See Bali Island in the 1970s’
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Your weekly up-close view of those wow factor extras that make our villas outstanding. After all, attention to detail always makes a difference.
Idyllic destination, exciting new experiences, exotic food and summery cocktails all day, right? You bet. Our Koh Samui villas offer exactly that and a whole lot more. Although, when it comes to domestic Thai spirits worth drinking, the selection in Koh Samui is underwhelming. Unless you know this: there is magic rum on this island.
IMAGE FROM MAGIC ALAMBIC RUM
Of the few distilleries in Thailand, Magic Alambic Rum is the only one producing a Caribbean agricole-style spirit and they offer a true island experience right here in Koh Samui – local rum tasting.
Located on the southern tip of Koh Samui, this rum distillery was founded in 2003 by entrepreneurial couple Elisa and Michel Gabrel. Elisa, originally from Martinique, and Frenchman Michel experimented with brewing alcohol from the abundance of locally-grown tropical fruits available. Unsuccessful at first, they decided to make rum in the agricole style, a process that uses distillation from freshly-squeezed sugarcane, which is readily available in North Thailand. This facility is the first French distillery in Thailand.
AGRICOLE SUGARCANE RUM
While most industrial rums are made from molasses and additives like caramel, rum agricole is an exception because it originated in the West Indies where the French government strictly controlled its production.
Agricole-style rum is made from a single ingredient: 100% pure first-press sugarcane juice, which gives it a dynamic and delicate earthy taste and a high alcohol content. Here’s how: raw sugarcane stalks are pressed to extract fresh juice, which is naturally fermented for two to three days before being distilled and put to rest in stainless steel tanks or aged in wooden barrels.
IMAGE FROM MAGIC ALAMBIC RUM
RUM TASTING IN KOH SAMUI
Visit the Magic Alambic Rum distillery in South Koh Samui for a fun memorable experience. We recommend renting a car for a leisurely day trip to this remote area. Make sure not to drive under the influence after a tasting.
Visitors are greeted by Ludovic or Martial Leplutois (owners since January 2014) with an invitation to see the rum production facilities and sample the final products in the tasting area surrounded by beautiful palm trees.
Villa Sammasan owners tell us about their stunning ocean view home over looking Surin Beach on Phuket’s west coast.
Why did you choose to buy your villa in Phuket and at this location?
We bought the villa because it had an all-encompassing view from every room looking over the Andaman Sea and you can walk to the beach. We saw many places, but they were in the mountains far away from the beach. The house is perfectly positioned to capture the sunset each night, and you get an immediate view from every part of the house.
We also liked the clean, modern architecture, with its flow and design. There is a sprawling private master suite with its own balcony and Jacuzzi and lots of space. You can walk straight from the living area out onto the terrace and to the pool, so its central to the house. And you can sit in the living room and see the pool, sala and view beyond. We also have a private TV room and secluded rooms with their own ensuite and balconies downstairs.
What is your inspiration for the villa design?
Sammasan looks outwards towards Surin Beach and the Andaman Sea and the headlands, one of which is home to Thailand’s top resort, the Amanpuri. So we wanted to capture the seaside with a beachhouse feel, a kind of Cape Cod design, with Thai influences. Hence you see lots of white walls, but with splashes of colour and art and design that inspires. You have a modern Poliform kitchen but with a traditional Thai sala. It’s the blend of the traditional with the very modern.
What features make the villa unique?
The view. The spaciousness. The art. The location. The furniture. The colours inside complement the views outside. This all influences the mood. Anyone who appreciates art and design will enjoy this boutique villa.
What would you like guests to experience at your villa?
A home away from home in a fantastic location. A place to rest and relax after going out into the hustle and bustle of Phuket. Enjoy the shade in the morning and then at the end of the day, watch the sun set over the Andaman on the lounges or in the outdoor sala. You can go out or you can stay in the villa and watch the beauty of nature unfold outside.
You have to love a cuisine that managed to invent another flavor. Umami refers to that extra layer of deliciousness that defies description.
Japanese food has infiltrated the far corners of the world, satiating our interest as well as our appetites. Read on to discover Japanese restaurants and places to order sushi in Bali, Indonesia.
Sake no Hana may be new in Bali but they come with a serious reputation in other parts of the world, most notably in London’s fashionable Mayfair. Described as contemporary Japanese, Sake no Hana’s Executive Chef travelled from London to create this menu and it is filled with temptation and flavor. From their signature menus, which offer exotic imports like Kobe beef, Hamachi sashimi and Alaskan king crab, to bento boxes to a scale of signature menus, this is worth the splurge.
Overlooking the sparkling new daytime destination, Omnia, on the Uluwatu coast, Sake no Hana is filled with light by day. At night, as the club closes, it becomes a sophisticated destination restaurant. With a refreshingly different menu of bespoke cocktails alongside some wonderful wine and sake selections, Sake no Hana adds sophisticated new flavours to Uluwatu.
Top tip: leave room for desserts, which are beautiful, creative and delicious.
Cover image credit: Sake no Hana.
sushi, yakitori and jazz
Ryoshi’s owner, Sagon Togasa, opened his first Ryoshi in Seminyak to house his two great loves; sushi and jazz. It still does that and more. With Ryoshi now in Sanur, Ubud and offering welcome respite to shoppers in Galleria, the menu has expanded alongside the empire.
At heart is the sushi window, with chefs slicing sushi and sashimi to order, fresh seafood is also part of the philosophy. There are grills, braises and rice bowls. A range of delicious kushiyaki, grilled food on sticks, and some delicious vegetarian options.
Agadashi tofu is a hit here as is the Japanese steak, the traditional fried chicken and steaming bowls of udon with your choice of toppings. Best of all it’s ultimately affordable.
Top tip: Monday night is the most popular night as the jazz is always world class, head upstairs and take a seat in the restaurant or hang out at the bar.
Sometimes, it’s just easier to say yes to that extra snack or dessert, because frankly, it is exhausting to keep saying no.
– Michelle Obama
If you have a sweet tooth, then Thailand is the place to visit. Most Thai desserts are a sweet filling snack rather than a light and airy Western-style dessert. There is a vast array of sweet desserts in Thailand and it can be rather overwhelming to know which ones to treat yourself to. Here are some of the most common Thai desserts that you must try. Discover them at our private villas or out and about, where local street vendors and market sellers are everywhere.
We need warn you though: some of them are very sweet. Many authentic Thai desserts are made from healthy whole foods like rice, coconut and fruits, but the sugar content can be very high. It’s also worth mentioning there can of course be artificial flavours and other unseen ingredients, too. Condensed milk is everywhere, from convenience stores to street coffee makers who load up your coffee with so much cream and sugar that you wouldn’t even realize you are drinking any coffee.
AUTHENTIC THAI DESSERTS
This is the most common dessert served at Thai wedding ceremonies. The texture of kalamare is sweet and sticky which symbolises a sweet marriage in which the lovers stick together as one. The process of preparing kalamare takes time and you need to be patient. For this sweet dish, sticky rice, shredded fresh coconut and sugar are stirred until all the ingredients are blended very well together. The end result is really chewy and perfect with afternoon tea or coffee.
Mung Bean Candy
These candies are almost too pretty to eat. Mung bean paste is sweetened and smashed into perfection before being glazed and formed to look like small pieces of fruit.
Coconut Ice Cream
Ice cream is a favourite dessert to chow down in Thailand’s tropical heat and here it’s made with dairy as well as coconut milk. Most vendors have a wide variety of toppings to choose from, including peanuts, sweet corn, yes sweet corn, and sweet syrups to drizzle on top. Oftentimes, coconut ice cream is served in your own personal coconut husk that has been scraped out to become a bowl.
Villa Zelie owners tell us about their unique private pool villa in Canggu, Bali.
where stress is unknown.
People have described Villa Zelie as a private Eden or Heaven on Earth (and we agree!). How do you describe it?
It is a garden of Eden. Villa Zelie is a haven of peace and calm in the middle of Seminyak and Canggu. You forget about the world, the heat, the dampness, the noise and the traffic as you arrive at the villa. There is only peace and harmony there. That’s why I do not hesitate, several times a year, to make this long trip just to relax a few days. There are only good energies at Zelie, where stress is unknown.
Les gens ont décrit Villa Zelie comme étant un Éden privé ou un paradis sur Terre (et nous sommes d’accord!). Comment la décrivez-vous?
C’est un jardin d’Éden. La Villa Zelie est un havre de paix et de calme au milieu de Seminyak et Canngu. Vous oubliez le monde, la chaleur, la moiteur, le bruit et la circulation dès que vous arrivez à la Villa. Là, il n’y a plus que calme et harmonie. C’est pour cela que je n’hésite pas, plusieurs fois par an, à faire ce long voyage juste pour venir me relaxer quelques jours. Il n’a que de bonnes énergies et le stress y est inconnu.
Where is your favourite place to relax at your villa?
I actually have two. During daytime, the pool house by the pool, from which you can hear the sound of birds and the rippling water. Simple pleasure but so relaxing. In the evening, the sofa in the living room, facing the garden, which is adorned with all its lights. I can watch this for hours, with a glass of wine, it’s magic.
Quel endroit dans la villa est votre préféré pour vous détendre?
J’en ai deux. La journée, le pool house au bord de la piscine, vous écoutez le bruit des oiseaux et le clapotis de l’eau. Plaisir simple mais tellement reposant. Le soir, dans le canapé du salon, face au jardin, qui s’est paré de toutes ses lumières. Je peux regarder cela des heures, avec un verre de vin, c’est magique.