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10 of the Best Villas in Sanur-Ketewel, Bali

If Kuta is the energetic, crowded hub of Bali’s tourism, the historical and easy going village of Sanur is its sleepy antithesis, sitting on Bali’s south-east coast just a short distance from the capital Denpasar and 16 kilometres from the airport. Relaxed restaurants and bars line the road whilst a slew of resorts line the pretty beaches which are more protected than those on the west coast. They start from backpacking huts and progress to some of the original beach retreats, popular with celebrities of the '60s and '70s, which put Bali on the tourist map.

In common with many other tourist centres in Bali, Sanur has expanded, not always beautifully, and now boasts the 9-hole Grand Bali Beach Golf Course, a bowling centre and collection of spas and massage centres, supermarkets for provisioning, banks and ATMs, and a range of shops selling everything from simple postcards to sophisticated artwork. Bali’s famous silver, teak, paintings, masks and more are all available in Sanur, which remains a charming, low key, relaxed destination.

Thirteen kilometres east of Sanur, the area collectively known as Ketewel includes a string of traditional fishing villages - Pabean, Saba, Lebih, Maceti and Ketewel itself - running along the coast. The construction of Sunrise Road (also known as the Klungkung bypass) in 2004 meant that the windswept black sand beaches of this part of the Gianyar Regency suddenly became a lot more accessible. Bounded by the River Wos, terraced rice fields, tobacco plantations, papaya and banana groves, the area is blessed with spellbinding views extending across the ocean towards the beaches of Sanur and Nusa Dua, the islands of Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida, and the mountains of East Bali.

Ketewel village itself is the origin of the celebrated Legong Bidadari Dance, and the neighbouring village of Saba produced the finest Legong dancers on the island. The nearby beach of Pabean was once a small port through which oriental traders brought their products; at low tide you can still see the structure of the old harbour, and a Chinese cemetery is located close by. Balinese Hindu purification ceremonies are held beside the ocean at the sacred Pura Segara sea temple, and the offshore reef is renowned for its surf breaks. There are no Western-style restaurants in this area, but there are plenty of local warungs (eateries), while international restaurants galore can be found just down the road in Sanur.


Villa Samadhana

Villa Samadhana

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Sanur-Ketewel

The first thing we noticed on entering Villa Samadhana was the wide open space, rarely seen these days in the more popular tourist centres of Bali. The kids ran a good 70m sprint from the entrance up to the living area, across manicured lawns and past flowering trees. Being a family of four, we had our choice of three separate sleeping pavilions but, as our youngest still wakes in the night, we opted for the master suite so we could be close together. With a king-size bed in the sleeping chamber and upholstered couches in the adjoining sitting room, the kids were excited about sleeping in an unconventional, yet comfortable space – especially with access to their own 32-inch flat-screen television.

The owners obviously love to spend quality family time here and the poolside pavilion is a well thought out covered area that provides unlimited opportunities for action, relaxation and play for the entire group. With a 25m lap pool, generously sized shallow area for toddlers, inflatable pool toys and four umbrella-shaded sun loungers, this was our ‘go to’ spot each day after breakfast.

The butler and his attendants soon realised that our small, low maintenance group didn’t require them at our beck and call all day and discretely left us to our own devices until we needed them. However, the villa’s extensive amenities and big team of full time staff are perfect for large groups and special events such as weddings. And chef Wayan is a magician in the kitchen. He and his team took care of the grocery shopping before our arrival, based on our selections from the vast menu emailed to us. As a first night surprise for the kids we’d ordered ice cream sundaes and banana splits - the perfect treat before watching a family movie in the air-conditioned media room.

The Pabean Beach area serves up a refreshing slice of unhurried Balinese life. Our daily strolls to the beach provided glimpses of an authentic village lifestyle: local children laughing and playing on the glittering, black-sand beach, elderly men chatting beneath their shady roadside shelters and ibu (mothers) skilfully wielding long, skinny sticks to knock down frangipani blossoms for daily prayer offerings.

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Villa Pushpapuri

Villa Pushpapuri

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Sanur-Ketewel

You cannot fail to enjoy Villa Pushpapuri – we certainly did during our stay. The staff were very helpful, the food was good and the setting superb. It was a real treat to be able to see and hear the sea from almost everywhere - by the fabulous swimming pool, at dinner (inside or out) or from most of the bedrooms. We also really enjoyed retiring to the underground bar in the evening for a beer and game of pool. The villa is only a few years old (2006) but the quality of finish is excellent and the maintenance first class which it has to be given its exposed coastal location. The gardens are a delight and the bright interiors very enjoyable. Villa Pushpapuri would make an excellent choice for families as there is a load to do.
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Villa Puri Nirwana

Villa Puri Nirwana

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Sanur-Ketewel

Six years on from the original review, we enjoyed a delightful stay at Puri Nirwana. It was a pleasure to find such a quiet part of Bali’s coast completely untouched by the crowds, even in high season. The location is spectacular, and the views from the villa attention-grabbing throughout the day.

We had the beach to ourselves apart from a lone fisherman, and enjoyed walking along the beach-front promenade, to Pura Masceti, one of Bali’s nine sacred directional temples. The sunrises over Cucukan Beach are sensational, and we were mesmerised by the island and mountain views.

The villa is large and the staff are very friendly, full of smiles; the chef, who had worked at Ubud culinary icon Mosaic, prepared some beautifully presented meals for us. Puri Nirwana is well designed to accommodate large family groups — it is possibly the best place on Bali to bring someone with mobility issues — and the stunning spa pavilion is the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely massage.

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Villa Puri Nirwana

Villa Puri Nirwana

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Sanur-Ketewel

Six years on from the original review, we enjoyed a delightful stay at Puri Nirwana. It was a pleasure to find such a quiet part of Bali’s coast completely untouched by the crowds, even in high season. The location is spectacular, and the views from the villa attention-grabbing throughout the day.

We had the beach to ourselves apart from a lone fisherman, and enjoyed walking along the beach-front promenade, to Pura Masceti, one of Bali’s nine sacred directional temples. The sunrises over Cucukan Beach are sensational, and we were mesmerised by the island and mountain views.

The villa is large and the staff are very friendly, full of smiles; the chef, who had worked at Ubud culinary icon Mosaic, prepared some beautifully presented meals for us. Puri Nirwana is well designed to accommodate large family groups — it is possibly the best place on Bali to bring someone with mobility issues — and the stunning spa pavilion is the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely massage.

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Villa Puri Nirwana

Villa Puri Nirwana

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Sanur-Ketewel

Six years on from the original review, we enjoyed a delightful stay at Puri Nirwana. It was a pleasure to find such a quiet part of Bali’s coast completely untouched by the crowds, even in high season. The location is spectacular, and the views from the villa attention-grabbing throughout the day.

We had the beach to ourselves apart from a lone fisherman, and enjoyed walking along the beach-front promenade, to Pura Masceti, one of Bali’s nine sacred directional temples. The sunrises over Cucukan Beach are sensational, and we were mesmerised by the island and mountain views.

The villa is large and the staff are very friendly, full of smiles; the chef, who had worked at Ubud culinary icon Mosaic, prepared some beautifully presented meals for us. Puri Nirwana is well designed to accommodate large family groups — it is possibly the best place on Bali to bring someone with mobility issues — and the stunning spa pavilion is the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely massage.

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Bayu Gita Beach Front

Bayu Gita Beach Front

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Sanur-Ketewel

Our stay at Villa Bayu Gita was brilliant.  It’s as simple as that.  The comfort factor, the professionalism of the staff, the excellence of the food, the fantastic facilities and the gorgeous views all combined to create an exceptional villa experience.  There are not many villas in Bali that sit so close to the ocean that you can feel it in your face, literally.  During the highest tides, the sea comes right up to the base of the sea wall at the front of the villa and can create quite a show.

Entertainment wise the villa has a marvellous home cinema with recliner chairs and an 80-inch screen, a very well appointed gym and a billiard room, all downstairs in the basement where sound is not an issue.  Upstairs it’s all about the pool, the sun and the ocean views with lots of sun loungers on the pool terrace and sofas both inside and out.

The bedrooms are all very private, generously sized and comfortable so that you can really enjoy some downtime when you need it and guests lucky enough to draw straws for either of the two master suites can luxuriate in their own private plunge pools – the front one facing straight out to sea.

We thought that the villa would make a wonderful beachfront wedding venue – it can cater for up to 80 guests.  And an added bonus is that it can be rented in conjunction with the serene 3-bedroomed Bayu Gita Residence, just a few metres away.
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Villa Batujimbar

Villa Batujimbar

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Sanur-Ketewel

With so many ‘ultra villas’ in Bali nowadays boasting all the bells, whistles and 80-plus-inch televisions, it’s always nice to stay in a grand old villa like Batujimbar, a classic example of the original Bali style, where the sizzle is in the foundations and the history, and not the marketing. Batujimbar comes from a time when wealth and grandeur was wrapped up in simplicity and we revelled in it. Knowing that this was the place of choice for the likes of Mick Jagger, and chums, makes it somehow just a little more special, too.

Celebrity hype aside, the physicality of the villa is magnificent in its own right. It ticked all the boxes for us and it was a real pleasure to stay here and take a trip back in time. The grounds are huge, the bedrooms super-comfortable and the gardens are overflowing with trees and flowers under a tropical sun, with the beach just beyond the front gate making for a most relaxing stay.  Oh, and the food served from the villa’s kitchen is something else!
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Villa Batujimbar

Villa Batujimbar

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Sanur-Ketewel

With so many ‘ultra villas’ in Bali nowadays boasting all the bells, whistles and 80-plus-inch televisions, it’s always nice to stay in a grand old villa like Batujimbar, a classic example of the original Bali style, where the sizzle is in the foundations and the history, and not the marketing. Batujimbar comes from a time when wealth and grandeur was wrapped up in simplicity and we revelled in it. Knowing that this was the place of choice for the likes of Mick Jagger, and chums, makes it somehow just a little more special, too.

Celebrity hype aside, the physicality of the villa is magnificent in its own right. It ticked all the boxes for us and it was a real pleasure to stay here and take a trip back in time. The grounds are huge, the bedrooms super-comfortable and the gardens are overflowing with trees and flowers under a tropical sun, with the beach just beyond the front gate making for a most relaxing stay.  Oh, and the food served from the villa’s kitchen is something else!
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Villa Batujimbar

Villa Batujimbar

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Sanur-Ketewel

With so many ‘ultra villas’ in Bali nowadays boasting all the bells, whistles and 80-plus-inch televisions, it’s always nice to stay in a grand old villa like Batujimbar, a classic example of the original Bali style, where the sizzle is in the foundations and the history, and not the marketing. Batujimbar comes from a time when wealth and grandeur was wrapped up in simplicity and we revelled in it. Knowing that this was the place of choice for the likes of Mick Jagger, and chums, makes it somehow just a little more special, too.

Celebrity hype aside, the physicality of the villa is magnificent in its own right. It ticked all the boxes for us and it was a real pleasure to stay here and take a trip back in time. The grounds are huge, the bedrooms super-comfortable and the gardens are overflowing with trees and flowers under a tropical sun, with the beach just beyond the front gate making for a most relaxing stay.  Oh, and the food served from the villa’s kitchen is something else!
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Villa Cemara

Villa Cemara

Indonesia  »  Bali  »  Sanur-Ketewel

Wow…from private pool to shallow sea in five paces?  We’ve been lucky enough to stay in quite a few beachfront villas, but none have been as close as Villa Cemara!  We were amazed when we first walked through its unassuming entrance and into the enormous living pavilion; the view was so attention-grabbing that we hardly noticed the cold towel and freshly squeezed orange juice that were pressed into our hands in welcome.  When we eventually dragged our eyes away from the vista, Pande showed us around the place.  We loved that the bedroom suites were all named after tropical flowers found in the garden.  And the Australian owner’s taste was evident in the exquisite Indonesian furnishings, artefacts and art; gosh, is that really an original Arie Smit painting?  Surely that can’t be a real Hoffker?  And I felt an acquisitive flash for that fabulously gilded door framing a mythical garuda. The first question was where to relax. The pond bale? The living pavilion daybed? The poolside sun-lounger?  The pool was just too inviting, and after a refreshing dip, we slipped through the gate onto the golden sand for a leisurely sunset walk, returning to find a tasty dinner waiting for us.  (We found the staff to be very friendly and obliging, and appreciated that they knew when to disappear.  Two of them share cooking duties, and there’s an extensive suggestion menu of Balinese, Indonesian and western dishes … plus one of the cooks is dab hand at Mexican cuisine.)  This is a fantastic fair-share villa for couples or a group of friends; it’s very family-friendly too.  Though the master pavilion is gorgeous, we don’t think anyone would be upset not to get it; in fact we chose to stay in the guest bedrooms instead, preferring their scale and light.  The villa is great for those who want to relax and recharge their batteries, but the more energetic can go jogging or cycling along the promenade, or head to the water-sports centre for a spot of kite-surfing or sailing.  We thoroughly enjoyed our it-can’t-possibly-be-a-once-in-a-lifetime Cemara experience, and were not at all surprised to learn from the villa manager that well over 90% of guests return.  That’s now sure to include us too.
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