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Luxury Weekends in Phuket and Koh Samui

in Destinations 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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Songkran Festival in Phuket

in News by
songkran waterfight

Songkran is Thailand’s most famous Festival and possibly the largest water fight in the world.

WHEN IS SONGKRAN?

Songkran Festival starts 13 April. In some areas of Thailand it only lasts for three days, the 13th, 14th and 15th, and in other areas it lasts for seven days.

Songkran is not only Thailand’s most famous festival but it’s also one of the most important events on the Buddhist calendar. The event marks the beginning of the traditional Thai new year.

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF SONGRKRAN?

The festival originated centuries ago as a purification rite, in both a physical and spiritual sense.  Temples, Buddha images, and houses where tidied and cleaned as a way to clear away negative influences. Traditional celebrations involved a gentle sprinkling of scented water.

HOW IS SONGKRAN CELEBRATED?

Over the years, Songkran like many other centuries-old festivals has become commercial. Water guns and bright-coloured Hawaiian shirts (more on these later) are on sale in shops weeks before the event and every marketing department scrambles to get their Songkran message heard through a downpour of advertising.

songran festival crowds

Songkran has become arguably the biggest water fight in the world. The throwing of water (er, mass water fights) have become a huge part of the celebration over the past two decades everywhere in Thailand, so don’t be surprised if you get splashed with icy cold water, well when we say splashed, we mean drenched in water, shot at you from every angle form a variety of colored water pistols, buckets and anything else that can hold water. You will also become covered in powder, which is… Well, even to this day after being in Thailand for eleven years, I have no idea what it is.

WHAT IS SONGKRAN LIKE IN PHUKET?

The whole of Phuket island stops on the 13th of April when families, friends and communities set up make-shift water splash stations on the side of every road. Think of a fun road stop checkpoint, with blaring music coming out of a 1980 speaker which has been blown out ten years ago, and everybody drenched in water and covered powder, dancing around in these bright Hawaiian shirts.

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Phuket for Families

in Families by
Villa Amanzi - Family fun

Tropical Phuket, with its miles of golden beaches, has obvious appeal as a family holiday escape. But Thailand’s largest island also holds plenty of charm beyond its sands, with many outdoor attractions and a rich cultural heritage that travellers of all ages will love to explore. 

First, those beaches. With more than 30 beaches around the island, you could spend weeks in Phuket simply relaxing on the sands, but those with kids in tow may want a beach with some fun activities and a bit of shaded comfort. Kamala Beach is one of the most family friendly with its shallow bay for swimming, beachfront eateries, shops, cafés and sea-view foot massages.

And with several luxury villas in Kamala along its lush headland, discerning families looking for a private holiday hideaway are well catered to.

Kata Beach is also a fine spot for families, its powder-soft sands ideal for idling away a day and excellent surfing conditions from May through October. If the sea is too smooth for surfing, then hire some standup paddle boards, or stop at Surf House on the Kata beachfront with its continuous man-made wave offering fun flowboarding action. 

 Villa Sammasan - Family friendly

Villa Amanzi in Kata Noi is a perfect holiday haven for friends and families looking to explore Kata Beach.

On the quieter northwest coast is Nai Thon Beach, an idyllic one-kilometre length of soft sand that never gets crowded. Simply relax on the sand or do some snorkelling, standup paddle or boogie boarding, with a number of low-key restaurants offering a cosy place for families and friends to dine at an unhurried pace with sea and sunset views.

Nai Thon is also home to the award-winning Malaiwana villas and residences, luxurious sea-view havens with private pools and friendly service that offer the perfect family retreat after a day at the beach.

phuket-for-familiesNai Yang Beach just to the north is another decent surfing spot and a favourite place for kite boarders and windsurfers. Not far away near the airport is Splash Jungle Water Park, offering some wet and wild fun away from the beach with waterslides, a wave pool and a lazy river.

Villa Saanti - Natai Beach, Phang Nga

Home to the idyllic Villa Saanti with its beachfront pool and lawn,

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Spilling the beans – Chef Meaw’s Panang Curry, Villa Wang Nam Jai, Phuket

in Dining by
Chef Meaw

One of the highlights of staying at a private villa on your vacation is that you get to sample superb food prepared exclusively for you by skilled in-house chefs – many of whom have trained at internationally renowned restaurants. Elite Havens’ villa menus showcase an extensive range of Asian delights to cater to every guest’s tastes, but of course each chef has his or her own particular specialties that shouldn’t be missed. With much coaxing and cajoling, we’ve persuaded some of our chefs to spill the beans and share their favourite recipes with us here.

Penang Curry Recipe

In Villa Wang Nam Jai’s sleek modern kitchen, Chef Meaw cooks up the largest prawns we’ve ever seen to make her delicious Penang curry.

Chef Meaw

Penang Curry recipe
Ingredients:

  • 1 large fresh prawn (or 4-5 smaller fresh prawns)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. Panang curry paste
  • 1 ½ tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar
  • 1 large red chili sliced
  • 4 – 5 Kaffir lime leaves thinly sliced
  • A small handful of pea eggplants
  • Oil

Chef Meaw’s Panang Curry ingredients

Directions:

Step 1.  Heat up a griddle pan and a frying pan.

Step 2. Wash the prawn and cut in half (leave the shell and head on).  

Step 3. Oil the prawn and when the griddle pan is hot place the two halves of prawn flesh side down.

Step 4. Add ½ cup coconut milk to the frying pan and let it come to the boil at a medium heat, making sure to stir.  

Step 5. Add the Panang paste to the frying pan and stir in for 2 minutes and then add the remaining coconut milk and continue to stir for 1 minute.

Step 6. Turn the prawn.  

Step 7. Add the palm sugar and fish sauce to the frying pan and stir and then add the pea eggplants.

Step 8. Once the prawn is pink, add to the frying pan and cook on a low heat for a 1 – 2 minutes.

Step 9. Add some of the sliced chili and sliced Kaffir lime leaves, leaving some for garnish.

Step 10. Place on a plate and garnish with the remaining red chili slices and kaffir lime leaves.

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Live It Up Celebrity-style In Phuket

in Recreation by
Villa Nautilus - Play golf with breathtaking view

 A world-class destination famous for its white-sand beaches, eclectic nightlife and outstanding shopping malls and boutiques, Phuket continues to go from strength to strength. If you’re looking to splurge and live it up celebrity-style while on holiday, the island delivers an abundance of luxurious and ultra-chic experiences: sample some of Thailand’s delectable cuisine at a five-star restaurant, enjoy an exotic cocktail garnished with a sea breeze and tropical sunset, or charter a yacht and explore the region by sea, your options are endless.

Experience Gourmet life

Looking for a luxury gourmet break? Holidays are the perfect excuse to indulge in delicious cuisine every day, and when you stay in an Elite Havens villa, that’s exactly what you can expect – without even having to get dressed! Just sit back, relax and enjoy as your private chef creates a range of beautiful dishes to tantalize your taste buds, including local Thai delights, western favourites and even special menus for the kids.

With all those tempting treats available in-villa you might well decide to stay put, but if you do fancy a night out you’re in the right place. Phuket is no stranger to good food and offers something for everyone, from the tastiest street food to the finest of fine-dining establishments.

Try the unique, Michelin-starred, PRU , which focuses on locally sourced organic and free-range foods and has earned quite a name for itself since it opened in 2016. In fact, several of Phuket’s sumptuous eateries were given a special mention in the 2019 Michelin Guide  for Bangkok, Phuket and Phang Nga, so if you are looking to splurge for a night on the town be sure to check out some of these outstanding places.

Enjoy Phuket’s VIPs Beach Clubs

Once your appetite has been sated, perhaps it’s time to drop in for a few drinks at one of Phuket’s ultra-popular beach clubs. In recent years, these stylish entertainment venues have taken over the island’s party scene, and while there are many clubs to choose from, the decadent Catch Beach Club  is among the most highly rated, and knows how to lay on the red carpet treatment. With a stunning location on Bangtao Beach, Catch Beach Club has a high-quality bar, restaurant and chic lounge, and offers day passes that include VIP Double Bed privileges as well as credits on food and beverage.

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