Seseh-Tanah Lot villas in Bali, Indonesia

A few kilometres to the north west of Canggu, a towering banyan—one of the ‘elders’ of the tree kingdom—heralds the turning to Seseh, a traditional beachside village approached via an avenue of coconut palms.

Seseh and the tiny neighbouring villages of Sogsogan and Cemagi still retain the customs and culture of old Bali. Here, you will see farmers in conical hats riding rusty old upright bicycles, as well as frequent, colourful processions to Seseh’s large beachside temple. There are no international restaurants here, but you might just see a barong (a high-spirited, benevolent beast representing the power of good; danced by two men inside an ornate costume) dancing on the street. The good news, for folks who want to immerse themselves in the customs and culture of old Bali, is that the villagers encourage and welcome congenial visitors. Although there are now many private rental villas in these three villages, they have seamlessly integrated without detracting from the simplicity and charm of the location. This is an ideal destination for those who want to get lost in the beauty of the countryside, and for those who want to engage with the local people and gain privileged insights into the Balinese Hindu lifestyle.

A little further up the coast is Tanah Lot, famous for its dramatic and venerated sea temple, which is perched on a craggy wave-lashed rock at the edge of the glistening black shoreline. It is probably the most photographed sight in Bali, especially in the late afternoon when its splendid profile is silhouetted against the setting sun. The Tanah Lot locale is also home to a number of private villas due to presence of the 18-hole, 72-par, championship-standard Nirwana Bali Golf Club, which is frequently voted the number one golf course in Asia. This is, however, still a far-flung area with few facilities other than the souvenir stalls and simple eateries within the temple grounds, and three international restaurants within Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort.

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Villa Anucara

Villa Anucara

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

Villa Anucara’s stark, modernist design may not suit everyone — stripped of its Indonesian artefacts, it could be at home in Miami, Monaco or any number of expensive beachside playgrounds. But this reviewer swooned over the purity of the design, pleasing symmetry, and sense of space and light. The white and ivory colours splashed with aqua create a restful and restorative palette to counter the rectilinear strictness of the architecture. We liked the counterbalance of avant garde with antique, the textural play with Palimanan stone, teakwood planks, polished concrete, fossilized wood, gnarled tree roots and granite. And we loved the artistic flourishes and deliciously thought out details.

One overlooked detail, however, was the choice of cut flowers in every room: the garishly coloured marigolds seemed out of place in such sophisticated surroundings (even the flowers in the garden are all pure white). But this small ‘peeve’ will easily dissipate when the owner’s impeccable taste directs the staff’s flower arranging skills. (And let’s face it, how uptight do you have to be to even notice!)

Unusually, those who don’t draw straws for the master suites will not feel short-changed. (Magnificent though our master suite was, we would have been delighted to stay in guestroom 3 with its shaded grove of palms and its stunning outdoor bathroom with monsoon shower arch and lava-stone wall of water cascading down to a sunken hamam-style bath.) In this respect the villa is highly suited to groups of friends and families — who will also appreciate the many private spaces that allow for quiet as well as social holiday time. We would perhaps be nervous of bringing very young children here because of the stretches of unfenced water, unguarded stairs and upper deck, but note that baby cots and high chairs can be provided; indeed the party before us included several toddlers — and they stayed for a month!

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Villa Asmara

Villa Asmara

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

Villa Asmara is clearly a well-loved home with a lot of heart. We loved its warm energy and felt very comfortable there. We were impressed with the villa manager, Pak Nyoman, who leads the staff of five; his many years’ experience on Caribbean cruise ships is evident in his warm smile, professional manner and intuitive understanding of what makes guests happy. It’s our opinion that the Balinese-influence layout makes this a great villa for multi-generation family gatherings – the billiard table and out-of-the-way media room will appeal to young teens in particular (and these reviewers were not averse to snuggling up in front of satellite TV either). Yet Villa Asmara weaves its magic equally on much smaller groups; and as a couple we didn’t feel we were rattling around but instead enjoyed the air of intimacy that is not always present in villas of a similar size.

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.
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Villa Atacaya

Villa Atacaya

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

There’s something very special about Bali-living when you know that beyond the garden walls are only acres of rice fields and greener than green countryside. Villa Atacaya rests in a patch of south-west Bali that is (so far) only sporadically dotted with villas and villages, so we knew we were in for the privileged private country life when we arrived. We were not let down. This is a big, modern villa with plenty of space and contemporary design (predominantly in white with colour-themed bedrooms) that is absorbed immediately by the artwork of nature found in the forest and river that borders its eastern flank. Instant peace and serenity… if you like the constant hum of cicadas and birds, that is. We do. There’s a cooling breeze coming off the river and the pool is always at the perfect temperature for a dip. The local area is very rural and it’s worth taking the time to go out for a stroll through the rice fields, coconut groves and villages to fully absorb your surroundings. We walked down to the beach (3km) at sunset and sat on a bluff above the black sands and crashing waves with a coke and a coffee bought from one if the local warungs. Highly recommended! The service of a car and driver is a thoughtful provision in this remote location should you wish to go further afield. Please note that this villa is not suitable for toddlers due to the water gardens.
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From $580 ++ Special 4br Rate

Bedrooms 5

Sleeps 8

Our
Rating 8.5
Guest Rating 8.6

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Villa Atacaya

Villa Atacaya

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

There’s something very special about Bali-living when you know that beyond the garden walls are only acres of rice fields and greener than green countryside. Villa Atacaya rests in a patch of south-west Bali that is (so far) only sporadically dotted with villas and villages, so we knew we were in for the privileged private country life when we arrived. We were not let down. This is a big, modern villa with plenty of space and contemporary design (predominantly in white with colour-themed bedrooms) that is absorbed immediately by the artwork of nature found in the forest and river that borders its eastern flank. Instant peace and serenity… if you like the constant hum of cicadas and birds, that is. We do. There’s a cooling breeze coming off the river and the pool is always at the perfect temperature for a dip. The local area is very rural and it’s worth taking the time to go out for a stroll through the rice fields, coconut groves and villages to fully absorb your surroundings. We walked down to the beach (3km) at sunset and sat on a bluff above the black sands and crashing waves with a coke and a coffee bought from one if the local warungs. Highly recommended! The service of a car and driver is a thoughtful provision in this remote location should you wish to go further afield. Please note that this villa is not suitable for toddlers due to the water gardens.
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Villa Belong Dua

Villa Belong Dua

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

For a two-bedroom villa, Belong Dua delighted us with its generosity of space. The sitting room is huge and there’s a home theatre as well (a surprise, as this is usually reserved for at least a three-bedder). The garden and pool are also unusually large; the owners could have easily snuck one more bedroom pavilion in, but we are so happy they didn’t because it has left a wonderfully open space with wide sky views fringed by coconut palms and towering mature trees.     

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.

 
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Villa Champuhan

Villa Champuhan

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

There is nothing like the hum of the rainforest and the rush of flowing water to lull you into a state of utter serenity, and our stay at Villa Champuhan left us glowing with wellbeing. We loved the raw beauty of the tropical setting, enjoyed from the comfort of a modern, thoughtfully designed living space; taking a rain shower on the private deck above the river in the first master bedroom was sheer bliss! During the day the sliding glass doors were wide open, creating a sense of open-plan living, but were conveniently shut at night time to keep out any lingering tropical bugs. The villa was so big that it was like having a mini resort all to ourselves, and our explorations revealed plenty of spaces to nestle in privacy or mingle in comfort. Staff seemed a little shy, (the villa had only just opened when we visited in February 2012), but the warmth and kindness we experienced was genuine and the service discreet, just the way we like it! On site manager, Gun,proved to be a wealth of knowledge on the area, while Dewi cooked us up a great Balinese curry. Lazy afternoons filled with flittering butterflies were spent lounging in the sun-drenched pool overlooking the river – which was so wide that we never felt encroached upon by the surrounding rainforest. Huge daybeds and couches provided ample comfort, and even the dining chairs were soft and plump. Lounging aside there was lots to keep us busy, with river banks and gardens to discover, (some of the gardens slope steeply to the river, so young children will need to be kept an eye on) and the charms of rural Bali on our doorstep. The villa was such a peaceful sanctuary that we didn’t feel overly compelled to leave, but we liked having a complimentary driver on hand, just in case.
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From $525 ++ Special 2br Rate

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 2-6*

Our
Rating 8.7

Villa Champuhan

Villa Champuhan

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

There is nothing like the hum of the rainforest and the rush of flowing water to lull you into a state of utter serenity, and our stay at Villa Champuhan left us glowing with wellbeing. We loved the raw beauty of the tropical setting, enjoyed from the comfort of a modern, thoughtfully designed living space; taking a rain shower on the private deck above the river in the first master bedroom was sheer bliss! During the day the sliding glass doors were wide open, creating a sense of open-plan living, but were conveniently shut at night time to keep out any lingering tropical bugs. The villa was so big that it was like having a mini resort all to ourselves, and our explorations revealed plenty of spaces to nestle in privacy or mingle in comfort. Staff seemed a little shy, (the villa had only just opened when we visited in February 2012), but the warmth and kindness we experienced was genuine and the service discreet, just the way we like it! On site manager, Gun,proved to be a wealth of knowledge on the area, while Dewi cooked us up a great Balinese curry. Lazy afternoons filled with flittering butterflies were spent lounging in the sun-drenched pool overlooking the river – which was so wide that we never felt encroached upon by the surrounding rainforest. Huge daybeds and couches provided ample comfort, and even the dining chairs were soft and plump. Lounging aside there was lots to keep us busy, with river banks and gardens to discover, (some of the gardens slope steeply to the river, so young children will need to be kept an eye on) and the charms of rural Bali on our doorstep. The villa was such a peaceful sanctuary that we didn’t feel overly compelled to leave, but we liked having a complimentary driver on hand, just in case.
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From $625 ++ Special 3br Rate

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 4-8*

Our
Rating 8.7

Villa Champuhan

Villa Champuhan

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

There is nothing like the hum of the rainforest and the rush of flowing water to lull you into a state of utter serenity, and our stay at Villa Champuhan left us glowing with wellbeing. We loved the raw beauty of the tropical setting, enjoyed from the comfort of a modern, thoughtfully designed living space; taking a rain shower on the private deck above the river in the first master bedroom was sheer bliss! During the day the sliding glass doors were wide open, creating a sense of open-plan living, but were conveniently shut at night time to keep out any lingering tropical bugs. The villa was so big that it was like having a mini resort all to ourselves, and our explorations revealed plenty of spaces to nestle in privacy or mingle in comfort. Staff seemed a little shy, (the villa had only just opened when we visited in February 2012), but the warmth and kindness we experienced was genuine and the service discreet, just the way we like it! On site manager, Gun,proved to be a wealth of knowledge on the area, while Dewi cooked us up a great Balinese curry. Lazy afternoons filled with flittering butterflies were spent lounging in the sun-drenched pool overlooking the river – which was so wide that we never felt encroached upon by the surrounding rainforest. Huge daybeds and couches provided ample comfort, and even the dining chairs were soft and plump. Lounging aside there was lots to keep us busy, with river banks and gardens to discover, (some of the gardens slope steeply to the river, so young children will need to be kept an eye on) and the charms of rural Bali on our doorstep. The villa was such a peaceful sanctuary that we didn’t feel overly compelled to leave, but we liked having a complimentary driver on hand, just in case.
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From $790 ++

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 6-10*

Our
Rating 8.7

Villa Iskandar

Villa Iskandar

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

Ahhh the serenity...we enjoy coming to places out in the countryside like Villa Iskandar where you have to make your own fun. No shops, no water parks, no restaurants, no bars, certainly no other tourists, just good old fashioned self sufficiency. We walked in the rice fields, did some bird and butterfly watching, swam in the pool, explored the river bank, had massages and lay for long periods of time in the sun reading books and magazines. There were no distractions whatsoever and we loved every second. We stayed at Villa Iskandar early in the rainy season (December) and, although the sun shone most of the time, even in a torrential downpour it was magical. By around 3pm, after a morning outside by the pool working on our tans, the rain arrived with an almighty crash and a bang, like only a tropical monsoon can. And so we sat sipping cocktails, warm and dry under the cover of the dining room and watched it bucket down. We lazed about watching a couple of blockbusters on the big TV upstairs after dinner (delicious) with the volume up loud on the home cinema system. Easy peasy and lots of low energy fun. For a blockbuster of the natural variety, head down to the local beach (car and driver included) for a late afternoon walk on the deserted black sands. Sunsets and serenity never felt so good.
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Jagaditha

Jagaditha

Indonesia » Bali » Canggu area » Seseh-Tanah Lot

Enticing, uncomplicated and restorative; this is exactly how a beach property should be. The aesthetics of Jagaditha’s build, especially the gorgeous landscaping, felt perfectly in tune with the surroundings without cluttering or detracting from the serenity that this location brings. I loved how each bedroom enjoyed different outlooks that were equally appealing; the lily pond lapping onto three of the ground floor bedrooms was enchanting. Children especially will find lots to interest them here as there were frogs, dragonflies and fish galore, plus a flat lawn for letting off steam. A second dining area with shade-giving parasols to one side of the garden comes highly recommended for daytime dining as it beautifully overlooks the swimming pool, garden and sea and feels refreshingly informal. All outside areas come with Bose amplified sound that you can connect to your own iPod. The gym comes only with a rowing machine and a Power Plate, but if you’re feeling enthusiastic Jagaditha’s guests can use the fitness centre in the nearby Canggu Club in addition to the tennis courts, creche, restaurants and swimming pools. There’s a big staff team at Jagaditha and they do a great job. Fusion cuisine is on the menu and the chef comes recommended; we really enjoyed all of our meals.
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From $1,590 ++ Special 5br Rate

Bedrooms 6

Sleeps 10

Our
Rating 8.5
Guest Rating 9.7

* Additional charges may apply for maximum occupancy
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