Villa on View.
Your weekly up-close view of those wow factor extras that make our villas outstanding. After all, attention to detail always makes a difference.
Villa Cielo is an extraordinary family holiday home within an exclusive estate right on Phuket’s lovely Natai Beach. This home away from home is built for families with young children, with a full-sized kids’ play structure installed in the large garden at the back of the villa, as well as a basketball hoop, kids’ cars and a trampoline. Adults can have their own bit of fun by the pool table or the bar.
Looking from one end of the black-tiled 25-metre infinity pool towards the horizon, one can not help but succumb to the charms of its exotic location by the sea. A gazebo lies on one side of the pool, perfect for a nap or morning yoga. Six spacious bedrooms fill the home, offering each guest privacy, as well as a quiet nook to retreat to. Step onto the beach for a sunset stroll or watch your favourite film on the home theatre system, there’s no dearth of options here. And the one thing that ties it all up into the perfect family vacation, is the warmth of the villa staff and attention to detail that is second nature to them.
We sit down with Villa Manager Gia to get a glimpse of life at the villa.
Elite Havens: Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Villa Manager Gia: Hi, my name is Gia. I’ve been working with Elite Havens since 2017. I work as a Guest Services Supervisor. Usually, the Guest Services Supervisor supports the Villa Managers, but in my case, I also act as a Villa Manager here at Villa Cielo.
EH: So, what are your main responsibilities?
VMG: I start taking care of our guests even before they arrive. Answers to the questions on our portal filled by guests prior to their arrival help us understand their requirements better. Based on their answers, we plan on how to assist our guests. For example, we find out what time they will arrive so we can arrange an airport pick-up. If they want to do some activities, book a massage, or join an island tour, we can make the arrangements in advance. We also talk about food preferences and restrictions, recommending local Thai dishes for their dining pleasure when they stay with us.
It’s all about the views at stylish Villa Samira, set along Phuket’s ‘Millionaires’ Mile’. This six-bedroom holiday home boasts superb sea and sunset views from all its living spaces, including a 17-metre infinity pool and an unbelievable outdoor sea view jacuzzi. Modern interiors mix with traditional Thai design here. Whether savouring the sun at the expansive outdoor living areas, playing a game of pool in the game room or gathering for a movie in the media room, Samira’s lavish indoor and outdoor areas are a treat.
Samira, which means ‘cool breeze’ in Sanskrit, includes a custom-built spa for the perfect holiday escape. Enhancing your experience at this tropical haven is the finest staff team, including an English-speaking Villa Manager whom we interviewed.
Elite Havens: Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Villa Manager Samyot: My name is Samyot and I’m 45 years old. I have been the Villa Manager of Villa Samira for a little over one year. I have more than twenty years of experience in the hotel industry. Along with my previous job at a hotel, I also worked part-time as a Villa Manager elsewhere, before I started working at Elite Havens.
EH: What do you like about your job?
VMS: I love taking care of guests. It’s a thrill to be there when they arrive and see the villa for the first time. They are so happy to discover the beauty of this holiday home, and I try to ensure that their happiness extends throughout the visit.
EH: Great, so you enjoy looking after the guests for their entire stay. And do you have any interesting stories about some of your guests?
VMS: A group stayed with us once for two weeks. One day, they asked me to play pool with them. They said that if I lost, they would throw me in the pool. And then, I won! But they all picked me up in good humour and threw me in the pool nevertheless. It was a wonderful day, such great memories. The guests were incredibly warm.
EH: What are some places that people can visit nearby?
VMS: Some of our guests love to go to Cafe del Mar. Patong is also popular for its beach,
Imagining the romance of a wedding comes easy in the idyllic landscape of Lombok. Uncrowded vast beaches, tropical greenery, and the nature-rich Gili islands in the horizon, replete with sea turtles and exotic fish – there’s a feeling of discovering an untouched corner of the Earth. When it comes to destinations – and especially destination weddings – it doesn’t get much dreamier.
And which other place but Lombok delivers a marriage of stunning settings, exotic décor, highly experienced event planners and spectacular destination-in-themselves villas? Another compelling reason for a Lombok wedding is the complete lack of stress. You’re on island time, with skilled masseurs and beauty therapists on-call. Need more persuasion? Your celebrations can start long before the ceremony itself; your friends can plan a holiday around your special day, and organise all sorts of pre-wedding events at one of our fabulous villas. All villas have in-house gourmet catering, so there is no stress about the cuisine at the wedding. And the icing on the cake? The bride and groom don’t have to fly elsewhere to enjoy the most romantic and memorable honeymoon imaginable….it starts the moment they wake up the next day.
Here’s our selection of the best wedding villas on the island of Lombok:
Sira Beach House
Six-bedroom Sira Beach House sits on six acres of beautifully manicured lawns. The distinction between beach and garden is blurred on this beautiful beachfront. Open-sided living and dining rooms boast vaulted thatched roofs and a magical, dreamy bale completes the look.
Take your vows with the sand between your toes, enjoy a wedding breakfast under the shade of the coconut palms, surrounded by verdant greens, or dance the night away under the twinkling stars. Sira Beach House is utterly photogenic and the memories of your picture-perfect wedding will never fade.
Villa Sepoi Sepoi
Designed around a central courtyard,
Villa Rodnaya is a modern four-bedroom holiday retreat with superb views over Nai Thon Beach on the tranquil northwest coast of Phuket. Found on the hillside within the exclusive Malaiwana estate, Rodnaya has been built to please families and young groups. It’s brimming with facilities and features, such as a children’s playroom, a media room and an amazing 18-metre pool with a safety barrier for younger kids. Stroll down to the beach, or stay in and fall in love with Rodnaya’s stylish design and tranquil surrounds. And here’s a secret few know – the villa even has its own music studio, available only to professional musicians on request.
The open-plan kitchen at Villa Rodnaya has stunning views of the beautiful Nai Thon Beach, and we chatted with Chef Gear as she shared her favourite recipe with us. Here’s a sneak peek at what keeps the guests coming back to Villa Rodnaya – Chef Gear and her Grilled Chicken Thai Red Curry.
Elite Havens: What is your background?
Chef Gear: I didn’t plan to become a chef, but it was my destiny. I took a cooking class at high school, and at that moment I knew exactly what I wanted to do for a living.
EH: Did you train in the culinary arts?
CG: I do not have formal culinary training from a cooking school but it is my passion that has brought me here. After taking cooking lessons at school, I would cook for my family daily, and they are the hardest people to please!
EH: What qualities should one have to be a cook?
CG: It is so important to maintain hygiene and ensure that your work area is kept tidy.
EH: What did you cook for us today?
CG: Grilled Chicken Thai Red Curry.
EH: Why did you choose to make this dish for us?
CG: It’s my signature creation. A lot of my guests ask for it repeatedly and say that it is the best they have had in Thailand.
EH: What is your speciality dish or the flavours you like to cook with?
CG: My favourite dishes are Massaman Beef, Green Curry Chicken and Grilled Chicken. And of course,
The Island of the Gods is known as much for its gourmet scene as its party vibe. In Bali, you’re spoilt for choice, with hundreds of restaurants to choose from. But how do you sift the wheat from the chaff? Fret not, our Elite Concierge has meticulously eaten their way across the island and shortlisted the best restaurants in town:
Hujan Locale (Ubud)
Will Meyrick leads this collaboration with local farmers to offer paddock-to-plate dining in a beautiful two level wooden townhouse that sings colonial French tunes. At Hujan Locale, cocktails are blended, muddled and mixed to perfection, so do give the unique ones like beetroot margarita or carrot mojito a try. The food is a revelation of Balinese and Indonesian inspiration with crispy fish, and rice-husk smoked chicken flavoured with local sambal and spices. The restaurant also operates an outstanding cooking school where you can get adept at local Balinese cooking.
JI at Bale Sutra (Canggu)
Imagine dining within a reconstructed 300 year old Javanese Kang Xi Temple. You read that right. In Bali, anything is possible. Amaze yourself with a visit to this astonishing Japanese fusion restaurant which is the perfect antidote to the hipster vibe of Canggu. It’s not all theatrics though, the food is outstanding as well and uses green tea in extraordinary ways. Succulent fish and bottles of rare sake are abundant at JI at Bale Sutra, as well as some of the best cocktails on the island.
Acclaimed restaurant Locavore ranks at #42 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list, and is a must-do for foodies visiting the island. This is where high European cuisine joins hands with local, seasonal, chemical-free produce and ethically raised animals – a game changer. Chefs Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah have convulsed the local food scene with joy, prompted obsessions and caught the hungry eye of the global gourmand. Be sure to book well in advance.
La Lucciola (Seminyak)
Lovingly known among expats as La Looch, La Lucciola is the grand dame of Seminyak dining. The classic Italian restaurant never falters and is always on its A-game. The ocean view over Petitenget’s white sandy beach is a delightful bonus.
Métis Restaurant, Lounge & Gallery (Petitenget)
Chef Nicolas ’Doudou’ Tourneville,