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Indonesia » Bali » Seseh-Tanah Lot » Shalimar Villas - Villa Cantik
Shalimar is loosely translated as ‘home of love’ and is synonymous with some famous royal gardens in Kashmiri India lined with waterways and hedges. In this respect it is quite an appropriate name.
Comprising three villas – two similar sisters: Kalima (six bedrooms) and Makanda (four bedrooms) and the smaller Cantik (two bedrooms), Shalimar is fronted by one huge communal lawned garden set back 100m from Seseh’s almost deserted public beach. Privacy is maintained by surrounding natural hedges. Each villa has its own pale-blue-granite-tiled swimming pool and is screened from the next by walls of dense foliage making the whole complex ideal for a very large sharing group, or each villa suitable for a family or two in its own right. Backing the villas are paddies and banana trees giving a wonderfully rural Balinese feel, helped by an abundance of wildlife – especially birds. The palms and frangipani are stuffed with nests and the air filled with darting swallows whilst sparrows preen the lawns. Villa Cantik, is the smallest of the three villas and sits at one end shielded by thick hedges with the narrowest of gaps leading to the shared lawns.
Villa Cantik is a sharp contrast to its big and brash open-plan sisters. Instead it is compact, secluded and somewhat simple – a perfect retreat for a small family or a few friends or those seeking a bit more privacy from a large group if the whole complex is taken. It benefits from the same staffing as the rest of the complex yet feels more discrete and hidden. The chef will still serve diner (food on guest account), massages can still be ordered in and drinks can be taken poolside. Where Villas Kalima and Makanda enjoy sea views and open-plan space Villa Cantik enjoys intimacy and privacy but still with the backdrop of breaking waves at the nearby beach.
The three properties that make up Shalimar Villas (Villa Kalimar, Villa Makanda and Villa Cantik) stand in a line facing the setting sun, set back some 100m from Seseh Beach. Between the villas and the black volcanic sands of the beach lies a strip of public land at the end of which is a small temple and a sprinkling of drinks vendors, behind the villas are simple rice fields and a small lazy river lined with dense vegetation. The tiny village of Seseh is set to the west less than a kilometre away, but has little to offer guests at Shalimar other than a wonderful snapshot of rural village life in Bali.
About Seseh-Tanah Lot
A few kilometres to the north west of Canggu, a towering banyan—one of the ‘elders’ of the tree kingdom—heralds the turning to Seseh, a traditional beachside village approached via an avenue of coconut palms.
Seseh and the tiny neighbouring villages of Sogsogan and Cemagi still retain the customs and culture of old Bali. Here, you will see farmers in conical hats riding rusty old upright bicycles, as well as frequent, colourful processions to Seseh’s large beachside temple. There are no international restaurants here, but you might just see a barong (a high-spirited, benevolent beast representing the power of good; danced by two men inside an ornate costume) dancing on the street. The good news, for folks who want to immerse themselves in the customs and culture of old Bali, is that the villagers encourage and welcome congenial visitors. Although there are now many private rental villas in these three villages, they have seamlessly integrated without detracting from the simplicity and charm of the location. This is an ideal destination for those who want to get lost in the beauty of the countryside, and for those who want to engage with the local people and gain privileged insights into the Balinese Hindu lifestyle.
A little further up the coast is Tanah Lot, famous for its dramatic and venerated sea temple, which is perched on a craggy wave-lashed rock at the edge of the glistening black shoreline. It is probably the most photographed sight in Bali, especially in the late afternoon when its splendid profile is silhouetted against the setting sun. The Tanah Lot locale is also home to a number of private villas due to presence of the 18-hole, 72-par, championship-standard Nirwana Bali Golf Club, which is frequently voted the number one golf course in Asia. This is, however, still a far-flung area with few facilities other than the souvenir stalls and simple eateries within the temple grounds, and three international restaurants within Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort.
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: 7.20
Villa Cantik could not be more different from its neighbouring big sisters. When we visited, a couple with young baby had just stayed there and had clearly enjoyed the secluded privacy of the villa. Lounging in the sun or taking meals poolside at the simple table make this villa so casual and relaxing. The living room is less impressive but I suspect is little used, other than for watching a DVD of an evening or knocking up a quick drink. The whole focus of this villa is the stretch from bedrooms to pool. Shalimar is well set up for large groups, a special function or extended family – 12 bedrooms in total. Villa Cantik would be a perfect hideaway for, say, the grandparents or those needing a little space away from the main crowd. It also works perfectly well in its own right as a villa for a small family or a couple of friends. As with all the villas in Shalimar, the staff are excellent although you do have to search them out a bit at Cantik as they may assume you would rather have your privacy.
TA, Thailand Overall Rating: 9.50
Sleeping Capacity: 4
The focus of sister villas Kalima and Makanda is the huge open split-level living area overlooking the pool, Villa Cantik could not be more different. Here the focus is two large ensuite bedrooms which open out onto a shady teak terrace bordering the 3 x 7m pool. Part of the pool sits under the shade and the overhead fans – a perfect place for drinks. High hedges surround the villa (there is a small gap leading to the Shalimar lawns). The terrace has a casual table for meals and daybeds for lounging. Behind each bedroom is a semi-open shower ensuite with loose pebble floors and star-shaped stepping stones to save the feet. Each bedroom has a king bed with canopy mosquito nets and a desk. Ceilings are vaulted, with fans to assist the air conditioning, whilst tall doors slide back to let the breeze in. Black-out curtains ensure total privacy and a good night’s sleep. Tucked behind the bedrooms is an open-plan living area which features a simple but adequately equipped kitchen of grey brushed concrete on one side (the complex also has a separate kitchen where the chef prepares most of the food) and a lounge with large L-shaped comfy sofa, 20-inch satellite TV, DVD player and stereo on the other. Trickling fountains and traditional brickwork give the room a natural but slightly rustic feel, helped by brown fabrics with dashes of green. The only light streams in though a large skylight keeping the room shady and cool – no air conditioning needed and a fan keeps the air turning over. Large, wooden, carved Balinese doors lead to the leafy main entranceway and car park.