Perched on the rooftop terrace of Star Boulevard KLCC is the newly opened Castra, a luxury encampment set in an expansive 4,000 sq ft private garden lounge. Castra is husband-and-wife-duo Timothy Tiah and Audrey Ooi’s latest venture which offers Malaysians a bespoke glamping experience without having to travel to the outskirts of town.
“When we first opened Colony, the rooftop was empty,” said Tiah, who also co-founded Colony, the chic co-working space located within the same building. One of his investors came for the launch of Colony and suggested that Tiah should open a rooftop bar upstairs. However, the 35-year-old entrepreneur didn’t think it would be good for business.
“I think there are many bars out there with a better view than this. I’ve also never been in F&B so I wouldn’t know how to do it well. I wanted to build something that was different and offered a new kind of experience,” he admits.
It was the same sentiment that fuelled the inception of Colony, which redefined the work experience in Malaysia by offering a less mundane workspace. For Castra, Tiah conducted some research on glamping and found none of them were really over the top, until he came across W Hotel’s terrace yurt in Manhattan.
“They did glamping right in the city, so I thought of putting together something like that too here. We want it to be a place for people to have parties but they have the choice of staying over if they want to,” he adds.
While Castra offers accommodation, it is positioned more as an event space. The glamping site has only been opened for a few weeks but a number of events such as birthday parties, hen’s nights and corporate launches have already been hosted here.
Two sizable canopy tents, equipped with air-conditioning, premium beds and linens and a HD television, are situated at both ends of the garden. Inside, patterned rugs layer the floor while a fair share of tasselled pillows and pom-pom blankets cosy up the space.
“We wanted the design in Castra to complement the design downstairs,” says Ooi, who is in charge of the interior design of both Colony and Castra.
“Colony Star Boulevard was designed to look like one of those loft studios in Manhattan, New York. So we have brick walls balanced out with luxurious textiles like fur and velvet in rich colours and tones. I wanted to bring that feeling of luxury to Castra but didn’t want it to look exactly the same.
“We decided on more earthy, neutral tones like browns and reds, and played a lot with texture. We also brought in very soft poufs, cushions and carpets because we want it to be very comfortable. It came out looking a bit Moroccan because of the earthy tones but the idea was just to create a comfortable space that complements Colony.”
Each tent, which is also double-layered and waterproof, can host up to five people comfortably.
“Everything is convertible and the furniture is quite light so it is easy to move around. As long as you seal the tent up properly, no rain will go in. We want to make the experience as comfortable and easy for our guests,” Ooi adds.
Tiah, on the hand, favours the barbeque deck.
“I want to change the barbeque experience. Whenever my friends invite me over for a barbeque, I don’t get excited about it. I always have to manage my expectations that I’ll either eat really late because it takes a while to start the charcoal fire or I’ll eat under or overcooked food. So with a place like this, you can hire professionals to do it for you and you can just enjoy.”
Castra is also equipped with outdoor speakers, unlimited high speed wifi and an on-site shower with organic toiletries. Fairy lights illuminate the entire garden when the sun sets, turning the glamping site into a photogenic respite in a concrete jungle.