February 07 2013
How well I
remember my first time. We met in my hotel room at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. I
was still damp from my bubble bath. One touch and I instantly felt like
snuggling under the covers, which we did all night and into the next day.
We stayed locked in that comforting embrace until, eventually, I separated myself from the 100 per cent chenille microfibre Ploh plush robe (first picture, $174) – but only to go horizontal on the massage table. Fast-forward 90 blissful minutes and I can clearly recall standing amid the shiny black walls of Plateau Spa after the therapist had completed his kneading of my jetlagged limbs. As quickly as I could, I wrapped this oversized joy around me once again.
I began to encounter the Ploh robe – with its shawl collar that strokes my neck like cashmere and front pockets for tenderly sheltering my hands – at other hotels around Asia. There it hung in the lacquered bathroom of the Nam Hai on China Beach in Vietnam, overlooking the Blade Runner cityscape at Shanghai’s Hyatt on the Bund, inside a Chinese wedding cabinet-cum-closet at the Aman Summer Palace and above the Indian Ocean at Taj Exotica Maldives, to name just a few. When a man I mistook for the love of my life dumped me (but asked if I would still send him entertaining emails), I was especially grateful to find this hotel perk at Amankora in the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.
Who needs a partner, I wondered, with all this tactile softness? So I decided to seek out the makers of this emerging cult favourite, and was surprised to find that the company’s showroom and head office was located barely a kilometre from where I sat, at the St Regis Singapore, wearing yet another Ploh dressing gown and, this time, slippers too. Back then, the nascent company had no online sales, so I disrobed into civvies and marched down Orchard Road, the city state’s main shopping conduit.
In the ultra-luxe comfort of Ploh’s chenille-and-cashmere-filled showroom, I cried one last time over Mr Wrong. Perhaps I felt enveloped by the tender softness of the Ploh universe, which extends to goose-down-and-feather pillows (second picture, from $119), as well as 800-thread-count Egyptian cotton bed linens (from $49). Unsurprisingly for someone who founded a company aimed at upping the comfort quotient under cover, the American-educated Malaysian owner, Richard Loh, knew just how to handle this chick-lit moment. He handed me three pieces of high-quality chocolate and Ploh’s price list. Just to be on the safe side, I left with two new purchases – the robe I no longer wished to live without and a cashmere travel blanket ($1,752) for those otherwise excruciating hours between one Ploh hotel and another.