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Thailand’s Sweet Indulgences

in Culture/Dining/News/Shops/Tips by
Chocolate

“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.”

– Katharine Hepburn

Thailand is world-renowned for its amazing street food, exotic tropical fruits, and delicious sweet desserts. But for those visiting Thailand who need their chocolate fix, there is one artisan chef in Phuket who is the go-to guy when it comes to anything dark, milky or white.

Thailand does not have a rich history of chocolate unlike some of its Southeast Asian neighbours such as Indonesia, which grew almost no cocoa before the early 1980s when production took off like a rocket. Now, Indonesia is the world’s third leading producer of cocoa beans. Cocoa production in Thailand fell out of favour decades ago for rubber, but lately there has been a resurgence with a small number of growers and producers emerging in northern and western Thailand.

Thai cocoa is finally getting the recognition it deserves, with two Thai chocolate producers placed high in the 2018 International Chocolate Awards show.

Paradai brand took silver for their Belize dark milk 63% bar in the ‘dark milk chocolate’ category and Kad Kokoa won bronze in the ‘plain dark chocolate bar’ category for their Chiang Mai single origin bar. They also opened Bangkok’s first bean-to-bar café in Sathorn earlier this year, offering all things chocolatey, from desserts and hot chocolate to cocoa butter soap.

English award-winning Pastry Chef Peter Webber trained at School Le Notre in Paris to study pastry and chocolate and started work at The Inn on The Park, London and The Savoy Hotel, where he gained his first Executive Pastry Chef position and was honoured by being sent to do promotions at The Okura Hotel in Tokyo and The Oriental Hotel, Bangkok. He was also involved in many special events and competitions in Europe.

Chef Peter moved to Asia to the famed Oriental Hotel, Bangkok as the Executive Pastry Chef where he would stay for more than a decade, even pleasing the taste buds of the Queen of England during official state visits at The Grand Palace.

Chef Peter now owns and creates chocolate masterpieces at his patisserie, Les Diables, inspiring and serving a loyal clientele with the utmost attention to taste and detail. They specialise in cakes for special occasions,

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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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Elite Havens Expands Into Niseko, Japan

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Elite Havens is thrilled to announce it has expanded its luxury villa portfolio by acquiring the 17 beautiful properties of Niseko Boutiques, located in the picturesque wintery wonderland of Japan’s most famous ski resort. A firm favourite with the international skiing/snowboarding community, Niseko is renowned for its spectacular scenery, scenic ski runs with guaranteed fresh snow, and après skiing.

Elite Havens has built a sterling reputation for its 200+ rental villas in exotic tropical beach destinations from Bali to Phuket, Koh Samui, Lombok, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Niseko makes a dream holiday destination of a different kind, a veritable paradise for powder skiing.

Villa under snow

Known as the powder capital of Japan, winds blowing down from Siberia blend with moisture rising from the Sea of Japan to create a fresh blanket of snow nearly every day of the ski season (December to April.), Niseko lures snow riders of all levels, including extreme adventurers lured to exhilarating tree runs and off trail heli-skiing. It’s four interlinking resorts also cater well to international families, with plenty of fun activities for all ages, including ski lessons.

Elite Havens will be managing, maintaining and marketing all villas in the newly acquired Niseko portfolio which includes luxury lodges, traditional ski chalets and chic modern apartments. All come with a renowned concierge service and are perfectly situated to enjoy the enchanting scenery and magnificent views over picturesque Mount Yotei.

Mount Yotei view from home

All properties are set in the buzzing village of Hirafu, renowned for its cosy cafes, gourmet restaurants and vibrant nightlife. The acquisition also includes Niseko Gourmet which means private chefs on call providing fabulous in-villa meals. To make your dream holiday escape as smooth as possible Elite Havens Concierge Service can arrange everything you need from ski lessons, to restaurant bookings, in-villa gourmet dining and direct transfers from New Chitose Airport, a trip of around 2 hours.

“We are delighted to add Niseko Boutiques to our luxury villa portfolio, and to offer a new range of exceptional experiences and activities for our guests.  From white powdery sand beaches of south east Asia, to the outstanding fresh powdery snow of northern Japan, it is our aim to provide the best private luxury accommodation across the region,” says Jon Stonham, CEO of Elite Havens.

While perfect skiing conditions are the major draw card,

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Rebuilding Lombok Campaign

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Lombok Donations

As many of you will have heard Lombok was hit by an earthquake in early August. The north of the island was damaged with many villages and locals affected. The south, including the infrastructure around from the airport, was not affected. Our villas had superficial damage and will all be up and running in a matter of weeks.

We are now looking to help rebuild the areas which were impacted and get the island back on its feet. The people of Lombok rely on tourism and international visitors for their livelihood and it’s important that we assist in ensuring the island is up and functioning as quickly as possible which will give these beautiful people back their jobs and dignity. Having assessed the situation over the last few weeks and supplied numerous trucks of emergency aide, we are now looking at longer term rebuilding projects. Many locals in the north, including members of our staff families, have sustained damage to their homes.

Of course the implementation of these necessary plans comes at a cost and the financial burden is significant. We have opened a donation page here in the knowledge that many of you have visited Lombok and may even know first-hand the families involved and would like to help. We know the staff and their families in Lombok will welcome any contribution, however big or small, as a sign of your solidarity in the face of this hardship. Elite Havens and the staff of our regional offices have all donated so we have a good starting base.

Finally it is important that we get the island back to being self-sufficient. I would urge you to consider revisiting the island of Lombok as soon as you can to help the tourism industry to function again. Your international dollars go a long way.

Jon Stonham
CEO, Director 
Elite Havens

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Noku Beach House – Seminyak’s Only Private Beachfront Villa

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Noku Beach House - Stunning beachfront view

There was a time when affluent travellers seeking the ultimate island paradise would slip into a holiday resort – then came luxury villas. Bali has again raised the bar for lavish travel with the launch of Noku Beach House. This game changing retreat is perfectly perched on the Seminyak beachfront – a rare place of privilege and a privately held gem on Bali’s exclusive oceanfront.

The six-suite mansion is oriented toward the sea with a long azure swimming pool, multiple dining areas and alcoves amid curated tropical gardens and pristine lawns. A full-size portable tennis court – in Noku camouflage colours – rolls out when time for play. Deep inside the villa flanking the massive entrance is an exclusive spa which boasts as its centrepiece an oasis pool adorned with hand-made decorative tiles. Here a glass window also converts into an outdoor cinema.

Noku Beach House is opulent six-star luxury dedicated to the mores of the new jet set and those who appreciate rarefied grace and élan. An exclusive and highly skilled army of staff, including a private chef, operates discreetly to service whims around the clock. Leading international luxury villa marketing and management company; Elite Havens, exclusively operates the estate and in doing so they have delivered a lux villa experience that transcends all others.

Elite Havens secured the creative skills of award-winning interior designer Alex Zabotto-Bentley to bring to life this outstanding refurbishment on an essential part of Bali’s famous Seminyak beach landscape. Zabotto-Bentley has created a Zen-style space with a soothing colour palette of light turquoise and blue, which is paired with Moroccan accents. He has commissioned custom furnishings and an art collection of bespoke outsized tribal bead work, antique Indonesian artefacts from across this amazing archipelago and some of nature’s most exquisite designs. Everything from plates to teapots has been artisanal crafted in tiny Balinese villages. The outside poolside dining and rooftop terrace are built from a 100-year-old pier from Borneo.

Guests will revel in the luxury within the flowing spaces of the estate dotted with deep sofas and multiple living zones and endless vistas of ocean and sky. Six contemporary and elegant bedrooms with beautiful bathrooms have every comfort from soft linens to cloud-like beds. Balconies embrace the views – water or lush gardens.

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