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Thailand’s Sweet Indulgences

in Culture/Dining/News/Shops/Tips by
Chocolate

“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.”

– Katharine Hepburn

Thailand is world-renowned for its amazing street food, exotic tropical fruits, and delicious sweet desserts. But for those visiting Thailand who need their chocolate fix, there is one artisan chef in Phuket who is the go-to guy when it comes to anything dark, milky or white.

Thailand does not have a rich history of chocolate unlike some of its Southeast Asian neighbours such as Indonesia, which grew almost no cocoa before the early 1980s when production took off like a rocket. Now, Indonesia is the world’s third leading producer of cocoa beans. Cocoa production in Thailand fell out of favour decades ago for rubber, but lately there has been a resurgence with a small number of growers and producers emerging in northern and western Thailand.

Thai cocoa is finally getting the recognition it deserves, with two Thai chocolate producers placed high in the 2018 International Chocolate Awards show.

Paradai brand took silver for their Belize dark milk 63% bar in the ‘dark milk chocolate’ category and Kad Kokoa won bronze in the ‘plain dark chocolate bar’ category for their Chiang Mai single origin bar. They also opened Bangkok’s first bean-to-bar café in Sathorn earlier this year, offering all things chocolatey, from desserts and hot chocolate to cocoa butter soap.

English award-winning Pastry Chef Peter Webber trained at School Le Notre in Paris to study pastry and chocolate and started work at The Inn on The Park, London and The Savoy Hotel, where he gained his first Executive Pastry Chef position and was honoured by being sent to do promotions at The Okura Hotel in Tokyo and The Oriental Hotel, Bangkok. He was also involved in many special events and competitions in Europe.

Chef Peter moved to Asia to the famed Oriental Hotel, Bangkok as the Executive Pastry Chef where he would stay for more than a decade, even pleasing the taste buds of the Queen of England during official state visits at The Grand Palace.

Chef Peter now owns and creates chocolate masterpieces at his patisserie, Les Diables, inspiring and serving a loyal clientele with the utmost attention to taste and detail. They specialise in cakes for special occasions,

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Did You Know? Songkran Is All About Traditions

in Culture by

The Songkran celebration is rich with symbolic traditions.

Mornings begin with merry-making. Visiting local temples and offering food to the Buddhist monks is a common practice. Water is poured on Buddha statues and the young and the elderly. This is a traditional ritual during Songrkan. It represents purification and the washing away of one’s sins and bad luck.

As a festival of unity, people who have moved away usually return home to their loved-ones and elders. Giving reverence to ancestors is also an important part of the Songkran tradition.

The Elite Havens Phuket office celebrated Songkran with Country Manager Femke Beekers and General Manager Andy Parkhouse being blessed by the office’s Chief Engineer, Jook. The entire Elite Havens Phuket 30-member team was blessed one by one, for about a minute each. 

Songkran is known for its water festival. Major streets are closed to traffic, and are used as arenas for water fights. Celebrants, young and old, participate in this tradition by splashing water on each other. Traditional parades are held and in some venues a “Miss Songkran,” where contestants are clothed in traditional Thai dress, is crowned. 

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Luxury Weekends in Phuket and Koh Samui

in Destinations/Families by
  • Phuket-beach.jpg
    beach with coconut palm and sea
  • Tawantok-Beach-Villas-In-villa-breakfast.jpg
  • Waimarie-Dedicated-staff.jpg
  • Villa-Nandana-Villa-view.jpg
  • 1.-Villa-Nandana-A-tranquil-location-to-relax-2.jpg

Picture this: you’re hidden away in a breathtaking haven away from the rest of the world, sitting atop a plush cushion beside a monumental door opening onto a lush garden. A flute of champagne in hand and a gastronomic spread before you, you hear only birds and your four-year old singing a soft rhythm. Your husband is floating in the pool in this hushed oasis, on his torso an outlined shade of a large leaf fluttering with the breeze.

Settle In

Welcome to Thailand’s quintessential experience of relaxation and rest, where you can stay holed up in an enormous villa replete with sumptuous lines of coconut wood and padauk, or nara wood, a hardwood that’s sturdy and pleasing to the eye. The furniture is simple and sleek amidst the high ceilings and glass walls. The master bath contains a stone bathtub, the perfect complement to your call to respite. You’re surrounded by space, space everywhere, and there’s nothing to keep you from running through the rooms in excitement.

You came to relax and enjoy a long weekend break, but also for discovery and local culture. Nestled in an idyllic retreat between ivory sands and jungled gardens, this villa feels like the home you’ve imagined in musings of grandeur. Yet, there’s a calm, tranquil atmosphere.

Phuket
What To Do
Get Splashed

Rest is abated when you venture outside on 13th April, the first day of the Songkran Festival. Songkran, one of Thailand’s most famous festivals, is an important event on the Buddhist calendar. It is the beginning of the traditional Thai new year – and what’s known as the day of the biggest water fight. Large water guns and hoses leave you drenched because every road you pass has a splash station.

But there are many things you can do besides get wet, including asking your private villa chef to indulge your taste buds. Savor the sweet, spicy and sour all at once. The villa managers and staff cater to your every whim and even take care of your children for the day. A private yoga teacher can help you unwind and a massage therapist will slowly knead city-stress away. Home spa services are just a call away.

Sun and Games

The sand stretches for miles and miles in Phuket.

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Elite Havens extended its Collection of Koh Samui Luxury Villas with Silk Acquisition

in News by
Praana Residence at Panacea Retreat - Tropical serenity

Elite Havens has extended its Asian market-leading luxury vacation villa collection with the acquisition of SILK’s 12 exceptional properties on the Thai island of Koh Samui.

The incorporation of SILK’s management and marketing portfolio creates an unrivalled selection of 18 high-end holiday villas on the island, including ‘Panacea Retreat’ – the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Samui’s private luxury retreats.

“The acquisition complements our 42 properties on Phuket as Elite Havens continues expanding across Asia, with spectacular growth this year also including Niseko Boutiques in Japan’s most famous ski resort and VillaNaBali’s luxury villa retreats in Bali.

“Elite Havens proudly now offers greater diversity of choice than ever to our 70,000 guests each year at more than 200 of the region’s finest private luxury villas from Phuket and Koh Samui to Bali, Lombok, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Japan.”

In the new Koh Samui portfolio acquired from SILK, the extravagant ‘Praana Residence’ at ‘Panacea Retreat’is unquestionably the island’s finest private luxury retreat.

More like a private hotel, the extravagant 6-bedroom hilltop residence is a pleasure dome of delights and surprises complete with its own restaurant, casino, 10-seater private cinema, billiards room and karaoke night club – with outstanding sports and wellbeing amenities including a floodlit tennis court, fully-equipped gym, massage and sauna rooms, two infinity pools and an open-air Muay Thai boxing ring.

The bespoke collection also includes stunning havens from designer-styled ‘Villa Suralai’ and beachfront retreats ‘Baan Dalah’ and ‘Villa Nueng’ to trendsetters ‘Villa Spice and ‘Villa Zest’ at Lime Samui, and elegant and sophisticated ‘Kalya Residence’ at Panacea Retreat.

Blending unsurpassed tropical beauty with world-class cuisine, luxury spas, a vibrant party scene and five-star hospitality, Koh Samui is a perfect match for the Elite Havens signature style of luxury. Getting there is easy, with direct daily flights from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Phuket, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Xi’an.

About SILK

Established in 2016 by founder Milos Kosanovic, SILK offers clients Bespoke Management and Marketing Programs with personalised attention that is unrivalled in the Koh Samui luxury market, blending expertise in marketing, hospitality and property management. Only exceptional properties have been chosen to be part of SILK’s portfolio, each with a unique offering for its guests. Keeping the portfolio limited in size allows SILK a high degree of focus.

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The Picture Perfect of the Family Ideal

in Families by
Children are fabulously celebrated and doted on by the Thai people which makes it a seriously sensational destination for a family holiday. The stunning island of Koh Samui is trending hard among those ‘in the know’ families. Velvet soft sandy beaches are perfect for sand castle construction (and parent lazing) while the glittering azure shallows are so safe for swimming and snorkeling – the exact amount of needed shade is provided by the abundance of trees which complete the picture perfect of the family ideal.
Koh Samui is just off the south-east coast of Thailand’s Surat Thani. It’s laid back and a tranquil corner of an energized nation. Blessed with extraordinary natural beauty it has a raft of fun adventures that will be certain to create memories.
 

Family-friendly villas

The first concern for most families is where to stay. Hotels and resorts may pitch themselves as family friendly, but the prying eyes of other guests can be vexing. Massive resorts offer little in terms of space and privacy and certainly don’t give you access to your own private chef.
 
The support of a stellar team of professional staff in a luxury private villa caters to the broad demands of family life. Daily housekeeping discretely happens every day everything is pristine and random glasses are whisked away. Meals are a stunning affair with a private chef creating beautiful dishes – from exotic delicacies, western favourites, barbeques, kids’ choices and even special diets. Add to this an easily secured in-villa nanny and the load of parenting can be lightened even further. 
 
Imagine a private swimming pool with floating toys, play equipment, board games and possibly table tennis and pool tables. Staff are quick to help with the kids, so you can enjoy the bliss away from other guests who may not love junior’s joyful squeals and noisy pool games. Secure walls deliver safe spaces for little ones to wander and explore under the watchful eyes of a nanny. Many villas are also big enough to house a few families turning a gorgeous estate into a sensational tribal ground with friends and cousins roaming in packs. 
 
A stream of homemade snacks will be prepared by the cooks and guests also have open access to the kitchen which is worth its weight in gold for families with toddlers and babies – and jetlag. 

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