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Indonesia » Bali » Canggu » Villa Bungadesa I (5BR + 1)
Entering the enchanting Villa Bungadesa I is like penetrating another world, soothed by the sight and sound of the ocean waves, yet this charming, peaceful retreat is only four kilometres from Seminyak party-central. Here, without having to set foot beyond Bali, guests are taken on a compelling journey across the eastern isles of the Indonesian archipelago.
The striking architecture of this breeze-kissed, five-bedroom sanctuary (with an extra room suitable for children) is influenced by the Toraja houses of South Sulawesi, with their prominent triangular roof gables, combined with the building style and double pitched roofs of Timor and the conical roofs of the roundhouses of Irian Jaya. And then there‘s the living pavilion, which is built around an ornately carved Javanese joglo - an old timber house with a trapezium-shaped roof - while the splendid thatched bale relaxation pavilion is Timorese in character, constructed of pale-hued timber complete with distinctive tribal carvings. Richly patterned carvings of geckos, birds and stylised figures, are evident on wall panels, doors, four-poster beds, and the ironwood pillars of a veranda. Whimsical statues stand guard over a 12m swimming pool, one side of which curves into a curious optical illusion. Antique and custom-made furniture and decorative pieces include a canopied Javanese marriage bed, Timorese stools with the seats upheld by long-limbed squatting figures, and an ornate Sulawesi house panel.
The villa is fully staffed by a team of ladies who‘ve been running the household for many years and know their way around guest expectations like the back of their hands. They never fail to surprise and impress come meal times, when food is served from an imaginative and extensive suggestion menu (groceries at cost plus 30% service charge). Bungadesa I can be rented in conjunction with the 2+2-bedroom Bungadesa II next door to provide up to 11 bedrooms in total. Either way, the villa is ideal for families or groups of friends, the gardens are perfect for weddings, and the vista of the jungle, rice fields, river estuary, coastline and beach (especially at sunset) is eye boggling.
Bungadesa I is situated in a little beachside pocket on the outskirts of Canggu. Within 50m of the villa an exciting rope suspension bridge leads over the lagoon to the beach. A 100m walk up the beach to the north brings you to the LV8 Hotel with its beachclub and restaurant, and 400m along the beach to the south brings you to the flash and fancy W Retreat. This sweeping beach is popular with surfers but the currents are strong so you should only swim in the lifeguard patrolled areas, such as Batubelig (200m).
Canggu has become the collective name for a number of villages (including Berawa, Tegal Gundul, Tiyingtukul, Pererenan, Nelayan and Babakan), which, until very recently, could still be described as a sleepy coastal locale. It's now one of Bali's coolest districts.
Here, amongst the rice fields which extend all the way down to the beach, you will not only find some of the most luxurious private residences on the island, but also a great selection of eclectic restaurants, cafes, bakeries, boutiques and beach bars – especially along Jalan Batu Bolong, which runs right down to the beach. Popular spots include Finns Beach Club, Old Mans, La Laguna, The Lawn and Ji @ Bale Sutra.
Canggu is also an area that most surfers will know about, with reef swells that are larger than those you will find further south in Kuta and Seminyak. Swimming isn’t advisable however as the rips can be dangerous, but there are plenty of other things to do from horseback riding to cooking classes. Finns Recreation Club (for which many holiday villas in the area include guest membership) offers social and leisure amenities, including Splash waterpark, Bounce trampoline centre, Strike bowling, a state-of-the art gym, a 25m swimming pool and a tennis and squash centre.
Along the coast to the north of Canggu is Pura Tanah Lot; a sea temple perched high on a craggy wave-lashed rock and probably the most photographed sight in Bali. Sophisticated Seminyak, a few kilometres south of Canggu, lays claim to the highest concentration of independent fine-dining restaurants on the island, including Sarong, La Lucciola and Ku Dé Ta, together with a wide choice of chic cocktail bars, exciting nightclubs, lavish spas and elegant boutiques.
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: 8.10
This little enclave across the river from Batubelig beach is as peaceful and quiet as the day is long. All we could hear at night was the sound of the rolling surf through the open windows. And the early morning view - from the bed in the master suite - over the pink-capped waves of the Indian Ocean was inspiration... at its very best! The gardens at Bungadesa are huge - filled with soft lawns, flowering tropical plants, fruit trees (you’ve got to taste the homegrown passion fruit) and a wonderful mix of Indonesian architecture and indigenous statues. This place catches the sun and the cooling sea breezes in equal parts making for perfect sunbathing conditions beside the pool. And the villa staff are great - funny, sassy, chatty when needed and gone like the wind when we wanted to be alone. A sweet touch was a surprise gift for the ladies, while Nana’s home-cooking proved to be superb, especially her seafood curry.
Sleeping Capacity: 10
The villa comprises a series of stand-alone and ‘kissing’ pavilions, capped in shingle and thatch. The living/dining area is open on two sides and features a soaring roof with a double-cored Javanese joglo as its centerpiece. The dining area is furnished with a table for 14, while on the other side, a built-in, L-shaped, cushioned sofa is oriented around a cosy corner with a 42-inch satellite-channel TV/DVD player. A sheltered open-air terrace is furnished with a circular table for eight perfect for alfresco dining and barbecues. The large kitchen, equipped with an oven, four-burner hob and microwave, is housed in the same building.
Villa Bungadesa I presents two family suites, each with a shared bathroom, plus three more double bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms; each bedroom or suite is equipped with a TV/DVD player, air-conditioning, a terrace or balcony, and a rustic ensuite bathroom (three are open-air) with a standing shower (one with a bathtub).
In the two-storey Timor house, the downstairs ensuite bedroom is furnished with a beautiful hand-carved king-size bed. On the upper floor is a family suite with a twin-bedded room (designed to convert to a king) and a small adjacent room with a double bed suitable for one or two children. The bathroom here is accessed via the twin bedroom. The suite is air-conditioned and blessed with a sea view.
The single-storey Irian Jaya roundhouse is entered via a raised covered terrace furnished with chairs and a table. The ensuite bedroom has a romantic four-poster double bed, dressing table and a comfortable daybed.
Upstairs in the two-storey Toraja house is a family suite with glorious ocean views. One room is furnished with a magnificent king-sized Timorese bed and a desk, and adjoining this is a small air-conditioned bedroom with a single bed; perfect for a small child. The bathroom is situated between the two rooms accessed by separate doors. The downstairs master suite is characterised by an exterior timber wall panel with Timorese carvings featuring fertility symbols and crocodiles. This suite has a king-size bed, a sitting area and a charming outdoor bathroom guarded by a pink poinsettia tree and surrounded by a random rock wall in rosy-pink Lombok stone.
The gorgeous 1700sqm garden features fruit trees, palms and a velvety lawn that rambles between the pavilions and is bordered by a wall draped in red hibiscus. Pink and yellow frangipanis overhang the 12 x 5m swimming pool, and double sunloungers rest upon the grass. A large, elevated, thatch-roofed balé with Timorese carvings, a coffee table, hammock and bench seat, offers a great spot to relax, and an alfresco dining table seats four.