Villa on View.
Your weekly up-close view of those wow factor extras that make our villas outstanding. After all, attention to detail always makes a difference.
The luxurious, fully staffed four-bedroom Villa Naam Sawan located on Phuket’s east coast was designed by world-renowned architectural design team, Philippe Starck and Jean-Michel Gathy, and it is one of my favorite villas.
The modern style of this breathtaking villa and the friendly and helpful staff will exceed all your expectations and will not disappoint you.
Located on what is considered one of Phuket’s most unspoiled areas, this beautiful villa offers fabulous views of Phang Nga Bay, and is surrounded by hills blanketed by lush tropical plants and trees. Something that sets it apart from other villas on the east coast is it’s beachfront.
The arrival alone at the huge entrance gives you a sense of grandeur as well as a sense of excitement to see what lies behind the big wooden doors.
As you enter the villa you will be drawn to the views overlooking Phang Nga bay and, naturally, you will start to walk through the spacious living room with high ceilings and stunning panoramic views.
The pool area is where you will want to spend most of your time; we did. The sunken pool bar and outdoor space make the outside living area perfect for groups or families. If you need to relax and have a massage, this can be done poolside. A massage and a pina colada at the same time – now if that is not heaven I don’t know what is.
A short walk down through the tropical gardens and you get to the almost private beach. The overhanging mangroves and palm trees give the beach enough shade during the heat of the day, and it also gives this east coast beach an idyllic tropical feel.
We were able to take the villa’s stand-up paddle boards and the kayaks out and take advantage of the calm waters of Phang Nga Bay. The east coast is tidal so there were times when the tide was out, but if your children are anything like mine, this was a great time to go exploring and looking for hermit crabs and shells.
The major advantage of the east coast is that you are able to swim and play 12 months of the year,
We were invited to visit Kaba Kaba Estate in Kaba Kaba in the Tabanan region of Bali a few weeks ago. Having already seen a few luxury villas in Bali and having stayed in 3 different ones, I thought I knew what to expect: lots of space, quality building materials and a swimming pool.
How quick one is to realize that they were lacking in foresight. First, the open foyer—or the first space that you discover after entering two large handcrafted wooden doors—had huge intricately carved walls. Housed in a square garden-like space surrounding a flower-filled pond, the open foyer beckoned you to enter with steps leading up to the main entrance of the estate.
To the right was a path that led to the guest cottage, and to the left was an entrance to the main dining hall. Straight ahead was the main entryway, which led to the main foyer, which was absolutely luxurious. Filled with antique cabinets and curiosities from around the world, including a giant female Buddha, a welcoming bench and a staircase that led upstairs, the main entry hall also led to the master’s quarters, which contained a large four-poster bed and beyond, a deck that opened up into a private swimming pool.
This pool was big enough for four people, but with the way it was situated, slightly shaded by an abundance of plants to give the bedroom privacy, you could imagine a couple luxuriating in its shallow waters. It led back outside to the main hallway with a cozy study-cum-den area replete with telephone (a rare sight nowadays) and all the accoutrements necessary for a modern connected lifestyle.
An exciting part of the villa was the open living room nearby, which had a wall filled with precious objets d’art and antiques that faced the outside: a humongous swimming pool with dark gray tiles to give the impression of murky waters. The living room was laden with art books on tables low enough to park your feet on, and several couches with pillows in the shapes of animals to tuck under your head for a light nap facing the outdoors.
It was done in colors of beige and represented a way of life where you leisurely lounge in the presence of rare art across a “yard” (more the size of 2 football fields) that comprised several hundred square metres.
When holidaying with family, everyone needs their own space. Set within our tropical gardens, these large and versatile, three-bedroom villas are perfect for both multi-generational family vacations and special gatherings with friends. With multiple indoor-outdoor lounging corners, a private pool and oversized living and dining areas, there’s plenty of space for everyone in your party to find the quiet – and fun – they seek.
Canggu provides for those craving a holiday destination that offers a blend of privacy, ease of access, seclusion and serenity while being a short walk from restaurants, shops and the beach. It’s the understated, slightly more relaxed version of neighbouring Seminyak. Imagine it as a sophisticated older cousin, nonchalant and confident while being hip enough to hang with the cool kids.
In the 1970’s, adventurers arrived to surf the waves and take in the landscape. Cut to the 2010’s and the coastal village has turned into a see-and-be-seen area, managing to keep its local vibe and laid-back ambiance. The number of expats living here is significant, and new bars and restaurants open everyday. While neighbouring Seminyak can be crowded, Canggu still has areas that are sparsely populated. Rice fields dot the landscape and there are many shortcuts you can take through them. Uluwatu is close by, with wild waves that excite pro-surfers.
Canggu’s Echo Beach is hailed as the most popular surfing area in this surf-crazy town and the main area to discover cafés and restaurants. The beach has a 180-degree seascape and advanced reef breaks with cafés up and down the shore. If you don’t surf, simply relax and chill with a drink in hand. Wander around and discover street art which the village is known for.
Other beaches in the area are Batu Bolong Beach, Berawa Beach, Perenan Beach and Nelayan Beach. All are known for their spectacular sunsets so keep them in mind for end-of-the-day selfies.
If you want some fun for the whole family, head out to Finns Recreation Club, where a water park and an indoor trampoline area will keep your children entertained. Adults can check out La Laguna Gypsy Market, which has over 150 stalls selling organic products or the Love Anchor Canggu market in an open-air shopping centre next to Monsieur Spoon, an artisan French bakery. The Samadi Bali market is flocked by Canggu locals and the nearby neighbourhoods of Seminyak,
Decadent restaurants, classy drinks and shopping galore. Welcome to Seminyak, where bars and cafes that line the roads outdo each other in trendiness and sophistication. Besides shopping for the latest in designer wear and international brands, Seminyak is also big on art and local finds. Its major landmark, Petitenget Temple is hundreds of years old and also the namesake of the street that runs parallel to the beach. Gorgeous sunsets can be witnessed at Petitenget, which sits beside Masceti Ulun Tanjung Temple, where local villagers pray.
If you’re looking for activities for children, head down to Dream Museum Zone (DMZ) for a fun and interactive experience. The kids will love it, it has three large levels to discover. For an intimate art experience, Nyaman Gallery has a range of pieces by local Balinese and Indonesian artists. International talents’ works are also on display. Top off your day of art-sightseeing at the Biasa Art Space, where you’ll find conceptual and avant-garde pieces. Biasa focuses on emerging, progressive art to ensure adequate exposure to young Javanese artists. Make Theatre Art Gallery your last stop. Beautiful Indonesian puppets called wayang will delight you here.
You might be tired after a day of culture—but you’ve come to the right town. Seminyak is famous for its abundance of spas. Bodyworks is known for soothing massages and various treatments. If yoga is more your thing, Seminyak Yoga Shala is popular. You can also opt to stay in your villa, get an expert massage, and have a yoga teacher come to you.
Here, we list five 3-bedroom villas in the heart of Seminyak where you and your family can enjoy the Easter holidays.
The Layar, as it’s famously known, was once Paris Hilton’s temporary lair. The star stayed here several years ago—which is not a surprise. The Layar is upscale and chic, yet has all the comforts of home. Most of all, it is design-savvy, with angled walls and large living and dining rooms that open onto an inviting swimming pool. Various floor levels create an interesting play for the eye. Under overlapping roofs, each of the eleven 3-bedroom suites has an outdoor space —whether a deck, a terrace, or a bathroom garden.
You’ll feel a sense of privacy in The Layar, down to the dining and lounging space in the garden beside the pool.
“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.”
– Katharine Hepburn
Thailand is world-renowned for its amazing street food, exotic tropical fruits, and delicious sweet desserts. But for those visiting Thailand who need their chocolate fix, there is one artisan chef in Phuket who is the go-to guy when it comes to anything dark, milky or white.
Thailand does not have a rich history of chocolate unlike some of its Southeast Asian neighbours such as Indonesia, which grew almost no cocoa before the early 1980s when production took off like a rocket. Now, Indonesia is the world’s third leading producer of cocoa beans. Cocoa production in Thailand fell out of favour decades ago for rubber, but lately there has been a resurgence with a small number of growers and producers emerging in northern and western Thailand.
Thai cocoa is finally getting the recognition it deserves, with two Thai chocolate producers placed high in the 2018 International Chocolate Awards show.
Paradai brand took silver for their Belize dark milk 63% bar in the ‘dark milk chocolate’ category and Kad Kokoa won bronze in the ‘plain dark chocolate bar’ category for their Chiang Mai single origin bar. They also opened Bangkok’s first bean-to-bar café in Sathorn earlier this year, offering all things chocolatey, from desserts and hot chocolate to cocoa butter soap.
English award-winning Pastry Chef Peter Webber trained at School Le Notre in Paris to study pastry and chocolate and started work at The Inn on The Park, London and The Savoy Hotel, where he gained his first Executive Pastry Chef position and was honoured by being sent to do promotions at The Okura Hotel in Tokyo and The Oriental Hotel, Bangkok. He was also involved in many special events and competitions in Europe.
Chef Peter moved to Asia to the famed Oriental Hotel, Bangkok as the Executive Pastry Chef where he would stay for more than a decade, even pleasing the taste buds of the Queen of England during official state visits at The Grand Palace.
Chef Peter now owns and creates chocolate masterpieces at his patisserie, Les Diables, inspiring and serving a loyal clientele with the utmost attention to taste and detail. They specialise in cakes for special occasions,