nouvong, the resistance leader who later became Laos’ first president in 1975, and turned the colonial home into one of Luang Prabang’s leading boutique guesthouses...
Young Hwan Ahn - RakKoJae, South Korea
"Master Carpenter and Human National Treasure"
Young H. Ahn is a Master Carpenter and Human National Treasure who’s personal love for Korea’s hanok (traditional houses) led him to both preserving and celebrating Korean architecture. This passion is reflected in the two properties he created, RakKoJae Seoul and RakKoJae Hahoe, both of which have received international acclaim…
Dileep Singh Rathore – Talabgaon Castle, India
"Reviving Rajasthan’s Legendary Era of Nobility"
With a professional background in film, Dileep Singh Rathore restored and converted his family’s legendary 150-year-old castle, Talabgaon, into a boutique hotel and heritage resort. The restoration of Talabgaon Castle’s palatial estate grounds and extensive facilities are an expression of Dileep’s desire to share his family history and culture with fellow travellers…
Jean-Paul Duvergé – Muang La, Laos
"Explorer of Laos’ Remote Hill Tribes"
A French native, Jean-Paul’s love affair with Laos and commitment to sustainable, community-based tourism lead him to create the remote Muang La Resort in 2007, an intimate eco lodge built with the local community…
Anhar Setjadibrata – Tugu Hotels, Indonesia
"Keeper of Indonesian Art"
The quintessential Renaissance Man, Anhar Setiadibrata is a hotelier, physician, lawyer and the owner of a priceless collection of fine Indonesian art and cultural antiquities. His passion for Indonesian art and history began while he was a young medical student in Java and today has turned into the stunning group of Tugu Hotels that now showcase his art collection.
Marcus Cotton & Jhalak Raj Chaudary – Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, Nepal
"Dedicated to Responsible Conservation Tourism"
Marcus Cotton and Jhalak Raj Chaudhary are the two main faces of Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge and dedicated to creating a haven for guests that reflects the region’s natural beauty, culture and community. Both men embrace a vision for Responsible Conservation Tourism and this commitment is apparent in all they do…
Joji Kanaya – Kinugawa Kanaya Hotel, Japan
"Carrying on the Family Legacy"
Joji Kanaya comes from a long lineage of leaders in the hospitality industry. His grandfather, Senji “John” Kanaya, was a charismatic man who grew up in a Western environment and founded the Kinugawa Kanaya Hotel. Carrying on his grandfather’s spirit and vision, Joji Kanaya continues to offer world-class facilities and services combining the best of both Japanese and Western cultures…
Patti Seery – Silolona Sojourns, Indonesia
"Cultural Liaison and Conservation"
Patti Seery has been actively involved with the rich and vibrant cultures of the Dani and Asmat peoples of Irian Jaya since moving to Indonesia in 1983. Over the past several decades, Patti has served as a cultural liaison, arranged exhibitions, led cultural exchange tours and initiated a significant local mapping project. She has also been extensively involved in the preservation and recognition of Asmat art…
Yin Myo Suu – Inle Heritage Stilt Houses and Inle Princess, Myanmar
“Madame Yin Myo Suu, or the Hand of Fate...”
What an epic story for the Lady of the Lake! Born in 1972 on the shores of the great and magnificent Inle lake in the Shan state, she was barely four years old when her father opened a countryside Inle Inn to welcome remote and rare western tourists.
Agus Supramono – Arumdalu Eco Resort, Indonesia
“From Engineer to Eco Hotelier”
Coming from an engineering background, the owner of Arumdalu Belitung, Pak Agus, had an ambitious dream for the property that he’s slowly but surely turning into reality – to create a zero-waste, eco-friendly and sustainable luxury resort.
Valérie Blouin - Golden Buddha Beach Resort, Thailand
“Valérie, the "three seas" spirit of adventures...”
Valérie Blouin was brought up in Britany, the western part of France well known for its navigators and privateers, sailing through the Atlantic ocean. University graduate in politics and history, she then decided to enter in the business world and crossed the Channel to reach Great Britain, a nation famous for its Navy; she stayed in London for 30 years, pursuing a career in marketing research, journalism and more recently digital marketing.
Noel and Cecile Rodrigo - Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris
“A tale of two loves, from sky to earth and from West to East”
Noel Rodrigo, native of Sri Lanka, had been contemplating the land from the sky, high in the air on Sri Lankan airline, as a cabin manager for 25 years. Canvassing the world, complying with professional requirements of upper-standard and interfacing with travellers of all nationalities every day, he got attuned to many cultures and to a sense of company that made him part of a "global village".