Villa Bodhi is a breath of fresh air. Amos Kotomori (a gifted clothing designer) has created a lush, art-filled residence within easy reach of Ubud that, luckily for us, is now available for holiday rental. On the drive up to the villa along Jalan Raya Sayan, the major luxury hotels - Four Seasons, Aman, Alila, and Como Shambahala – are all vying for that magical million-dollar river valley view. Kotomori has matched that same magical ambiance at Villa Bodhi, except with two major differences – no neighbours in sight and a nightly rate that sleeps eight people very comfortably instead of two.
Being the consummate artist, Kotomori has done things a little differently at Villa Bodhi. Instead of the quintessential frangipani flowers found everywhere in Bali, I am greeted by the cheerful sight of vibrant marigold blossoms, carefully placed along stone ledges and statues. The garden is alive with butterflies and dragonflies in a rainbow spectrum from butterscotch to pomegranate. The villa manager, Made (pronounced mah-day), welcomes me with a cold towel and refreshing drink, and as he gives me a tour of the villa I feel like I have stepped back in time to the 1930s, when the likes of European painter Walter Spies spent languid days at Ubud Palace, capturing on canvas the never-before-seen landscapes that lured the West to explore this side of paradise.
A perfect blend of traditional and modern, the villa’s antique joglo structures are enhanced with contemporary polished concrete floors, air conditioning, modern timber and glass construction to showcase the outstanding views, and well chosen teak accents that uplift the ambiance. Kotomori’s style is whimsically elegant: antique stone statues wear colourful beaded necklaces, reclaimed sailboat wood in royal blue and sea-foam green add playful character against museum quality pieces, and the mesmerising views from the swimming pool make attending that wood carving class in Ubud seem less of a priority.