While most cultures celebrate the new year with rowdy celebrations, revelry and fireworks, in Bali the dawning of… Keep Reading
Your weekly up-close view of those wow factor extras that make our villas outstanding. After all, attention to detail always makes a difference.
Elite Havens has extended its Asian market-leading luxury vacation villa collection with the acquisition of SILK’s 12 exceptional properties on the Thai island of Koh Samui.
The incorporation of SILK’s management and marketing portfolio creates an unrivalled selection of 18 high-end holiday villas on the island, including ‘Panacea Retreat’ – the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Samui’s private luxury retreats.
“The acquisition complements our 42 properties on Phuket as Elite Havens continues expanding across Asia, with spectacular growth this year also including Niseko Boutiques in Japan’s most famous ski resort and VillaNaBali’s luxury villa retreats in Bali.
“Elite Havens proudly now offers greater diversity of choice than ever to our 70,000 guests each year at more than 200 of the region’s finest private luxury villas from Phuket and Koh Samui to Bali, Lombok, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Japan.”
In the new Koh Samui portfolio acquired from SILK, the extravagant ‘Praana Residence’ at ‘Panacea Retreat’is unquestionably the island’s finest private luxury retreat.
More like a private hotel, the extravagant 6-bedroom hilltop residence is a pleasure dome of delights and surprises complete with its own restaurant, casino, 10-seater private cinema, billiards room and karaoke night club – with outstanding sports and wellbeing amenities including a floodlit tennis court, fully-equipped gym, massage and sauna rooms, two infinity pools and an open-air Muay Thai boxing ring.
The bespoke collection also includes stunning havens from designer-styled ‘Villa Suralai’ and beachfront retreats ‘Baan Dalah’ and ‘Villa Nueng’ to trendsetters ‘Villa Spice and ‘Villa Zest’ at Lime Samui, and elegant and sophisticated ‘Kalya Residence’ at Panacea Retreat.
Blending unsurpassed tropical beauty with world-class cuisine, luxury spas, a vibrant party scene and five-star hospitality, Koh Samui is a perfect match for the Elite Havens signature style of luxury. Getting there is easy, with direct daily flights from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Xi’an.
Established in 2016 by founder Milos Kosanovic, SILK offers clients Bespoke Management and Marketing Programs with personalised attention that is unrivalled in the Koh Samui luxury market, blending expertise in marketing, hospitality and property management. Only exceptional properties have been chosen to be part of SILK’s portfolio, each with a unique offering for its guests. Keeping the portfolio limited in size allows SILK a high degree of focus.
One of the highlights of staying at a private villa on your vacation is that you get to sample superb food prepared exclusively for you by skilled in-house chefs – many of whom have trained at internationally renowned restaurants. Elite Havens’ villa menus showcase an extensive range of Asian delights to cater to every guest’s tastes, but of course each chef has his or her own particular specialties that shouldn’t be missed. With much coaxing and cajoling, we’ve persuaded some of our chefs to spill the beans and share their favourite recipes with us here.
In Villa Wang Nam Jai’s sleek modern kitchen, Chef Meaw cooks up the largest prawns we’ve ever seen to make her delicious Penang curry.
Penang Curry recipe
Step 1. Heat up a griddle pan and a frying pan.
Step 2. Wash the prawn and cut in half (leave the shell and head on).
Step 3. Oil the prawn and when the griddle pan is hot place the two halves of prawn flesh side down.
Step 4. Add ½ cup coconut milk to the frying pan and let it come to the boil at a medium heat, making sure to stir.
Step 5. Add the Panang paste to the frying pan and stir in for 2 minutes and then add the remaining coconut milk and continue to stir for 1 minute.
Step 6. Turn the prawn.
Step 7. Add the palm sugar and fish sauce to the frying pan and stir and then add the pea eggplants.
Step 8. Once the prawn is pink, add to the frying pan and cook on a low heat for a 1 – 2 minutes.
Step 9. Add some of the sliced chili and sliced Kaffir lime leaves, leaving some for garnish.
Step 10. Place on a plate and garnish with the remaining red chili slices and kaffir lime leaves.
A world-class destination famous for its white-sand beaches, eclectic nightlife and outstanding shopping malls and boutiques, Phuket continues to go from strength to strength. If you’re looking to splurge and live it up celebrity-style while on holiday, the island delivers an abundance of luxurious and ultra-chic experiences: sample some of Thailand’s delectable cuisine at a five-star restaurant, enjoy an exotic cocktail garnished with a sea breeze and tropical sunset, or charter a yacht and explore the region by sea, your options are endless.
Experience Gourmet life
Looking for a luxury gourmet break? Holidays are the perfect excuse to indulge in delicious cuisine every day, and when you stay in an Elite Havens villa, that’s exactly what you can expect – without even having to get dressed! Just sit back, relax and enjoy as your private chef creates a range of beautiful dishes to tantalize your taste buds, including local Thai delights, western favourites and even special menus for the kids.
With all those tempting treats available in-villa you might well decide to stay put, but if you do fancy a night out you’re in the right place. Phuket is no stranger to good food and offers something for everyone, from the tastiest street food to the finest of fine-dining establishments.
Try the unique, Michelin-starred, PRU , which focuses on locally sourced organic and free-range foods and has earned quite a name for itself since it opened in 2016. In fact, several of Phuket’s sumptuous eateries were given a special mention in the 2019 Michelin Guide for Bangkok, Phuket and Phang Nga, so if you are looking to splurge for a night on the town be sure to check out some of these outstanding places.
Enjoy Phuket’s VIPs Beach Clubs
Once your appetite has been sated, perhaps it’s time to drop in for a few drinks at one of Phuket’s ultra-popular beach clubs. In recent years, these stylish entertainment venues have taken over the island’s party scene, and while there are many clubs to choose from, the decadent Catch Beach Club is among the most highly rated, and knows how to lay on the red carpet treatment. With a stunning location on Bangtao Beach, Catch Beach Club has a high-quality bar, restaurant and chic lounge, and offers day passes that include VIP Double Bed privileges as well as credits on food and beverage.
Nothing says tropical holiday quite like a hand-woven hammock which evokes thoughts of bleached white beaches, dream-filled siestas, sea-breeze cocktails and star-gazing nights.
There’s something magical about being suspended in mid-air; the hammock’s gentle swaying calms your thoughts, settles your heartbeat, and lulls you into reverie or slumber. That’s true whether you’re beachside in Koh Samui or nested in a goose down comforter someplace cold, daydreaming about a good hammock swing.
And yet, unlike Central and South America, Asia has no hammock-making tradition. That is set to change now, thanks to the persistence of Daniel Elber, whose non-profit Future for Children has been changing the lives of the poorest communities in the drought-prone mountain slopes of eastern Bali.
Daniel was looking for new ways to provide a sustainable livelihood for the women of Muntigunung, whose sole source of income was begging in Bali’s more prosperous tourist areas. Could their basket-weaving skills be re-imagined for making hammocks, he wondered?
That’s how one master hammock-maker Walter Cruz from El Salvador —the ‘Land of the Hammocks’ (and considered to produce the best in the world) spent three months in the remote village of Kulkul, teaching his ancestral craft to 35 mountain women. And while they had no common language — he spoke Spanish and they a Balinese dialect — what they now share is an uncommon ability to craft absolutely stunning hammocks.
Muntigunung now makes a range of high-end hand-woven hammocks that are arguably the best in Asia. Top of the range is the Agung, which has twin spreaders of elaborately carved camphor-wood, is embellished with crocheted lace, and can incorporate customised lettering (such as a house or person’s name) — statement-making perfection for upmarket rental villas or private residences.
Lighter and less expensive is the chongos-tassle-decorated Muntigunung, which is as stylish but, without the spreaders, will even go into your hand luggage. If you prefer a more upright seating position to lying supine, the chair hammock will appeal — it looks as good in a living room as by the pool.
There are also custom hammocks and chair hammocks, and anyone with a tiny tot in the family will find the baby hammock irresistible. These incredibly comfortable artisan hammocks are so much more than an alternative seating choice or lifestyle accessory. Each is an individual work of art,
When it comes time to book flights to Phuket, Thailand, this holiday hotspot offers a myriad of options. The newly revamped Phuket International Airport is the international gateway to the island of Phuket and all of its touristic charms.
What’s there to know about
Phuket International Airport – or ท่าอากาศยานภูเก็ต in Thai – is the second busiest airport in the Kingdom of Thailand.
Phuket International Airport (HKT)
Mai Khao, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand, Phuket Province 83110
“Phuket International” is quite compact and easy to navigate. However, if you have never been to Phuket before it is important to note that the airport is home to two terminals, Domestic and International. While the terminals are within walking distance of each other, it indeed makes travel easier if you are heading in the right direction from the start.
The airport hosts domestic, regional and international passenger and cargo services for over twenty-five airlines. It’s a primary flight connection hub for Thai AirAsia and Thai Airways International.
Are there fights from… to Phuket?
There are 49 cities which offer non-stop flights to Phuket, which makes Phuket International Airport a very busy place. A high volume of passengers arrive early in the morning or late at night on daily flights from China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
As Phuket is a popular destination for holidaymakers from around the globe, flights from countries such as Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Turkey and recently India make up a lot of the airport’s traffic. It is estimated that at least 16 million people pass through the gates of Phuket International Airport yearly.
Can I bring my… to Phuket, Thailand?
On arrival to Phuket International Airport, international travellers are expected to clear immigration. After a long-haul flight this can seem like quite a tedious task, however, it is necessary before entering the Kingdom.
Make sure that you have filled out your international arrival cards that would have been presented on the flight over, and be prepared to queue. While the immigration lines do often appear overwhelming, rest assured that they do move along at a rather quick pace. After clearing immigration, it is time to retrieve your luggage, head out the door and enjoy your holiday!
When is the best time to fly to Phuket?