Marsa Malaz kempinski – An Oasis of Art Masterpieces

With its 281 rooms including 73 suites, 2 Presidential and 2 Royal suites, personalized butler and the breathtaking panoramic views over the Arabian Gulf, white sandy beach and 8 individual pools, Marsa Malaz Kempinsiki is incomparable to other hotels.

Bespoke artworks in each room, reflecting the region’s rich heritage and history, are part of what gives the hotel its distinctive and authentic Arabic feel.  Integrated into the distinct Arabic theme of the hotel are subtle Venetian influences inspired by the piazzas of Italy; much of the hotel’s artwork forms part of a huge collection of Italian art – installations, sculptures, paintings and fabrics.

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From floors, walls, light fixtures, headboards, chairs to tables chandeliers – everything has been beautifully designed, skillfully crafted – the hotel is an architectural marvel.  Add to this the array of modern Arabian art throughout its premises and you have a destination to behold.

Throughout the rooms and suites of the hotel, you’ll find Arabic influences in the opulent fabrics, the lanterns and glassware, and unique collections of artwork on display. Furnishings are Syrian-inspired and hand-crafted with mother of pearl elements embedded in each piece, including the headboards. In total, there are more than 600,000 shimmering pieces of mother-of-pearl and over 1800 styles of mosaic across the entire hotel.


With more than 50 chandeliers from simple, chic designs to colourful and extravagant, each making a statement.  In the lobby – “The Tree of Life” extends branches crafted from glass adorned with 12 multi-coloured hummingbirds made from mouth-blown Murano glass with three glass flowers hanging at the bottom, representing love, life and happiness.



Below the “Tree of Life” is a Spanish art installation, the pearl-granate. The piece has its own story, rather than a pomegranate, the pearl-granate fell off the “Tree of Life” and cracked open. The hummingbirds tried to pick the fruit, albeit unsuccessfully, as the inside are pearls rather than actual fruit seeds.


Murano glass chandeliers hang over the grand staircase, hand-made by glass-blowers in Venice. Altogether, they are made up of over 44,000 pieces that took six weeks to assemble, each forming the shape of an oyster shell in a colourful homage to Qatar’s pearl diving heritage.




The “Flowers and Butterflies” and the Bronze sculpture of a Quranic verse by famous Iraqi designer Ahmed Bahrani


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Ahmed Bahrani also created a bronze horse sculpture in front of the hotel.  The 18 meters tall sculpture honours the tradition of the Arabian horses and the importance the breed has played culturally, not only in Qatar, but in the region.  Its intricate detail, sculpted with defined muscles emphasizing on the horse movement, took more than four weeks to install (made of 23 pieces and weighs a more-than-sizeable 45 tonnes).


What better way than to spend an afternoon tea with your girlfriends at Café Murano surrounded by such beautiful conversational pieces.  Scattered Murano vases and “the Silver Samurai” by none other than the Czek artist Jiří Šuhájek –  this 1990’s art piece made of Murano glass and steel reflects the winter season.


You can find more of Jiří Šuhájek art pieces on display throughout the hotel.  The El Faro boasts 4 of his paintings, which combine different materials, colour splashes and gold paint.

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Head to the Spa by Clarins reception, where dreamy glass installation ‘The Coral Tree’ is located, crafted from 600 hand-blown pieces of bohemian glass in different shades of blue.


Six uniquely-decorated plant pots have been covered with a beautiful combination of cracked turtle shells and mother-of-pearl.

Installations by Ahmed Allawi grace the corridors of the hotel

Ali Hassan – famous for his distinct canvas paintings – also has his works on display.

Other popular artwork can be found throughout the hotel.

The next time you visit Marsa Malaz Kempinski , whether for an afternoon tea or dinner, look around you and be mesmerized by the remarkable art collection.  It will be an afternoon you will never forget.




Unapologetically passionate about photography…

I admit, I am unapologetically passionate about photography.

I totally understand that we should NEVER confuse passion with hobby- hobby is something that one does outside work, for relaxation, such as walking, listening to music, reading or visit an art gallery, being passionate is doing something that simultaneously relaxes you and drives you crazy.

Personally, photography is a powerful tool that allows me to express myself, capturing moments to share, the way I see things around me, the excitement felt when finding interesting things in ordinary spaces and giving me the privilege of revisiting moments long after I’ve have forgotten everything.

A hobbyist photographer will be satisfied with the magic of a great image.  A passionate photographer will relentlessly continue pursuing the magic regardless of any circumstances that ordinarily would stop a hobbyist.

When I started photography out of interest, it was all “so awesome”. I felt like a child with a new toy discovering new possibilities, pretty soon, I grew unimpressed with my own shots. I guess that’s what happens when you constantly look at works of professional photographers. From then on, it was all “uphill”, In  my free time I went about exploring places, trying new angles, looking to capture that perfect moment.- most days I would get zero keeper shots, on good days I would get 1 or 2.

Despite the challenge, tI knew this was just something I  really wanted to do.  It wasn’t easy in account of the overwhelming randomness of the streets and the huge possibility of people thinking I was inappropriate, asking random people permission to take their pictures.

Countless times I had given up, my camera lay there almost as an object d’art, a feature of my lounge décor, just as many times I picked it up and clicked away. Time and again, I asked myself “why am I doing this again?” It was just so hard, yet I kept at it, something inside me driving me to try harder each time, I guess that’s where passion comes in.

Passion will push you to your limits. It demand sacrifices and make it hard on you. But you don”t mind the hard work, because you know it will make you better. And when it pays off, it will surprise you with opportunities you’ve never even dreamed of. Trust me.

Ultimately, for me, when you’re doing something that you really like, you might as well try to be very good at it. Otherwise, what’s the point, right?

I created this page on my website to share my photography journey – some of my favourite pictures.

I do hope that you will enjoy this page and I would love to hear your feedback.

I will be updating this page regularly as iIfilter through my files…. 🙂

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All the pictures featured on this post were taken with a Nikon Coolpix L840 courtesy of Salam Stores

Location: South Africa

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Today we meet , Atiyya Laher , born in South Africa and raised in the UAE – a fashion Stylist, designer and blogger

US: Hi Atiyya, could you start by telling us a bit about yourself?

Atiyya:  Born in South Africa and raised in the UAE. I grew fond of diversity, change and adventure. I believe firmly in positivity, equality and ambition and feel that trying is the answer to a greater future. Luckily for me I have the greatest support system that is my family, my husband and my friends and they give me my daily dose of motivation that gets through each day.

US: At what age did you start becoming fascinated with fashion?

Atiyya: My mum has always been a major influence in my life when it came to my closet. She was an absolute diva in the fashion department and made sure her daughter followed her footsteps but it was at 18 that I decided why not make a career out of it if I love it so much.

US: Tell us about your fashion designing? Do you still get to design a lot?

Atiyya: Having graduated with a B.A degree in fashion and design I felt my first step to the real world would be to gain experience under the most prestigious designers possible – I’m talking Elie Saab, Proenza Schouler and even Oscar De La Renta. While I do not design full time, I take opportunities to design for friends and family and even potential clients who want something original and specially made. I must boast a little and mention that my greatest achievement this far was designing my wedding dress and my husband’s tux.

US: Where can we view/purchase your designs?

Atiyya: My design portfolio unfortunately is not available for view unless of course you are looking to have something designed. Until I have a steady line up and running, all designs are made especially for my clients and kept for their eyes only. However my styling portfolio is available on my blog – and you can reach me on the website at any time.

US: How did you prepare for a career in styling?

Atiyya: Styling has always been an ambition of mine and I was awarded an internship fresh out of my graduation with a luxury boutique. As everyone says you have to start at the bottom and that’s what I did. I wrote articles, copy edited, styled and studio managed as an intern which then grew into an opportunity for me to becoming the new online stylist – I grabbed it with my hands and teeth!

US: How do you stay updated on the current trends?

Atiyya: Trends are one of the most exciting aspects of working in fashion. My most efficient methods lie at the hands of my best friends; fashion magazines. While the street is full of trending ideas, none are official unless they’re in print and shown off at fashion week.

US: How important is Fashion Week for you?

Atiyya: Super duper important! Fashion week defines what your wardrobe is set to look like for the next 6 months and that means shopping! Not only do I spoil myself rotten but it means I get to play style consultant for a whole new set of themes that inspire other people.

US: What is your dream job?

Atiyya: Once I have conquered the fashion world and by that I mean I have gotten my designs across the globe successfully, I would love to teach arts and motivate in the creative world. Education is a gift and I believe it’s the best gift we can impart on our youth.

US: How important is communication between yourself and the photographer that you’ll be working with? What sorts of things do you do to prepare yourself for an upcoming shoot?


Atiyya: Like any team based work there needs to be constant communication and chemistry. Having an open mind and being free to suggestions is key because while you might see an image in a particular way, the photographer might see it in a better perspective. My preparations consist of 3 main things: research, quality check and endless accessory options.

US: Name the top three things in your styling kit that are must-haves?

Atiyya: Pegs, lipstick and a smile.

US: What is most challenging about what you do?

Atiyya: Styling is a very physical job; you are on your feet 24/7, moving from the rail to the set to the model and it requires superior precision. If anything, it keeps my feet moving all the time which means I get to skip leg day at the gym!
US: In addition to designing and styling you also blog. How do you find the time to do all of this and tell us a bit more about the other projects that you are working on.?

Atiyya: Blogging is a recent venture I have come to enjoy and do it purely to share my views on the fashion world. I don’t like routine because I don’t like boredom and the 2 are very closely related for me. I am able to manage the many things I enjoy to do solely because I want to do them – passion is a driving quality that doesn’t let procrastination approach.

US: How would you describe your own personal style?

Atiyya: It really depends on my mood. Some days it’s preppy with a mix and match chic while on others its anything works with everything. I do maintain a certain quality and that is to have really exciting denim!

US: What’s a typical work week like?

Atiyya: A 9 hour day at work, 5 days a week which embodies on set styling and still life styling. Squeezing in a few photography sessions for my own blog here and there which then takes me home to a session of gym, a delicious dinner and skype sessions with family abroad.

US: What do you think will be the big hits fashion wise for next season?

Atiyya: We’ve had velvet make a major comeback this season and I don’t think it’s going leave anytime soon. Also the perfection of ankle boots, white sneakers and off shoulder cuts seem to have devoured the fashion world and I am so excited to see the versions of them being sold in stores soon.

US: Where do you tend to buy your clothes, and why?

Atiyya: I don’t have a flagship store – I look for unique items which define me as a person and this could be found anywhere from Zara to Kate Spade. I tend to do a lot of online shopping at boutiques which hold a variety of brands because hey it’s convenient and I get everything I want all at once.

US: What do you splurge on?

Atiyya: Shoes! We have a serious relationship going on and it’s not one I’m going to give out on soon. You can wear the same outfit twice with a different shoe and it will look totally different!

US: Do shops and advertisers send you samples of their goods to feature?

Atiyya: Some have but I don’t encourage it, nor do I sign up for affiliate programs. I like to speak about items solely on the fact that I love them and not for any form of compensation.

US: Do you have any fashion rules when putting an outfit together?

Atiyya: Always consider proportion play!


US: Where do you find the inspiration for your blog posts?

Atiyya: The idea that someone who is reading my blog posts are feeling happy, pleased or inspired is all it takes.

US: Who is your fashion inspiration?

Atiyya: Sarah Jessica Parker.


US: What’s your next fashion must have?

Atiyya: Miu Miu’s Satin Ballet Flats – on the top of the list!

US: Who does your amazing photography?

Atiyya: When it comes to style curation and street-style, that is all me but the mastermind behind my portraits is my husband – he sure does have a lot of patience.

US: How many times a week do you post on your blog?

Atiyya: I try to post an article once a week and a flash of inspiration every morning.

US: Where do you see yourself taking your styling career?

Atiyya: Working as a full time stylist has given me the opportunity to become a styling consultant on a free-lance basis. I do hope that from here I could work on the runway, styling for designers back stage and for look-books.

US: What events do you like to be a part of when it comes to designing and styling?

Atiyya: Anything and everything that is new, trending and exciting. Local talent shows, fashion exhibitions and even street-events are always sure to bring colour and is a wonderful place to network.

US: What advice would you give to anyone wishing to pursue this career path?

Atiyya: Don’t give up. You will always find someone better than you – learn from them. Someone will always tell you it’s not good enough – work harder. There will always be a difficult challenge – conquer it!

US: Your message for 2017 is…….

Atiyya: Just because you’re not ready, doesn’t mean you can’t do it.­

Follow Atiyya on :

Instagram: atiyya_laher


Twitter: @Tiya7399



Meet Alexander Joe

Alexander Joe,  a Zimbabwean-born photographer whose interest in photography began at the age of 19 when he was influenced by British fashion photographer David Bailey’s work. But, as the war to end white-minority rule in his home country escalated, Alexander’s interest turned from fashion photography towards documenting the political struggle of blacks in Rhodesia as Zimbabwe was then known. His first camera was an instamatic 126mm. From taking pictures of his two young daughters, he progressed to freelancing and tried to get a job as a trainee photographer with a daily paper, but was turned down due his color. Undaunted, he started doing freelance work for UPI and other international organizations. When the black townships became too dangerous for the white photographers on the local daily paper, he was offered a job as a staff photographer on the Rhodesia Herald. While this was a breakthrough, Alexander continued running into problems when he was covering white events. He worked for the Herald until Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980. He then headed for London to try his luck in Fleet Street where he worked for the Times of London, The Observer and The Daily Mail. He returned to Africa after being offered a job by the international – news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP). Based in Harare, Zimbabwe, he covered thirteen countries, documenting famine in Ethiopia, and wars in eight countries among other major news events. From 1991 to 2001 he was based in Nairobi, Kenya, from where he covered several stories, traveling to Swaziland and Uganda for the coronation of kings, and to South Africa for the release of Nelson Mandela from 27 years in jail. In 1994 and in 2001, Alexander was one of the members of the World Press Photo jury. Exhibitions of his work have been held in Zimbabwe, the UK, Kenya, Mali, and France. Alexander was based in South Africa until March 2014, he is now freelancing from his new home base in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

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Q: What first inspired you to become a journalist?

A:  I become a photojournalist during my countries war of independence from White Rhodesia rule recording what was happening in the townships. My first dream was to become a fashion photographer. I then found my true love documenting people and daily life.

Q: Would you still choose this career knowing what you know now?

A: I would still choose this career. I see myself as a historian recording history with my camera.


Q: What are the characteristics that make a successful journalist?

A: The characteristics that make a good journalists is loving what you do , been observant and listening to people .

Q: What interests you the most?

A: People interest me a lot,  most of all children are amazing lovely to photograph, they are so natural.

Q: What do you love about your job?

A: The thing that love about my work is it has made me look at life in so many different ways from starving people in drought photographing Nelson Mandela walking out of prison to the coronation of the king of Switzerland.

Q: Did you get to choose where you’re posted?

A: I was lucky that I was always posted in Africa in Zimbabwe, Kenya and then South Africa.

Q: How do you decide on the approach to take on the subject you are pursuing?

A: In the early days of my career I used to have images in my head that I was going to make. I quickly realised you can only photograph what is there to tell a true story.

Q: What is the most outrageous story/assignment you had to cover?

A: Outrageous story  or Assignment?,  I think covering the miss world contest after covering wars and then having to deal with  some very nice ladies and some divas.

Q: Have you ever been in any dangerous situation covering a story?

A:  I have been in dangerous situation many time during my 30 years working as a photojournalist.  Once in Burundi protesters want to kill me just because they did not know who I was, lucky for one on the protesters knew me and greet me so he saved my life with me knowing until later that day.

Q: Do you think journalists have a mission or a duty to promote diversity and better understanding?

A:  Most journalists are there to cover the story but there are few that are on a mission.

Q: Do you think it is possible for a journalist covering a controversial situation to remain objective and neutral?

 A: I think that a true journalists will cover  a controversial situation in an objective way.

Q: Have you ever covered a story/assignment you felt strongly against and what did you do? If you refused, what was the consequence? Or if you did your job, how do you resolve the personal/moral/ethical/philosophical conflict?

 A: Yes I have covered stories that I was against in my head without knowing the story . People have an option about things in life without getting to know and understand the situation or the person. I try not to have a preconceived idea of the story.

Q: How do you resolve the ethical dilemma of being a spectator covering a story when you could have helped out in a situation?

A: I never see myself as a spectator. Journalist are there to do a job. By covering the story you are helping to educate/ information the world on what is happening.

Q: What is the competition like competing against other journalist for a story?

A: There is aways competition between journalists to get the story or pictures first.  It is a competitive business; your news paper, TV station and news agency want the story first.

Q: What are things you don’t like about current journalism practices that you wish can change?

A: The new social media way of covering news like fake news is given journalism a bad name.  Most recently fox in the US covering the Canadian mosque  shooting reported that the person that did the shooting was a Muslim . The Canadian government said it was a young White man. Fox did not stop reporting the wrong news until the Canadian government asked them,  why they are giving wrong news.


Q: Do you feel like your reporting is making an impact?

A: I do think that reporting on stories does made an impact. Some days Good and bad. During the Mozambique war people fled to Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe government was said just a few displaced people . I went and covered the story and found thousands and called them refugees and after that UN and international organisation started to get the refugees. There has been many time media has made an impression on world government and people.

Q: What advise do you have for a journalist student wanting to get into the field

A: My advise to upcoming journalist follow your dreams there is a huge world out there to be covered and with the electronic age you can do it. When I started as a photographer it was in days of film so learning,  film, developing and printing photos were expensive.  Today the digital world is much cheaper.

Q: Your message for 2017?

A: My message  for 2017.  Go out and tell world about all the great things that Africa has food,  fashion, culture and it’s people make this Africa year. Make Africa and the 3rd world the most important thing.

For more info on Alexander Joe,

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Alexander Joe


Mobile: +261 341329916

Skype: alexjoe51


Address: Antananarivo, Madagascar



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