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Latest word on island destinations, villa rentals, management and sales

Exclusive Concierge App Creates an Elite Experience

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A personal luxury guide to Bali’s most fabulous restaurants, dynamic activities and bespoke shopping is at the fingertips of guests staying at any one of Elite Havens 190 exclusive villas. The Elite Experience has arrived.

Downloaded in an instant before leaving home, the Elite Experience is a vault of Bali’s most privileged and rarefied entertainments from exquisite boat charters and sporting activities through to personal shoppers and elegant salons. An entire section is devoted to keeping the kids happy and even includes a private circus school that will visit the villas.

This concierge app ensures that guests to an Elite Havens villa will holiday in absolute splendour and can prepare their itinerary before departure.

Every listing is tried and tested and has been coaxed out of the little black books of a host of in-the-know long term ex-pats including Bali’s top restaurant reviewers, trend spotters and social butterflies.

Villa managers take over to ensure that Elite Experience users have their plans expertly executed without delay. The top-shelf businesses in the guide have included some special treats for Elite Experience guests including signature cocktails at pumping ex-haunts, preferential seating through to divine complimentary dishes at world class restaurants. There are many generous discounts too.

Money cannot buy an entry into this exclusive guide that has been carefully prepared to sate the desires of Elite Havens guests who seek an Elite Experience on the Island of the Gods.

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The Changing Face of Bali Tourism

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Australians have dominated Bali’s tourist market for years, but recent months have shown a huge shift towards a Chinese take-over of the lion’s share.

In February this year Chinese tourists accounted for 27.71% of visitors to Bali, with Australian arrivals accounting for 21.04%, and it is expected that this lead will grow exponentially with direct flights being introduced from first and second tier cities in China. In January, Garuda Indonesia introduced direct flights linking Bali and Shanghai and direct flights between Bali and Guangzhou commenced in May.

The Indonesian government has publicly recognised China as the number one tourist market of the immediate future. Back in June, the government relaxed its visa policy, waiving the US$35 tourist entry fee for Chinese nationals with the aim of increasing visits to 10 million people in the next few years. One major Chinese online travel agency said that they saw nearly a 50% growth over the previous month in bookings to Bali when the policy was announced.

While group tours are still dominating, there is a noticeable increase in well-educated, well-travelled and independent Chinese tourists who are leaning towards high-end luxury private villa experiences.

Here at Elite Havens, we understand the huge potential that this shift in Bali tourism represents and have been preparing to welcome Chinese visitors for the past 12 months. We have been growing relations with Chinese agents, especially those specialising in the luxury market. In May, we participated at the International Luxury Travel Management (ILTM) Conference in Shanghai; an invitation-only event at which we held one-on-one meetings with representatives of Asia’s sought-after market of luxury travellers.

We are also boosting our own personnel to include Mandarin-speaking staff, and will soon have a member of our team dedicated solely to the Chinese market, appealing to a particular style of business dealings and customs.

Looking for investment opportunities in Bali or Lombok? Get in touch with our experts at Elite Havens for more information.

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The Big Phuket Beach Cleanup

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With a string of white-sand beaches lining its west coast, Phuket is one of Asia’s top island destinations. Phuket also boasts some great dining, a historic ‘Old Town’ and a world-class yachting scene, but the beaches remain its main attraction.

But Thailand’s largest island has not been without its share of challenges, with unchecked development threatening to harm its natural beauty and environment. Following the Thai coup of May 2014, Phuket became subject to some surprising – yet mostly welcome – initiatives by the military government to clean up its beaches.

In late June 2014, several stretches of sand including Patong Beach, Kamala Beach, Bang Tao Beach and Surin Beach were cleared of rental sunbeds and umbrellas, and all structures built on the sands were removed.

The clear-out was launched to rid the sands of encroachment and illegal profiteering, and the effect was dramatic. The white sands of Patong Beach came back into view, having been covered by several rows of sunbeds across its entire length for many years. The popular beach clubs and dining spots of Surin were forced off the sands, but most remain in business just a few metres back from the beach. The sunset views here, now unobstructed, are better than ever.

Heeding the call of beach-loving visitors wanting a more comfortable day out on the beach, Phuket officials in early 2015 allowed a limited number of rental umbrellas and mats to return. These umbrellas are set up in designated zones and those bringing their own umbrellas are welcome to pitch them in the sands in the same areas. Beach masseuses, snack and drink stands and roving vendors are also given space to operate, ensuring that most beach-goers’ needs and comforts are still catered to without having to leave the sand.

Though it was knocked off the sands, the Phuket beach club scene still thrives, with Catch Beach and Bimi beach clubs serving up fresh cocktails and seafood with a splash of DJ tunes at Surin Beach. Patong and Bang Tao beaches also boast several good seaside dining spots, perfect for enjoying sundowners with those fabulous Andaman sea views.

Xana Beach Club and Bliss Beach Club on Bang Tao hold regular DJ party nights and dining events, and Bliss is also host to a surf and stand-up paddle shop where you can rent boards or sign up for lessons.

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