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Chef du jour: Villa Amarelo

in Culture/Dining/Families by

At Elite Havens, each villa’s menu showcases an extensive range of Asian and western delights to cater to every guest’s tastes, but of course each chef has his or her own specialties that shouldn’t be missed. 

The stylish six-bedroom escape Villa Amarelo, part of the Sava Beach Villas Estate, seamlessly melts into the white sands of Natai Beach, less than half an hour’s drive north of Phuket airport. Featuring a 25-metre pool, a garden gazebo, private chef and large indoor and outdoor living areas, Villa Amarelo makes for a memorable holiday and wedding destination on the shores of the Andaman Sea, the ideal spot for a family holiday, dream wedding or group soiree.

In the kitchen at Villa Amarelo, which has stunning views of the swimming pool and the beautiful Natai Beach, Chef Lek cooks up a traditional Thai starter Goong Sarong, ‘wrapped prawns’. It looks great and tastes even better.

Elite Havens: What is your cooking background?

Chef Lek: I worked as a housekeeping attendant at Villa Saanti, but the villa didn’t provide a chef. Therefore, I needed to learn cooking to help out the owner. Later on, I worked as a comis chef at Akyra Hotel for a year and a half. There, I learnt how to cook many kinds of western dishes.

EH: What do you think makes a good cook?

CL: Ensuring that all the ingredients are fresh and of good quality. A good eye for detail and being able to adapt to different styles and requests from guests.

EH: What did you cook for us today?

CL: Goong Sarong, which is whole prawns wrapped in rice noodles.

EH: Why did you choose to make this dish for us?

CL: Thailand, especially the south, produces amazing fresh seafood, and the prawns are a must-try if you visit Phuket. Local prawns and local Phuket noodles together make a great-tasting and wonderful-looking dish.

EH: What is your specialty dish or the flavors you like to cook with?

CL: I love local Southern Thai food. It has such amazing flavors. I really love to cook Southern Thai Red Curry with beef.

EH: Can you tell us how your cooking adds to the villa?

CL: We make you feel like you are staying at a home away from home.

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7 Things To Do in the Bukit Peninsula

in Culture/Destinations/Families/Recreation/Weddings by

The majestic clifftop Uluwatu Temple lies in the Bukit area of Bali, which is also home to the best beaches and surf spots on the island. The Bukit is actually a large limestone peninsula and would be a separate island if it weren’t for the small sliver of land south of the Bali airport. The ‘Bukit’, which means ‘hill’ in Indonesian, is – unlike the rest of the island – arid, stony and dry. The west coast is particularly popular, with accommodations perched above Balangan Beach offering stunning clifftop ocean views.

The best way to explore the Bukit Peninsula  and visit all of its gorgeous beaches is via motorized transport.  Many elite havens have a driver and vehicle available to guests.  Simply check with the Villa Manager on availability and special inside tips on local attractions.  Alternatively, you can hire transport via the dedicated EH Concierge service.

There are many exciting things to do in the area. Here are our top 7:

Visit the Famous Uluwatu Temple

Go to the famous Uluwatu Temple, one of Bali’s nine key temples and part of its spiritual legacy. ‘Ulu’ means the ‘top’ or the ‘tip’ and ‘watu’ means a ‘stone’ or a ‘rock’ in Balinese. The astounding temple has been sitting on the same spot – 70 metres above the ocean – for thousands of years. Two sages are credited with creating and enlarging it: Empu Kuturan in the 11th century and Dang Hyang Nirartha, who they say achieved moshka or samsara (liberation) here. Temple anniversary celebrations are held every six months according to the Balinese 210-day Pawukon cycle.

The forest by the temple is full of monkeys who grab items such as sunglasses and cameras, so be careful. They can be bribed with bananas and peanuts to get your items back. 

Watch A Kecak Fire Dance

A popular dance, the Kecak fire dance, is performed at the Uluwatu Temple every day at 6pm, around sunset. It is a spectacular sight to behold. The dance is famous for its use of voices in lieu of instruments, which lends a powerful accompaniment to its drama. You can also watch it in the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park.

See the 120-metre statue of Lord Vishnu and Garuda

The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park has a humongous statue of Lord Vishnu riding his mount Garuda,

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Elite Havens Wishes You A Happy Mother’s Day

in Culture/Families by

Who would we be without our mothers, our best friends and our beacons since childhood? Do we dare to ask, what would our mothers be without us, their children? We find out in part by asking mums from our Elite Havens offices, “What’s the best thing about being a mom?”

Elite Havens Bali

For me, being a mom of 2 girls is wonderful and colorful. Learning how to understand each kid’s character is a great experience.

Lia Restianadewi, Events Coordinator

I am proud of and blessed by many things in life but nothing beats being a mom.

Ambar Sari, Villa Specialist

Being a mom can literally change my personality to be a better person and a better example to my son, to better serve what my son needs.

Ari Setiani, Villa Specialist

The best thing is to be told by my kids, “Oh  Mom, you were right!” At least they’re listening and paying attention.

 Febri Hudiliyana, Villa Specialist

Elite Havens Phuket

I only have a short word to say how do I feel about being a mother: the power is in my warm embrace.

Bussara Chatchnakul, Villa Manager, Villa Jia

This quote reminds me of how I feel of being a mother: ‘Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of love.’ The quote is by Maureen Hawkins.

Puangpayom Liambang, Villa Manager, Villa Shanti

How do I feel about being a mother? My son is a precious thing that happened to me. He is my everything. When I feel low, he is the only one that can give strength to get up and fight for our future.  

Doungmanee  Nuprasit – Villa Manager, Villa Haleana

There is no explanation of how I feel about being a mother. Whatever I do is only for my daughter. It is unconditional love for my precious daughter.

Chuttiya  Phaiboon – Housekeeping, Villa Haleana

Elite Havens Koh Samui

The best thing about being a mom for me is I get to enjoy my life every single day seeing my little one growing up step by step.

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Niseko Gourmet: The Chefs At Your Doorstep

in Culture/Destinations/Dining by

The lure of fresh, white snow is strong. The slopes call out for you to explore this pristine and picture-perfect landscape. You ski and snowboard to your heart’s content. Welcome to Niseko, where all your dreams of an adrenaline-packed snow adventure are fulfilled. With so much daily physical activity, there is a need to replenish and re-energize, and this is where Niseko really delivers the goods. Niseko Gourmet is the local culinary favourite, providing a private chef, fresh ingredients and a host to your own chalet.

Twelve years ago, Tess Stomski came to Japan to work as part of the winter staff in a resort. She vowed to come back and live in this wonderful country, a dream she fulfilled a few years later. She started providing food and dining experiences to skiers and other vacationers in Niseko and thus Niseko Gourmet was born. Needless to say, it was an instant hit.

“As one of the world’s top ski destinations, Niseko can accommodate 20,000 people. But the restaurants can only seat 2,000. Even if they do multiple seatings, the opportunity gap was fairly large,” says Jon Stonham, CEO of Elite Havens, which owns Niseko Gourmet.

Stomski ventured out to meet potential business contacts and farmers.  Niseko Gourmet’s first chef was Chef Chisato Amagai, with whom she co-wrote a book,  ‘Harvest Niseko’. Chef Chisato conceived the first home-cooked five-course dinner, to be prepared in front of the guests in their own holiday home. 

“We have three levels of offerings. At the very base, we can do market shopping for those who wish to self-cater. Then there is delivery of gourmet food to the chalet. And at the very top, we offer bespoke gourmet experiences like a chef preparing a special meal within your chalet,” Jon Stonham elucidates.

Stomski then met Chef Kamada, a 70-year old sushi master with his own 35 year old restaurant in nearby Kutchan. Kamada now makes two to three sushi dinners every night for the clients of Niseko Gourmet.

The most popular part of the Niseko Gourmet service is the bespoke experience. The indulgence of having a luxuriant meal cooked especially for you, makes it stand out. “We use local Hokkaido ingredients,” shares Annie Craig,

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Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn Just Crowned

in Culture/News by

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn was crowned Saturday, May 4, 2019.

“I shall continue, preserve, and build upon the royal legacy and shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the people forever,” the King announced.

66-year old King Vajiralongkorn assumed the throne 2 years ago. On Saturday, during a televised ritual from the Grand Palace, he took his crown from the country’s chief Brahmin, a Hindu priest. The ceremony was a mixed Buddhist-Hindu ceremony, observing the country’s main religions.

 
 
 
 
 
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#ขอพระองค์ทรงพระเจริญ

A post shared by Lan-laCafe.rimtang (@ls.nookie) on May 4, 2019 at 5:18pm PDT

King Vajiralongkorn became Crown Prince and heir apparent in 1972. He studied in Australia and the UK. He has two daughters and five sons. Last week, the king wed his new queen, General Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya.

 
 
 
 
 
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#ขอพระองค์ทรงพระเจริญ 🙏🙏🙏#เรารักสถาบันพระมหากษัตริย์ไทย🇹🇭

A post shared by Duangjun Phunniam (@phunniam) on May 5, 2019 at 8:52am PDT

We are honoured to join the kingdom of Thailand in celebrating the auspicious occasion of the royal coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn. Long live the King.

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