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Indonesia » Bali » Tabanan » Villa Babar
Imagine being met at the airport and flown by helicopter along Bali’s picturesque coastline to land at one of the island’s most beautiful beachside villas. If you choose to travel more conventionally, with the villa’s car and driver, you will experience a wonderful introduction to Balinese village life, passing rice fields, crossing rivers and negotiating pot-holed country lanes, before arriving at a large estate with a 27m swimming pool and an exquisite dwelling that stands sentinel over the ocean. And that’s just the beginning…
Indeed, Villa Babar is an extraordinary journey, which continues after you arrive and stays with you long after you have left. This is a real slice of Bali, where nature and culture coincide; staying here is a voyage into the Bali of 20 years ago, while the villa adds an injection of gold-starred privacy and privilege to the experience.
Villa Babar is located in the Tabanan Regency, the ‘rice bowl’ of Bali. The coast is wildly rugged and windswept, with deserted black-sand beaches and an astounding vista that takes in the wide expanse of the ocean and endless green rice fields, with Mt Batukau dominating the northern skyline.
With six bedrooms, this two-storey property is ideal for families and groups of friends, as well as being a dream venue for weddings, events and yoga retreats. The contemporary architecture is characterised by white stone walls, terrazzo floors, lime-washed timbers, and colonnaded walkways. A single-storey guest wing, linked to the main building, presents two bedrooms and a media room. Furnished with love, the interiors introduce natural materials, fabrics, colours, and a wonderful collection of primitive statues from Indonesia’s eastern isles. This isn't an ostentatious villa; the elegant simplicity ensures that nothing detracts from the eye-boggling view. The owner is a man of wealth and taste, who selects staff with something special; here you will find genuine Balinese warmth as well as some serious international experience.
Due to the remote location, you will be asked to select your meals in advance from an extensive menu (breakfasts are included, all other meals are on guest account), and the chef is happy to customise dishes by discussing personal preferences.
Villa Babar stands on a beachside buff in a glorious, remote location among the rice fields, with only a scattering of other stand-alone luxury villas in the vicinity. The 360-degree panoramic view encompasses mountains, rice fields, the Indian Ocean and Bali’s scenic coastline all the way down to Uluwatu on the southwest extremity of the Bukit Peninsula. The nearest villages are ten to fifteen minutes away by car/4WD. There are no shops, restaurants or bars in this area.
Tabanan has a 30-kilometre-long coastline, which presents isolated coves and rocky outcrops and is famous for its surf beaches, including Medewi and Balian, offering the longest point breaks in Bali. (The drawbacks if you’re not a surfer are the sometimes-three-metre-high waves and the undertows). The beaches are sloping and lovely to walk along; covered with black sand which is regarded for its curative, therapeutic properties and especially helpful for arthritis.
The Regency is known as Bali’s ‘rice bowl’ – the most agriculturally productive region on the island, with rice fields stretching from the coast to as high as 700 metres above sea level, where the terraces are reminiscent of amphitheatres. Besides rice, there are crops of coconuts, coffee, cacao, spices and tropical fruits. This area is also home to Mount Batukau (2276m), the higher slopes of which are alpine, with mountain streams, ferns, wildflowers, creepers and orchids, as well as the rare, black, leaf-eating monkey, the kijang (small forest deer), large butterflies and moths, flying lizards, the landak (porcupine) and the lubak (mongoose). It is also a bird watchers’ paradise, habitat of the Bali black eagle.
There are no western-style shops or bars in this area, and restaurants serving international cuisine are few and far between, mainly adjoined to the region’s limited number of small and remote hotels.
Bali is Indonesia’s most popular tourist location and is considered one of Asia's premier tropical island destinations. Steeped in history and renowned for its artistic way of life, Bali is a peaceful contrast to some of the more frantic destinations Asia has to offer.
The inner peace and creative talents of the Balinese has attracted artists the world over fascinated by local dancers, silversmiths, wood carvers, potters and painters that seem to pervade throughout the island. The abundant verdant fields and surrounding sea have long supplied Bali with an easy surplus of food leaving time for life’s more artistic past times. As a result everything in Bali has a creative and religious element centred around the local Banjar (residents association) – little, adorned temples are everywhere, doors are covered in intricate carvings, huge kites ward off evil spirits and colourful roadside ceremonies bring traffic to a standstill.
Bali is a popular destination principally from Australia and Asia but also from all over Europe. The island welcomes thousands of visitors each year to a relaxing lifestyle, stunning beaches, world class surf, vibrant villages, and spectacular scenery all with an exquisite tropical climate. Located approximately two hours’ flying time from Singapore the island is serviced by an international airport at Denpasar with direct flights to and from many major cities in Asia, Europe and Australia and many more via Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital.
The island offers an impressive range of leisure and lifestyle amenities including world-class golf courses, wonderful seascapes for surfing, diving and snorkelling as well as luxurious spas, chic boutiques, tropical forests, towering volcanoes and international cuisine.
Our review Overall Rating: 9.10
We thought that Villa Babar was one of the most dramatic and beautiful properties we have seen in Bali. Far, far away from the crowds of the south, this place is splendid, stylish, larger than life and fit for royalty.
Due to the remote location, the complementary airport pick up is not only welcome, but essential. The alternative is to take a helicopter from the airport as the property has its own helipad. This (rather expensive) option can be arranged in advance with the villa manager.
When we arrived we were blown away by the villa’s grand positioning on the hill and the views it commanded. Thanks to the open-plan design, we were able to take in a sweeping 360-degree arc of the mountains to the east and the north, (including the mountains of Java), the ocean to the south and the west and, in between, the endless emerald rice fields and jungle-clad river valleys that complete the picture. The beaches are completely devoid of tourists - populated only by fishermen and locals walking or playing football on the sand. We witnessed an amazing sunset over the ocean, and got up at the crack of dawn to watch the sun come up over Mt Agung.
Some small grocery shops nearby provide a few snacks and drinks but being so, so far out of town it is imperative that you are well provisioned in advance. The villa acknowledges this and invites you to pre-order your meals as well as any specialty goods that you want, so that the staff can do the shopping before you arrive. The chef specialises in the use of the fresh and organic produce and there is an extensive menu.
Wireless Internet is available throughout the villa free of charge. If you fancy a massage, a local therapist will visit. A massage bed is situated in a private corner in the open air on the upper floor with great views.
MM, Australia Overall Rating: 9.80
Joelle Ellery, Singapore Overall Rating: 8.10
Sleeping Capacity: 14
Villa Babar is big, bold and beachfront-beautiful, perched on a bluff 13m above the sea. The gorgeous gardens include some hidden areas, while the front garden presents a stunning 27 x 11m infinity swimming pool with a shallow shelf. A large reflective pond presided over by a giant Buddha head (bathed in purple light by night) flanks the main entrance.
Shaped like an open pincer, the lounge, dining room and living room, along with four of the bedrooms, face the ocean, while the TV room and two more guest rooms are situated in a single-storey wing with rice field and mountain views. The pincer surrounds the massive pool which is bordered by a stone sundeck.
The villa is entered via the breezy living room, offering views from both its open sides. It is simply furnished with large sofas. A floating staircase leading to the upper galleries.
The dining room is dominated by a long wooden table that will happily seat 18 people, adjacent to the fully-equipped kitchen, complete with a professional oven and hob, a fully-stocked wine cellar and a wine fridge (as well as a selection of spirits), a microwave and a fine cappuccino/espresso machine.
The lounge features a white billiard table and many comfortable couches, a small library of books and magazines, and a sophisticated Harman/Kardon music system presenting surround-sound with seven speakers and a wide choice of music. Both this room and the dining room can be open and cooled by the sea breezes or closed and air conditioned. The TV room has one very wide and long sofa, and a big, flat-screen, satellite-channel TV and DVD player.
The six air conditioned bedrooms (including a master suite and a family room), all feature ensuite bathrooms, safes, and iPod docks. Each bedroom follows a theme, inspired by the Indonesian culture. Three are furnished with king beds, the family room has two king beds, and the two guest rooms overlooking the rice fields each have twin beds. The sumptuous master bedroom boasts a broad sunny terrace at the front. Five of the ensuite bathrooms are open-air, all have standing rain showers, and three have large bathtubs. The master bathroom has views in every direction and twin rain showers.