Founder and managing director of SensAsia Urban Spa, Salina Handa’s contemporary-Asian Palm Jumeirah retreat, – which she shares with her husband Kavit and five-year-old twin daughters, Sienna and Soraya – is filled with Far Eastern design details that emphasise her interior aesthetic, which was nurtured and developed during her years spent in Thailand.
The couple weren’t afraid to make some major architectural changes to ensure the layout matched their wants and needs. “We gutted the place and rebuilt a lot of it,” says Salina, explaining that the home originally had five bedrooms, but they converted the two with the best views into the master bedroom. The process took around a year to complete due to some unforeseen challenges. “Getting a dining room table of that size in one piece of wood with no breaks or joins in it was a bit of a task!” says Salina. “We had to get it custom-made and now we couldn’t move it if we tried.” Another major task in the build was the foyer light, which required “a crane, an extremely big container and six very clever men to install!”
Given that Salina and her husband are known to be the most generous of hosts, it is no surprise that their favourite part of the house is the dining room. “All of the fun and laughter happens there. We entertain friends at home about twice a week; I love to cook for them. We recently bought these tiny bowls from the north of Thailand and I’ve been inviting people over for Thai tapas nights. I make eight to 10 courses!” They also use their landscaped garden, which backs onto the beach, pool and outdoor kitchen, to entertain regularly.
Another room full of character is the children’s bedroom. Salina describes it as “hand-painted with life-sized murals of Peter Pan and his friends, with Tinker Bell splashing fairy dust on the top of each of the girls’ beds. I let my imagination go wild. I decorated it for me as much as for them. It’s magical,” she smiles.
Salina worked with interior designer Julia Dempster of Interior Motives to ensure her vision was realised. “I grew up in Thailand and still go back there as much as I can, so there is definitely an underlying Far Eastern theme throughout my home. I have really tried to create tranquillity, which is so important to my life and my business. I had a lot of involvement in designing all four of the SensAsia Urban Spas as well as my own villa, so there is definitely some overlap between the way home and work looks and feels for me!“
● Make sure that everything in your home means something to you.
● Surround yourself with colours that make you feel happy and relaxed.
● Connect with the artwork in your home. It shouldn’t just be a bunch of pictures hanging on the wall.