koh samui villas

Through the Keyhole: Baan Puri’s Villa Manager

in Culture/Destinations by

Baan Puri is all about luxurious island living, with a long pool stretching out towards the ocean. Flanked on one side by an open-air sunken sala for cocktail evenings and separate pavilions with enormous bedrooms on the other, it competes with the vast sea for attention. Imagine waking up to views of the ocean, or soaking in the bathtub as you gaze at the pool and ocean beyond.

Decadent dining, served both indoors and alfresco, adds to the holiday experience. But it really is those views that take the cake. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow you to enjoy them from every part of the villa, the main house built over two levels. If you can manage to tear yourself away from gazing at the endless horizon, there’s plenty in the villa to keep you busy. A pull-down movie screen makes for exciting movie nights and it being located near the dining area and wine cellar, makes Baan Puri the quintessential entertainment villa.

With six elegant bedrooms, there’s plenty of space for your entire group. The sweet smell of frangipani follows you around, and outdoor showers, four-poster beds and private terraces lend it a dream-like quality.

For your holiday to be perfect, there is an entire contingent of staff that works tirelessly and quietly in the background, keeping the villa spic and span, while taking care of all your needs. Running this tight ship is Villa Manage Aoy, whom we sat down with for a conversation about what makes Baan Puri the best of the best.

Elite Havens: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Villa Manager Aoy: Hello, I’m Aoy and I’ve been the Villa Manager here at Baan Puri for almost 8 years.

EH: How did you get started here?

VMA: It’s an interesting tale. I had experience in this line of work but I was finding it difficult to find a similar job at a villa because I could not complete my higher education. However, one day my friend who worked for Elite Havens told me that there was a job opening for a Villa Manager here and she recommended me. And I am so grateful to my bosses because they recognized my experience and gave me a chance.

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Elite Talk with Koh Samui’s Operations Manager, Paranee Chanyuenyong

in News/People by

Paranee Chanyuenyong, affectionately called Khun Yim at work, is the backbone of the team at Koh Samui. Besides making sure that guests are well taken care of, from the first enquiry to the end of their stay, she ensures that all the villas are running smoothly and guest requests are handled efficiently. Operations Manager Khun Yim gives us a glimpse into the workings of the Elite Havens’ villa network in Koh Samui.

Elite Havens: Hi, Khun Yim. What does your role as Operations Manager entail?

Khun Yim: Apart from making sure that each of our villas is maintained as per the Elite standard, I also take care of Guest Services. I start building a relationship before their arrival by emailing them, asking for pre-arrival requests or any service they may need. Once the guests check-in, I try to make it a point to go visit them, further cementing our bond. I love doing this, it’s always great to meet our guests and put a face to a name. It shows them that we care and go out of our way to give personal service.

EH: Isn’t it difficult and time-consuming to go meet every single guest?

KY: We endeavour to ensure that someone from our team goes and meets each guest. Unfortunately, my schedule sometimes doesn’t allow me to do so, but the Villa Manager is always waiting at the villa to welcome them. However, I try to visit at least once, maybe on their first or second day, sometimes with a little token to show our appreciation. These are usually local gifts, a little something like banana chips or Koh Samui’s famous coconut chips.

Sometimes guests have queries about recommendations for activities in Samui or if there are any special events such as festivals during their stay. As part of the Elite Concierge service, I give them a local’s insight into Samui and where to head to, basis their interests.

EH: What is your top recommendation?

KY: A must-visit place is Hin Ta and Hin Yai, or Grandfather and Grandmother rocks. Framed against the backdrop of a stunning blue ocean, these are natural rock formations with an interesting legend behind them. These rocks are unique to Koh Samui and a great tourist attraction, minus the jostling crowds.

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A Delicious Tale of Cooking, Learning and Feasting in Koh Samui

in Culture/Destinations/Dining/Families by

It was a dinner to end all dinners – the perfect introduction to authentic Thai food, served with panache.

It began when our professional dinner host, Joe Sambataro , an American by way of Argentina, taught us how to make cocktails that would keep us happy for the rest of the evening. We started off by grinding limes using a muddler, a contraption resembling a mortar and pestle. “So, we just push and twist and get the juice out. But don’t push too hard because if you do that, you’ll break the skin and that will make your lime juice bitter. So think about something that makes you mad but not too mad, haha,” quipped Joe. We each got to choose our drinks; mine had rum and mango and tasted like a sunny day at the beach.

Cocktail preparation

Joe then asked us how spicy we wanted our dishes to be. “Can I get a show of hands, who likes spicy food? Who likes mildly spicy food? Who doesn’t like spicy food at all?” he asked. “Do you know the best way to communicate your preferences to the staff at a restaurant? I’m going to help you out here. I’m going to teach you some very important phrases that will come in handy. If you don’t like spicy food, you should order your food ‘mai phet’ which means not spicy. Don’t forget to copy my rising intonation! That’s very important!

Cocktail expert

And if you are okay with a little bit of spice, you can say ‘phet nit noy’ which means mildly spicy. If you want your food medium spicy, you can say ‘kon kaang phet’. And if you like your food very, very spicy, you can order your food ‘phet maak maak’ which loosely translates as spicy very very.” He also cautioned us when we were making our own sauce, “With Thai chilies, take it easy. If you don’t like spice, don’t add spice. If you like a little bit of spice, start with two pieces and try it first. If you like mild, go with four. If you like a whole lot, add as much as you want, but just remember today it’s all fun, but tomorrow, ring of fire!” he added cheekily.

The dinner commenced with three starters, based on traditional Thai recipes.

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