The Great Outdoors Villas
Lazing by the pool all day not your idea of fun? Try one of these villas which are perfectly placed for discovering the great outdoors – be it hiking or biking, bird-spotting or white-water-rafting – there will be something nearby to suit those who prefer a more active holiday.
From $475 ++
Something that really impressed us was the way the staff stopped what they were doing when we invited them to make up the numbers for a game of volleyball. It is rare to find a villa where the owner has encouraged his staff to go the extra mile to please guests in this way. To quote from the visitors’ book, “The staff are truly the heart of Anandita”. The kitchen produces some fine meals, with the emphasis on fresh fish and local produce - but remember that (if you wish to order from the suggestion menu) you need to give a bit of notice when ordering your meals or making your grocery list as the villa is a long way from the nearest shops. An easy alternative is to opt for the all inclusive meal package offered at the villa which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.
Nothing changes very much in Lombok, so when we returned to Villa Anandita for our three-year-update we were delighted to find that everything was very much as it had been, including most of the staff who remembered us from our first visit. Gusti the manager/activities manager delighted us with his energy and enthusiasm, taking us out for a long bicycle ride across the golf course and along rough tracks through the fields to the traditional market at Tanjung. Since our last visit, the complement of bicycles has gone up to 13 and the owners have added a spa pavilion with two massage beds (professional therapists will come to the villa to deliver soothing treatments). We were also pleased to find that the villa now has a WiFi internet connection, so it doesn’t feel quite so detached from the world. The property has been well maintained but the beach bordering the garden has suffered from a bit of erosion so it has got narrower, but it is still beautiful to look at and you only have to walk a short distance to reach a wider section of sand. Oh yes, there’s a new international airport in Lombok now, which is further away from the villa, so the journey is longer but you’ll see some gorgeous rural countryside en route.
From $920 ++
The staff are very professional and it was the talented chef himself who served our delicious meals, giving us an explanation of the magic he had worked in the kitchen on our behalf.
The bedrooms have a double set of blinds to keep out the morning sun, making it very tempting to sleep with the doors open, listening to the sound of the sea. With a three-man security team on the premises, you can rest perfectly at ease.
Don’t come here expecting to get any work done. A stay at Arnalaya Beach House is all about enjoying yourself – with a bit of tennis, a gym workout and a spa treatment thrown into the mix – while letting the ‘rhythm of the waves’ wash over you.
From $1,895 ++
Favourite corners? The café table in the billiard room is just the place for early morning rice-view coffee, and curling up with a Kindle in the bedroom window seat made for a cool air-conditioned escape from the midday heat. While it was good to have our own veranda with leather seating overlooking the pool, we were happy to spend time in the breezy open living space, where the large sofas and romantic, heavily carved Chinese bed encouraged indolence. The gentle Balinese staff appears to have worked together for some time and nothing seems to faze them! And the cook showed her versatility by throwing together that breakfast classic, eggs Benedict, as proficiently as Asian favourites like tom yum soup and beef rendang.
From $290 ++
From $480 ++ Special 4br Rate
From $530 ++
The staff were efficient and because the property is so large we hardly saw them apart from at mealtimes when they tended to gather around the main kitchen to chat, which was a little off-putting. We were informed by the management company, however, that they have plans to change the kitchen design which would resolve this problem. As if to compensate for any disturbance, the house manager really went out of his way to make sure we had everything we needed at all times.
There’s quite an extensive priced menu at the villa – the cook’s excellent Balinese dishes come highly recommended and you receive a complimentary Balinese meal if staying more than seven nights. Self-catering is also an option but only for stays of seven days or more; in this instance, a 30% charge is added onto the total cost of your grocery bill if the staff do your shopping for you.
From $720 ++
This is a real Bali experience, well away from the fashionable see-and-be-seen café culture of downtown Bali, but still with four-poster beds and gorgeous outdoor bathrooms to rival any of the big boys. When swimming in the pool, make sure you look up at the reflection in the big mirror that sits on the living room wall: the illusion doubles the size of the villa’s garden. And when have you ever seen yourself swimming before!? Sunsets on the beach are a short stroll away and do jump on one of the villa’s bicycles and head off out among the rice fields to explore the real Bali even further. The area is relatively flat and shady and the local people will never let you get lost.
From $290 ++
The staff, a husband and wife team, plus houseboy, were very welcoming – as was Timmy, the house’s loveable dog! Service is casual and their English was limited so communicating was a bit of a struggle at times. However, the villa is looked after by a management team whose area manager is always at the end of the phone. The kitchen is basic and uninspiring, however there is a little pantry with sink and fridge for making drinks. In any case, a cook prepares all of your meals (Sri Lankan cuisine mainly, plus a few fried rice and noodle dishes).
Note that the beach is not at the end of the garden – you need to go through the gate, turn right along the road and then wander for five minutes to the beach. Swimming is best in the middle of the bay.
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.
From $375 ++ Special 2br Rate