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Through the Keyhole: Villa Amanzi Kamala

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With cutting-edge design and magnificent ocean views, Villa Amanzi Kamala is an inspiring hideaway near Kamala Beach in Phuket. The modern three-storey villa is a visual masterpiece that complements its beautiful tropical surroundings. It was built around a large boulder to accommodate nature and its magnificence; the boulder acts as a gigantic wall beside the staircase down to the family room, which is replete with an Apple TV, a pool table, a foosball table and a jacuzzi to entertain guests of all ages. The 15-metre pool on the main floor extends towards the sea in a dazzling manner, and is the focal point of the villa at sunset. Each of the villa’s six bedrooms, set on the floors above and below the living level, are stylish retreats, with fabulous floor-to-ceiling windows and breathtaking views. The modern kitchen has indoor and outdoor dining areas, and celebrates easy holiday living.

Hidden away in the Cape Amarin Estate, Villa Amanzi Kamala offers complete privacy and a convenient base for exploring the island, with Kamala and Patong Beach less than 15 minutes away by car. But because of its terrific sunset views and seductive allure, you might just be tempted to stay put in the villa.

We chatted with the amiable Villa Manager who helps deliver the Amanzi experience, to get a glimpse into what goes behind those amazing walls.

Elite Havens:  Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Boom Jaikamham: My name is Apirom Jaikamtham, and my nickname is Boom. I’m 34 years old, having been a Villa Manager for 9 months.

EH: And what did you do before you joined Elite Havens?

BJ: I have always been in the hospitality industry. I worked with different hotels and resorts as a butler, here in Phuket, before I joined EH. Actually, when I saw the job opening for Villa Manger at Villa Amanzi Kamala, it was a part-time position. But during the interview, they asked if I was willing to work as a full-time Villa Manager, and I said why not?

EH: Is the job of a butler the same as the job of a Villa Manager?

BJ: It depends on the company. Sometimes, the job is very similar, sometimes it is a little different.

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Elite Talk with Country Manager Femke Beekers

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Elite Havens’ Country Manager for Thailand, Femke Beekers fell in love with the country while on vacation. So much so, that in 2000 she decided to move halfway across the world and build a life there. Fast forward to today, she has now been a resident for 19 years, the first 10 of which were spent in Koh Samui, working in the hospitality industry. New job opportunities brought her to Phuket, and for the past three years, Femke has been managing the Thailand operations of Elite Havens as Country Manager. In her free time, Femke likes to practise yoga, hang out at the beach with her family and friends, and experience all the fabulous things Phuket has to offer. We asked her about some of her favourite spots on the island she now calls home, Phuket.

Elite Havens: Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do for Elite Havens.

FB: Ever since I finished school, I have been working in the travel and hospitality industry. Come to think of it, that amounts to more than 25 years. I worked with travel agencies in Europe and later, moved to Thailand to manage several luxury resorts in Samui and Phuket.

I am currently the Country Head of Thailand for Elite Havens, a position I have held for the past three years, developing our destinations and business in the region, with my colleagues Andy and Milos.

EH: How difficult was the transition from hotels to luxury villas? Was it very different from your previous role?

FB: The role itself is quite similar, overseeing the entire operation and the different teams, ensuring the processes run smoothly, which is what I do countrywide for Elite Havens now. However, when you are running a hotel, the rooms and facilities follow a common style, and are all contained within one location. With villas, each property and location is unique and caters to a different audience. Moreover, personalised service provided by Elite Concierge to the guests makes every single stay a unique experience.

EH: What do your daily duties as Thailand Country Head include? Do you deal a lot with the owners? With clients?

FB: Most of the day goes into day-to-day operations.

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Women’s International Tennis Singapore’s Charitable Initiatives

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Women’s International Tennis Singapore (WITS) was founded in 2000 by Chris Clontz, to provide a daytime tennis league to ladies living in Singapore. They grew from an initial 150 players, to the 637 doubles and 63 singles players registered in Scoring 2019 Season.

 In 2017, WITS registered as a society in Singapore, with a constitution directing it to raise funds for chosen charities. WITS committee members are all volunteers, and donate their spare time and energy to various important causes.

For several years, WITS supported a children’s charity in Cambodia called Sunrise, and made it possible for the children to take tennis lessons and have access to rackets, balls and other tennis paraphernalia. In 2016, they decided to support charities in Singapore and chose Aidha, an organisation that helps empower expat women to manage their finances and start businesses in their home country.

As a registered society, WITS can only support one charity raffle per season. It now supports Aware as well. Aware helps women in Singapore through difficulties at home, by providing helplines, legal advice and support centres.

For the past few years, Elite Havens has supported WITS, offering a villa holiday, at a luxurious property that features tennis courts, for the end of season awards, held in June and November. This has enabled WITS to raise more money for their chosen charities, through raffle ticket sales for the villa prize. As teams have enjoyed the benefits of villa stays, many members are now loyal customers of Elite Havens, booking villas for their personal holidays as well.

In addition to the charity work, WITS is increasingly becoming more environment-friendly and has stopped production of paper waiver forms and rule books. They now only use the online version. WITS members are also trying to minimise usage of single-use plastics and plastic bags.

That is not all. Members are involved in a range of related philanthropic activities. Recently, Leighann Beevor – a key committee member in charge of the WITS Facebook page – initiated a large collection of used tennis balls, to ship to a children’s tennis academy in the Philippines. Another member, WITS committee registrar Tanja Tullberg, helps coach soundball students in Singapore. Soundball is tennis for the visually-impaired and Tullberg recently accompanied the Singapore team to Spain for the Soundball World Cup. 

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Elite Talk with Country Manager Alan Porteous

in Destinations/People by

Elite Havens Country Manager for Indonesia, Alan Porteous, came to Bali by way of Vietnam. It was fate, as he tells it, that he ended up on the Island of the Gods.

Alan is passionate about triathlon, and has a sports-minded life philosophy. He believes in achieving the impossible, in pushing his limits and challenging the status quo.

We sat down with him for a tête-à-tête.

Elite Havens: Hi, Alan. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Alan Porteous: Sure. I’ve been in Elite Havens for six years and I’ve been in Bali for seven and a half, though I am originally from Australia. I came here for a hotel company and worked in the hotel industry before starting with Elite Havens.

EH: Why did you come to Asia?

AP: I came to Asia because Asia provides far better and more traditional hospitality than much of the rest of the world. The western world has reached a point where labor rates are such that they can’t afford to employ staff and they don’t really focus on the softer aspects of hospitality anymore. Yet Asia continues to provide service and goes above and beyond to offer an exceptional experience to each guest.

I actually worked in hotels in Australia. They were very high-end, uber-luxurious villas, often with open-air, Balinese-styled pavilions. It was a flavour of Asia, and Asian architecture. However, we found it difficult to match Asia’s service levels. It was very challenging in the western world, for a couple of reasons. First, labor rates meant that you were working on very low quantities of staff to try and provide service. Additionally, in a western environment, when people have to perform at a level that’s much higher than the average, it tends to wear them down and their level of friendliness, happiness, job satisfaction is not quite there. As a counter-effect, you don’t get that friendly, loving, caring hospitable service that you can get in Asia.

I first moved to Vietnam, and thereafter moved to Bali. But to be honest, I was meant to come to Bali, I finally felt I belonged. I just took the long way around.

EH: And then you joined Elite Havens in Bali?                      

AP: Yes, I’d been in Bali for about a year and this opportunity came up.

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Through the Keyhole: Villa Naam Sawan

in Culture/Destinations/People by

Enter Villa Naam Sawan in Phuket and prepare to be transported to a beautiful, modern version of Thailand. Statues of Buddha are perched beneath a multi-pitched roof. The ceiling is strategically filled with lights that shine on large couches, Thai artefacts and a sleek dining table surrounded by stately chairs. Inviting, with a vast amount of space to envelop you – you feel tiny in here – the villa was designed by the world-famous architectural design team of Philippe Starck and Jean-Michel Gathy.

The level below has four luxurious bedrooms. All face the large swimming pool, which looks out onto a private beachfront. You can lose sense of time lounging on any of the large chairs by the pool, or on the bale to the side. This marvelous and spacious villa was made just for that purpose. 

We had a quick chat with Villa Naam Sawan’s Villa Manager Wawa about what makes her job special.

Elite Havens: Hi! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Wawa Biutiatinoni: My name is Nukhatra Biutiatinoni, but you can call me Wawa. I’m 37 years old. I’ve been the Villa Manager in Villa Naam Sawan for nearly 3 years.

EH: And what did you do before you became a Villa Manager?

WB: I worked with hotels for nearly 10 years within the Front Office function. My roles ranged from that of a Receptionist to Guest Service Supervisor, welcoming new joinees; as an Airport Rep, picking up the guests at the airport and even that of a Butler.

EH: Why did you choose to live in Phuket?

WB: Well, first of all, I love the sea! And the hotel industry is bustling in Phuket. There are many opportunities to work here and you can practice your English. So if someone wants to work in the hotel industry, I recommend Phuket as the place to start your career.

EH: If a guest wants to visit places nearby, what places can you recommend?

WB: First, I must check to find out what they like to do. If someone likes adventure, we have that! If someone likes shopping, we have that too! Or even relaxation. I first ask them what they like so I can recommend something basis their preferences.

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