The Bukit villas in Bali, Indonesia

The Bukit (which means 'hill' in Indonesian) is a 140-square-kilometre rugged limestone peninsula that dangles like a pendant upon a chain at the southern tip of Bali. Until recently, this windswept outcrop - revered by the Balinese who have built a series of temples around its perimeter, including the spectacular Pura Luhur Uluwatu - was home solely to seaweed farmers, fisherman and die-hard surfers. In recent years, however, it has reinvented itself to become the most upmarket destination on the island.

The Bukit now boasts some of Bali’s most opulent destination villas, glamorous private estates, internationally-branded boutique hotels, and ‘One of Asia's 5 Best Golf Courses’ according to Fortune Magazine, making it the area of choice for discerning travellers and residents. Most development has taken place along the isthmus connecting The Bukit to the rest of Bali, with the beautiful sunsets and sandy beaches of Jimbaran to the west and Benoa Harbour to the east. Further along the coast to the east, are a string of resorts and hotels set along the pretty swimming beaches of Nusa Dua.

Despite recent development, The Bukit remains sparsely populated and has retained a desolate beauty. Its turquoise waters are the playground of migrating whales, and when the waves are calm and the tide is full, turtles and dugongs can be seen swimming close to the shore. The rocky landscape is dotted with wild flowers, manioc, prickly pear cactus, scarlet flowering flamboyants and fascinating kapok trees. The Bukit is also home to some of the most idyllic beaches in Bali; hidden sandy coves – a dream for both surfers and non-surfers alike (although not always safe for swimming). Even in the rainy season The Bukit is a reliable sun-trap.

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Pandawa Cliff Estate - Villa Markisa

Pandawa Cliff Estate - Villa Markisa

Indonesia » Bali » Jimbaran - Bukit » The Bukit

We felt on top of the world staying at Villa Markisa – the view is sensational and the sheer amount of space a luxury.  The master suite is just magnificent – even the bathtub commands a killer view!  And with its private garden and pool – the villa has three in total – we could cheerfully have holed up here and never enjoyed the rest of the villa.  No wonder this is dubbed the Bridal Suite for those getting hitched here!

The cliff-edge pavilion was another favourite spot; in the early morning we could see as far as Nusa Penida on the horizon, and we had a bird’s eye view of the activities on Pandawa Beach far below.

We’ve never come across a villa that gives guests such privacy and space for all five bedrooms.  The layout perhaps takes some getting used to, as living areas are divided individually.  But that makes it perfect for those who like to holiday together while also enjoying their own personal space (and there’s always the option to open up the living and dining areas in the guest pavilion for a shared experience).  And of course Villa Markisa is an outstanding wedding venue.  With its multiple living spaces and three pools, a crowd could easily get lost here… and then there’s the estate’s sports centre and spa too!

Villa Markisa’s staff is drawn from the 45+ team that serves Pandawa Cliff Estate under the direction of hospitality supremo Diego Pons.  Bayu and Cita, our assigned butlers, looked after us well while never being intrusive.  And we became huge fans of Chef Wayan who served us some wonderful meals – make sure you try his tom yum soup and prawn curry!  (Though there are three kitchenettes, the main kitchen isn’t set up for guest use so this isn’t for people who like to pitch in and cook together on vacation.  But with such an accomplished chef, and a varied and reasonably priced menu to choose from, that’s hardly a problem.)
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From $1,700 ++

Bedrooms 5

Sleeps 10

Our
Rating 8.7

Real-time Availability

Pandawa Cliff Estate - Villa Rose

Pandawa Cliff Estate - Villa Rose

Indonesia » Bali » Jimbaran - Bukit » The Bukit

Crossing the entrance hall into Villa Rose’s open level living area we were delighted by the ocean panorama spreading out before us. This is a million-dollar view – and we had it all to ourselves! The gardens are gorgeous; the manicured lawn of Japanese grass soft underfoot, and we found the pool with its two-tier sun-deck and turquoise-cushioned sun loungers the natural focus of our stay.

We think Villa Rose makes a great villa for four couples or two family groups. The four bedrooms each enjoy privacy as well as a small deck or balcony, the two twin rooms are perfect for children but can also be configured as kings for couples, and there are plenty of extra beds available for young children. A choice of seating areas allow for getting together as a group or breaking away for some peace and quiet.

With its expanse of gleaming marble floors and arrangement of sofas, Villa Rose at times felt more like an ultra-exclusive hotel. It did echo a bit – possibly because the common areas are completely free of curtains and blinds (no doubt to preserve the stunning view) – but a larger party than ours (we were only four) would probably be chatting too much to notice.

We found the staff to be charming, their service skills honed on luxury cruise ships around the world. The butlers were vigilant in anticipating and attending to our needs, whether we were in the villa or by the pool. And the villa chef impressed us with his breakfast dish of Eggs Benedict and a very tasty dinner of grilled prawns and seafood curry. (We were happy to hear that there are plans to run cooking courses for keen chefs among the guests.)

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Pandawa Cliff Estate - The Pala

Pandawa Cliff Estate - The Pala

Indonesia » Bali » Jimbaran - Bukit » The Bukit

The jaw-dropping ocean views and sheer amount of space make The Pala a party villa par excellence; hands down, it’s going to be am amazing wedding venue. We loved the choice of living spaces spilling out onto terraces and balconies on both levels – all with sublime sea views. And the master bedroom was quite astonishing – with what has to be one of the best views in Bali; ocean, beach, cliffs and the island of Nusa Penida looming on the horizon.

Six couples could holiday together in complete harmony (and sublime comfort) here, as there are lots of different spaces to get together as well as quiet corners to escape from the crowd. And while there might be some initial discussion over who gets the magnificent master bedroom, the five guestrooms are so spacious and comfortable that no one’s going to complain!  (Parents take note – the bursting-at-the-seams-with-toys playroom, media games room, and large shallow pool adjoining the main one make The Pala an excellent venue for multiple-family vacations too).

Pala is the Indonesian word for nutmeg – a spice once so coveted that countries crossed oceans and went to war for it. What an apposite name for a delicious villa that will surely spice up any vacation.

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Villa Hamsa

Villa Hamsa

Indonesia » Bali » Jimbaran - Bukit » The Bukit

This stunning contemporary villa, with its sensational setting, is as far south as you can get in Bali.  All that lies between Villa Hamsa and Australia is a lot of glittering ocean!

We absolutely loved the master bedroom pavilion, which has the best views from its enormous deck – our favourite hang-out where we lazed away many an hour, mesmerised by the waves gently rolling in some 80 metres below.  (At certain times of the year, whales have been spotted from these cliffs; we noticed the occasional kayaker from Pandawa beach, and at night tracked spear fishermen by their lights flashing in the shallows).  The ocean view from our insanely sized 2.4-metre bed was just as amazing – and thanks to floor-to-ceiling doors opening straight onto the pool; we could jump in the deep end just paces from our bed. (Sleepwalkers be warned: close those doors at night!)

In the evening the chef prepared a delicious dinner for us that was more than a match for Bali’s celebrity restaurants.  Given the villa’s semi-remote setting – definitely no restaurants within running distance – in-villa food commands centre-stage, and this highly talented chef certainly made sure we happily stayed put rather than head out to the seafood restaurants of Jimbaran or Nusa Dua!

Though this is a four-bedroom villa that can accommodate up to 10, its layout is such that it would equally suit a couple seeking extra privacy and space; they would be very comfortable here without feeling they were rattling around, as the other three bedrooms are hidden out of sight below the pool and master pavilion – you hardly notice them.
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From $1,410 ++

Bedrooms 4

Sleeps 8

Our
Rating 8.1

Real-time Availability

Villa Soham

Villa Soham

Indonesia » Bali » Jimbaran - Bukit » The Bukit

This is a stunning contemporary villa! And its cliff-top location is sensational – as far south as is possible in Bali; next landfall is Australia! We spent the day basking in the incredible ocean vista from the vast infinity pool and the cliff-edge entertainment balé, watching the waves roll in 80 metres below.  We admired the fabulously equipped gym (shared with Villa Hamsa) – there are some serious weights in there – but decided that we were more in the mood for the sauna and steam room.  We loved the villa’s clean modern lines softened by some choice ornamental pieces – I admit I coveted the canoe decorating a two-storey high wall; now, but where would I put it at home?

In the evening we enjoyed an amazing Japanese dinner prepared for us by the highly talented chef.  The butlers set up a candle-lit table on the deck for us and we feasted on tuna tataki with mango salsa, spinach goma with sesame dressing, and seafood hotpot – all absolutely delicious! And after squeezing in a feather-light green tea crème brûlée, we happily retired to our insanely wide 2.4-metre bed – by far the largest I’ve ever slept in; you’ll need to use GPS to meet your partner in the middle!

With its multiple living areas and large private bedrooms, we think this is the perfect destination villa for high-living friends – there’s so much space to entertain.  And there’s much to attract families with older children (though younger ones would have to be supervised carefully).
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From $1,920 ++

Bedrooms 5

Sleeps 10

Our
Rating 8.8

Real-time Availability

Bulan Putih

Bulan Putih

Indonesia » Bali » Jimbaran - Bukit » The Bukit

Villa Bulan Putih is a great place to get hitched! The grounds are the perfect size and the ocean backdrop will live on in photos forever. 

And those views! Since the villa faces north east, the ocean doesn’t turn inky black come night-time but instead takes in the twinkling lights and energy of southern Bali in a broad arc. On clear mornings, the mountains that form Bali’s backbone fill the horizon, while the crashing waves of nearby Bingin Beach can be heard 24/7. The views get even better from the first- and second-floor balconies; a quick glance from here in the early mornings will ascertain whether or not the waves are worth getting out of bed for.

Having seven bedrooms provides a lot of space for family and friends, and there’s even up to four extra beds and a TV room that can be converted to a bedroom for any overflow. Kids will love the size of the villa grounds, where they can run around to their hearts’ content. The staff are a real treat and never missed a beat.

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Bulan Putih

Bulan Putih

Indonesia » Bali » Jimbaran - Bukit » The Bukit

Villa Bulan Putih is a great place to get hitched! The grounds are the perfect size and the ocean backdrop will live on in photos forever. 

And those views! Since the villa faces north east, the ocean doesn’t turn inky black come night-time but instead takes in the twinkling lights and energy of southern Bali in a broad arc. On clear mornings, the mountains that form Bali’s backbone fill the horizon, while the crashing waves of nearby Bingin Beach can be heard 24/7. The views get even better from the first- and second-floor balconies; a quick glance from here in the early mornings will ascertain whether or not the waves are worth getting out of bed for.

Having seven bedrooms provides a lot of space for family and friends, and there’s even up to four extra beds and a TV room that can be converted to a bedroom for any overflow. Kids will love the size of the villa grounds, where they can run around to their hearts’ content. The staff are a real treat and never missed a beat.

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Karang Kembar - Latitude

Karang Kembar - Latitude

Indonesia » Bali » Jimbaran - Bukit » The Bukit

What an amaaaaaaazing villa! The moment we walked into Latitude, we knew we’d found something really special – an absolutely stunning villa in the most breathtaking location that ticks more boxes than we could ever need. Great views, check. Beach in minutes, check. Fabulous food, check. Fantastic staff, check. Top-notch design, check.

We loved the apparent isolation and felt no compunction to break away from the spectacular views to play pool or watch a movie, let alone actually leave to explore the area! Exploring the grounds was fun, as there are architectural or design surprises at every corner. We loved the jacuzzi ‘grottoes’ in the guest bedrooms – bathing on a clear night with the stars twinkling in the circular open window overhead was divine. Listening to the surf breaking on the beach as the sun emerged on the horizon was pure magic. And dining on chef Wayan Trimayasa’s fabulous dishes was to taste heaven in every mouthful.

Latitude is such a cool chill-out place with loads of social spaces for parties and events, and yet plenty private corners to escape to for some peace and quiet even with a full house (10 adults plus 2 kids). Villa manager Nick Home goes out of his way to create magic for everyone, and nothing seems to be too much trouble for him and his staff. A wedding party had just checked out before our arrival and their enthusiasm was a common theme in the guest book, which made delightful reading (hmmmm, how soon before my daughter weds?). We also thought what a wonderful place it is for groups of friends united by a love of food, for instance, or surfing – or simply wanting to unwind in luxury.

There was for us only one major problem that was impossible to overcome: that we had to leave Latitude at the end of our stay. How is it possible to disengage gracefully from this slice of heaven on earth? Bet you’re planning your next visit before you’ve even left!

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Villa Pemutih

Villa Pemutih

Indonesia » Bali » Jimbaran - Bukit » The Bukit

It is easy to become a little blasé when it is your job to stay in paradise holiday homes and report back on the findings, but walking into the gardens of Villa Pemutih and seeing that breathtaking view was a rapturous moment, and we knew that the next 24 hours was going to be blissful.

And so it was straight to the pool and the sunloungers on the cliff’s edge with a cold drink, a good book and some sunscreen. A cleverly placed tree provides the shade, while the birds, the cicadas and the ocean provide the music. The sweet Balinese staff bought us cold drinks as the afternoon wore on, and we watched the sunset from the cliff side balé. In the evening, a delicious Balinese feast was cooked for us by the talented kitchen team. We then retired to the super-comfy studio room to blast ourselves senseless with a couple of movies on the villa’s explosive home theatre system.

When the tide is low, do make your way down the cliff to the exposed reef for a bit of beachcombing among the rock pools. The water is calm and none too deep making it a fun, and safe, option for a paddle in the sea. Kids will also love the size of the villa grounds, where they can run around to their hearts’ content, and they’ll enjoy watching the birds in the aviaries. There are numerous species of trees in the garden, including flamboyant, frangipani, coral tree, custard apple, orange flowering saraca trees, acacia, cactus, mango, teak and yellow coconut.

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The Edge

The Edge

Indonesia » Bali » Jimbaran - Bukit » The Bukit

Oh, yeah baby, this is what we’re talking about. The edge is all that and more as far as we are concerned, and we were a very happy couple to be able to experience it: massive, versatile and staffed to the hilt. Guests can remain as horizontal as the horizon – lazing on sunbeds with to-die-for views by day and hunkering down in one of the eight leather lay-z-boy chairs in the home cinema with rolling surround-sound and a stack of your favourite blockbusters by night.

Facilities? We’ll give you facilities. Apart from the home cinema, there’s a cigar smoking area in the wine cellar, a huge dedicated spa, a flat-screen TV in every room and, just quietly, a bowling alley is in the planning. It doesn’t stop there though; the three and five-bedroom villas have two pools each in addition to the communal pool. Kids will be in heaven with their dedicated playroom, which has slides, murals, games, books and not one but two games systems with a TV for each – could this concept of ‘no sharing’ perhaps be the secret to successful parenting?

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