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Luxury Weekends in Phuket and Koh Samui

in Destinations by
  • Phuket-beach.jpg
    beach with coconut palm and sea
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  • 1.-Villa-Nandana-A-tranquil-location-to-relax-2.jpg

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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Spilling the beans – Chef Poo’s Pad Thai, Baan Bon Khao Phuket

in Dining by
Spilling the beans Baan Bon Khao

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. In the Baan Bon Khao kitchen, Chef Poo cooks up a classic and much-loved Thai dish, Pad Thai with Prawns in an Egg Parcel.
 

Spilling the beans Baan Bon Khao 5

With spectacular sea and sunset views, Baan Bon Khao is an ideal getaway for families or groups.  Luxuriating on a hillside estate near Surin Beach, this four-bedroom villa features an infinity pool and stately living and dining pavilions.  Guests are well cared for by the villa manager, chef and personal driver.

Here’s an exclusive from the  Baan Bon Khao kitchen. 

Egg wrapped Pad Thai with Prawns Recipe
(Serves 2 – 4)

Spilling the beans Baan Bon Khao ingredients

Ingredients :

The sauce

  • 35 grams palm sugar, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tamarind concentrate
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp water

Pad Thai

  • 4 ounces dry rice noodles (choose one that is about 2mm wide)
  • 6 – 8 prawns, or as many as you’d like, peeled and deveined.
  • 1 small head shallot, thinly sliced, about 3 tbsp
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp, chopped
  • 1-piece of pressed tofu, cut into small pieces
  • ½ tsp of chili flakes, or to taste
  • 4 eggs – 2 for Pad Thai, 2 beaten for egg parcel
  • 5 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup garlic chives, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1 lime

Directions :

The Sauce: Mix all together and set aside.

Step 1: Soak the rice noodles in room temperature water for 1 hour, until the noodles turn from translucent to completely white and are very pliable.

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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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Elite Havens extended its Collection of Koh Samui Luxury Villas with Silk Acquisition

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Praana Residence at Panacea Retreat - Tropical serenity

Elite Havens has extended its Asian market-leading luxury vacation villa collection with the acquisition of SILK’s 12 exceptional properties on the Thai island of Koh Samui.

The incorporation of SILK’s management and marketing portfolio creates an unrivalled selection of 18 high-end holiday villas on the island, including ‘Panacea Retreat’ – the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Samui’s private luxury retreats.

“The acquisition complements our 42 properties on Phuket as Elite Havens continues expanding across Asia, with spectacular growth this year also including Niseko Boutiques in Japan’s most famous ski resort and VillaNaBali’s luxury villa retreats in Bali.

“Elite Havens proudly now offers greater diversity of choice than ever to our 70,000 guests each year at more than 200 of the region’s finest private luxury villas from Phuket and Koh Samui to Bali, Lombok, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Japan.”

In the new Koh Samui portfolio acquired from SILK, the extravagant ‘Praana Residence’ at ‘Panacea Retreat’is unquestionably the island’s finest private luxury retreat.

More like a private hotel, the extravagant 6-bedroom hilltop residence is a pleasure dome of delights and surprises complete with its own restaurant, casino, 10-seater private cinema, billiards room and karaoke night club – with outstanding sports and wellbeing amenities including a floodlit tennis court, fully-equipped gym, massage and sauna rooms, two infinity pools and an open-air Muay Thai boxing ring.

The bespoke collection also includes stunning havens from designer-styled ‘Villa Suralai’ and beachfront retreats ‘Baan Dalah’ and ‘Villa Nueng’ to trendsetters ‘Villa Spice and ‘Villa Zest’ at Lime Samui, and elegant and sophisticated ‘Kalya Residence’ at Panacea Retreat.

Blending unsurpassed tropical beauty with world-class cuisine, luxury spas, a vibrant party scene and five-star hospitality, Koh Samui is a perfect match for the Elite Havens signature style of luxury. Getting there is easy, with direct daily flights from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Xi’an.

About SILK

Established in 2016 by founder Milos Kosanovic, SILK offers clients Bespoke Management and Marketing Programs with personalised attention that is unrivalled in the Koh Samui luxury market, blending expertise in marketing, hospitality and property management. Only exceptional properties have been chosen to be part of SILK’s portfolio, each with a unique offering for its guests. Keeping the portfolio limited in size allows SILK a high degree of focus.

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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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