Destinations

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A Chat with Niseko Gourmet’s Manager, Annie Craig

in Destinations/Dining/People by

It was her honeymoon when Annie Craig first visited Niseko. They say cupid only strikes once, but for Annie, it was love at first sight all over again. Thus when her husband, Andrew Craig decided to move to Japan as Country Manager for Elite Havens, Annie jumped at the opportunity to helm Niseko Gourmet.

Her love for food shines through when you talk to her, as does her passion for preserving the region’s culinary heritage. As Manager of Niseko Gourmet, she discusses and finalises sumptuous menus with the chefs and manages the day to day operations. We caught up with Annie for a little tête-à-tête.

Elite Havens: How did you get to Niseko?

Annie Craig: When my husband Andrew and I came to Niseko for our honeymoon, we felt a deep connection and did not want to leave. At that time, Andrew was running the Thailand operations for the company. In 2018, Elite Havens acquired Niseko Boutiques and Niseko Gourmet, and Andrew was offered the position of Country Manager in Japan. Needless to say, we did not think twice.

EH: What is Niseko Gourmet?

AC: Niseko Gourmet is a boutique catering company, offering private dining and food delivery services to guests looking for a luxury in-chalet dining experience. We can cater for groups, parties and events.

EH: How long has Niseko Gourmet been around?

AC: Niseko Gourmet was started in 2010 by Tess Stomski, so it has been around for a decade now.

EH: What does Niseko Gourmet do exactly?

AC: The core of our business is arranging for Private Dining Experiences. We have five Japanese chefs, one western chef and one specialty Thai chef.

Guests who come to Japan seek varied experiences. Food is a large part of that journey and we offer them indulgent dining options within the comfort of their own chalet. Imagine a scenario where a master chef comes with all necessary equipment and ingredients, lovingly preparing food to suit your preferences, in your own kitchen. This is the epitome of gastronomic luxury.

EH: How are the chefs selected?

AC: We are very picky when it comes to our chefs and only work with the very best. Our chefs have been part of the local Hokkaido food scene for decades.

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The Best New Year’s Eve Parties in Bali

in Destinations/Recreation by

Welcome to New Year’s Eve in Bali, when the champagne flows and the party never ends. Ring in 2020 at any of these happening places, and start the year with a bang. Ask our Elite Concierge to help you when staying at one of our elite havens.

Café del Mar 

Experience the first ever NYE party at the island’s newest and most popular beach club, Café del Mar. Expect performances by legendary international DJs David Morales and Dimitri who are coming all the way from Paris. Tickets range from approximately IDR 846,000 to IDR 1,129,000. Add-ons for daybeds and dinner range from around IDR 2,872,100 to IDR 28,712,000.

Alila Seminyak

Alila Seminyak will hold a special four-course dinner at Seasalt restaurant accompanied by classy entertainment throughout the night by Leanna Rachel and her jazz band for about IDR 1,300,000 per person. Follow that up by joining the countdown party at the Beach Bar for a minimum spend of IDR 200,000 per person and kiss 2019 goodbye.

Omnia

Bali’s premium clifftop venue, Omnia, will be celebrating the night to the tunes of DJ MaRLo, ably supported by resident DJs. Rates go from IDR 50,0000 to 1,000,000.

Finns Beach Club            

    

Expected to be the hottest party on the island, Finns brings an all-star lineup to their renowned establishments for New Year’s Eve with names such as Camelphat, Duke Dumont and Lost Frequencies. Rates go from IDR 1,800,000 for individual tickets to IDR 40,000,000 for tickets 10 people with VVIP Lagoon Party Bed.

Potato Head      

Iconic Potato Head Beach Club features the dynamic Peggy Gou along with DJ Harvey to keep the party rolling until the early hours.

Métis

Métis kicks off New Year’s Eve with a special dinner priced IDR 1,950 and continues on into the night with DJ sets by Nooze.B and Ben Burgess.

Book a stay at one of our elite havens on the island and enter 2020 in style. Last-minute bookings get up to 10% discount. Terms and conditions apply.

Photos from Cafe del Mar,

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A Delicious Christmas and New Year in Phuket

in Destinations/Dining by

You’ve come to Phuket for the sun, the emerald ocean, the fabulous nightlife and your luxurious villa. But did you know that you can also enjoy decadent Christmas and New Year feasts outside your villa? If you want to step out on Christmas or New Year instead of letting your in-villa chef create a magical meal for you, we give you the lowdown on the best that the island has to offer. Ask the Elite Concierge to book a table for you at the earliest.

CAFÉ DEL MAR

Café del Mar Phuket is a classy outpost of Ibiza’s world-famous venue. Located at the northern end of Kamala Beach, with beach cabanas and great beats, it is a place to see and be seen at. The club offers a Christmas Eve Scandinavian Dinner by Chef Daniel Isberg with the first seating at 6-8:30pm and the second group at 8:30-10:30pm. The menu includes breads, cheese, seafood such as Smoked Salmon, Gravlax, and Home-Smoked Prawns, as well as salads including Potato and Red Beet. Meats like Christmas Ham, Roast Beef, Swedish Meatballs, and desserts such as cheese, Brownies and Candies complete the meal. The price for adults is THB 1950 while the price for children 12 and below is THB 750.

A fabulous New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner buffet comes out to THB 9950 per person including half a bottle of champagne or 2 persons at THB 21900 including one bottle of house wine and one bottle of Taittinger champagne or 4 persons at THB 49990 including including one bottle of house wine, one bottle of Taittinger champagne, and one bottle of house spirits. The buffet includes cold cuts, caviar, Caesar salad, parma ham, lobster, oysters, smoked crab, smoked salmon, sushi, sashimi, lamb chops, pork chicken, mussels, scallops, prawns, barracuda, Alfredo and Bolognese pasta, prime rib, duck a l’orange and a whole lot more.

CATCH BEACH CLUB

Catch Beach Club in Bangtao is enjoyed by local residents and visitors alike. Delicious food, good cocktails and a fantastic wine list are some of its top draws. International DJs spin by the swimming pool and keep you grooving to top beats all evening long. Catch celebrates with a Christmas Eve menu at THB 2,500++ per adult and THB 1,500++ per child.

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Chef du jour: Villa Chada

in Destinations/Dining by

Four stand-alone pavilions hug the edge of a cliff, standing tall against a stunning backdrop of the emerald-coloured Arabian Sea. Named after a Thai traditional ceremonial headdress, it is apt that Villa Chada’s interiors are adorned with Thai artefacts and curios, while the outdoors boast water features amidst lush tropical gardens. Stealing the show, a 16-metre freeform pool snakes around rocks and the large deck which is dotted with sun loungers. There’s plenty of space in its six ensuite bedrooms, some with astounding sea views, and others framing verdant gardens. Warm villa staff and an exceptional Villa Manager ensure that your every need is met.

Grand, yet surprisingly cosy, the villa’s enchanting rooms are distributed across pavilions, offering privacy and luxury. A haven ideal for relaxing, Villa Chada also has a path that leads down to a private beach where spectacular sunsets abound. But if you don’t want to make the effort, the master suite’s wraparound terrace offers the same enviable sunset hues, best enjoyed with a chilled beverage in hand.

The food at Villa Chada is every bit as exceptional as the residence itself. Here’s an excerpt from our talk with Chef Pu, who loves crafting delicious meals for the villa’s guests.

Elite Havens: What is your cooking background?

Chef Pu: Prior to working here, I was the in-villa chef at Villa One Waterfall Bay (another elite haven). I’ve also worked part-time at Restaurant Blue-Manow for many years.

EH: How did you learn how to cook?

CP: I gained valuable experience when I was a helper. The owner of the villa hired a chef to train me and my colleagues in the art of Thai and western cuisines. I consider myself very lucky to be given this opportunity.

EH: What qualities do you think mark a good chef?

CP: Paying attention to your cooking and loving what you do are the two most important qualities. Cleanliness is at the heart of cooking and so is punctuality – food must always be served on time and there shouldn’t be too much of a gap between courses.

EH: What did you cook for us today?

CP: Wing Beans Salad is on the menu today.

EH: Why did you choose to make this dish for us?

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Ultimate Christmas and New Year Feasts in Koh Samui

in Destinations/Dining by

Sun, sand, surf and an inspiring tropical vibe – Koh Samui is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Though your in-villa chef can prepare a memorable feast just for you, if you do decide to step out on Christmas or New Year’s Eve, we’ve hand-picked some of the best, most festive gatherings on the island.

THE SOCIAL

Handcrafted cocktails, all-day dining and epic sunsets. Thus goes the tagline of The Social in Koh Samui, a relaxed and aesthetically-pleasing restaurant and beach club, located close to the airport. The Social Samui’s drink selection is often regarded as the best on the island. Sunset are also spectacular here, and the music is peppy. The Social will be offering a traditional Christmas dinner this year. Guests may choose from two available sittings: 12pm to 3pm and 4pm to 7pm. The three-course dinner is THB 1900 per person and includes Smoked Salmon Mousse, Traditional Roast Turkey, Slow Braised Beef Cheek, Herb Baked Sea Perch, Pig in Blankets, Traditional Christmas Pudding and Caramel Panna Cotta. Dinner with free-flowing wine, beer and select spirits costs THB 3200 per person.

NIKKI BEACH

Nikki Beach Koh Samui is renowned for its incredible food, cocktails, VIP experience and events. The beach club offers personal touches that are signature to the Nikki Beach lifestyle brand. You can relax on a sunbed, listen to music played by famous international DJs and live musicians and get lost in the heady tropical-island vibe of it all. Experience the best of the island this Christmas at Nikki Beach’s Christmas Eve Dinner that begins at 7pm. Enjoy a seafront Christmas supper with a fireshow and live music. The club’s Christmas Day Brunch begins at 11am the next day, and includes music and entertainment by resident DJs,

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