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Influencer of the Day: Jessica Iskandar

in Culture/Destinations/People by

As an actress, model, presenter, singer, comedian and businesswoman, Indonesian Jessica Iskandar is multi-talented and multifaceted. Her businesses include Jedar Cosmetics, Baby El Bakery, Jessica Iskandar Fashion,  and even her own villa, Villa Jedar.

She began her film career in 2005 and has an Instagram following of 18.8 million. In 2012, Jessica was named the Indonesia Earth Hour ambassador and in 2018 she became a guest judge in Asia’s Next Top Model Season 6 in Thailand. She has a young son named El Barack Alexander and is set to wed Australian actor and model Richard Kyle in Bali in April.

We sat down with Jessica for a brief catch-up at an elite haven, Villa Adasa, where she stayed for a few days.

Elite Havens: Hi, Jessica! Congratulations on your engagement party. How was it? 

Jessica Iskandar: Thank you! It was one of the best moments of my life! Everyone attended the party, not even one person missed it! Richard was very sweet when he told me his words. We feel blessed that both families are very supportive of our relationship and our engagement.

EH: Will there be a series of events before your wedding day?

JI: We will have an event in Australia with a little party with the family. The bachelor party will be with Elite Havens in Phuket. I’ll gather family and my girls’ squad for a sunset dinner, spa, manicure and pedicure, girls day out and other activities!

EH: What do you like about staying with Elite Havens?

JI: Elite Havens is your best solution for your holiday. They are like magicians and just make things happen! Just say what you need and it will be in front of your eyes right away!

EH: What is your favourite part of Villa Adasa

JI: The best spot for us is the bale beside the pool. It’s so relaxing to stay there with my family. You can even sleep and gather with your family at the bale in full privacy. The villa is so peaceful and quiet.

I also love the master bedroom so much.

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Women’s International Tennis Singapore Loves Our Villas

in Destinations/People/Recreation by

Women’s International Tennis Singapore (WITS) is a tennis league where the women play tennis for competitive challenge and social camaraderie. The league began in 2000 with just a handful of members and has grown to over 650 women. WITS has several philanthropic missions, and the women bond over these and their love for the sport. They’ve also spent time together in an Elite Havens villa and we asked some members to describe their stay. 

Past WITS President Louise Martin describes herself as “a professional trailing spouse.” Martin has live in 9 countries over the past 25 years. Besides tennis, she loves the gym and reading a book, cup of coffee in hand. Louise has stayed in Arnalaya Beach House, Villa Ramadewa and Villa Sapi.

EH: Hi, Louise. When did you have stay in an Elite Havens villa?

LM: I have stayed at 4 different EH villas over the past 5 years.

EH: What did you like best about the villas?

LM: I love the the feeling of total pampering.  Each property is different but similar in the standard it offers it’s visitor – superb!

EH: What did you do at the villas everyday?

LM: There is usually so much to do at the villa – you can sunbath, swim, play tennis (2 out of the 4 villas I stayed at had tennis courts), have massages, practice yoga, eat fabulous food!!!  What ever your heart desires.

EH: How long have you been playing tennis?

LM: I’ve only been playing tennis for the last six years of so.

EH: What do you think of the Elite Havens tennis courts?

LM: On both occasions the courts were excellently maintained and the I even remember flood lights on the one in Lombok.  I would absolutely recommend them to a friend.

EH: Any anecdotes about your stay you can tell us?

LM: I don’t have a personal one but a friend of mine told me about something that happened to her when she stayed ….

She is a busy mother of 3 young kids.  She and her family were all packed up and in your Elite Havens transport on their way to the airport when she suddenly realised that she had left her brand-new remodelled diamond ring by the sink in their suite!! 

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Elite Talk with Head of Events Rara Suprastini

in Destinations/People/Weddings by

Rara Suprastini has been in the events and weddings business for over a decade. As Elite Havens’ Head of Events Indonesia, she oversees villa arrangements and other details for important occasions. Dealing with clients directly, she knows in-depth what they want and need.  We sat down with her to find out what its like organising and managing multiple assignments. (She makes it looks easy!)

Elite Havens: Hi, Rara. Can you tell us a little bit about your role?

Rara Suprastini: My team and I take care of booking events. More often than not, these are weddings, but we also do quite a lot of retreats and a few birthdays. We are here to help wedding couples or any guest looking for a special celebration in Bali.

EH: Say, for example, a couple is looking for a villa for their upcoming wedding. Should they come to you, because it’s a special event?

RS: Yes. That’s right.

EH: And then you will help them choose the villa? Set up the event?

RS: Absolutely. I was a wedding organizer here in Bali, before I started working with Elite Havens. So I know what brides are looking for. First things first – a fabulous venue. A bride usually knows exactly what she wants, ‘I want a beautiful villa on the cliffside. I want the sunset as the backdrop.’ They already have a dream, a perfect wedding that perhaps they’ve been thinking about since they were kids. The ideal venue is the first thing on their checklist.  And of course, the venue affects the budget as well. We try to lead them to the villa most suited to what they have always imagined.

EH: Do they visit the villa?

RS: Usually, yes. After seeing the villa in person, they are usually a hundred percent sure that it’s the villa they’re looking for. We are quite different from other villa companies – we take our time with this. Our approach is more hands-on and personal, because we assist them in their search for the ideal luxury villa.

EH: What’s the next step?

RS: One thing we always propose to our clients, is to connect with a reliable wedding coordinator.

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Influencer of the Day: Nikita Willy

in Culture/Destinations/People by

One of Indonesia’s biggest stars, Nikita Purnawa Willy was born in 1994, in the Minangkabau region of West Sumatra. The renowned actress, singer and model has 6.1 million followers on Instagram and is a national icon. Her rise to fame began when she was only 8 years old, as a TV commercial model. Nikita recently became a vegetarian and aims to be more environment-friendly. This desire extends to her beauty businesses as well – she is the owner of Dreamy Skincare and Dreamy Clinic. We chatted with Nikita during her stay at one of our elite havens, Villa Windu Sari.  

Elite Havens:  How was Ramadan? Any unforgettable memory this year to share with us?

Nikita Willy: This year, Ramadan was quite hard for me. I was mostly shooting on location, under hot weather conditions, while fasting at the same time. There was scene where I needed to cry while delivering a romantic line. That was perhaps the hardest one to do while I was fasting.

 EH: What special tradition do you have in your family for Eid ul Fitr?

NW: I always stay home with my family at least for 3 days during the Eid ul Fitr holiday. Eating Eid food and spending time with close ones. Every person in the family who is not married yet, gets special treats from older family members, presents or some cash.

But this year is very special for another reason. For the first time, I’ve indulged myself by flying with family to Bali on the first day of Eid ul Fitr, and staying at an Elite Havens villa. I am so excited to be in the villa, and to spend my Eid ul Fitr holiday with friends and family.

EH: What is your favorite Eid ul Fitr food? Does your mom cook that for you?

NW: I belong to Padang, West Sumatra. The traditional food from my place is ‘Bebek Gulai Hijau’. My mom doesn’t cook this dish because it is quite hard to make in Jakarta. So instead, we ask our family in Padang every year to send it to Jakarta.

EH: This is your second time staying with Elite Havens,

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Elite Talk with CEO Jon Stonham

in People by

20-year travel veteran, fearless sailor and serial entrepreneur, Elite Havens Group CEO Jon Stonham rarely stands still. How did this British engineer come to be Asia’s luxury villa company maven? What is he up to now?

During the course of his early career, Jon Stonham clocked up many hotel nights – and admits to some disastrous personal hotel choices in Asia along the way; reliable reviews were thin on the ground at that time and local travel agents provided a flawed, under-informed service. Realising he was by no means alone in seeking accurate opinions to guide his choice of hotel led him to start asiahotels.com. Remember, this was in the mid-1990s, when internet marketing was in its infancy. The pioneering website quickly became one of the most popular Asian hotel portals, attracting some 30,000 unique visitors a day; it was the first website to introduce customer reviews in the region, and the first to employ staff specifically to inspect hotels and provide honest independent feedback for potential customers. It also spawned best-selling guides, such as Asia’s Best Hotels & Resorts.

Elite Havens: Tell us, how did an engineer end up owning a villa company?

Jon Stonham:  Frustration. There is a saying, “When you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life.” Well, that’s possible a little drastic, but I was in London and knew I wanted a change. So 25 years ago I moved to Asia and haven’t looked back since. Initially – and I’m talking about a time when the Internet was at its infancy and people barely had email addresses – I was working at Hong Kong Telekom. I made some disastrous hotel choices in those early years and that’s why I started asiahotels.com. As it turns out, my pioneering move into the travel industry was a big success. We sold the company in 2005 and started focusing on villas. Our goal was the same: to help every guest find their perfect holiday villa. Here we are more than 10 years later with over 250 fabulous villas welcoming more than 60,000 guests a year. It’s been an interesting journey!

EH: You took time out between ventures, to do what?

JS: Well, it’s only a four-hour flight from Hong Kong to Singapore [where I’m now based], but my trip took considerably longer – I went on a two-year/12,000-mile sailing trip around Asia.

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