If you’re looking for traditional Bali-style architecture, Villa Aiko may not be your first choice. But while resolutely city-chic contemporary in design, the villa makes abundant use of natural materials in its construction - think reclaimed ironwood and river-stone walls, teakwood floors, Benkirai-wood decking and ironwood shingle roof. And the essence of Bali is evident in the charming and attentive-but-discreet staff.
The villa manager/executive chef Putu was an absolute treasure. He was completely unfazed by my vegetarian request and created a memorable dinner – spring rolls, pumpkin and basil soup, beetroot and orange appetiser, and Portobello mushrooms en croute with perfectly cooked vegetables and the best mashed potatoes in Bali. And his Eggs Florentine – the egg poached to perfection, the Hollandaise cancelling days of dedicated Pilates practice – was a fabulous way to kick-start the morning. No wonder some guests stay away from Jimbaran Bay’s seafood restaurants and choose instead to eat in every day, as the visitor’s book attests.
We think Aiko would be a great villa for large family groups. There are so many independent seating areas to break away to for some peace and quiet, and it’s great to find a library in a Bali villa; we really appreciated the wide choice of books. Though all four bedrooms have king-size beds – no twins – there’s a single bed discreetly designed into the foot of each bed. We thought the fourth bedroom might be best for kids (who tend not to be so view-hungry) as the outlook is partly blocked by the guest pavilion and spiral staircase. One note of caution: there are steep drops from the pool and terraces but, thankfully for parents, glass barriers line both second floor terraces.