A world-class destination famous for its white-sand beaches, eclectic nightlife and outstanding shopping malls and boutiques, Phuket continues to go… 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.
“For the herds of wild elephants show no resentment when domesticated animals join them. They have none of that herd instinct directed against the stranger that one finds in cattle, in small boys, and among many grown-up men. This tolerance is just one of the things about elephants which makes one realize they are big in more ways than one.”
― J.H. Williams, Elephant Bill
Samui Elephant Sanctuary opened on 16 January 2018 by Founder Wittaya Sala-Ngam and is the first ethical elephant sanctuary in Koh Samui. Currently, there are five elephants in their care; Cartoon, Kham San and Sri Nin (50 – 60 years old) who came to the sanctuary from the local riding camp on Koh Samui. The sanctuary also has two younger elephants; Nong Pech (7 years old) and Moloair (9 years old) who came to the elephant sanctuary from Surin province.
Samui Elephant Sanctuary offers tours that educate visitors about the importance of these extraordinary, majestic giants. You will be able to feed and walk and observe the elephants as they forage, socialize and play, and do what elephants do, and that’s be elephants.
These five elephants that now live, at the Samui Elephant Sanctuary, have come from an extremely hard life, working long hours in the entertainment or logging industries. These stunning animals have been beaten and made to do what their owners wanted by use of force and torture. Having a chair strapped to their back or painting a picture has never been part of their natural environment. The positive news for elephants is that times are changing and projects such as the Samui Elephant Sanctuary are becoming the new way for a tourist to experience elephants.
The Samui Elephant Sanctuary is the perfect opportunity for families, couples, and friends to discover the life of elephants in a stunning natural setting and enjoy these beautiful creatures in a way that does not take advantage of the animal. The project works under the Save the Elephant Foundations “off Saddle” program.
On arrival, you will be welcomed by extremely friendly and highly dedicated team of staff, many of whom are volunteers, that are all committed to the well-being of the animals. The tours focus on observation of the elephant’s natural behaviors and as such, they do not allow guest to join the elephants in the mud pit or swimming pool and of course NO RIDING.
As many of you will have heard Lombok was hit by an earthquake in early August. The north of the island was damaged with many villages and locals affected. The south, including the infrastructure around from the airport, was not affected. Our villas had superficial damage and will all be up and running in a matter of weeks.
We are now looking to help rebuild the areas which were impacted and get the island back on its feet. The people of Lombok rely on tourism and international visitors for their livelihood and it’s important that we assist in ensuring the island is up and functioning as quickly as possible which will give these beautiful people back their jobs and dignity. Having assessed the situation over the last few weeks and supplied numerous trucks of emergency aide, we are now looking at longer term rebuilding projects. Many locals in the north, including members of our staff families, have sustained damage to their homes.
Of course the implementation of these necessary plans comes at a cost and the financial burden is significant. We have opened a donation page here in the knowledge that many of you have visited Lombok and may even know first-hand the families involved and would like to help. We know the staff and their families in Lombok will welcome any contribution, however big or small, as a sign of your solidarity in the face of this hardship. Elite Havens and the staff of our regional offices have all donated so we have a good starting base.
Finally it is important that we get the island back to being self-sufficient. I would urge you to consider revisiting the island of Lombok as soon as you can to help the tourism industry to function again. Your international dollars go a long way.
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.