Move over hotels in Bali – it’s all about the villa stay nowadays.
But with literally thousands to choose from it can be hard to find the one that’s perfect for your clients. Travel Weekly is on location, putting in the hard yards and will bring you five of the very best. We start with Villa Karein.
Arriving on the late flight from Australia is always a tiring affair but our 12am check-in was efficient and relaxed. You can tell the villa is new to the market though as they forgot about the customary welcome drink until the last minute and there was no bottled water in the rooms for guests arriving from a dehydrating flight. The assessment of the villa would have to wait for the morning.
Seminyak was the home of the villa explosion, but Canggu refined and grew it. Now the tide of new villas creeps westward in its quest for fresh, quiet and unique locations. Villa Karein lays about 15 minutes west of Canggu’s heart not far from the famous coastal temple of Tannah Lot in a region known as Cemagi.
It is brand new and set among paddy fields in a small village where roosters crow, ducks quack and temples line its surroundings.
There are five rooms at Villa Karein making it great for multi-generational groups or two families travelling together. There is a main building which contains two rooms and a further three individual self-contained rooms that flank the pool.
Each room has its own sprawling living room, luxuriant outdoor bathroom (although no bath) and four-poster bed.
Drinking and dining
Breakfast in the villa comes complimentary, it’s not an all you can eat buffet affair that you might expect at a hotel, it’s a simpler yet personal affair with fresh fruit, pancakes and eggs or your choosing. Meals can also be ordered from a menu, with local favourites like Nasi Goreng being a great option.
It doesn’t claim to be fine dining, but it’s damn fine tasting.
Other restaurants are a short ride away in a car or on a motorbike but lazy days spent by the pool with home-cooked meals can prove to be the graveyard of ambition for even adventurous traveller.
Villa stays in Bali have a variety (of lack thereof) service inclusions, so it’s worth paying close attention to the fine print. At Villa Karein, two transfers are included, as are the services of a cook. Grocery shopping too is all taken care of with a 15 per cent surcharge added to the overall cost of the purchases, so guests really don’t have to lift a finger.
A driver and car can be organised for extra cost through the villa as can mopeds to cruise through the labyrinth of local paddy fields. The swimming pool, which forms the hub of the villa, is superb.
Open plan living set over a number of ‘living zones’ makes the villa feel tremendously spacious and would allow two families to be absorb into its fabric without any claustrophobia. The design of the boho dining area with its textured hanging grass roof and minimalist off-form concrete brutality that in turn is set against an outlook of lush rice terraces is nothing short of captivating.
Improvements will come as the villa and staff gain more experience as the guests roll through. The location is both a blessing and a curse, a little too removed from the shops and restaurants but remote enough to enable focus on what’s truly important – friends and family.