The 22km drive to The Istana from Bali’s airport takes you through Jimbaran and across the centre of the Bukit to the revered Uluwatu Temple. En route there are glimpses of the beautiful, if slightly arid, scenery but nothing can prepare you for the dramatic views from The Istana. Imax style panoramas from 60m up on the cliff. Surfers catch waves in the turquoise waters below, fishing boats trawl offshore and the evening sun slides over the uninterrupted horizon. Absolutely magical. Everything about The Istana verges on palatial, from the grand entrance to the commercial kitchens complete with walk-in chillers; from the movie room with 92-inch projection screen to the secluded master suite with sunken bath and private 5m x 8m swimming pool. It is, however, difficult to focus on anything but the spectacular 180-degree views fronted by a magnificent 32m swimming pool set in lawns and dotted with coconut palms. For the best views of all, try the cliff-top balé (gazebo) where blinds glide down at the touch of a button if the glare (or breeze) gets too much. The contemporary-classic-styled low-rise main building houses an additional four generous ensuite bedrooms, a formal dining room for 14, a casual media room and an open lounge which flows seamlessly onto the lawns. Off the back is the kitchen, home to three of the 31 staff (yes, 31!). There is also a kids’ area which comprises a large games room and two simple bedrooms for up to five children, plus a spa complete with massage rooms. Interiors throughout Villa Istana are well proportioned and tastefully finished - good understated design with a strong emphasis on local woods and stone. The workmanship, materials and finish are generally excellent. Soft furnishings are stylish but practical and comfortable. The chefs will undertake the provisioning either based on a priced menu or on your account plus a handling fee. Butlers are available 24/7, maids clean discreetly and drivers ferry around. Gardeners and engineers keep the place ticking over whilst 24-hour security ensures total privacy. There is even an in-house masseur although a local spa company comes for more sophisticated treatments – the villa manager is there to facilitate. How little or much the staff are seen is very much down to the guest.
|Size||Sleeps up to 10, 7 bedrooms|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
|Luxuries||Private indoor pool|
|Pool||Private indoor pool|
|General||Air conditioning, TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Rooms||7 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms of which 10 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||Double beds (5)|
|Outdoors||Private indoor pool|
Bali is Indonesia's most popular tourist location and is considered one of Asia's premier tropical island destinations. Steeped in history and renowned for its artistic way of life, Bali is a peaceful contrast to some of the more frantic destinations Asia has to offer.
The inner peace and creative talents of the Balinese has attracted artists the world over fascinated by local dancers, silversmiths, wood carvers, potters and painters that seem to pervade throughout the island. The abundant verdant fields and surrounding sea have long supplied Bali with an easy surplus of food leaving time for life's more artistic past times. As a result everything in Bali has a creative and religious element centred around the local Banjar (residents association) – little, adorned temples are everywhere, doors are covered in intricate carvings, huge kites ward off evil spirits and colourful roadside ceremonies bring traffic to a standstill.
Bali is a popular destination principally from Australia and Asia but also from all over Europe. The island welcomes thousands of visitors each year to a relaxing lifestyle, stunning beaches, world class surf, vibrant villages, and spectacular scenery all with an exquisite tropical climate. Located approximately two hours' flying time from Singapore the island is serviced by an international airport at Denpasar with direct flights to and from many major cities in Asia, Europe and Australia and many more via Jakarta, Indonesia's capital.
The island offers an impressive range of leisure and lifestyle amenities including world-class golf courses, wonderful seascapes for surfing, diving and snorkelling as well as luxurious spas, chic boutiques, tropical forests, towering volcanoes and international cuisine.
The Bukit (which means 'hill' in Indonesian) is a 140-square-kilometre rugged limestone peninsula that dangles like a pendant upon a chain at the southern tip of Bali. Until recently, this windswept outcrop - revered by the Balinese who have built a series of temples around its perimeter, including the spectacular Pura Luhur Uluwatu - was home solely to seaweed farmers, fisherman and die-hard surfers. In recent years, however, it has reinvented itself to become the most upmarket destination on the island.
The Bukit now boasts some of Bali's most opulent destination villas, glamorous private estates, internationally-branded boutique hotels, and 'One of Asia's 5 Best Golf Courses' according to Fortune Magazine, making it the area of choice for discerning travellers and residents. Most development has taken place along the isthmus connecting The Bukit to the rest of Bali, with the beautiful sunsets and sandy beaches of Jimbaran to the west and Benoa Harbour to the east. Further along the coast to the east, are a string of resorts and hotels set along the pretty swimming beaches of Nusa Dua.
Despite recent development, The Bukit remains sparsely populated and has retained a desolate beauty. Its turquoise waters are the playground of migrating whales, and when the waves are calm and the tide is full, turtles and dugongs can be seen swimming close to the shore. The rocky landscape is dotted with wild flowers, manioc, prickly pear cactus, scarlet flowering flamboyants and fascinating kapok trees. The Bukit is also home to some of the most idyllic beaches in Bali; hidden sandy coves – a dream for both surfers and non-surfers alike (although not always safe for swimming). Even in the rainy season The Bukit is a reliable sun-trap.