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Indonesia » Bali » Candidasa » Citakara Sari
Imagine leaving the hustle and bustle of Bali's tourist areas behind to discover the unspoiled beauty of the island's east coast. Just two kilometres from the sleepy seaside village of Candidasa lies Citakara Sari in a hidden oceanfront neighbourhood known as Mendira Beach. Here, for the nightly price of your average, compact Seminyak villa, you get an ample four-bedroom country home, nestled in a coconut grove of over 80 mature swaying palms.
The European owners have painstakingly restored an intricately carved Javanese joglo (traditional wooden house) to create a unique holiday compound featuring two two-bedroom houses: Villa Joglo and Villa Yoga Balé. The Villa Joglo is the property’s showpiece, with air-conditioned sea-view bedrooms upstairs, a very livable ‘great’ room (combined living, dining and kitchen) downstairs, and a generous outdoor spa (villa staff can arrange in-villa massages at a very reasonable rate). The Villa Yoga Balé is less dramatic in terms of architectural ‘wow’ factor, but still very tropical in feel as three-sides are open to the garden with views out to the pool and ocean The 16m infinity edge swimming pool, complete with shallow children’s pool, sits sentinel overlooking one of the few natural patches of sand (erosion has taken its toll) on this stretch of coast.
Sports enthusiasts will love the tennis court, which can be played on day or night thanks to floodlights hung from the coconut palms (rackets and balls supplied). Extensive coral beds just 50m offshore are perfect for beginner snorkellers, and those looking for a little more adventure may charter the villa’s traditional and colourful jukung (fishing boat) or inflatable dinghy, complete with captain, to explore nearby underwater havens including Blue Lagoon and Tepekong Island both a 10-minute ride away.
Daily breakfast is included in the villa rate and other meals are prepared from a fixed price menu, family style – platters are placed in the middle of the table for guests to share – by Ayu and her attentive staff. Airport transfers with the villa’s car and driver (a 90 minute drive) are also included, as are short trips into Candidasa, however longer day trips are charged extra.
Citakara Sari is an ideal family villa, perfect for active kids and adults who are looking for lots of sport and leisure activities while on holiday.
Citakara Sari is part of the seaside village community of Mendira Beach, just three kilometres south of Candidasa town along Bali's up-and-coming east coast. Here, guests will find themselves in a country setting amongst modest Balinese homes, budget accommodations and luxury villas. Once you turn off the main road, the 500m drive winds through open coconut and banana plantations. You pass beautifully decorated temples, a well kept elementary school, the local banjar (village meeting place) and quaint cafés offering grilled fresh fish and calamari. Situated within a private walled compound, between another large villa and an undeveloped plot, Citakara Sari looks straight out seawards to Nusa Penida Island, and to the hills behind Padang Bai harbour to the south. A few local fishermen find their way to this stretch of coast via the empty lot next door and fishing canoes pass by in front of the villa while huge cargo ships traverse the ocean in the distance.
The quiet seaside village of Candidasa boasts a rich heritage close to many of Bali's most important historical landmarks, ancient kingdoms and palaces, making it an excellent base to explore the region. This beautiful, undeveloped area is set in the Island’s eastern regency of Karangasem, well away from the excesses of mainstream tourism, with Mt Agung, Bali’s most sacred and mystical volcano, providing a dramatic backdrop to the scene.
There is a charming collection of restaurants and simple souvenir shops in Candidasa, as well as a few basic mini-marts. Close by is the 700-year-old walled village of Tenganan, where the residents practise a time-honoured lifestyle based around ritual and ceremony. The fortress-like village has become a living museum, and many of the houses also function as shops and workshops where expert craftsmen and women perform their centuries’ old skills.
The beach at Candidasa is sandy and golden, albeit narrow due to erosion. There is however, a beautiful beach known as Pasir Putih five kilometres to the east and snorkelling and diving off Candidasa is good with some excellent sites close to the shore and accessible by local boat. Within a few kilometres are two of Bali’s most prestigious resorts, Alila Manggis and the world famous Amankila. Padang Bai Harbour, the stepping off point for Lombok, is a further nine kilometres around the bay, and here you will find the Blue Lagoon, another superb snorkelling and dive site.
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: 7.80
Citakara Sari is a destination property with plenty of things to do and see without ever having to leave; the sports oriented amenities are plentiful, including what could easily be the best private tennis court on this side of the island. Open space is the luxury here, both within and outside the villa compound. And it’s refreshing to experience traditional Indonesian architecture; the heavy wood-influenced style may not appeal to contemporary design aficionados, but the owners did their homework and hired a competent contractor to help modernize the antique house by adding white drop ceilings, light Palimanan stone flooring and plenty of Japanese inspired sliding glass doors to bring in the natural light and showcase the views.
One of the first things we wanted to check off our agenda was snorkelling so, using the villa’s masks and snorkels, we walked down the boat ramp and waded easily into the ocean. We were a little disappointed at first as the area right in front of the villa is pretty lifeless, but around the 50m mark we hit a reef covered in coral fingers that extended as far as we could go along the coast. Not the super-colourful stuff that can be found in Amed, but lots of aquarium-worthy fish nonetheless. Afterwards, we lounged on the villa’s rare patch of black and white sandy beach that’s revealed at low tide.
The sun was almost down and having rinsed off at the outside pool shower and grabbed a cold Bintang beer from the fridge, we decided to have dinner in the poolside pavilion instead of the main dining area. The lightly fried salt and pepper chicken was a favourite with the kids, and the plump chicken sate (a staple dish in Bali) accompanied by mild tomato sambal and a peanut sauce with a kick, worked to give us a flavour of the region's cuisine.
Sleeping Capacity: 12
The first thing that strikes you when entering the traditional Balinese wooden gates at Citakara Sari is the open space – all 6000sqm of it – that this carefully preserved former coconut plantation offers. And taking advantage of some of that space, the professional-standard tennis court makes a grand impression as you wind around it toward the rest of the villa.
The property’s star attraction is Villa Joglo, a 150-year-old restored Javanese house with intricate, hand-carved teak walls. The joglo’s spacious open-plan living, dining and kitchen area is surrounded by a wraparound veranda facing the gardens and ocean beyond and the guest kitchen, although small, is very functional, with full-size fridge and 4-burner gas stove (the staff use a separate service kitchen). An intimate entertainment nook with 31-inch flat-screen TV, surround-sound and up-to-date selection of DVDs will work for the whole family if you scatter a few pillows on the floor alongside the couch.
Upstairs, via an outdoor, but covered, staircase are the bedrooms, where the elaborately carved walls truly shine and the views are stunning. Here, two air-conditioned queen-bedded rooms, with a double daybed in between, could easily sleep four adults and two children, or five adults. Ensuite bathrooms are fitted with modest showers, hand-made terrazzo bathtubs and marble sinks.
Adjacent to Villa Joglo is an outdoor spa with a sauna, a sculptured granite soaking tub, a massage bale and a double-size ‘opium’ bed. As there is also a private bathroom here, and the opium bed is protected by mosquito netting, this could be used as an additional (outdoor) sleeping area.
The Villa Yoga Bale is a two-storey structure with commanding sea views, traditional thatched roof and open-sided living and dining room with bamboo blinds in case of inclement weather. The kitchen has a small fridge and two-burner stove along with two dining tables that, together, can sit up to nine people. The ground floor bedroom here is air-conditioned and furnished with a king bed and double daybed and equipped with a 31-inch flat-screen TV. The open-air ensuite has a beautifully shaped terrazzo bathtub with shower. The upstairs bedroom is open to the living area below, is fan cooled, and furnished with a king bed. Its outdoor ensuite is at treetop level with a smaller version of the terrazzo bathtub/shower and marble sink. The bird’s eye view from this level is unobstructed and takes full advantage of the property’s oceanfront location.
Beside the pool area are loungers and sunshades and a dining pavilion with two tables providing casual dining space for up to eight people. The villa’s colourful traditional canoe and rubber dinghy are moored from a boat ramp which gives sea access to snorkellers at high tide and to a small beach at low tide.