The delightful Villa Asmara casts its spell long before you arrive. After meandering along temple-lined village streets, through swathes of emerald rice fields, past rolling waves breaking on giant rocky outcrops then surging up the beach of volcanic black sand, the road ends at an unassuming Balinese entrance. Beyond, a series of stepping stones leads across a pond flanked by fountains flowing from two large pots, and into the large living area of the main pavilion. Within moments, you are reclining on huge wicker sofas sipping ice-cold juice and nibbling pisang goring (fried bananas) dipped in honey – and you are utterly charmed!
Villa Asmara’s frangipani-scented garden is bursting with tropical blooms – scarlet lobster claw heliconia, crimson Cordylines and red torch ginger are dive-bombed by iridescent-winged dragonflies. The same palette spices the living area, colouring terracotta and claret cushions to curl up on, fire-red seat pads on the dining room chairs, and sprays of freshly picked flowers trailing from vases. Wherever the eye falls, there’s something fascinating to look at – a Chinese opium bed here, a Dutch colonial bench there, hand-carved Papuan totem tucked away in the corner, four-poster beds in the guestrooms. And, shimmering beyond the broad arches of the living area, a 14m swimming pool commanded by a Buddha head statue from whose crown cascades a fountain of water.
This is an ideal villa for multi-generation families and groups of friends and, with three of the four bedrooms on the ground floor, is suitable for small kids and less agile grannies too. The pool will keep all ages occupied for hours and, if that’s not enough exercise, the tennis court (shared between a handful of neighbouring villas) will tire out the more energetic members of the party. There’s plenty to keep everyone well entertained without leaving the villa, and the staff can see to all meals (buying groceries at cost +20%), so there’s no need to stray far.
Just beyond the villa walls lie promises of bike rides through the rice paddies to meet village folk and perhaps participate in their ceremonies, or strolls along the glistening black sands of Mengening beach in the glow of a glorious Bali sunset.
|Size||Sleeps up to 8, 4 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||TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Rooms||4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms of which 4 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||Double beds (4)|
|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.
A few kilometres to the northwest of Canggu, a towering banyan—one of the 'elders' of the tree kingdom—heralds the turning to Seseh, a traditional beachside village approached via an avenue of coconut palms. Seseh and the tiny neighbouring villages of Sogsogan and Cemagi still retain the customs and culture of old Bali. Here, you will see farmers in conical hats riding rusty old upright bicycles, as well as frequent, colourful processions to Seseh's large beachside temple. There are no international restaurants here, but you might just see a barong (a high-spirited, benevolent beast representing the power of good; danced by two men inside an ornate costume) dancing on the street. The good news, for folks who want to immerse themselves in the customs and culture of old Bali, is that the villagers encourage and welcome congenial visitors. There are now over 30 private rental villas in these three villages, all of which have seamlessly integrated without in any way detracting from the simplicity and charm of the location. This is an ideal destination for those who want to get lost in the beauty of the countryside, and for those who want to engage with the local people and gain privileged insights into the Balinese Hindu lifestyle.
A little further up the coast is the area known as Tanah Lot, famous for its dramatic and venerated sea temple, which is perched on a craggy wave-lashed rock just at the edge of the glistening black shoreline. It is probably the most photographed sight in Bali, especially in the late afternoon when its splendid profile is silhouetted against the setting sun. The Tanah Lot locale is also home to a number of private villas due to presence of the 18-hole, 72-par, championship-standard Nirwana Bali Golf Club, which is frequently voted the number one golf course in Asia. This is still a far-flung area with few shops or restaurants, apart from the many souvenir stalls and simple eateries within the temple grounds, and three international restaurants within Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort.