Thailand’s leisure island of Koh Samui holds a priority position on the bucket list of every chic traveller.… 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.
There was a time when affluent travellers seeking the ultimate island paradise would slip into a holiday resort – then came luxury villas. Bali has again raised the bar for lavish travel with the launch of Noku Beach House. This game changing retreat is perfectly perched on the Seminyak beachfront – a rare place of privilege and a privately held gem on Bali’s exclusive oceanfront.
The six-suite mansion is oriented toward the sea with a long azure swimming pool, multiple dining areas and alcoves amid curated tropical gardens and pristine lawns. A full-size portable tennis court – in Noku camouflage colours – rolls out when time for play. Deep inside the villa flanking the massive entrance is an exclusive spa which boasts as its centrepiece an oasis pool adorned with hand-made decorative tiles. Here a glass window also converts into an outdoor cinema.
Noku Beach House is opulent six-star luxury dedicated to the mores of the new jet set and those who appreciate rarefied grace and élan. An exclusive and highly skilled army of staff, including a private chef, operates discreetly to service whims around the clock. Leading international luxury villa marketing and management company; Elite Havens, exclusively operates the estate and in doing so they have delivered a lux villa experience that transcends all others.
Elite Havens secured the creative skills of award-winning interior designer Alex Zabotto-Bentley to bring to life this outstanding refurbishment on an essential part of Bali’s famous Seminyak beach landscape. Zabotto-Bentley has created a Zen-style space with a soothing colour palette of light turquoise and blue, which is paired with Moroccan accents. He has commissioned custom furnishings and an art collection of bespoke outsized tribal bead work, antique Indonesian artefacts from across this amazing archipelago and some of nature’s most exquisite designs. Everything from plates to teapots has been artisanal crafted in tiny Balinese villages. The outside poolside dining and rooftop terrace are built from a 100-year-old pier from Borneo.
Guests will revel in the luxury within the flowing spaces of the estate dotted with deep sofas and multiple living zones and endless vistas of ocean and sky. Six contemporary and elegant bedrooms with beautiful bathrooms have every comfort from soft linens to cloud-like beds. Balconies embrace the views – water or lush gardens.
In May 2018, the Michelin Guide held a press conference in the heart of Phuket Old Town to announce the inclusion of restaurants in the other regions of Phuket & Phang Nga to the 2019 edition of the Michelin Guide Thailand. The announcement set the island’s culinary scene on fire, especially due to the fact that in Phuket the existing competition amongst chefs and restaurants is already fierce.
The Michelin Guide is sure to add a bit of refined flavour to restaurants in Phuket, but what does it all really mean? To break it down, the southern regions of Phuket & Phang Nga continue to grow and expand with gastronomy offerings, and the inclusion into the Michelin Guide ensures that the area’s unique cuisine and culture will be preserved through food in the years to come.
Now that the announcement has been made, the preliminary legwork of establishing the Michelin Guide Thailand in the south is truly on the way. Here at Elite Havens we couldn’t be more thrilled. We love good food and we are excited to see if some of our favourite restaurants will be awarded with the recognition that we think they deserve.
The Michelin Guide Explained
A series of guide books published by the French tyre company Michelin for over a century, The Michelin Guide is synonymous with annually published Michelin Red Guide, which is the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide. Michelin Guide awards up to three stars for excellence to a select few establishments every year. For those in the dining industry, Michelin is the only guide book that counts and being awarded a star can have a profound effect on the success of a restaurant.
In addition to the much coveted Michelin Star, the Michelin Guide awards Rising Stars, which indicates that a restaurant has what it takes to qualify for a star or perhaps even earn an additional star. The Michelin Guide also highlights restaurants which offer exceptionally good food at moderate prices. This award is known as Bib Gourmand, and in order to qualify, restaurants must offer a variety of menu items priced below a maximum based on local economic standards.
For those in the industry,
Mix business with pleasure at your next corporate meeting, training or wellness retreat and lap up the luxury of one of Bali’s fabulous villa estates. Let’s face it, nowhere does villas like Bali does, and unlike large, impersonal resorts, a villa grants you absolute privacy and exclusivity, with your own state-of-the-art facilities. Best of all, service is highly personalized with a round-the-clock team of butlers, housekeepers and security at your beck and call– not to mention highly skilled chefs who can cook exactly what you want when you want it. Healthy meeting snacks? Canapés and cocktails at sunset? Seafood barbecue by the pool? Balinese themed dinner with live dance performance? You name it and villa staff will provide it, all with the smiles and warmth of hospitality that Bali is famous for.
Expansive, fully-staffed villas in fabulous locations around the island are well set up for groups, with large capacity common areas for group activities and special events. Most offer all the mod cons, from Satellite TV to high speed WiFi and business centre facilities, alongside generous en suite bedrooms, stunning pools set in lush gardens, sensational spa services, and plenty of space for everyone to spread out.
Sound good? Here are our top ten villa picks for your next corporate event, training or wellness retreat.
Sanur Residence – Sanur
Sanur is the most southerly town on Bali’s ‘Sunrise Coast’ and retains its laid back charm with leafy streets, art galleries, cosy cafes and atmospheric seafront promenade. The three sleek, supremely spacious villas that make up Sanur Residence are wonderfully located on the quiet beach of Padang Galak, just minutes from town and accommodate up to 18 people. The epitome of contemporary elegance, each stylish villa has expansive en suite bedrooms, kitchen and open plan living areas, with one villa housing an ocean-facing, semi open-air banquet/meeting/dining room with the capacity of a 20m² meeting table or up to 40 people in 8 round tables, ideal for presentations or panel discussions. A 23-metre infinity pool, delightful manicured gardens, expansive roof terraces and huge lawn create ample space for socialising and soaking up the endless ocean views.
Villa Pushpapuri – near Sanur
If you like the idea of being slightly more remote, a Pabean Beach villa near Sanur is an inspired choice.
Host to thousands of famed authentic Thai restaurants and plenty of newer culinary hotshots too, each with several exotic dishes to sample, choosing where to dine out in Phuket can be overwhelming. One piece at a time is the best way to take it all in, and this feature serves up recommendations about how and where to enjoy one very specialty entree.
… THE DUCK, PLEASE.
From a plethora of duck or เป็ด entrees popular in Phuket, we found four dishes most likely to wow visitors and leave a lasting impression.
1- Duck Tamarind
The Duck Tamarind is a choice ambassador of the Blue Elephant’s Bohemian/Buddhist charm. Roasted duck breast is elegantly stacked atop a bed of fried, shredded kale and topped with crispy fried onions. The rice server glides from table to table, offering never-ending servings of steamy white Jasmine or organic black rice. The tart and sweet tamarind sauce provides an adhesive element for this interesting, impressionable cuisine. The crispy, savory, and tart flavors of the dish left me eagerly anticipating the next bite before I was done with my first.
The Blue Elephant
Governor’s Mansion, Phuket Town, Mueang Phuket District, Phuket 83000
The Blue Elephant is located inside the historic governor’s mansion in Phuket Town. The trail up to the mansion is lit by tiki torches and blue string lights dangling from lanterns hanging from massive tree branches. The mansion’s green and white checkerboard floor blends well the limestone colonnades and dark-wood ceiling. The lighting from the antique chandeliers and the brass, orchid-themed sconces create an ambiance that is sleek, historical, and hip all at once. Also, there’s an abundance of blue elephant sculptures scattered about, along with traditional Thai art and pictures of King Rama IX.
Afterward, I was given a brief tour of the Blue Elephant Cooking Class room, the famous Blue Bar, the main kitchen, and the upstairs seating for larger parties. The wooden floors, contemporary shark paintings, vintage Buddhist artwork, and blend of freshly cut flowers create an ambiance that the Blue Elephant has become famous for.
The Duck Tamarind is a dish that is justifiably representative of this established restaurant’s history. The Blue Elephant has locations in Bangkok, Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen, Malta, Dubai, Jakarta, and Phuket.
2- Stewed Duck and Egg Noodle Soup
Kitti Duck Noodle
367/30-31 Yaowarat Road,
Great places to stay in Seminyak with more than two kids? Sure. Somewhere for all ages to enjoy? Yep. Bringing your friends? Nice. Oh they have kids too? Okay. It’s gotta be gorgeous and memorable? Photogenic, got it. Safe, convenient, comfortable? Of course. Classy and affordable for four adults? Sure thing. Near the beach? Naturally.
We have plenty of that. Rent your own tropical oasis, a fully-staffed luxury home away from home with plenty of space for everyone to spread out. Elite Havens’ Bali luxury villas come with a private chef equally adept at preparing gourmet feasts for the adults and fun children’s meals to tempt even the fussiest eaters. Some villas are better set up for toddlers than others, but any extra amenities you may need, such as pool fence or car booster seat can easily be arranged for a small hire charge. One of the great advantages of staying in a villa is the highly personalised service, and if need a little adult-only time, friendly staff will happily help keep an eye on the kids, or organise a baby sitter so you can hit the island’s latest hotspots.
Our 4 Best 4 Bedrooms 4 Kids… in vibrant seaside Seminyak, Bali?
Here they are. With sensible sleeping arrangements for holidays with kids (some with adjacent rooms for parents and children, others with a designated bunk room for a bunch of kids) they’re all just minutes from the palm-fringed beaches, fabulous restaurants, cool bars and stylish boutiques that Seminyak is famous for.
1 Casa Brio
Featured in the hero at the top of the page.
Brio is Italian for liveliness and the whole family will love sunny Casa Brio, a vibrant, recently refurbished villa with a stunning roof top terrace and fabulous location in the Golden Triangle district close to Petitenget Beach.
The 21-metre pool fringed in lush tropical gardens is a definite high point and features a shallow section perfect for toddlers.
The open-sided living pavilion overlooks the pool making it easy for parents to keep an eye on the little ones.
Older kids will happily kick back in the over-sized pool beanbags, and the media room with home theatre and selection of DVDs.
Well configured for families,