The delightful Villa Asmara casts its spell long before you arrive. After meandering along temple-lined village streets, through swathes of emerald rice fields, past rolling waves breaking on giant rocky outcrops then surging up the beach of volcanic black sand, the road ends at an unassuming Balinese entrance. Beyond, a series of stepping stones leads across a pond flanked by fountains flowing from two large pots, and into the large living area of the main pavilion. Within moments, you are reclining on huge wicker sofas sipping ice-cold juice and nibbling pisang goring (fried bananas) dipped in honey – and you are utterly charmed!
Villa Asmara’s frangipani-scented garden is bursting with tropical blooms – scarlet lobster claw heliconia, crimson Cordylines and red torch ginger are dive-bombed by iridescent-winged dragonflies. The same palette spices the living area, colouring terracotta and claret cushions to curl up on, fire-red seat pads on the dining room chairs, and sprays of freshly picked flowers trailing from vases. Wherever the eye falls, there’s something fascinating to look at – a Chinese opium bed here, a Dutch colonial bench there, hand-carved Papuan totem tucked away in the corner, four-poster beds in the guestrooms. And, shimmering beyond the broad arches of the living area, a 14m swimming pool commanded by a Buddha head statue from whose crown cascades a fountain of water.
This is an ideal villa for multi-generation families and groups of friends and, with three of the four bedrooms on the ground floor, is suitable for small kids and less agile grannies too. The pool will keep all ages occupied for hours and, if that’s not enough exercise, the tennis court (shared between a handful of neighbouring villas) will tire out the more energetic members of the party. There’s plenty to keep everyone well entertained without leaving the villa, and the staff can see to all meals (buying groceries at cost +20%), so there’s no need to stray far.
Just beyond the villa walls lie promises of bike rides through the rice paddies to meet village folk and perhaps participate in their ceremonies, or strolls along the glistening black sands of Mengening beach in the glow of a glorious Bali sunset.Read more
Villa Asmara is in a small enclave of private residences, the last one on a small lane leading up from Mengening Beach a few kilometres south of Bali’s most famous, most photographed site, the sea temple at Tanah Lot (visible from the villa’s upper level). A panoply of rice paddies stretch out from the villa towards the mountains across Bali’s fertile Tabanan region; trail through these with a member of staff to see farmers working the fields helped by diligent ducks lined up with military precision. While the nearest restaurant is a good 15 minutes away by car – more if you’re seeking the bright lights of Seminyak – many choose to immerse themselves entirely in leisurely life here and are happy for the staff to shop for groceries and prepare meals for them.
AvailableUnavailableLast updated: March 06, 2014◀▶
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