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#things to do - page 10

It’s not just feather pillows and designer robes, don’t you know

in Destinations by

The villa aficionado
villa (n) – a large and luxurious residence
aficionado (n) – a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime.

In fact, I see it more as a job. And believe me, like all jobs it has its high and low lights. However, I’m a certain sort of traveller,  the sort that doesn’t consider a hotel room (regardless of pool size 14 stories below, or is that up?) a holiday. Sure, hotel rooms have their place – fine for a business trip, great for a quick shop-a-thon, a clandestine affair if you must, but definitely not what constitutes a holiday.

A holiday in a villa, ah, quelle joie, now we’re talking!

Imagine multimillion dollar properties filled with every conceivable comfort, every luxury that suddenly becomes your (yes, your) very own home for the duration of your stay? The staff, the butlers and the private chef are there for just for you. Your own home, only infinitely better

For a week or more a year live like a star, a sheikh, royalty or a trust fund child, it’s escapism at its ultimate best, it’s also totally affordable and even legal.

Bali is my current taste destination du jour, so after typing in Bali luxury villa rentals Google did its thing, and I found a full to the brim with villas website;  Elite Havens.

This is where the real work part begins as being a villa aficionado by trade, it is now my duty to trial their products. However, before I delve into the individual merits (and not) of certain villas that I’ve stayed in,  I decided as a newcomer to blogging that I would follow some rules.

The rule of lists and points, 10 points in fact.

  1. Price. You may think at a glance renting a villa is miles more expensive than any 5-star luxury hotel, well think again (calculator if you must). A five-bedroom multi-million-dollar villa in the heart of uber trendy Seminyak, Bali, with all the bells and whistles, staff, chefs, drivers, private pool, gardens costs approximately $900 per night. So, that’s only $180 per room p.n. (gargantuan, individually styled room). Go figure?
  2. You’ll be met at the airport, not by some contractor but by one of their full-time drivers.

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The elite experience app

in News by

The contents of a dozen of Bali’s most in-the-know people’s Little Black Books has been distilled into Elite Haven’s new concierge app, elite experience, and it’s a treasure chest of cool information and hot tips.

Zap this app into an iPhone and you have immediate access to Bali’s international dining scene, hippest bars and chicest cafes. The Elite Havens team has created a magical précis of upscale adventures, beautiful and bespoke shopping, spa sanctuaries, professional kids entertainers and activities plus some special treats.

Laborious days of researching for the best-of-the-best and creating a ‘to do’ list for your vacation are banished to history. The Elite Experience app cuts through the confusing miasma of magazine features, tourist guidebooks and advertiser-sponsored platforms that make claims rarely met.

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Before leaving home, download the free Bali app and explore the crème de la crème of Bali’s social, retail and high-life.

Arrange a private visit to an opulent fashion boudoir attended by a Hollywood stylist; take a safari under the stars; jump aboard a magnificent schooner for a day of island hopping; wash an elephant or be helicoptered to a Greg Norman-designed golf course where tees are separated by dazzling cliffs and open ocean, and an exquisite Balinese sea temple forms the backdrop.

Captivate the kids with a visit from a professional French circus school or let them swing from the trees at an adventure park tucked amongst the stunning grounds of Bali’s serene botanic garden.

The elite experience app safeguards guests against unfortunate hiccups and delivers a divine holiday itinerary in advance of your arrival. Our villa managers will take over the organisation and logistics so that your plans can be expertly executed without delay.

Close ties with these hand-picked hot-spots have brought some fabulous treats for Elite Havens’ villa guests, including complimentary cocktails, preferential seating and generous discounts.

And we’ve anonymously checked out every bar and business listed to ensure that constant quality expectations are maintained.

Money cannot buy inclusion to this distinguished concierge service that has been carefully curated to provide the perfect plan for your holiday on the Island of the Gods.

DOWNLOAD FOR iPHONE NOW

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Pastry Classes at Monsieur Spoon

in Families by

If you are visiting Bali with kids and looking for unique things to do, go into any of the three branches of Monsieur Spoon and you are bound to see children staring at the pastries, biscuits and macaroons, their faces etched with wonder and delight. It’s not just the anticipation of something sweet, it’s the way the food looks, smells and is displayed and how it encourages their curiosity: “How do you make croissants?” “How do you colour macaroons?”. Book a pastry class with Greg and Rafi and your kids can find it out for themselves.

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Pastry Classes and Garden Parties

It’s this curiosity that Monsieur Spoon co-founder Greg recognised in his own children and the children that come into his bakeries, and that led to the launch of baking classes at Monsieur Spoon.

“I want kids to come into the kitchen, meet the bakers, touch the dough and see the caramel being made. I want them to understand that baking and cooking are an art and that they can all be artists” says Greg.

Classes are scheduled every last weekend of the month.

For more information e-mail: office@monsieurspoon.com

Monsieur Spoon also hosts entertaining garden parties.

About Monsieur Spoon

Monsieur Spoon was founded in 2012 when Rafi Papazian and Gregory Guerguerian decided to leave Paris and set up on the Island of The Gods. Bali might seem as a strange place to be creating French pastries, but Rafi and Greg say that it was the creativity and passion they found in Bali that charmed them to stay and share their dream with the locals. Visit Monsieur Spoon at any of these locations:

Monsieur Spoon Umalas, Jln Umalas 2, n°43 Kerobokan, Bali.

Monsieur Spoon Canggu, Jln Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu, Bali.

Monsieur Spoon Oberoi, Jalan Kayu Cendana no. 2 Oberoi (next to Seminyak Square).

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Cruising Bali in a VW Kombi

in Recreation by

Have you ever dreamt about exploring the tropical island of Bali in your own unique way? Thanks to Brett and his team at Bali VW Limo, you can turn back the clock and channel your inner hippy for a nostalgic cruise in a classic VW Kombi Limo.

What started off as office banter about building a fun vehicle that would have a boom box, WiFi, slide-out kitchen and customised mini bar, turned into a huge project that finally came to fruition last year.

In May 2013 Brett found a VW Kombi for sale roadside in Denpasar. After re-registration, the Kombi was given a major revamp. The paint job was designed by Brett’s daughter Nisa and made real by Bali’s most famous airbrush artist. Ten months on, the Kombi was ready to hit the road. Now there are 4 of them cruising the island’s picturesque roads with 5 more on the production line.

All the vehicles are equipped with WiFi, air-conditioning, excellent sound system and remote-controlled minibar. Each VW Kombi Limousine comfortably seats five adults and comes with an experienced driver, English-speaking concierge, and cold water and towels on pick up.

Brett and his team can tailor a full day of activities for you whether it’s a trip with your friends or family to Bali’s arts center Ubud or down to Kuta’s party strip. Just send them an email and they’ll help map out an exciting, yet comfortable itinerary for you: info@vwlimobali.com

For more info visit VW Kombi at www.vwlimobali.com

Looking for a luxury place to stay in Bali? Check out our hand-picked selection of luxury villas HERE.

VW Limo Bali attracting attention at Ku De Ta[2]

VW Limo Bali ricefields in Cemagi[1]

VW Limo Bali on tour Batu Ngaus[4]

Have you traveled in a VW Kombi? Share your experience in the comments section.

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8 Things To Do In Galle

in Recreation by

The south coast Galle region is one of the most complete tourist destinations in Sri Lanka. The historic UNESCO-certified Galle Fort is the region’s foremost attraction but there are many more activities and attractions in the local area to keep you busy for days. Here are some of our favourites:

Galle Fort Walk

Local author Juliet Coombe hosts a variety of guided walking tours in historic Galle Fort, focusing on architecture, people and food. The walks last for around 90-minutes and include a stop for refreshments. Galle Fort’s historic streets, lined with cafés and boutiques and home to European churches, mosques, old spice warehouses and museums, are also ripe for exploring on your own.

Website: www.sriserendipity.com/walking_tours.html

Galle’s Beaches

Galle is blessed with a great variety of beaches. Galle Fort itself has a pretty beach just south of the lighthouse that can be lovely for an early morning swim before anyone else is about. Other favourites are Dalawella Beach, beside the popular Wijeya Beach Restaurant, and Unawatuna Beach whose wide horseshoe-shaped bay offers safe swimming throughout the year. From Unawatuna you can also arrange diving, deep-sea fishing and snorkelling.

Idle Bikes & Boats

Explore Galle’s picturesque interior by bicycle on a guided tour of the region’s verdant hills, sleepy villages, paddy fields and jungle. You can pick from a variety of trails; each route takes in the quietest, most scenic back roads and bunds. Idle Tours also offer boat trips on the Gin Ganga River west of Galle, a peaceful waterway home to a Sri Lanka’s aquatic wildlife and birds.

Website: www.idletours.com

Looking for a perfect spot for lunch or dinner? Have a look at our favourite restaurants in the South of Sri Lanka. 

Handunugoda Tea Estate

Tea is grown across Sri Lanka, and The Handunugoda Tea Estate is one of the closest tea plantations to the coast. Here you can take a tour of the estate, have a nosy around the factory and enjoy a tasting and buying session of the many types of tea. The estate is also famous for producing white tea, a delicate variety that retails for around US$1500 a kilo.

Website: www.virginwhitetea.com

Habaraduwa Turtle Hatchery

Sri Lanka’s sandy shores are prime targets for nesting marine turtles who come ashore to lay their eggs in the very same place they were born.

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