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Beat the Rush for Powder: 7 Things to Do in Niseko

in Culture/Destinations/Families/Recreation/Tips by

The perfect snow, with adequate depth and powdery white texture – welcome to Niseko, where you can chase your ultimate powder dream. It’s the ideal place to ski, snowboard or try a host of snow-filled activities. From snowshoeing to gliding on your snowmobile, and even water-rafting in spring-time rapids, Niseko gives frozen water a good name.

Its increasing popularity as a ski-destination is further fuelled by the availability of high-end chalets for individual families as well as groups. But don’t follow the crowds. Beat the rush for powder by coming to Niseko a few weeks early to discover what the season truly offers. Explore the winter dream minus the crowds. It isn’t just about skiing!

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Luxury Weekends in Phuket and Koh Samui

in Destinations/Families by
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    beach with coconut palm and sea
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Picture this: you’re hidden away in a breathtaking haven away from the rest of the world, sitting atop a plush cushion beside a monumental door opening onto a lush garden. A flute of champagne in hand and a gastronomic spread before you, you hear only birds and your four-year old singing a soft rhythm. Your husband is floating in the pool in this hushed oasis, on his torso an outlined shade of a large leaf fluttering with the breeze.

Settle In

Welcome to Thailand’s quintessential experience of relaxation and rest, where you can stay holed up in an enormous villa replete with sumptuous lines of coconut wood and padauk, or nara wood, a hardwood that’s sturdy and pleasing to the eye. The furniture is simple and sleek amidst the high ceilings and glass walls. The master bath contains a stone bathtub, the perfect complement to your call to respite. You’re surrounded by space, space everywhere, and there’s nothing to keep you from running through the rooms in excitement.

You came to relax and enjoy a long weekend break, but also for discovery and local culture. Nestled in an idyllic retreat between ivory sands and jungled gardens, this villa feels like the home you’ve imagined in musings of grandeur. Yet, there’s a calm, tranquil atmosphere.

Phuket
What To Do
Get Splashed

Rest is abated when you venture outside on 13th April, the first day of the Songkran Festival. Songkran, one of Thailand’s most famous festivals, is an important event on the Buddhist calendar. It is the beginning of the traditional Thai new year – and what’s known as the day of the biggest water fight. Large water guns and hoses leave you drenched because every road you pass has a splash station.

But there are many things you can do besides get wet, including asking your private villa chef to indulge your taste buds. Savor the sweet, spicy and sour all at once. The villa managers and staff cater to your every whim and even take care of your children for the day. A private yoga teacher can help you unwind and a massage therapist will slowly knead city-stress away. Home spa services are just a call away.

Sun and Games

The sand stretches for miles and miles in Phuket.

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The Muntigunung Trek – a walk on the wild side of Bali

in Recreation by

If you’ve visited Bali before, you might have taken a day trip to Kintamani to take in the stunning views across Lake Batur towards the mountains. And the experience will have stopped there. But beyond the lake and the steep mountains is a side of Bali so far off the tourism trail that few have had the chance to visit — unless they have joined the exclusive and award-winning Muntigunung Trek. Seduced by the promise of breath-taking vistas and heart-warming encounters in the once-forgotten villages of Muntigunung, we eagerly signed up and set our alarm clock for the pre-dawn start.

After driving northwards for two hours in the company of Pica, our principle guide, we stopped on the crest of the caldera to marvel at the sun rising behind the mountains beyond the lake — an early Instagram-worthy moment. “That’s where you will be trekking”, he pointed. The drive itself was part of the experience; we drove past amazing rice terraces and rural vistas, then dropped down into the caldera weaving across lava fields from Gunung Batur’s 1968 eruption and along the lake to Songan.

Ready for jaw-dropping vistas?

Time to lace up your boots, lavish on the sunscreen, have selfie-stick at the ready, select a sturdy bamboo walking stick, and  then take to the trail with Pica and the local guides as they lead their way up the steep mountainside. The views are spectacular — at one stage the trail follows the top of a ridge and the expanse of ocean shimmers towards the horizon on one side while, down a vertiginous drop far below, Lake Batur sparkles towards Kintamani perched on the far rim of the caldera.

It is unimaginable to think that this mountain trail was once the only route the women and children of the Munti villages could take to secure water for their families – a perilous five-hour round trip every day. It was also the start of their journey to go begging with their children in Ubud and on Bali’s main beach resort streets — then their only source of income.

EH Muntigunung logo

Making a difference, step by step

But that’s one of the joys of completing the trek; with every step, you’re making a positive contribution to the livelihood and wellbeing of the island’s poorest, most neglected communities. For the trek is just one of the extraordinary initiatives that have transformed their lives,

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The Picture Perfect of the Family Ideal

in Families by
Children are fabulously celebrated and doted on by the Thai people which makes it a seriously sensational destination for a family holiday. The stunning island of Koh Samui is trending hard among those ‘in the know’ families. Velvet soft sandy beaches are perfect for sand castle construction (and parent lazing) while the glittering azure shallows are so safe for swimming and snorkeling – the exact amount of needed shade is provided by the abundance of trees which complete the picture perfect of the family ideal.
Koh Samui is just off the south-east coast of Thailand’s Surat Thani. It’s laid back and a tranquil corner of an energized nation. Blessed with extraordinary natural beauty it has a raft of fun adventures that will be certain to create memories.
 

Family-friendly villas

The first concern for most families is where to stay. Hotels and resorts may pitch themselves as family friendly, but the prying eyes of other guests can be vexing. Massive resorts offer little in terms of space and privacy and certainly don’t give you access to your own private chef.
 
The support of a stellar team of professional staff in a luxury private villa caters to the broad demands of family life. Daily housekeeping discretely happens every day everything is pristine and random glasses are whisked away. Meals are a stunning affair with a private chef creating beautiful dishes – from exotic delicacies, western favourites, barbeques, kids’ choices and even special diets. Add to this an easily secured in-villa nanny and the load of parenting can be lightened even further. 
 
Imagine a private swimming pool with floating toys, play equipment, board games and possibly table tennis and pool tables. Staff are quick to help with the kids, so you can enjoy the bliss away from other guests who may not love junior’s joyful squeals and noisy pool games. Secure walls deliver safe spaces for little ones to wander and explore under the watchful eyes of a nanny. Many villas are also big enough to house a few families turning a gorgeous estate into a sensational tribal ground with friends and cousins roaming in packs. 
 
A stream of homemade snacks will be prepared by the cooks and guests also have open access to the kitchen which is worth its weight in gold for families with toddlers and babies – and jetlag. 

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Where Tropical Perfection Meets Gourmet Cuisine

in Dining by

Thailand’s leisure island of Koh Samui holds a priority position on the bucket list of every chic traveller. With Mick Jagger, Richard Branson and the Beckhams drawn to the divine destination, the island’s enviable reputation for barefoot luxury is set in stone.

Powder soft white sandy beaches dotted with swaying palm trees and glittering turquoise shallows gently lap the shores and set the spectacular scene. 

Private coves and hidden beaches abound and are easily discovered through local fisher folk who will happily transport you to these dreamy destinations – or if exquisite coral reefs for a spot of snorkeling are more your style then for a few dollars you can be transported there.

Exclusive holiday villas are always the preferred style of accommodation among the rich and discerning, and many already own a private property on the island, however the well-versed traveller knows the joys of simply renting a private luxury villa to experience the ultimate holiday. 

Then there is the food for which the entire Thai Kingdom is rightly honoured…

 Personal Chefs

Chefs attached to these luxury villas are unique professionals with a vast repertoire of dishes fulfilling all dining moments – snacks, kids’ choices, a broad western menu, specific diets and five-star flavours.

Order a stunning poolside seafood barbeque, a formal degustation feast for 12 people or an intimate dinner for two at a perfectly set table on the beach at sunset. It is all fabulously possible and seamlessly executed.

Chefs adore to showcase their regional specialties and to dazzle guests with their culinary magic. Start the day with a trip to the local markets, which is always a cultural immersion, and launch into a crash course in Thai cooking.

Learn to identify and select fresh ingredients to be pounded into the paste that you will turn into a creamy and lush coconut curry. Or as the afternoon heat sets in climb into a comfy hammock with a cool signature cocktail and have a chat with the villa manager about possible trips to one of the pretty waterfalls in the hinterland, a traditional sea gypsy village or a visit to one of many Buddhist temples whilst your personal chef surprises you with yet another Thai masterpiece.

Dining in any one of our luxury Koh Samui villas is a gourmand’s dream come true,

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