The Tatler 10: Maple Asaro

Close Up

April 11, 2017 | BY Dian Pasquinal Kaur

Successful restaurateur and owner of Bobbi's Pole Studio Malaysia, Maple Asaro shares with us her journey to finding her own happiness.

maple1.jpg (original size)

Ever wondered why are some people happier? According to the Happiness Research Institute, 3 categories influence the happiness level of people. Those we cannot change (genetics), those we can change over time (policies) and those we can change tomorrow (behaviour).

No one’s more happy to embrace that necessary change than Maple Asaro, the successful restaurateur who together with husband Federico Asaro have build an empire around luxe properties and lip-smacking Southeast Asian cuisine under the Samadhi Retreats banner.

“I’m like a chameleon in the company. At the start, I was the creative director of marketing for six years. In recent years, I took on a different role as The Storyteller when my own business Bobbi’s Pole Studio Malaysia was born,” says the dancer, choreographer and the purveyor of holistic living.

She’s her husband’s biggest cheerleader and these days, she also plays the role as ‘the guest’, enpowering the art of living their dreams. Here, she shares with us her journey to finding her own happiness.

A brief history of Samadhi Retreats

1.jpg (original size)Villa Samadhi Singapore.

"Samadhi Retreats grew as a brand since 1999. The company started with just one restaurant with 6 tables which is Tamarind Hill in 1999. Then in 2002, Tamarind Springs came about. Our first resort Japamala in Tioman Island was opened later in 2005. Then came Villa Samadhi KL, Tamarind Hill Singapore and last year, Villa Samadhi Singapore. We also manage Kandoola Villas, a cluster of private villas at a gorgeous seaside location on the south of Sri Lanka and near the Yala National Park."

Growing from strength to strength

2.jpg (original size)Tamarind Springs, a hidden oasis in the city.

"We have been growing organically in the last 17 years. We build very slowly, progress very gently and we stick to the very core of our motive – we like small unique projects and only if it really means something to us – whether it's a specific spot we really love, a country we really enjoy being in or an idea that excites us. So, our business is a very personal one, one we're both enormously attached to. But everything we do must adhere to our strong advocacy in being at one with Mother Nature."

Favourite place in the world

3.jpg (original size)Clear azure waters and the lush greenery gives this place an air of supreme tranquility.

"Oh god, I love Japamala Resort to death. It's the most magnifiscent place on earth in my eyes – the jungle, the crystal clear sea, the quietude, the natural landscape, the animals & wildlife, our amazing team, the vista, I can go on and on. My dream is to live there forever. This place has a very special energy… special vibration."

Consistency is key

4.jpg (original size)Thai and Indo-Chinese cuisine reigns supreme at Samadhi Retreats.

"Our kitchen crew is solid. Our chefs are absolutely dedicated and loyal; and they take great pride in their work. Consistency in quality in every way is absolutely important, be it in the food, service excellence and aesthetics of the properties."

Recipe for success

5.jpg (original size)Heat up an idea, mix it up with desire and belief; and add a dash of persistence.

"Do what you love, love what you do. Because that will easily set the motivation to action, and everything you do will come from pure will."

Role model

6.jpg (original size)Maple and Federico Asaro.

"The only role model I know in the F&B and hospitality industry is my husband Federico. It was this business that he started that had inspired me to be a part of it in the first place. His style, vision, dreams and aspirations are the same as mine. And I dont know a more die-hard and hungry entrepreneur who started with absolutely nothing except gumption and great taste. I'm an ardent fan."

Mastering the art of doing nothing

7.jpg (original size)Maple has been experiencing major spiritual transformation in the last year.

"My mantra is simple, do nothing. Most of the time, I lie around in my bikini doing nothing. Dance is still my biggest love – it's work but it's my joy. I also started meditating lately, ever since I've realised my spiritual path in the last one year. It's like gardening when I meditate – I pluck out the weeds and plant new seeds and then I only focus on the breath. It gives my mind a break from thinking rubbish!"

Biggest misconception

8.jpg (original size)Just living her dreams. 

"The biggest misconception people have of me is that I'm pretentious and materialistic, maybe? Perhaps due to my love for fashion and the business that Samadhi is."

Favourite restaurant at the moment

9.jpg (original size)Shojin ryori is the traditional dining style of Buddhist monks in Japan. (Photo:

"I have two new favourites this year! It's a temple in Koyasan, Kyoto which serves monk cuisine (shojin ryori) and a restaurant in Trieste, Italy called Scarpone. I just love to eat, period."

Date night tips

10.jpg (original size)Not just a restaurant, it's a destination.

"I know I'm going to sound  biased but I think Tamarind Springs is a valid answer because it has the most sensational atmosphere! The surroundings will already do everything for when the entire universe conspires to make it work for you simply by just being."

 In our last The Tatler 10 column, Keegan Flynn shares how the Doctor2u app is all set to innovate Malaysian healthcare.