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With its pristine beaches, turquoise bays, ancient temples, dramatic volcanoes, traditional villages, fascinating marine life and luxury villa accommodation, Bali’s south-east coast promises equal measures of natural beauty, adventure, tranquillity and relaxation to the discerning traveller.
An easy 20-minute drive up the south coast from Ngurah Rai International Airport brings you to Sanur, which became home to many European artists and creative types during the early decades of the 20th century. Unlike its flashier cousins, Seminyak and Kuta, Sanur still retains a sleepy seaside vibe with plenty of local charm. Tall leafy trees fringe the roads and the main drag, just back from the beach, is lined with atmospheric cafes and restaurants. The long and shady promenade that spans Sanur’s golden sands is also flanked by cafes, beach bars and market stalls, making it ideal for leisurely afternoon strolls or morning jogs. Island-hoppers take note that Sanur is the departure point for boats to Nusa Lembongan, a charming island that makes a great day trip (30-minutes/12-miles on a ‘fast boat’), with its picturesque beaches, good snorkelling and surf breaks.
While private luxury villas in Sanur and further up the south-east coast may not be as plentiful as along Bali’s more populated south-west coast, what they lack in number they make up for in spaciousness and charm. At the southern end of Sanur is the majestic six-bedroomed villa, Taman Sorga, nestled in lush tropical gardens and just a gentle walk from the beach, while the sublime Batujimbar, designed by the renowned Asian architect, Geoffrey Bawa – setting for Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall’s wedding and holiday haven of countless other glitterati – has direct access to the beach in central Sanur. On the northern side of town, the quiet beach of Padang Galak is home to another gorgeous beachfront property, Sanur Residence, whose three individual villas offer a total of nine bedrooms.
Heading further up the coast, the rural backdrop is one of tobacco plantations, banana groves and gently terraced rice fields. The Palm-fringed black-sand beaches of Ketewel (around 13 kilometres from Sanur), are home to a string of serene fishing villages where traditional life continues, and adventurous surfers come in search of waves without the crowds. Among them is Pabean where, in recent years, a number of exclusive villas have sprung up. Pabean was historically a small port used by oriental traders and at low tide you can still see remnants of the old harbour. Here, the three Majapahit Beach Villas, Villa Bayu Gita, Villa Pushpapuri, and Villa Samadhana offer supreme luxury with stunning views out to the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. The famed art and craft villages of Mas, Sukawati, Batubulan and Batuan, and cultural Ubud, with its palaces, temples and holistic vibe are all just a short drive up into the hills.
A few kilometres beyond Pabean is the quiet village of Saba, home to the Pura Segara sea temple, and famed for traditional gamelan music and some of the finest legong dancers in Bali. Staff at the gloriously serene beachfront retreat, Villa Ylang Ylang are happy to arrange a private performance for guests. Adults and children alike will also enjoy a day at the nearby, multi-award winning Bali Marine Safari Park. Activities include fun safari tours, elephant treks and the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the animals.
The coastal village of Kusamba is home to the fascinating salt pans of Bali. Here, in a tradition that dates back a thousand years, farmers harvest natural sea salt evaporated by the sun and wind. Also hugging the coast is Pura Goa Lawah, an important sea temple designed to appease the wild and unruly ocean gods. Thousands of bats inhabit this temple, which is formed from a natural cave. It is also the scene of frequent and colourful Hindu ceremonies.
Ten kilometres to the east is the harbour at Padang Bai; gateway to Lombok and home to a number of dive operators. The town is flanked by two gorgeous – albeit hidden – beaches: Blue Lagoon has good offshore snorkelling, while Bias Tugel is a beautiful white-sand beach reached by a forested hill path.
Next up is the quirky seaside town of Candidasa. Imbued with a laid back charm this sleepy town makes a good coastal escape and a comfortable base for exploring the region. Candidasa’s main strip has a good range of restaurants, while nearby attractions include the ancient stone-age village of Tengenan, the ornate water temples of Tirta Gangga and the glorious white-sand beach of Pasir Putih. Perched on a headland with stunning coastal views, Villa Asada is five kilometres to the west of the town. Villa staff will be happy to book a trekking guide for those wishing to enjoy spectacular views from the top of Bali’s highest volcano, Mount Agung. [wpanchor id=”spillingbean”]
While a myth persists that the east coast is a ‘long way from anywhere’, the reality is that even Candidasa is only just over an hour away from the airport thanks to improvements in the road system to the east of Denpasar. If smart boutiques and a buzzing nightlife are your thing, perhaps it’s not for you, but for space, serenity and Bali’s best beaches by far, head east!
SPILLING THE BEANS
Elite Havens villa chefs share their special recipes
Elite Havens villas are synonymous with superb dining, prepared by skilled chefs – many of whom have trained in internationally renowned restaurants. Villa menus include an extensive range of Western and Asian suggestions, and our chefs will also do their best to cater to guests’ special requests. But of course every chef has his or her own ‘special’ dishes – the ones that guests ask for again and again. With much coaxing and cajoling, we’ve prised some of these secret recipes from our chefs to share with you here. [wpanchor id=”recipe”]
In this issue, the outstanding private chef at Seseh Beach Villas reveals how to make two dishes that had recent guests – who originally intended to travel around Bali seeking new gastronomic experiences – staying ‘at home’ most nights simply because the food was so good.
Tuna sambal matah
(Balinese tuna salad with raw sambal dressing)
Grill the tuna for 4-5minutes (or less depending how rare you like it) and slice.
Mix all the other ingredients by hand in a medium size bowl, add salt & pepper to taste, serve and top with the sliced tuna.
(Stewed pork belly with Balinese spices)
Cut the pork belly into 3cm strips, wash and set aside, then finely chop all other ingredients.
Heat some cooking oil in a pan or medium stockpot, and sauté all the spices until fragrant, then add the pork belly and continue to sauté for about 5 minutes. Top with water and reduce for about 2 hours or until tender.[wpanchor id=”gallecharm”]
Serve with steamed rice.
GALLE’S COLONIAL CHARM
Situated on Sri Lanka’s south coast, historic Galle is a destination in itself. Famed for its seventeenth century fort, its prominent natural harbour and its serene sea-sloshed shores, Galle boasts a surprisingly sophisticated restaurant and shopping scene to match.
Once the island’s most important port, Galle’s natural harbour attracted seafaring traders long before the arrival of the European colonialists who turned it into a flourishing market town and built its fort. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fort’s ramparts are filled with an evocative collection of intimate boutiques, tiny cafes and period properties.
Take a guided walking tour to explore the fort’s narrow cobbled streets – many of which still bear their English and Dutch names – ending atop the ramparts at sunset, where local life congregates before stunning sea views. Afterwards, sip cocktails on the street-side veranda of the Galle Fort Hotel while deciding where to dine: should it be home cooked rice and curry at Mama’s Rooftop Café? Homemade iced tea and a mouthwatering Rocket Burger? Exquisite European fare at Amangalla? Or, perhaps a feisty fish dish at the nearby Sun House?
In stark contrast to the fort, Galle’s new town is a hive of activity where noisy traffic-filled roads overflow with frantic shoppers, and hawkers of luscious fruit, fish and vegetables loudly promote their wares. A wander around the town’s markets is a fabulous way to gawp at the dazzling array of produce on display. Afterwards, stroll along the promenade for excellent harbour and sea views.
Shopping will also fill your time here; boutiques in the fort sell handicrafts, delicate lacework, glittering gems and other evocative souvenirs. Our favourites are Barefoot for handloomed cushions and linens, KK for home decor and The Old Railway, in Havelock Place, for edgy fashion and stylish souvenirs. Make sure you add in a revival coffee stop at Pedlar’s Inn Café just to try their delicious chocolate brownies!
Situated between the old and new towns, the international cricket ground boasts one of the most picturesque sporting backdrops in the world. Test matches are occasionally hosted here; the atmosphere is vibrant and tickets are inexpensive.
Head inland from Galle to arrive at an unspoilt oasis of calm where iridescent paddy fields are bordered by palm-patched jungle hugging hillsides and village homes. Tea estates such as the white-tea producing Handunugoda Factory add to the region’s verdant tapestry whose back lanes are best explored by bicycle and its rivers by kayak, both with Idle Tours.
Galle’s idyllic beaches stretch out to the east of town between Unawatuna and Koggala. Dalawella Beach is a particular favourite for its year-round swimming in a lagoon-like sea that laps gently onto a picturesque sunbed-scattered shore. Stop off at the popular Wijeya restaurant here; it’s the perfect spot for savouring seaside dining in relaxed, casual surroundings.
When to visit
Apart from the May/June and October/November monsoons, Galle is a great place to visit year-round. December to April is the driest time of the year and when the seas are at their most serene. Christmas and New Year get very busy so it’s best to book your villa as early as you can.
Where to stay
For a slice of living history wrapped in 21st century comfort, book a stay at No. 39 Galle Fort or the gloriously decadent Ambassador’s House. Both properties are in the heart of heritage Galle, offering a fascinating glimpse into life within this ancient fortress, and easy access to the glorious beaches of Sri Lanka’s south coast.
NEW RENTAL VILLAS
Simona Oasis & Spa
Newly renovated, the beautiful 5-bedroom Simona Oasis & Spa, located in Canggu, offers guests the perfect luxury holiday villa with abundant living and relaxing areas, 13 meter pool, large gardens in addition to its very own private spa with the villa’s in-house massage and beauty therapists.
Fully staffed, the villa comes with an experienced villa manager, private chef, butlers, housekeepers, gardeners and 24 hour security. For more information, please visit the villa’s website www.simona-oasis.com
Arnalaya Beach House
Arnalaya, which means rhythm of the waves, is a classic modern 5 bedroom beach house located on Jalan Nelayan in Canggu, with fabulous sea views, and is a just a casual walk to the surf scene of Echo Beach. The villa comes with a superb chef, private tennis court (with staff that can play or be ball boys), spa, gym and great surf breaks in front of the villa.
For more information, please visit the villa’s website www.arnalaya.com
VILLAS FOR SALE
Sleek, stylish seafront bliss. Can be yours now.
The Lepang Estate
5 Bedrooms, Beachfront, East Coast, Bali
The Lepang Estate is a spectacular property, impeccably finished and offering maximum privacy. The estate boasts 270 metres of beachfront, located on over two hectares of land on Bali’s beautiful east coast, with panoramic views to the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida.
Designed with impeccable taste, this bright and airy residence has generous living and dining spaces; a 25-metre beachfront pool with relaxation bale; 5 ensuite bedrooms (with space to create more if desired); a restaurant-grade kitchen; expansive gardens and ample staff quarters.
This is an unparalleled residence in Bali, providing a unique investment opportunity, and only an hour’s drive from the international airport.
For more information visit www.lepangestate.com
Emirates and Qatar launch daily flights to Bali
From 3 June 2015, Emirates will operate a daily flight direct to Bali from Dubai, avoiding the current requirement to transit via Jakarta.
“The new service will greatly increase convenience, choice, and consistency of travel experience for consumers who currently have to travel via multiple stops, or via other points in Indonesia to reach Bali,” said Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.
Qatar Airways is also launching a direct daily flight to Bali from Doha starting 21 July.
Indonesian Independence was officially proclaimed on August 17, 1945, representing a turning point in the country’s history and a statement of national character and pride that the owners of Republik 1945 hold dear.
The menu here is authentic Indonesian cuisine, made with traditional recipes, ingredients and cooking methods. They take great pride in creating signature dishes from various parts of the region, emphasising their true flavour and composition. Expect a robust and textural blend of rich, spice-driven recipes, freshly made in their purest form, in a modern, relaxed atmosphere with international service and design.
Try their Udang Daun Jeruk – sweet fern tips, grilled tiger prawns and spinach; Sapi Rendang – a stew of slow cooked beef tenderloin with a distinctive rich chili and coconut emulsion, or Pangsit Bebek – crispy pastry pockets filled with minced duck, vegetables and local spices. To accompany your menu selections the restaurant offers an exquisite list of cocktails and beverages. [wpanchor id=”keyhole”]
Republik 1945, Jalan Raya Kerobokan 86A, Bali.
THROUGH THE KEYHOLE
Conversations with our villa owners
Elite Havens’ villas come in many shapes and sizes. That they are all luxurious homes in some of Asia’s most prized locations, brimming with first-class facilities and tended to by a caring team of staff, goes without saying, but beyond that, each and every villa has its own distinctive character. Many are the fulfilment of their owners’ dreams and have interesting stories attached to their creation. ‘Through the Keyhole’ takes a peek behind the scenes and chats with some of our villa owners to find out how the dream became a reality.
In this issue the owners of Villa Iman tell us how they came to design and build their brand new luxury villa in Canggu.
So, Why Bali?
We came to Bali more than 10 years ago and instantly fell in love with the island’s breathtaking beauty, cultural complexity, but most of all the warmth and hospitality of the Balinese. When you think of building your dream home you want a dream location and Bali perfectly fits that mould for us.
What made you decide to hire architect Gary Fell and go for a custom designed villa instead of just buying something already built?
The pre-existing villas we saw in Bali did not match our needs in terms of location, style, or size so we had no choice but go down the far harder route of buying the land and then building the villa ourselves. It has not been easy, but given what we’ve accomplished we certainly don’t regret it.
In 2008 we stayed at Villa Niloufar, one of Gary Fell’s first villa projects in Bali. We loved the design and hunted Gary down to see if he would design our villa for us, which he thankfully agreed to. Once we met Gary we clicked instantly, and being a fellow Brit made it that much easier. We coupled Gary with our close friend, Rima Bokhari, who herself is an amazing architect, to create a powerful tag team.
How did the environment, neighbourhood and culture affect your design brief?
Our goal was to leverage on the natural beauty of our Canggu surroundings, so, for example, we orientated the covered area to the right-hand-side of the land to allow for stunning sunset views over the paddy fields.
We believe in honouring tradition, and invited the local Mangku (priest) to advise us where to position our house temples. We then held an all-day blessing ceremony, for which the local community prepared incredible hand-made offerings.
What is unique about Villa Iman’s location?
We are uniquely located in a part of Canggu that allows guests to have the flexibility to align their holiday to their own needs. If they want to relax in the villa’s swimming pool and TV room all day they can. If they want to go surfing and then enjoy an evening barbecue they can head down to Echo Beach. If they want to take the kids for a day out at the Canggu Club, it’s only 10 minutes down the road. If they want to shop till they drop, Seminyak’s boutiques are close at hand, and if they are avid golfers, the amazing Nirwana Golf Club is just 20 minutes away.
What risks and challenges were involved in building on this location?
Our neighbours are the local rice farmers so our primary concern during the entire building process was to ensure that we did not affect their livelihood. We employed someone to liaise with the local community and alleviate any concerns, and held our contractor to strict guidelines to ensure that the local water supply was not affected by any chemicals or waste. We have purposefully invested in the best water filtration tanks to ensure we are seen as a responsible neighbour.
What is the best piece of advice you would give a person building their first villa in Bali?
Don’t! But seriously, make sure you do thorough due diligence when selecting your contractor, and re-write the penalty clauses for late completion or sub-standard work. We initially selected an MEP (mechanical, engineering and plumbing) contractor who was just not experienced enough to handle the complexity of our design. It was a painful and expensive lesson.
Tell us a little bit about the interiors and art Villa Iman?
The villa’s interiors are designed using luxurious materials, including beautiful teak wood, to create a warm soothing space. The art is all local Balinese as we pay homage to their incredible handicraft skills and blend this with our modern and minimalist villa design.
Do you have some favourite interior and art sources you would like to share?
Clare Mulholland has helped us find and select the majority of our locally produced interiors. A real favourite amongst the many local sources we’ve found is De-Lighting, which has a very creative team and excellent imported light fittings.
What authentic local experiences will guests have access to?
Guests don’t need to go far for incredible local experiences. Our chef offers Indonesian and Balinese cooking classes for adults and kids in the villa kitchen. We can easily organise a relaxing massage, and we have an amazing tarot card reader available for private sessions. If you still feel an urge to venture out, we can arrange a car to take you sightseeing – perhaps to the stunning Tanah Lot sea temple, which is only 15 minutes away.
How would you describe Villa Iman’s staffing, cuisine and atmosphere?
The atmosphere at The Iman is all about comfort and relaxation – whether lounging by the pool, watching a movie on the 60-inch TV screen, or having a massage in the sunken lounge.
Our staff do a great job. They have been professionally trained by Elite Havens to cater to the needs of every guest and we have set up an incentive scheme where they get additional benefits based on positive guest feedback, so it is all about the guest experience.
We handpicked our chef based on his incredible culinary skills. He used to work on a Royal Caribbean cruise liner so he is able to cook a wide variety of international cuisine. He’s a barbecue master and we have given him a professional pizza oven to play with too. One of our staff used to be professional bartender and can make any drink on request. So there’s really no need go anywhere else to eat or drink at all!
Visit us at www.theimanvilla.com to find out more.
That the Bali property market is booming is a reality, but not every type of real estate is flourishing to the same extent, so it’s worth taking a closer look at the key sectors to form a more detailed picture of today’s market. ... read more
…In strategic tourist areas
The sale of vacant land in Bali’s key strategic tourist areas continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. The Badung Regency, which encompasses Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, Canggu, Uluwatu, has probably been the best performer in the world over the last five years (according to the Knight Frank International Wealth Report, where Indonesia is placed No.1 for Jakarta and Bali). Within the Regency, the most popular plots are, unsurprisingly, beachfront and cliff-top. As a result, very few of these prime sites remain and transacted land prices have risen 40% in the last 12 months.
The same pattern is evolving for inland plots in areas such as Batubelig, Berawa and Northern Seminyak, which remain a fantastic investment. However, we predict that prices have almost peaked now and are unlikely to go much higher. Approximately 80% of these investors are Indonesians wanting to purchase the land for commercial development. From a developer’s perspective, the numbers only work if the site is maximised (i.e. building to Bali’s designated maximum four-storey height). We also anticipate that Indonesian banks will be less and less likely to grant loans if pricing continues to rise, as the numbers will simply not compute. That said, we do not see prices falling, only a reduction in liquidity.
…In emerging coastal areas
As these prime sites become more scarce and less affordable, we are also seeing a growing interest in land sales further along the coast in both directions. Land around and beyond Tanah Lot (to the west) and Karangasem (to the east) is a great investment, frequently offering elevated terrain and ocean views that surpass those of the remaining plots in Bali‘s most popular areas.
…On outlying islands
Strong growth is also being seen on the island of Nusa Lembongan – a longtime favourite holiday destination for Bali’s foreign residents – as well as key locales in Lombok such as the Gilis, Sira Beach, and southern Kuta.
2014 saw foreign tourist arrivals in Lombok rise by more than 200%, with the number of visitors from Bali looking just as strong. In terms of land purchase, many small- to medium-size buyers have broken ground with two, three and five-bedroom villa projects in Lombok over the last year.
Following the opening of the new airport in 2011, there has been plenty of low-end development in the south of Lombok, while high-end activity tends more to the west of the island, in particular the Royal Kameula, which is Lombok’s largest development since the Sheraton was completed 20 years ago.
Land on Gili Meno has been the strongest performer, with two large boutique resorts being recently announced, prices jumping 60% year-on-year, and almost all beachfront land now sold.
The two largest developments on Meno are Bask in the north west (140 rooms and 80 villas) and Seri (75 rooms). The Bounty Group owns a large piece of land waiting to be developed, and Karma has just opened the first phase of its three-star Chandra Resort in the east of the island.
We understand that a second desalination plant is being developed on Gili Meno in anticipation of the rush for hotel development, which also includes, so we hear, Ku De Ta. Space is tight, and with so many boutique hoteliers targetting Gili Air and Meno, land prices are sure to rise further.
As in Bali, Indonesian developers have dominated all the large land acquisitions here, completing recent purchases of between USD 2,000,000 – 8,000,000. Interest has been triggered by the construction of an undersea fresh-water pipeline connecting Lombok to Gili Air. Not surprisingly, all beachfront land on Gili Air has now gone too, with keen interest also being shown in the Sira Beach area of Lombok.
All in all a great year for Lombok despite Jetstar suspending its direct flight from Perth in October due to squabbles with Qantas, however this is mitigated by Garuda Indonesia’s recent announcement to operate this leg.
The luxury villa market
As Bali and Lombok’s leading property consultancy, Elite Havens specialises in luxury villa sales and works hard to find buyers for its clients. There are, however, a huge number of villas on the market and the most successful sellers are those who bought their land several years ago, built their dream home on or close to the beach or cliff-top, and are now cashing in on today’s great prices.
Conversely, many developers building three- or four-bedroom villas on small plots of land (e.g. 3 are), expecting great rental returns or a quick sale, have been disappointed. One of the most sought-after attributes of today’s luxury villa is space, and without it we have seen an over-expectation of value and a drop in sales. Owners are now re-evaluating their expectations and marketing their properties at more realistic prices.
Foreigners must pay cash for property in Bali (no banks will lend to them). This means that the buyer pool is limited and heavily dependent on the local Indonesian market, which, so far has shown little interest in inland property.
The Indonesian-driven condo/condotel investment vehicles have reached saturation in Bali. Accommodation prices are rock bottom and it is easy to find new hotels charging only USD 30-40 per night. With approximately 8,000 new rooms coming on stream in Bali, we don’t expect there to be any more lending in this sector.
We’re seeing a very strong interest in local housing in Bali, led predominantly by Indonesian investors and developers, and in areas away from the key strategic centres. This growing interest is despite a rise in land, materials and construction costs which, until a few years ago were very cheap. As a result, local housing costs are now starting to escalate in line with the rest of the market.
As the Bali property market matures over the next 10 years or so we expect that it will follow Australia and the rest of the world in the demand for residential designer holiday apartments (‘vertical’ villas), which are ideal for owners who may not be able to afford a large private villa, who want minimum maintenance, and have more flexibility over whether or not to rent their property.
We anticipate a continued increase in land value in strategic areas, although liquidity will remain a problem and villas are likely to take a longer time to sell unless they are signature properties. We don’t expect to see downward pricing as long as initial sale values are set at a realistic range.
From a legal and tax perspective, the government is keen to make all villas in Bali fully compliant. This will impact many villas that are still operating on a non-compliant basis.
In 2014 government tax departments started paying more attention
Common problems these days for villa staff is the inability to submit payroll tax, enroll for a pension plan and apply for the new government health insurance through their work, since many villas do not have a national tax number. In the past, tax regulations in Bali have been pretty lax, however, Indonesia is now catching up with the rest of the world, and in 2014 government tax departments started paying more attention.
Often a critical oversight made by non-Indonesian villa owners who wish to rent out their properties is a lack of property management after purchase. Since it is not possible for foreigners to own a property outright, there is often a disconnect between a foreigner’s legal ownership of a property and the available options to submit applicable taxes in Indonesia. Although a property might have been purchased through a nominee, it should not be assumed that a nominee will assist with taxes inherent to the commercial operation of a property.
Overall Bali is heading towards a more strict tax and legal status, where appropriate licenses are properly connected. Note that these regulations are applicable to Indonesians as well as foreigners.
Proper compliance provides safeguards for the future and a more robust environment resulting in better returns.
The changing face of the villa rental market
Bali has long been at the forefront of villa rentals in Asia and for decades people have been attracted to the relatively simple process of owning a second home in this island paradise. In the early days, when costs were cheap, rules were lax, supply was limited and Europeans were taking long lazy summer vacations, villas made significant returns to cover costs and squirrel away a tidy profit. That is changing.
In recent years Bali’s villa market has expanded to such an extent that once rural outposts like Canggu are now considered suburban neighbourhoods. New builds – from the large luxury properties in which the Elite Havens Group specialises, to complexes of cookie cutter style accommodation and an explosion of hotel and condotel offerings – have given tourists an abundance of choice, putting pressure on rates at all ends of the market, but in particular on low- and mid-range properties.
Traditionally the three- and four-bedroom market, because of oversupply, has faced most pressure, but this is now extending down to the single bedroom units, where competition comes from hotels and new markets such as Airbnb. Larger properties, being more scarce, are faring better although even these are not without growing competition.
The need for villa owners to think internationally, to work with a proven marketing expert with broad reach, to keep abreast of the many and fast-changing digital marketing channels and to stand out from the competitive crowd, is increasingly important. Elite Havens consolidation with Prestige Bali Villas gives us the scale to be able to invest in the latest technologies and thus yield the best occupancies of any portfolio on the island. For guests, ‘An Elite Haven’ assures comfort and quality, and for owners it represents efficient and effective marketing.
Villa staff – our chefs, butlers, managers and drivers – have long been the cornerstone of the Bali villa experience, making the market stand out from less serviced-developed countries, or more expensive Asian competition such as Thailand. Balinese charm comes at an ever-higher price, however, as demand for trained staff increases and governments rightfully seek to protect workers with minimum salaries, medical coverage and higher allowances. Add to this the growing pressure on villa owners to be legally and fiscally compliant, and operating a rental property is no longer a simple or inexpensive process.
The good news is that Bali visitor numbers – both international and national – are up significantly (14% in 2014). That said, with more guests travelling short-haul, stays are shorter and bookings are more last minute. New markets from India and China (who now make up the second largest number of visitor arrivals Bali) offer exciting prospects as they mature away from group travel.
With Bali and its surrounding islands continuing to delight with their remarkable soul and cultural experience and with infrastructure that is catching up (albeit painfully slowly), the future can only be rosy. It will not be long before visitor numbers catch up with villa rental supply and turn prices around. Those halcyon days of tidy profits may be harder to come by, but with a well-managed property positioned correctly and marketed internationally, it is still possible to own and enjoy a stunning luxury property in the sun without it burning a hole in your pocket.
Foodies heaven hits town
New in the hood, and hot from its success in Singapore, is modern, minimalist Kilo, offering a selection of tapas style dishes with flavours from Argentina, Italy, Japan and Mexico. Try the wasabi tuna tartare or corn crusted crab cakes with basil vinaigrette and roasted red pepper relish; then finish off with marinated strawberries and basil ice cream. Kilo has a great atmosphere and provides intimate service: a nice new addition to the Bali culinary scene. Get there hungry as you might well be tempted try everything on the menu. [wpanchor id=”kubu”]... read more
Jl. Drupadi No.22Xx, Seminyak
Tel: +62 361 474 1006.
Will Meyrick and the crew from Sarong and Mamasan have opened Hujan Locale in Ubud with a cool rural setting and plenty of Bali artefacts for your viewing pleasure. The menu features Will’s favourite dishes from his culinary adventures in London, Sydney, South America and Asia. “I want to serve the slow cooked food that I eat at home – a fusion of east meets west,” says Will. Indulge in tuna ceviche with roasted chili edamame, black beans, mint, parsley and white anchovies, and desserts like bread & butter pudding with smoked whiskey & maple syrup ice cream. Kick your meal off with a cocktail: the carrot swizzle with vodka, lemon, vanilla, chili, Thai basil, home-made carrot soda and carrot candy comes highly recommended.
Jl. Sri Wedari 5, Ubud
Tel: +62 361 894 3092
Villa Kubu: refreshed & refurbished
In early December Villa Kubu launched a fresh new website and completed a major revamp. Six of the pool villas at this popular central Seminyak boutique villa hotel & spa have been fully refurbished, and the remaining eleven pool villas have had a thorough makeover. All 17 of Kubu’s one, two and three-bedroom villas now feature beautiful new furnishings and ceramics from the Warisan and Jenggala galleries, unique artwork from the Ubud Community Art Consortium, Indonesian wood furnishings and exquisite local and imported fabrics. And in the villas’ peaceful and private walled gardens, the pool bales have been re-fitted with lush upholstery for extra comfort and style. Adding a new level of luxury, Kubu’s two and three bedroom premium villas now boast air-conditioned media rooms. ...read more
The popular onsite Spa Venus has likewise been refurbished with grand treatment and lounging rooms offering an exquisite spa environment in which guests can enjoy a wide range of treatments carried out by a well-trained team of professional therapists.
There’s a fresh look to the menu at The Oasis restaurant at Villa Kubu as well, with mouth-watering additions such as lamb kafka and avocado tempe salad as well as tantalising temptations on their fresh juice and cocktail menus – including a decadent white chocolate martini! Meals and drinks can be enjoyed in the air-conditioned restaurant, out on the deck or conveniently delivered to your villa.
Always looking for ways to add extra value and make a stay at Villa Kubu as fun and relaxing as possible, the new Kubu Concierge service assists guests with pre-arrival villa requirements and personalised itinerary planning, including tours, spa and restaurant reservations, grocery shopping, childcare, and so much more. Visit Villa Kubu’s new website now at
New rental villas
5, 6 & 8 bedroom villa
Sanur, Bali, Indonesia
Originally inspired by the 19th century palaces of Klungkung and Amlapura, the absolute beachfront 5, 6 & 8 bedroomed Villa Batujimbar in Sanur has entertained and wooed royalty and celebrities from the King of Malaysia to the Crown Prince of Thailand; Mick Jagger renewed his marriage vows to Jerry Hall here, and both Yoko Ono and Sting have spent their holidays in this stunning villa. Surrounded by outstanding Balinese paintings, stone carvings and murals, Villa Batujimbar is an historic inspiration spread over a hectare of landscaped gardens, ponds and outstanding buildings – all this literally right on the white sands of Sanur beach. www.villabatujimbar.com[wpanchor id=”ownvill”] ...read more
The Iman Villa
5 bedroom villa
Pererenan, Bali, Indonesia
The Iman is a fabulous modern minimalist villa surrounded by scenic rice paddies in Bali’s peaceful and much sought-after district of Canggu. At the heart of the villa is a stylish sunken outdoor living area designed for the perfect holiday. www.theimanvilla.com
4 bedroom villa
Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
Set in the heart of Seminyak’s sophisticated Oberoi area, luxurious four-bedroom Villa Lulito is only a few minutes’ walk from the beach, Ku De Ta, and many of Bali’s very best restaurants. This elegant property exudes luxury with its white-on-white colonial architecture and charming interiors, making it the perfect private holiday retreat for family and friends.
The Beach House
Own the ultimate in beachfront living
Rare to the market, this breathtaking absolute beachfront villa is located next to the stylish, five-star Alila Hotel Seminyak (due to be completed 2Q 2015) and is only 100 metres from iconic Seminyak beach venues La Lucciola and Potato Head. The Beach House is only one of two private luxury beachfront villas in Seminyak and Petitenget. ...read more
Boasting 1,580 square metres of lush tropical land with 752 square metres of pristine architecture, The Beach House offers every lavish amenity to satisfy the most distinguished of tastes.
The villa features seven ensuite bedrooms including two upper-level ocean-view masters plus a children’s suite and playroom (with a slide that sweeps down to the dining room); two large ground level masters with terrace lounge areas, and an open-plan living and dining area with impressive two-storey floor-to-ceiling doors and retractable projector screen viewable indoors or outdoors.
Outside is a mature private garden with a large lawned area and a timber deck surrounding the 15-metre pool. From the villa’s charming thatched entrance it’s just a few steps to the beach and the many shops and restaurants of Seminyak and Petitenget.
Bali is fun for all ages
Bali offers an amazing amount of activities and sights for everyone, especially families with children of all ages. Although well-known for its surfing and wonderful spa treatments, the island also holds the answer to that challenging quest for the perfect family holiday. Imagine excited, happy children, well-rested parents and memories that will last a life time – it’s all here in Bali! (more…)
According to CNNMoney, all actors and actresses who were part of the 66th primetime Emmy Awards, received a goodie bag worth $ 50,000 which included the usual beauty products, a gym membership and a much appreciated trip to the island Bali.
Bali has seen its fair share of famous people. Many world-class celebrities have found their way to the island without having to rely on a goodie bag. David Beckham and Richard Gere brought their wives and children for family quality time while couples like Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis, Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez enjoyed the luxury of comfort and privacy. Ellie Goulding is the most recent celebrity enjoying a much needed rest in Bali after an exhausting tour through Asia.
You don’t need to be a celebrity to enjoy the comfort and privacy of beautiful villas in Bali but at Elite Havens we can make you feel like one. Check out our list of available villas at www.elitehavens.com
Festival (BALINALE) focuses on women
BALINALE will present 21 Asian, 4 International and 3 World Premieres at Cinema XXI Beachwalk, Bali on 12 – 18 October. A total of 59 movies from 18 countries are lined-up for this year’s festival. (more…)
New Ambassador of Tourism
Previous ambassadors were economist Philip Kotler and Hollywood actor Richard Gere. This year the Indonesian Ministry for Tourism has chosen the popular Hong Kong movie star to boost Indonesia’s popularity among Chinese travelers. Other initiatives towards the Chinese market include the launching of an Indonesia-China Tourism Year and a website in Mandarin language.
Holidaying in a private villa provides all the comforts of a 5-star hotel but without the restrictions.
The pool is always exclusively yours and nobody is “reserving” the best located sunbeds by putting their towels on it. No dress code and no fixed mealtimes: this is your holiday and you will decide what to wear and when to eat! (more…)
A dead coral reef in the tropical waters off Lombok’s Senggigi Beach has been given new life by Indonesia’s acclaimed artist Teguh Osternik, who will “electrify” his metal sculptures with a revolutionary scientific process that turns dissolved minerals in seawater into Biorock, or “seament.”
A collaborative effort of the Lombok Hotel Association (LHA) and Indonesian Marine Affairs and Fisheries (KKP), with support by Indonesian-based Gili Eco Trust, the project with its planned on-going art installations, is being described as “an underwater art museum” that will eventually extend the length of Senggigi Beach, Lombok’s popular visitor destination. The artist himself calls it an “ARTificial reef park,” a place for viewing art while snorkeling and diving amongst marine life.
“I dove that reef for years for the abundance of shrimp and squid and lobster,” said Teguh Osternik, the project’s inspiration and founder. “I stopped for a few years while in Europe and when I came back, the reef was sadly a lifeless desert. This project allows me to have a part in revitalizing a coral reef and to do it through my art.”
Using scrap steel salvaged from various sources, Teguh has created two-meter-high sculptures that have been anchored to the dead reef rubble and connected to a low-voltage electrical current generated from a floating solar panel. “This will cause minerals in the water to form and adhere to the sculpture,” said Delphine Robbe, reef restoration specialist at Gili Eco Trust, a consultant for the project. “Live coral fragments are then transplanted from other reefs and because the Biorock is so similar to natural coral reef material, a new garden grows, often at two or three times the rate of a natural reef.”
She adds, “The electrical current is what attracts the marine life. All those artificial reefs using everything from airplanes to ships to old railroad cars have proven to be a disappointment, rusting away and polluting the sea. Sculptures were used in Mexico’s massive Mesoamerican Reef some years ago as an example, but all they seemed to attract were sponges and algae. The electrification is the key. And it is completely safe for swimmers and marine life.”
The project is hailed as not just eco-friendly, but also something that will support Lombok’s fast-growing visitor industry. As general manager of the Sentosa Resort in Senggigi and chairman of the Lombok Hotel Association, Stephane Servin knows what the death of a reef means.
“We can’t pick up and move our hotels when the reef dies,” he said, “so obviously it’s plain common sense to do whatever’s possible to preserve and protect the natural features that brought visitors here to begin with. And if possible, repair and recreate them using Biorock science and at the same time we bring back the livelihoods for so many who relied on a healthy reef.”
Delphine adds: “Indonesia has the world’s highest coral reef biodiversity and only six percent is still in a pristine state. The reasons for the loss are many, from fishing with dynamite to global warming. So it’s a matter of corporate responsibility to do something about that when provided the opportunity. When a natural forest or ocean or river provides for you and then threatened, you better do everything you can to give back. ”
Teguh, the son of a policeman born in 1950 in Jakarta and one of the few Indonesian artists to exhibit widely in galleries from the Netherlands to Japan, made his first visit to Lombok in 1984 after living 10 years in Germany. At that time, Senggigi Beach was famous as a habitat for shrimp and squid. Its disappearance, he said, contributed to his use of scrap metal as an expression of his belief in recycling.
The first of Teguh’s art pieces has been positioned off the beach from de Quake restaurant, located approximately midway along Senggigi Beach. In order for the project to grow as it should and maintain a desired aesthetic as any other quality gallery, Teguh is looking for a qualified curator to help decide which pieces complement the park, from both local and international artists.
Interest also has been shown by sponsors, including mining companies to donate the steel to be used in the sculptures, along with hospitality groups to help pay for the art. Stephane Servin says interested individuals or commercial enterprises should contact the Lombok Hotel Association. “Naturally, we are completely devoted to giving something back and grateful for those interested in this worthy initiative.”
Biorock reef restoration projects exist throughout the world, from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean, from Panama to Papua New Guinea to Thailand and Indonesia. Two of the largest projects are in Indonesia at Pemuteran with the Karang Lestari and the Gili Islands with the Gili Eco Trust.
The annually held Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) has become one of South East Asia’s largest and most renowned cultural and literary festivals.
Leading writers, thinkers, artists and performers from across Indonesia and all corners of the globe will come together over five full days of events to celebrate knowledge and the arts, education, wisdom and science.
It is therefore appropriate that this year’s festival will honor Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and arts, representing the free flow of wisdom and consciousness.
An innovative program of arts and music, panel discussions, workshops, literary lunches and dinners, book launches and much more will be revealed in mid-2014.