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Indonesia » Bali » Sanur-Ketewel » Villa Batujimbar - an elite haven
Batujimbar is one of Bali’s most outstanding private luxury villas – and a magical wedding venue. Originally the home of famed Australian artist Donald Friend, and epitomising ‘Bali style’ architecture, the villa boasts a colourful history and a celebrity guest list featuring monarchs and rock legends. Traditional pavilions house eight bedrooms and multiple living and dining areas full of antiques, artefacts and heirloom paintings. To look after you is a team of staff including villa manager and private chef. A 20-metre pool, gym and tennis court rest within the meticulously designed one-hectare gardens, which have direct access onto Sanur Beach.
Villa Batujimbar is 150 metres from Jalan Danau Tamblingan, Sanur’s main street, where we found plenty of souvenir shops, fashion boutiques, good restaurants (both local and international), 24-hour convenience stores and ATMs. Also within five minutes’ walk is the well known Cafe Batujimbar, which we highly recommend for lunch, the famous Jenggala store which sells locally made ceramic tableware, and Hardy’s Supermarket. Worth a visit is Museum Le Mayeur (4km), showcasing the artwork of the famous Belgian painter Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres, who moved to Bali in l932 and lived in Sanur until his death. Interesting temples include Pura Segara, made entirely or coral and Pura Belanjong, housing the island’s oldest example of writing. The 9-hole Bali Beach Golf Course is just 3 kilometres from the villa and numerous watersport activities are available on the beach.
Just beyond the villa’s garden door is the beach, which is great for swimming at high tide. There’s a cycle / footpath that runs along the foreshore and 200 metres to the left we found a café that was just the spot for coffees and fresh juice in the day time, and cold beers at day’s end with the mighty Mount Agung in the distance.
If Kuta is the energetic, crowded hub of Bali’s tourism, the historical and easy going village of Sanur is its sleepy antithesis, sitting on Bali’s south-east coast just a short distance from the capital Denpasar and 16 kilometres from the airport. Relaxed restaurants and bars line the road whilst a slew of resorts line the pretty beaches which are more protected than those on the west coast. They start from backpacking huts and progress to some of the original beach retreats, popular with celebrities of the '60s and '70s, which put Bali on the tourist map.
In common with many other tourist centres in Bali, Sanur has expanded, not always beautifully, and now boasts the 9-hole Grand Bali Beach Golf Course, a bowling centre and collection of spas and massage centres, supermarkets for provisioning, banks and ATMs, and a range of shops selling everything from simple postcards to sophisticated artwork. Bali’s famous silver, teak, paintings, masks and more are all available in Sanur, which remains a charming, low key, relaxed destination.
Thirteen kilometres east of Sanur, the area collectively known as Ketewel includes a string of traditional fishing villages - Pabean, Saba, Lebih, Maceti and Ketewel itself - running along the coast. The construction of Sunrise Road (also known as the Klungkung bypass) in 2004 meant that the windswept black sand beaches of this part of the Gianyar Regency suddenly became a lot more accessible. Bounded by the River Wos, terraced rice fields, tobacco plantations, papaya and banana groves, the area is blessed with spellbinding views extending across the ocean towards the beaches of Sanur and Nusa Dua, the islands of Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida, and the mountains of East Bali.
Ketewel village itself is the origin of the celebrated Legong Bidadari Dance, and the neighbouring village of Saba produced the finest Legong dancers on the island. The nearby beach of Pabean was once a small port through which oriental traders brought their products; at low tide you can still see the structure of the old harbour, and a Chinese cemetery is located close by. Balinese Hindu purification ceremonies are held beside the ocean at the sacred Pura Segara sea temple, and the offshore reef is renowned for its surf breaks. There are no Western-style restaurants in this area, but there are plenty of local warungs (eateries), while international restaurants galore can be found just down the road in Sanur.
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: 8.60
Celebrity hype aside, the physicality of the villa is magnificent in its own right. It ticked all the boxes for us and it was a real pleasure to stay here and take a trip back in time. The grounds are huge, the bedrooms super-comfortable and the gardens are overflowing with trees and flowers under a tropical sun, with the beach just beyond the front gate making for a most relaxing stay. Oh, and the food served from the villa’s kitchen is something else!
Marissa ., Canada Overall Rating: 1.00
David N, Indonesia Overall Rating: 1.00
Ali A, Iran Overall Rating: 1.00
Felicia And Greg Overall Rating: 9.40
Sleeping Capacity: 18
Villa Batujimbar comprises a series of mainly single-storey, thatched-roof pavilions spread throughout a beautiful garden featuring flat lawns and majestic trees. At one end is Sanur’s golden-sand beach, separated by a hedge, and at the other a 20-metre swimming pool. Towards the beach is a large bale living pavilion with plenty of comfortable seating, and an open-sided dining pavilion with a circular table for eight. Close by is a courtyard garden where the 'water fountain' pavilion - which appears to float on a pond - offers another option for relaxation. Lying even closer to the beach, the bale bengong (daydreaming pavilion) is blessed with awe-inspiring views of the sea, the island of Nusa Penida and the distant Mount Agung.
The centrally located single-storey longhouse comprises a fully equipped professional kitchen and a formal air-conditioned dining room with a table for 10, plus two generously-sized bedrooms with king-size beds and ensuite bathrooms fitted with standing showers. Opposite this is another single-storey guesthouse containing two more spacious adjoining bedrooms furnished with king-size beds. Each has an outdoor bathroom with a shower, and one boasts a private walled courtyard with a bale relaxation pavilion. Flanking the pool is a two-storey pavilion with an open-fronted living space at ground level and two upper-floor bedrooms with king-size beds and a shared upstairs WC. The bathrooms for both of these bedrooms are situated downstairs, each fitted with a shower and bathtub.
A further suite, comprising a king-bedded room and a smaller room furnished with twin beds is housed in a modern building that stands near the entrance, away from the main villa. These two rooms share a bathroom and are ideal for a family, or three or four children sharing. This area is also the location of the tennis court. All bedrooms at Batujimbar are equipped with air-conditioning and satellite-channel TVs.
Finally, presiding over the pool and gardens and encircled by a pretty pond is the grand, brick-built Lembu bale. Accessed by impressive flights of stairs on either side, this classic-styled pavilion has open sides and a roof supported by gilded wooden pillars. The charming living area, furnished with colonial-style cane chairs, coffee tables and a cane sofa, occupies the upper floor of this fascinating building, which is embellished with wooden statues and completed with a pair of stone carved pigs sitting astride plinths at either end.