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Travel ingenuity from our island hopping holiday experts

Honeymoon Bliss at The Layar

in Destinations/Tips/Weddings by

The ideal honeymoon escape includes a sanctuary, a snug and divine welcoming space to celebrate, relax and appreciate your love in complete privacy. The Layar, located in the heart of Seminyak, hosts the perfect honeymoon villas, right on the doorstep of world-famous restaurants, beach clubs, shopping and surf.  Stay in and soak up Bali’s sun-kissed tropical ambience in your private pool, or mingle with fellow holiday-makers in this l’eldorado touristique. 

Imagine your perfect honeymoon in paradise

A romantic path draws you into the quiet and peaceful heart of The Layar.  Pass through lush manicured lawns and fragrant frangipani trees resplendent with exotic red lanterns framing the entrance to your villa hideaway. It’s the first welcome into a perfect honeymoon setting.

Stepping inside your private one-bedroom villa, the first thing you notice is its outstanding design. Each villa’s slanted ironwood-shingle roof frames a larger space which houses the living and dining quarters.

The bedroom is especially alluring, with a king-sized bed and a luxurious seating area.

A pair of sliding doors open up to a romantic pool deck. The garden bathroom contains special features such as a foliage-fringed shower, Palimanan stone counters and a spectacular stone bathtub. The inviting stone bathtub sits majestically in the center of a white-pebbled courtyard, against a lush backdrop of tropical rainforest plants.

The living room is set-up like a romantic dream haven, where the award-winning design emphasises a natural flow. It’s easy to relax in this graceful space.

If you want to spend time just lounging about, there is an entertainment centre at your fingertips, and sun loungers on the pool deck. The tiered, shallow section of the pool begs you to take a dip or splash about and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

A triangular galley kitchen lies opposite the sleeping area and its ensuite garden bathroom. It contains all the equipment you need to cook a special meal for your partner. But if you prefer to be pampered instead, order room service and  feast on spectacular food by Settimo Cielo, The Layar’s restaurant. All your gastronomic dreams will come true. 

Your honeymoon bliss is capped off with a floating breakfast on the pool.

The Layar’s special honeymoon package includes a bottle of Prosecco,

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Splendid Samui for the Whole Family

in Destinations/Families/Recreation/Tips by
elite havens official launching party - 18-03-2018 (229)

It is astonishing how much the charming tropical Thai island of Koh Samui has changed just over the last 10 years.  Expansion of the airport and direct flights from cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore have transformed the island from a backpackers’ haven to a sophisticated and vibrant resort island with leading international 5-star resorts, fabulous restaurants, and a wide choice of private holiday villas all over the island.

Holidaymakers looking to rent a villa in Samui are spoiled for choice by the Elite Havens collection which offers a superb range of luxury beachfront residences on some of the islands most beautiful beaches, spectacular hillside retreats with jaw-dropping views and palatial pleasure palaces with every  imaginable luxury, available for rent.      

There’s nothing quite like a villa stay for those who want to relax and be themselves among friends and family, where you have the flexibility and total freedom you never quite get in a hotel. 

In Samui, whichever villa you decide on, the relatively small island – you can drive around it in just over an hour –  means you are never very far from anywhere.

It’s an easy island to explore and fall in love with.    

Villa Neung is a chic designer villa with beachfront access to the idyllic Laem Noi Beach – an unspoiled white sandy stretch on the north-west coast, fringed by coconut palms and washed by a shallow blue sea. 

Designed for luxury tropical living, the villa has its own 15-metre beachfront pool, three ensuite double bedrooms and an airy, open-plan living and dining pavilion with stylish Thai-inspired interiors, making it an appealing beach holiday escape for families or small groups of friends.

Villa Nueng - Stylish villa facadeVilla Neung

The villa’s own staff will take care of absolutely everything, preparing delicious Thai and western meals to order, booking spa therapists, organizing tours and activities, perhaps setting up a picnic or candlelit dinner on the beach, and even watching over the young ones while you take a break.

For a change of scenery, a number of rustic beachside restaurants and bars are just a stroll along the beach and it’s only 20-30  minutes’ drive to the chic boutiques, trendy restaurants and nightlife of Maenam, Fisherman’s Village in Bophut and Chaweng.

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The Elite Concierge Service

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Our Elite Havens Concierge Team is ready to enhance your next holiday experience. Once your booking is confirmed, any requests you might have, no matter how large or small, will be taken care of by our team. Their abundance of knowledge and warm and attentive attitude will help ease out any vacation-woes from the moment you land until your departure. 

Concierge - Andy and concierge team - Kaba Kaba Estate entrance

Our mission: ‘Concierge provides Elite Havens guests with knowledgeable advice, assistance and tailored recommendations to ensure their villa holiday experience surpasses expectations.’

Here, we interview our Head of Concierge, Andy Grant, who’s proud of bringing an ultimate, bespoke experience to you.

Concierge - Andy Grant - Beachside

Elite Havens: Tell us a bit about your background, Andy.

Andy Grant: I hail from New Zealand and my first ‘proper’ job was in banking. I also have an extensive background in hospitality and eventually embraced the hair, beauty and cosmetic industry. I’ve always had a passion for service and love making people feel good. Tropical Asia has been a favourite holiday destination and I am now very fortunate to say I live permanently in Bali. Four years later and I’m still motivated by its constantly evolving hospitality scene, tropical climate and unique culture.

EH: What do you do for Elite Havens?

AG: I am Head of Concierge. My team  deals with our guests from the minute they have confirmed their reservation through to their arrival and stay at the villa.

EH: What does the Concierge do specifically during that time?

AG: Each of our direct bookings are assigned to a Personal Concierge team member. They will work with the guests, taking care of all requests, tailoring itineraries and fine tuning arrangements. Depending on booking times, interactions with guests can sometimes be up to 18 months before they arrive at their destination. This allows a lot of dialogue and a solid relationship built on trust to form over time. What we offer our guests is always premium, as we only deal with the best establishments and operators in each destination. We are more than the traditional ‘Concierge’ based in a hotel lobby, we coordinate across our whole portfolio which is like taking care of a vast number of mini hotels!

EH: What sort of requests does the team receive?

AG: You name it,

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Insider’s View: Villa Naam Sawan

in Destinations/Tips by
Naam Sawan - Stunning villa setting

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.

Villa Naam Sawan - Bedroom Painting

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.

Villa Naam Sawan - Dining Room evening

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.

Villa Naam Sawan - Elegantly designed

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.

Naam Sawan - Absolute ocean view

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.

Naam Sawan - Villa feature

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.

Naam Sawan - Tropical escape

The major advantage of the east coast is that you are able to swim and play 12 months of the year,

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Insider’s View: Kaba Kaba Estate

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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.

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