Phuket’s and Koh Samui’s Ultimate Spa Escapes

in Destinations/Wellness by

Dreaming of a restorative escape to a tropical paradise? What better destination than Thailand, the spa capital of the world? The exotic islands of Phuket and Koh Samui have an abundance of sun, sand and sea – well known natural therapies for the body and spirit. And with an incredible choice of spa and massage services around the islands, it’s easy to add some much-needed R&R into your tropical holiday.

The Elite Concierge will be happy to organise spa treatments in the comfort and privacy of your villa. Early morning yoga in your personal garden? No problem. You can also request for private training sessions, whether held indoors or even on the beach. However, if you prefer heading out for group classes, there are plenty of options around, from yoga and martial arts training to weight loss and detox programmes, and even meditation or tai chi lessons.

And when it comes to massages and spa treatments, there’s nothing like a relaxing Thai massage. Restore your senses with a quick and effective foot massage on the beach or indulge yourself with a full day of treatments at a day spa in serene surrounds. Or turn your Phuket or Samui luxury villa into your own spa haven by inviting in a skilled therapist to pamper you in your holiday home.

Experiencing a spa treatment in Phuket or Koh Samui is much more than a mere holiday indulgence. It might just change your life! Many spa therapies are infused with ancient Thai healing arts that focus on restoring the body’s inner balance and clearing blockages that cause ill health and fatigue. It’s all about regaining that inner glow. Here are some of our favourite Thai therapies that you must experience on your next trip.  

THAI TRADITIONAL MASSAGE

Thai Massage, or nuat thai, combines acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and assisted yoga postures. It is an ancient art, thought to have been developed by Buddhist monks over 2,500 ago. These days, however, Thai massages are easily available island-wide in Phuket and Samui. You’ll find massages offered everywhere from small shops and tents on the beach, to shopping centres, markets, and upscale day spas. But don’t expect to be treated gently! Traditional Thai massage is an especially vigorous treatment that involves a series of bends, compressions and stretches to stimulate energy flow and ease aches and pains.

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Through the Keyhole: Angthong Villa

in Destinations/People by

Beautiful Angthong Villa sits away from the crowd, in a tranquil area in northwest Koh Samui. Right on the beach yet secluded and private, it offers a luxurious beach escape from humdrum daily life. At first glance you will love the grand architecture and cosy feel of this four-bedroom villa, with a large living area overlooking the enticing 19-metre pool, and mesmerising sea views beyond.

But the details are what set Angthong Villa apart from the rest. Discover indulgent touches like stunning porcelain tiles in the bathrooms, gorgeous sinks that you want to take Instagram photos of, and crockery that makes every meal stand out. The villa itself offers an amazing lawn for events, right on the beachfront. Spacious and gorgeous, with extensive possibilities for birthday parties, gatherings, and romantic weddings, it’s the perfect villa in which to hold special events.

Angthong Villa is also special for its unbeatable location. It’s right on the beach, yet not too far from Chaweng and Bophut Fisherman’s Village. It’s also near the Thai temple Wat Plai Laem and the Big Buddha.

We sat down with Angthong’s Villa Manager Melie, who told us about lasting friendships with former guests and also gave us insider tips on where to go in Koh Samui:

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

Melie Pundat: My name is Arirat Pundat. You can call me Melie, it’s easier to pronounce.

EH: What a lovely name! So you’ve been the Villa Manager here in Angthong for one and a half months. What did you do before you became a Villa Manager for Elite Havens?

MP: Before I became a Villa Manager, I worked as a Resort Host in Koh Samui. A Resort Host takes care of the VIP guests from the time they check in until they check out. One also makes arrangements for the activities they want to do, and other things like that. So, it’s quite similar to the job of a Villa Manager because the role is to look after the guests during their stay.

EH: What do you like most about this villa?

MP: I think this villa is unique. The owners really have a heart for details, which is obvious in how they have mixed Thai décor with other styles,

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Bali, Children’s Shopping Haven

in Destinations/Shops by

Bali is the quintessential family destination, with its large villas, a plethora of restaurants and exciting activities for children. But did you know that it is also an excellent place for shopping? That’s right, your kids will love these Bali finds – little treasure troves of fashion. We give you the lowdown on the best shops for children’s clothing on the Island of the Gods.

Coco and Ginger

Find vibrant and gorgeous clothes for girls and babies in joyful colours that mirror the flowers that festoon the island at Coco and Ginger. Inspired by folk art and ethical processes, every garment is an artwork that is dyed, embroidered, washed and sun-dried before the final product is wrapped in a sustainable cassava starch bag.

Mimpi Mannis 

Little girls can go twinning with their mommies, donning lovely floral dresses and trilbys. Everything at Mimpi Mannis is in tune with the Balinese seasons, so find summer dresses for both children and moms made for year-round beach-romping. You’ll never run out of stylish options here.

Dou Dou Bali 

Proudly using the slogan, ‘Handmade kids’ stuff Bali’, you can expect that all your children’s Dou Dou Bali outfits are lovingly sewn and crafted by hand. Designs are simple yet fun, to ensure that your child won’t look too serious nor too fashionista. Affordable and on-the-rise, this brand is fast becoming a go-to for childrenswear.       

Kidsagogo

Kidsagogo is a fun range of clothes for babies and kids up to the age of eight, crafted from cotton and decorated with fun embroidered motifs. The printed fabrics are sweet and summery, while the designs are island-inspired with bright colours and big flowers.

Zuttion

Zuttion is for the urban child, with groovy T-shirts and hoodies for active boys and girls. Think striped leggings, star printed swimmers and smiley faces upside down on tees. Totally awesome.

Yoli and Otis 

A store where women’s dresses mix with baby rompers, Yoli and Otis makes clothes for the fashionable tots. Dress up your little girl or little boy in cream overalls and floral shirts to make sure they’re as chic as you. This store is for those believe that style has no age definition.

Finding fashion for children is always fun.

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Beautiful Weddings in Koh Samui

in Destinations/Weddings by

The endless white sandy beaches of Koh Samui are the stuff of pure romance. But the beach is only part of the magic of a wedding on these idyllic isles.

Imagine gliding across the glimmering sea on a luxury yacht, to reach a secret beach where you exchange vows surrounded by your closest friends and family. Or adding charming touches of Thai tradition to your ceremony with a procession of drummers, holy water blessing rituals and a luminous Thai silk wedding gown.

Staging a wedding at a Samui private villa offers couples a gorgeous canvas upon which to paint their wedding day dreams. Architectural designs that range from minimalist chic to easy boho glamour provide an unforgettable backdrop. Here’s a glimpse of some of our favourite wedding villas in Koh Samui. Pick from amongst idyllic beachfront villas, just steps from the sand, giving your picture-perfect beach wedding an added dash of privacy and elegance; or our stunning havens tucked into lush hillsides, affording them spectacular vistas from their clifftop location.

Panacea Retreat

Plan a celebrity-style wedding at Panacea Retreat, against the backdrop of 360-degree panoramas of Koh Samui’s spectacular coastline. Here in one of Southeast Asia’s most luxurious villa complexes, your notions of a luxury villa are redefined. It’s the best of the best and you will be hard-pressed to find anything like it anywhere in the world. Together, these five villas can accommodate up to 48 adults as resident guests.

Unlike anything you may have seen before, Praana Residence is the estate’s jewel in the crown and the quintessential villa for entertaining. The main living and dining pavilion is accentuated by a soaring cathedral ceiling, while wraparound terraces and open-sided pavilions are enticingly styled for sunset cocktail parties. Glass doors open onto a sea view terrace and garden, for special events such as weddings.

Weddings and celebrations with up to 60 guests can be arranged at Praana Residence, while Atulya, Avasara, Kalya and Purana Residences can each cater for up to 40 guests.  

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Muay Thai, Thailand’s National Sport

in Destinations/Recreation/Wellness by

Dating back hundreds of years, Thai Boxing or Muay Thai- The Art of Eight Limbs, is a close-combat, self-defense martial art incorporating the eight ‘weapons’ of the human body: fists, knees, elbows and feet.

Over the past 20 years, Muay Thai has swept across the world, not only as a professional fighting style but also as part of many fitness programmes. The popularity of martial arts has been one of the driving factors in Muay Thai’s appeal, besides the influence of cinema, especially  internationally successful films such as ‘Kickboxer’ starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Rituals

All Muay Thai fights start with the ‘Wai Kru’ and ‘Ram Muay’, very important parts of the sport. Wai Kru is a ritual performed before each fight during which a fighter will circle the ring three times and then bow down in the middle of the ring to ask protection for him or herself and the other fighter, and for an honorable fight. The fighters will then perform the Ram Muay, which is a personal ritual, in which each fighter demonstrates his or her prowess to the audience and the opponent.

Music is another essential part of a Muay Thai fight, with drums, flutes and cymbals all adding to the excitement, drama and spectacle of the fight.

Before padded gloves and boxing rings came into the sport, Muay Thai fighters would wrap their hands in cotton or rope and fights would take place on the ground, with a rope laid out in a circle to mark the ring’s boundaries.

Training

Muay Thai fighters are accomplished athletes, following a training programme that has not really changed over the years. That said, today’s competitors are more likely to practice their kicks on a heavy bag rather than a banana tree trunk (although there are some Muay Thai gyms that still use the old training methods). 

Fighters’ training is brutal. They start at 6am every morning with a run of between four and eight kilometres. Then it’s back to the gym for the morning session, which mainly consists of cardio and shadow boxing. That’s followed by breakfast and rest before the late morning session of jump rope, more shadow boxing, pad work with the trainer, heavy bag work, 5 – 10 rounds of sparring and then abdominal work.

Most fighters will rest during the afternoon in preparation for the evening training session,

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