#koh samui

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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Chef du jour: Arcadia at Cape Laem Sor Estate

in Destinations/Dining by

Absolutely astounding, with unending ocean views and white Meditteranean hues, Arcadia at Cape Laem Sor Estate is the perfect escape from the daily grind. Its contemporary, open-sided living room is great for social evenings, dotted with quirky pieces such as a life-sized, white wooden cow. Enjoy the breeze and amazing 180-degree ocean views from the outdoor dining table, giving new meaning to the term island living. Watch in fascination as the sky and the sea seemingly merge at the horizon.

Reached via an elevator, the villa’s focal point is an enticing 21-metre saltwater infinity pool surrounded by a lawned terrace. Lie back on the loungers and soak in some sun or get a relaxing massage. It’s also a great venue for weddings and other celebrations.

The white theme continues into the bedrooms, each of which maximises on splendid ocean views, even from the master bedroom’s bathtub.

Arcadia is a destination in itself, with five comfortable and stylish bedrooms, a fully equipped gym, delicious food served by the in-villa chef and plenty of spaces to retreat to for a quiet moment.

The modern kitchen (replete with a breakfast bar) is helmed by Chef Pueng, who is trained in various cuisines and serves decadent meals to guests staying at the villa. We sit down for a little tête-à-tête.

Elite Havens: Hello, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Che Pueng: Hi, I’m Chef Pueng and I am part of Elite Havens’ chef pool. Thus, I work at different villas, depending on the schedule. I rotate between Villa Arcadia, Baan Puri, Baan Suriya and others.

EH: Tell us about your journey. How did you become a chef?

CP: I went to culinary school, majoring in Hotel Management. I started my career as an assistant chef at five-star hotels like the Marriott. After a while, I went back to my hometown and worked as a chef there. When Elite Havens started their Samui operations, I was the first chef they hired.

EH: Why did you choose this as your career?

CP: My family loves to cook, so I grew up helping my mother in the kitchen. Later, when I went to culinary school, I discovered I had found my calling and thus I decided to work as a chef.

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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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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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Discover Gourmet Cuisine in Koh Samui

in Destinations/Dining by

Thailand’s leisure island of Koh Samui holds a priority position on the bucket list of every chic traveller. With Mick Jagger, Richard Branson and the Beckhams drawn to the divine destination, the island’s enviable reputation for barefoot luxury is set in stone.

Powder-soft white sand beaches dotted with swaying palm trees and a glittering turquoise sea set a spectacular scene.

Private coves and hidden beaches abound, and can be easily discovered by hiring a boat or a luxury yacht. Alternatively, you can marvel at exquisite marine life and colourful coral by putting on your snorkelling gear and heading into the blue water. 

Exclusive holiday villas are always the preferred style of accommodation among the rich and discerning, and many already own a private property on the island. However, the well-versed traveller knows the joys of simply renting a private luxury villa to experience the ultimate holiday. 


Personal Chefs

Chefs attached to these luxury villas are unique professionals with a vast repertoire of dishes fulfilling all dining moments – snacks, kids’ choices, a broad western menu, specific diets and five-star flavours.

Order a stunning poolside seafood barbecue, a formal degustation feast for 12 people or an intimate dinner for two at a perfectly set table on the beach at sunset. It is all possible and seamlessly executed.

Chefs enjoy showcasing regional specialities and dazzling guests with their culinary magic. Start the day with a trip to the local wet market, a great cultural immersion, and launch into a crash course in Thai cooking.

Learn to identify and select fresh ingredients to be pounded into the paste that you will turn into a creamy and lush coconut curry. Or as the afternoon heat sets in, climb into a comfy hammock with a cool signature cocktail and have a chat with the villa manager about possible trips to one of the pretty waterfalls in the hinterland, a traditional sea gypsy village or a visit to one of many Buddhist temples whilst your personal chef surprises you with yet another Thai masterpiece.

Dining at any one of our luxurious Koh Samui villas is a gourmand’s dream come true. It is a pleasure to leave behind the stresses of locating a touristy stall in town,

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