Jasmine: We went to Bali for a family holiday with Baby D and my mum last September. We looked at many hotels, but in the end settled on this beautiful villa. It is advertised as a 3-bedroom villa but is more like 2 apartments and a 3rd bedroom.
The location was such a sanctuary- it was serene and surrounded by lush foliage and chirping crickets, yet just a 5 min drive to Ubud city centre. Other nearby amenities/ attractions included the wonderful Sang Spa around the corner, where I had the best massage of my life (hot stones followed by four handed massage). Bali has a string of crazy healthy restaurants, and one of them that we could call in to order from was the cult favourite, vegan-friendly, gluten-free, insert-other-fancy-healthfood-jargon Bali Buda, which was about a 5 min walk away. Not to my liking (portions way too small) but at least I can say I tried it. (Andrew: Not that the food at Bali Buda was that great – it was mainly vegan food! Give me my nasi campur or babi guling any time!)
Just check out the gorgeous exteriors and pool!
Andrew: Too bad we didn’t take a pic of the pool at night, which was beautiful! The only drawback of being so close to nature, is well, nature being too close for comfort. On one of the nights that I swam there, there was this frog that just wouldn’t leave the side of the pool. I was so afraid it would suddenly just jump in and join me for my swim! There were also lots of chirping, squawking, trees rustling, squealing at night, which made me wonder what was going on in there! Just so as to provide an objective review, one other drawback was that the lights were too dim at night, especially in the kitchen – which made it difficult when trying to sterilise bottles or heat up milk. You also couldn’t see bugs which might be lurking in the corner. Oops, I think I’ve been talking about bugs too much. (Jasmine: Dearie… you sure you’ve been to NS?)
Jasmine: The heart of the villa was the kitchen and communal areas (the open-air areas in the previous pic just above).
Daybed and dining area
(the Coconut Suite, where Mum and Dyl stayed, is above)
Jasmine: Every morning, our cook would whip up a breakfast feast with organic Balinese coffee and fresh juices upon our request! We could choose from Indonesian and American options. What my mum liked was that the cook was most willing to give her “cooking lessons” on coconut/ banana/ pineapple crepes, mee goreng and nasi goreng!
Andrew: My fave had to be the nasi goreng and the pancakes. As you can see, the American breakfast was kinda sad, with very shriveled up, limp sausages. Jas’s mum has since replicated the pancakes and the nasi goreng back home! Yum! The manager cum host, Iluh, was very warm and friendly too. She would come by every morning, greet us and then talk us through our day’s activities, making recommendations and enquiring if we needed any special transport arrangements. Singapore hotels have much to learn from the Balinese in terms of hospitality! (Jasmine: Yes, Mum and I also liked the bedroom slippers so much that she gave us a pair to bring home and told us which local market to buy them from!)
On to the 3 rooms themselves!
Room 1: Coconut Suite
Jasmine: This was where we spent most of our evenings, as Mum and Dilly occupied this Coconut Suite, with great views of forest. The suite was named after the coconut wood it was made from, a popular and sustainable local building material. It could be completely open to nature but also completely enclosable once we drew the curtains. (Andrew: Yea, you also had to close it to ensure the mosquitoes didn’t come in. Heh.)
The architecturally striking traditional thatched roof structure
Andrew spent many a night watching his shows on this bench, while Dilly played on the Supermat
The four-poster bed that Mum and Dylan shared for 4 nights
Jasmine: We were worried that Dilly would have trouble adjusting to a new place, as it was his first time travelling, but he surprised us all by sleeping through the night from 10pm-630am!
Jasmine: Look how carefully housekeeping tidied up the space every day, folding Dylan’s blanket, swaddle cloth, favourite ball, and garnishing the bundle with a frangipani!
Do note that the Coconut Suite does not have an attached bathroom. Rather, you have to climb down the flight of stairs to get to this outdoor shower, a staple feature of traditional Balinese decor but one that is rarely seen nowadays. This would not be a great choice for an elderly couple, but we can imagine kids loving the “treehouse”.
Outdoor shower a flight of stairs below- don’t worry, it’s completely private from the top, no buildings overlooking it!
We also liked how sustainable this villa was, using natural local materials and showcasing Balinese craftsmanship through the carved mirrors, Balinese stone for the sink, and Balinese marble and granite for the floors and vanity counter.
Andrew: The outdoor shower concept is great, but us being amateur travellers with a baby, didn’t quite realise that a shower area like this would scare poor Dylan. He didn’t even like the bathtub in the royal suite (way too big for him). So most of his bath time was spent with him wailing, while we tried to ‘splash’ water on him from the falling shower. Poor baby. Heh.
Room 2: Master Suite
Jasmine: This was where Andrew and I stayed, as it was just opposite the kitchen and dining areas. The Balinese aesthetic, with its incorporation of outdoors with indoors was prominent in the bath area, which had picture frame windows to offer views of the outside.
A secret path to the bathroom
Room 3: Princess Suite
Jasmine: The third villa was the most self-contained. You had to walk down the stone stairs to get to it, and we used it mostly to lounge by the pool while Andrew swam.
This was quite indulgent and frankly my favourite suite of the three, as it was a split-level “apartment”, with a sink and walk-in wardrobe on the upper level, leading to another beautiful outdoor bath.
The walk-in wardrobe and vanity leading to the romantic outdoor shower and bath
Andrew: Okay, I promise this will be my last mention of bugs, but the outdoor shower here creeped me out once because there was this huge lizard perched on top while I was showering! I felt so uncomfortable, like I was being watched the whole time. Totally spoils the ‘romance’ of the outdoor shower concept eh. Haha…
Jasmine: The price to rent the entire villa was super reasonable, as we were travelling in between peak and off-peak seasons- maybe less than $300SGD per night if I recall correctly? It would be a great deal if a few families shared the villa. In addition to luxuriating in the space and the daily breakfast, we also enjoyed wonderful Balinese hospitality from the manager, cook and security guards. As mentioned by Andrew earlier, Iluh, the manager, would come in every morning to help us plan our itinerary, arrange transportation and make dining reservations! Her recommendations were all spot-on!
Andrew: Just to add for those who can’t live without Internet, that there is wireless throughout the whole villa. Tony, the security guy, was very helpful too in ensuring that we get the taxis that we need. All in all, it’s a lovely villa that I would come back to again, just minus the outdoor showers. 🙂
Jasmine: Ending off with some pictures of us at the stunning entrance to the villa!