Villas in Ubud, Bali

Villas in Indonesia by region

Bali, Lombok
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Villa Kelusa

Villa Kelusa

Indonesia » Bali » Ubud

Villa Kelusa is magical, and we feel really privileged to have stayed there.  When we first walked through the entrance and into the living pavilion we could hardly believe our eyes – the views are simply the best we’ve ever come across in Bali, and the way the landscape changed with each shift in the light was bewitching.  After a stunning crimson sunset, fireflies glowed in the darkness, the Southern Cross twinkled high above, and flashes of lighting in the far distance revealed fleeting glimpses of Bali’s mystical mountains on the horizon.  Then pulling back our bedroom curtains in the morning, we counted nine volcanoes hovering above the gossamer mist that carpeted the valley below.

We loved the layout of Villa Kelusa, which works wonderfully for multi-generation families and groups of friends who like to be together but still have space to spread their wings.  We haven’t come across another villa that accords such privacy and space for four bedrooms, and with three separate living areas and two swimming pools, even a crowd could get lost here.

While we retreated to the fabulous master bedroom of Pondok Sapi, a contemporary glass cube with fabulous views, our honeymooning friends loved the privacy of Pondok Surya, whose romantic bedroom, starting-within-the-living-room infinity pool and sensual double bathtub were much appreciated!

A special thank you to Wayan Sudana, the villa manager, who was a fount of information and enriched our stay. His delightful team hails from the local village, and many have been attached to the house from the beginning.  We’re just thankful the owner decided to share her delightful Bali home with us!
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Lila Bamboo Villa

Lila Bamboo Villa

Indonesia » Bali » Ubud

We loved the grand scale of Lila Bamboo, which allows the heart to open and take in the beauty of the place—and there is beauty everywhere, in the views, in the Asian art and antiques, and the construction details of the house itself, clearly built by hand. The natural materials and open-air ventilation create an atmosphere that is immediately relaxing and rejuvenating, and which seemed to grow deeper the longer we stayed.

As we were travelling with two teenage children, we were at first concerned that they would not have enough to entertain them, since there is no television; but they had brought their laptops (which functioned perfectly with the good WiFi connection everywhere); and immediately got into the spirit of the house. They loved their rooms, with their cabin-in-the-forest feel and huge bathrooms. We had lunch together in the large living room on their floor, which was also great for board games (we brought along our own). The children also spent a lot of time exploring the river and visiting the organic gardens of the ashram. They made friends with the cows and three Golden Retrievers. The swimming pool was a blessing for us all, so fresh at all hours of the day.

The staff were gracious and competent. The house manager, Alfian, greeted us when we arrived and checked on us often. The two Balinese women looking after the house were a bit shy of speaking English, but they seemed to know exactly what we needed at any moment. On arrival we were immediately offered a glass of fresh coconut water—a most restorative drink full of nutrients. It came from coconut palms growing on the grounds, and a pitcher was always on hand, constantly refreshed.

We had great meals during our stay—some in Ubud and some at the villa. Dinner at the massive dining table felt like being in a castle. The freelance cook was brought in with a day’s notice, which meant that a bit of menu planning was necessary, but that will still be the case when a permanent cook is hired (in the plans), since staff need time to shop for fresh produce at the local market.

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Pandawas Villas

Pandawas Villas

Indonesia » Bali » Ubud

When we rolled up the final steep hill and through the entrance to Pandawas Villas, the stars were overhead and ambient lighting cast elongated shadows across the tropical foliage. Had we arrived in the Garden of Eden? We were led through a pavilion with an intricately painted ceiling tracing the story of the five Pandawas brothers from the Mahabharata (after which the estate is named), and into a huge living pavilion that must be bigger than many entire villas! We later read that this dramatic arrival has been designed to mirror the brothers’ journey through the mountains, leaving worldly desires behind in search of Lord Shiva. The setting is gorgeous, with a real sense of retreat from the hurly burly and immersion in nature’s bounty. There’s space in spades here, with beautiful gardens and lots of private corners for those who want to slip away from the other villa guests. Other than the fountains and constant hum of the cicadas and chattering staff, the only noise was the odd motorbike straining up the steep hill by the villa, emphasizing the delightful quiet the rest of the time. The swimming pool is enormous and there’s plenty space to stretch out, on the deck, or have a massage in the spa balé. Our favourite spot was the Buddy’s Bar balé which commands the highest point of the resort and looks out over emerald rice terraces edged with towering palms – a very special place visited by the famed herons from nearby Petulu village. We liked the double lounger in the bedroom – perfect for languishing with a good book and a lover. The large bed was comfortable but the bedding itself was disappointing. Having said that, other details were well thought out – the universal multi-point sockets fitted throughout the villa, for example, and the home entertainment system in each bedroom.
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Puri Naga Toya

Puri Naga Toya

Indonesia » Bali » Ubud

Breathtaking! Bewitching! Beyond compare! We were captivated by Villa Puri Naga Toya’s extraordinary views, and found the place so intoxicating we were reluctant to explore beyond the (beautiful) villa gardens! We loved its colonial plantation-style, hill station feel, and considered ourselves quite privileged to be staying in this much loved family home surrounded by such a wealth of antiques and art. The master bedroom is a tour de force, and its terrace-with-a-view was a favourite spot (though the decadence of the antique opium bed in the living room was a close contender). With such stupendous views beyond the windows and valuable antiques within, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else; but just wait ‘til you see the library with its fascinating collection of books on Southeast Asia!

It was Bali’s cooler season when we stayed, so we took a light wrap to take the edge off the evening chill, and used it as an excuse to enjoy the comfort of the coal-effect fire. The housekeepers cooked up a creditable pasta dish for dinner, and served a delicious breakfast in a dining area with the most stylish chairs.

This truly is a place to retreat to when you want a break from the hurley burley of corporate life. Though we were only two people, we didn’t feel out of place; it still works as a couple’s retreat, which is unusual in a four-bedroom villa. So we can imagine this working well as an artist’s or writer’s getaway, suiting couples kindling sparks of romance, and also proving popular with families. The steep steps to the octagonal bedroom (and the lack of an ensuite bathroom) may put off older family members, but will provide a sense of adventure to teens, as will the Bamboo House in a separate part of the garden. Because of the dramatic and unguarded drop-off to the Ayung river valley, we would counsel caution in bringing young children unless you’re prepared to watch them carefully (and many of the artefacts are within easy reach of toddlers’ hands). Having said that, the guests before us brought two kids under the age of four and they all loved the place.

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The Purist - River Residence

The Purist - River Residence

Indonesia » Bali » Ubud

Although River Residence is part of a complex of villas, complete with a spa, it felt very private and surprisingly spacious - especially when you consider that it hasn’t got its own pool or garden. The balconies not only overhang the river valley but also seem to draw the outdoors inside. This is a close-to-nature experience; you will awake to the dawn chorus, be serenaded during the day by cicadas and fall asleep to the sound of the frogs. The shared 12m infinity swimming pool is situated beside the river valley and bordered by a large timber deck, furnished with sunbeds. There’s plenty of room here and it’s a nice place for breakfast and lunch. The food is excellent, with an international à la carte menu and lots of healthy choices. The on-site spa is a delight, complete with a double treatment room, romantic bathtub for two, a manicure and pedicure room, and an open-sided upstairs yoga platform. Treatments in the spa are at extra cost. Upon our return, three years after our original review, we were delighted to see that the property has been immaculately maintained. The Purist was very new on our first visit but is now well established as a boutique villa-hotel and spa, with plans to increase its number of villas in the near future.  

 
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Villa Ria Sayan

Villa Ria Sayan

Indonesia » Bali » Ubud

Wow…the view from Villa Ria Sayan eclipses that from the Four Seasons and Amandari! How on earth did the owner of this delightfully cosy (but by no means small) villa manage to snap up such a fantastic ravine-edge spot in Bali’s most coveted location? We were told that ‘ria’ means ‘happy’ in Indonesian…and that’s quite an understatement for our response to this hidden gem; even the unseasonal rain that accompanied our stay couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm. This is a lovely, comfortable home full of fascinating furniture and artefacts that each have a story to tell of the owner’s travels and love of Bali… such a delightful contrast to those holiday rental villas that mask an owner’s personality with an interior designer’s heavy-handed influence. Our favourite place was the upstairs ‘study’ where the best vista in Bali was welcome distraction from my computer. And even the tropical downpour couldn’t keep us from the poolside balé perched at the edge of the ridge, from where we could hear the rush of the Ayung river a hundred metres below.

We found the staff warm and friendly – Nengah’s home cooking garners enthusiastic compliments in the guest book – but also appreciated having the place to ourselves a lot of the time.
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Rumah Lotus

Rumah Lotus

Indonesia » Bali » Ubud

Arriving at Villa Rumah Lotus at night, we immediately eased into its sense of space and peacefulness. There wasn’t a single light on the horizon to suggest another living being nearby, though we were soothed by the sound of the gamelan wafting in the breeze from the village of Kelusa out of sight across the valley.

Emerging from a blissful night’s sleep in our supremely comfortable four-poster bed the next morning, we were delighted to discover the breathtaking views ... nothing but rice fields and, distant mountains! After an excellent breakfast, we enjoyed lazing by the large pool, glimpsing the occasional farmer tending his crop and trying not to feel guilty as we reclined in the balé, waited on hand and foot. Wayan the villa manager was charming and made sure we were well looked after; he speaks several languages (English, French, Japanese among them), is very knowledgeable about the area, and attentive to small details. We appreciated the Nespresso coffee machine and choice of Twinings teas offered during the day, as well as thoughtful extras like kimonos and slippers in the bedroom.

We felt we were far from the madding crowd and yet, if we wanted the bright(er) lights, we could be in Ubud within 20 minutes! And though it was tempting to try out the many restaurants in Bali’s culture capital – which include Mozaic, voted Asia’s top restaurant – Yanti’s home cooking was enough to keep us from straying far; she prepared a beautiful seafood barbecue in the evening. And it helps that the villa wine list is extensive, courtesy of another notable Ubud restaurant, Bridges.

 
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Rumah Lotus

Rumah Lotus

Indonesia » Bali » Ubud

Arriving at Villa Rumah Lotus at night, we immediately eased into its sense of space and peacefulness. There wasn’t a single light on the horizon to suggest another living being nearby, though we were soothed by the sound of the gamelan wafting in the breeze from the village of Kelusa out of sight across the valley.

Emerging from a blissful night’s sleep in our supremely comfortable four-poster bed the next morning, we were delighted to discover the breathtaking views ... nothing but rice fields and, distant mountains! After an excellent breakfast, we enjoyed lazing by the large pool, glimpsing the occasional farmer tending his crop and trying not to feel guilty as we reclined in the balé, waited on hand and foot. Wayan the villa manager was charming and made sure we were well looked after; he speaks several languages (English, French, Japanese among them), is very knowledgeable about the area, and attentive to small details. We appreciated the Nespresso coffee machine and choice of Twinings teas offered during the day, as well as thoughtful extras like kimonos and slippers in the bedroom.

We felt we were far from the madding crowd and yet, if we wanted the bright(er) lights, we could be in Ubud within 20 minutes! And though it was tempting to try out the many restaurants in Bali’s culture capital – which include Mozaic, voted Asia’s top restaurant – Yanti’s home cooking was enough to keep us from straying far; she prepared a beautiful seafood barbecue in the evening. And it helps that the villa wine list is extensive, courtesy of another notable Ubud restaurant, Bridges.

 
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Villa Sancita

Villa Sancita

Indonesia » Bali » Ubud

During our 24-hour stay we made use of just about every inch of space that Villa Sancita has to offer. Whether it was lying back in the pool that seems to hover, suspended over the gardens below, watching movies and playing video games in the den or sun-baking on the deck; ‘hanging out at home’ seemed to be the call of the day. The open, tropical landscape views that envelope the villa make it hard to believe there is anyone living close by despite having neighbours to each side (the design blocks their view) and being just a few minutes from the centre of Ubud.

The staff (super friendly) were always at hand when we needed something, yet never intrusive on our space. Meals were to die for (cost of provisions plus 20%), making it even less tempting to leave the house. When we were up for exploring, bicycles were quickly organised and we either found ourselves in town checking out the local markets and shops or off into the hills to explore local temples and villages. The cooler air also made exploring the outside world more comfortable than Bali’s beachside areas.

Villa Sancita’s design is definitely what sold the villa to us as it really makes use of space and although the modern décor and furnishings may not be particularly edgy or character driven (though the beds were very comfy), the natural surroundings provide a great balance and a breathtaking environment for relaxing.

With the pool and decking at quite a height, we would suggest families with older kids only, though a babysitter is available to hire for guests with toddlers.

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Villa Sebali

Villa Sebali

Indonesia » Bali » Ubud

We felt at home at Villa Sebali the moment we entered this big, airy, comfortable house, open on all sides to gardens and blessed with a beautiful view over the pool to the rainforest in the distance. The rural village of Sebali gives you a feel of the real Bali, away from the tourist centres, and it’s only ten minutes’ drive into Ubud with the villa’s car and driver when you change your mind.

We very much enjoyed a walking trip arranged by Dewa, the villa manager. It was about 2.5 hours through the village rice fields and surroundings, and included a visit to a temple and to a Balinese family compound where we were served coffee and cakes. Some of the terrain was a bit tricky, with steep slopes and streams to cross, but it was wonderful to be so close to the land. There is a fee for these walking trips, which are organised to raise money for needy people in the village. We also tried the cross-country walk into Ubud, which was lovely; but walking around Ubud itself was hectic because of the heavy traffic and dreadful sidewalks.

Villa Sebali is full of charm and feels very much like the private home it is. We found the owners’ Information for Guests booklet very helpful. The living and dining spaces are comfortable and relaxed with tropical gardens framing the view to rice fields or the rainforest. A clipped grass courtyard leads to the swimming pool which is especially delightful in the morning light. We appreciated the pool pavilion, or balé, in the afternoon where we curled up with books and sipped cool fruit juice prepared by the quiet, competent staff.

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