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Through the Keyhole: Villa Pangi Gita

in Destinations/Dining by

Villa Pangi Gita is a breathtaking space in the middle of Canggu, Bali. The villa exudes a peaceful, almost spiritual and comforting warmth. Entering through ornately carved doors into a completely private and cool tropical garden, all you can hear is the tinkle of water and the birds high in the bordering rainforest canopy. Ironwood-shingled roofs and traditional local decor contribute to the quintessential Balinese vibe, which is found in every imaginable touch – from the charming hospitality of the villa staff to the amazing food presented by a dedicated Chef.

We sat down with Elisa Herup, one of its owners, for a unique insider’s perspective of the wondrous space.

Elite Havens: Hi, Elisa. What makes your villa unique?

Elisa Herup: The amazing, exotic, large garden, nature’s sound of stillness (the flowing river, chirping birds, crickets, etc.), the warm staff and the villa’s beautiful authentic Balinese design.

EH: What should guests expect when they stay here – outside the norm of other villa experiences?

Elisa: That they actually do not want to leave the villa!

EH: What can you tell me about your team here?  What makes them special?

Elisa: They are family. They have all been here for many years – many of them since the beginning. We also have the best and kindest chef.

EH: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Elisa: We are three Danish families – one of the families lives in Switzerland – who own the villa and share a common love for Bali, the Balinese people and Villa Pangi Gita.

EH: Why did you build this luxury villa? 

Elisa: We fell in love with Bali and everything Balinese, many moons ago, and wanted to build a house in the rice paddies out of respect for the local community. The house is designed by the same architect who also designed the Four Seasons Hotel in Bali. He wanted to build a 6-star villa-resort, which resembles Balinese family tradition of having several houses/bungalows within a compound, for all members of the family.

EH: How long did the process of building it take?

Elisa: Planning the design and garden layout took two years and building the house another two years,

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7 Things To Do in the Bukit Peninsula

in Culture/Destinations/Families/Recreation/Weddings by

The majestic clifftop Uluwatu Temple lies in the Bukit area of Bali, which is also home to the best beaches and surf spots on the island. The Bukit is actually a large limestone peninsula and would be a separate island if it weren’t for the small sliver of land south of the Bali airport. The ‘Bukit’, which means ‘hill’ in Indonesian, is – unlike the rest of the island – arid, stony and dry. The west coast is particularly popular, with accommodations perched above Balangan Beach offering stunning clifftop ocean views.

The best way to explore the Bukit Peninsula  and visit all of its gorgeous beaches is via motorized transport.  Many elite havens have a driver and vehicle available to guests.  Simply check with the Villa Manager on availability and special inside tips on local attractions.  Alternatively, you can hire transport via the dedicated EH Concierge service.

There are many exciting things to do in the area. Here are our top 7:

Visit the Famous Uluwatu Temple

Go to the famous Uluwatu Temple, one of Bali’s nine key temples and part of its spiritual legacy. ‘Ulu’ means the ‘top’ or the ‘tip’ and ‘watu’ means a ‘stone’ or a ‘rock’ in Balinese. The astounding temple has been sitting on the same spot – 70 metres above the ocean – for thousands of years. Two sages are credited with creating and enlarging it: Empu Kuturan in the 11th century and Dang Hyang Nirartha, who they say achieved moshka or samsara (liberation) here. Temple anniversary celebrations are held every six months according to the Balinese 210-day Pawukon cycle.

The forest by the temple is full of monkeys who grab items such as sunglasses and cameras, so be careful. They can be bribed with bananas and peanuts to get your items back. 

Watch A Kecak Fire Dance

A popular dance, the Kecak fire dance, is performed at the Uluwatu Temple every day at 6pm, around sunset. It is a spectacular sight to behold. The dance is famous for its use of voices in lieu of instruments, which lends a powerful accompaniment to its drama. You can also watch it in the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park.

See the 120-metre statue of Lord Vishnu and Garuda

The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park has a humongous statue of Lord Vishnu riding his mount Garuda,

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Treat Mum To Mother’s Day in Bali, Phuket and Koh Samui

in Culture/Destinations/Recreation by

She’s the one who made sure your food wasn’t hot enough to burn your tongue and put a band-aid on your knee when you fell down. She’s the one who fed you when you were hungry, cared for you when you were sick and gave you an allowance. She helped you with your homework and made sure you wore the perfect dress to your first dance.

 

She’s the first one who cheered you on and made sure you grew up happy and able. Most of all, she’s the one whose hugs made you feel like everything was alright, and that nothing bad would ever happen. Why not give her the getaway of a lifetime? Take her on an unforgettable trip to Bali and Thailand. Here’s what you can do when you’re there:

Bali

Give Her Breakfast in Bed

Spoil your mum first thing in the morning on 12 May by giving her breakfast in bed. Prepare a basket of freshly-baked French butter and almond croissants. Add some elegant macarons to the mix for a real indulgence. Get them and more delicious treats at Monsieur Spoon, a bakery run by two Parisian cousins. The bakery has shops in Canggu, Petitenget and Seminyak.

Take Her To an Authentic Balinese Cooking Class

Venture to the market in Ubud to pick vegetables and meat. Chat with local farmers and observe the townsfolk going about their daily activities. Then, take an authentic Balinese cooking class inside a traditional Balinese house. Discover the way the local live – and eat. Enjoy the food you and your mom have made for lunch and dinner. You can do all this at Eat With.

Pamper Her in the Spa

What better way to say ‘This is your day’ than a pampering at the spa? From reflexology to a scalp massage and even hair colour to brighten up those roots, Therapy has it all.  Want something more off- the-beaten-track? Take mum to a bar-cum-salon. Blow Bar is an alternative bar where you can sip on a martini as you get a manicure, perched on a bar stool. Dad can enjoy the popular Scotch & Shave.

Have a Heart to Heart Over Tea

It’s your turn to listen to mum.

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Savour Seventh Heaven at The Layar

in Dining by

A perfect blend of modern sophistication and the traditional warmth of an Italian kitchen.

Settimo Cielo (Seventh Heaven), a contemporary Italian restaurant in Seminyak’s Jalan Pankung Sari area, welcomes you for breakfast, lunch, cocktails or dinner. The restaurant shares its neighbourhood with The Layar Designer Villas and Spa, Gallery Randelli, Kendra Gallery of Contemporary Art and the trendy Seminyak beach scene.

The Design

This lovely restaurant is tucked amongst the lush tropical gardens of The Layar Designer Villas and Spa. A path leads over a pond and past a dramatic fire feature to the cocktail terrace. Beyond, in the main restaurant, a glass ceiling creates an alfresco dining experience, rain or shine. 

The interiors include quirky hanging lamps and a bar topped by bamboo-inspired objects. The feeling is tropical-meets-Italian with the green chairs and red pillows. Yet, there is a classic and welcoming feel in the space, much like the personalities of the Balinese themselves. Italians, we know as well, are equally a warm group people.

The Chef

‘’I started as a chef in my mom’s kitchen,”says Chef Alberto Pancio. “My mom is like a traditional Italian mom and grandmother who makes everything homemade.” Thus begins the story of Chef Pancio, as he’s called by his friends, before the long journey to his current post as chef of Settimo Cielo at The Layar Designer Villas and Spa.

Upon entering his teens, Chef Pancio decided to go to a school in Italy from where many successful chefs hail. General education before specialization included formation on food and beverage management, concierge management and staff management. He then worked in several restaurants before ending up in China, working as a chef for El Willy. El Willy, says Chef Pancio, “is a big group with a great and friendly Spanish owner. The concept is Mediterranean food with a flair.”

Although El Willy isn’t a find dining restaurant, it uses traditional methods to make dishes. It then presents the food in a fine-dining manner. “We made the work on fine bowls and ceramics. I used to shape them and it was pretty fun.”

Pancio then had the opportunity to work in Bali. “I really love Settimo Cielo and I love the style because we also have villas. They are amazing. We have a lot of room to improve and we use the freshest ingredients.”

The Food

Chef Pancio says that pasta is made fresh everyday in Settimo Cielo,

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The Elite Concierge Service

in Destinations/News/Tips by

Our Elite Havens Concierge Team is ready to enhance your next holiday experience. Once your booking is confirmed, any requests you might have, no matter how large or small, will be taken care of by our team. Their abundance of knowledge and warm and attentive attitude will help ease out any vacation-woes from the moment you land until your departure. 

Concierge - Andy and concierge team - Kaba Kaba Estate entrance

Our mission: ‘Concierge provides Elite Havens guests with knowledgeable advice, assistance and tailored recommendations to ensure their villa holiday experience surpasses expectations.’

Here, we interview our Head of Concierge, Andy Grant, who’s proud of bringing an ultimate, bespoke experience to you.

Concierge - Andy Grant - Beachside

Elite Havens: Tell us a bit about your background, Andy.

Andy Grant: I hail from New Zealand and my first ‘proper’ job was in banking. I also have an extensive background in hospitality and eventually embraced the hair, beauty and cosmetic industry. I’ve always had a passion for service and love making people feel good. Tropical Asia has been a favourite holiday destination and I am now very fortunate to say I live permanently in Bali. Four years later and I’m still motivated by its constantly evolving hospitality scene, tropical climate and unique culture.

EH: What do you do for Elite Havens?

AG: I am Head of Concierge. My team  deals with our guests from the minute they have confirmed their reservation through to their arrival and stay at the villa.

EH: What does the Concierge do specifically during that time?

AG: Each of our direct bookings are assigned to a Personal Concierge team member. They will work with the guests, taking care of all requests, tailoring itineraries and fine tuning arrangements. Depending on booking times, interactions with guests can sometimes be up to 18 months before they arrive at their destination. This allows a lot of dialogue and a solid relationship built on trust to form over time. What we offer our guests is always premium, as we only deal with the best establishments and operators in each destination. We are more than the traditional ‘Concierge’ based in a hotel lobby, we coordinate across our whole portfolio which is like taking care of a vast number of mini hotels!

EH: What sort of requests does the team receive?

AG: You name it,

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