Elite Havens

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Elite Havens
Each of our 200+ carefully selected luxury villas in Asia's best island destinations is a private holiday home exclusively available for direct bookings via Elite Havens. We take it personally.

Learning and Leisure with Leap & Hop Kids Guides

in Families by

We reckon most parents will agree that keeping the kids happy on holiday is the Golden Ticket to making sure everyone has a good time. So here’s a great suggestion to keep your kids happily occupied while teaching them about Balinese history, geography and culture at the same time. The interactive kids’ guide Leap & Hop Bali is a winner.

About Leap & Hop guides

Part-French, part-American Isabelle is mum to three boys and the author of the Leap & Hop guides. Her first Leap & Hop guide started as a little surprise for her kids on their Christmas trip to Cambodia. Her plan was to prepare a journal for them to record their impressions of the Khmer temples which later became a 100-page book with games, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts and fun snippets of information about the country’s history, geography and religion. Isabelle also encourages drawing and scrapbooking through her books.

“For me,” says Isabelle, “a good kids’ guide is a book that covers adult topics in a way that kids can understand without ‘dumbing it down’. The idea is also for the kids to ‘own’ the trip; they can pick and choose to learn about the places that interest them and the activities they enjoy. The illustrations are essential. I’m very fortunate to work with an amazing illustrator, Emilie Sarnel. Kids really relate to her unique style, which is whimsical and colourful without being childish.”

Leap and hop Bali Cover web96

leap and hop Bali SPREAD kites WEB96

Isabelle’s top 5 things to do in Bali with kids

  1. Go on a nature walk to explore Bali’s picturesque rice paddies in Ubud or Canggu.
  2. Visit marvellous village temples. You might get lucky and see a traditional ceremony while you’re there.
  3. Make and fly your own kite on the beach. Sanur is famous for its kite festivals, but many other beaches in Bali are excellent for kite flying.
  4. Eat fresh seafood at a restaurant on the sand in Jimbaran. The tanks of live seafood will fascinate the kids, and the beach provides an excellent place to play.
  5. Explore Bali’s fascinating underwater world. Blue Lagoon and Padang Bay are great for snorkelling. If you are looking for something more adventurous head to Tulumben and explore the WWII wreck of the US Liberty.

We’ve got plenty more fun things to do with kids in Bali up our sleeve.

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Koh Samui’s magic rum

in Tips by
Cocktails in Koh Samui

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.

magic alambic rum samui

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. 

koh samui fruit market

SAMUI MARKET – IMAGE FROM VILLA WAIMARIE

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.

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Through the Keyhole: Villa Sammasan

in Destinations by
Surin family villa

Villa Sammasan owners tell us about their stunning ocean view home over looking Surin Beach on Phuket’s west coast.

Surin villa with view

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.

Villa Sammasan - Surin, Phuket

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.

Surin private pool 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.  

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Through the Keyhole: Villa Zelie

in Destinations by
Villa Zelie - Canggu, Bali

Villa Zelie owners tell us about their unique private pool villa in Canggu, Bali.

Villa Zelie - Outdoor living area

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. 

 

Villa Zelie - Outdoor living area

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.

 

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Through the Keyhole: Naam Sawan

in Destinations by

Elite Havens’ villas come in many shapes and sizes. That they are all luxurious homes in some of Asia’s most prized locations, brimming with first-class facilities and tended to by a caring team of staff, goes without saying, but beyond that, each and every villa has its own distinctive character. Many are the fulfilment of their owners’ dreams and have interesting stories attached to their creation.

‘Through the Keyhole’ takes a peek behind the scenes and chats with some of our villa owners to find out how the dream became a reality.  Naam Sawan owners tell us about their stunning beachfront home on Phuket’s east coast.

Beachfront Phuket villa

Why did you choose to buy your villa in Phuket and at this location?

We were living in Singapore in 2004 and looking to invest in a vacation and possibly a retirement home in Asia. When you look into it properly and consider all that you may need there are actually very limited options. We had visited Phuket many times, and I had viewed many properties up and down the busier crowded west coast towns, beaches and developments. An agent showed me an undeveloped piece of dense jungle on the east coast with a dirt track cut through the trees. Within 2 days we had staked out a lot with 4 small posts as we were the first to commit to the project. It took some time but we eventually built, and now 14 years later the estate, hotel, restaurants and all the amenities and facilities are complete. There are very few locations available with a private accessible beach, incredible jade waters, views of the Phang Nga islands and a full service resort, and city like facilities all around you. We are near yachting marinas, golf resorts, shopping malls, the hills and mountains, schools, hospitals and endless entertainment – and only 20 minutes from the airport. And no crowds or traffic. 

What is your inspiration for the villa design?

As written on the websites, the master design was by Stark and Gatthy with preset principles of external structure to show a modern contemporary vision of the Thai pavilion as the center piece. Additional features included the vaulted ceilings with tall columns, and the shade and cooling management for the villa being efficient through louvered external window and wall lattice,

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