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Indonesia » Bali » Seseh-Tanah Lot » Shalimar Villas - Villa Kalima
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. Kalima, the largest of the three villas, sits at the far end of the gardens.
The huge open-fronted lounge, kitchen, TV and dining room will form the focal point of any holiday at Villa Kalima. Have the chef serve diner (food on guest account) at the four-inch-thick wood table or try out the novel table in the pool with its sunken seating. Relax with a drink on the large (no, make that giant) lazy sofas, or enjoy a massage (costs extra) on one of the triple sun loungers or in the air conditioned privacy of one of the six bedrooms – all ensuite of course.
In the evening, lie on a sculpted stone lounger semi-submerged in the pool and see Orion’s Belt shining overhead with a fantastic constellation in attendance. Lower your gaze and the gardens are alive with candles lit by the staff. Spotlights emphasise the palms and hedgerows and out to sea the fishing boat lights blink on the horizon. The effect – especially when accompanied by the soft rolling sound of the waves breaking on the beach nearby – is truly magical and so relaxing. It will not be difficult to fall in love with Villa Kalima or one of her sisters – many people do.
The three properties that make up Shalimar Villas (Villa Kalimar, Villa Makanda and Villa Cantik) stand in a line facing the setting sun, some 100m from Seseh Beach. Between the villas and the black volcanic sands 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 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: 7.90
When you walk into Villa Kalima you just know you're going to have a good holiday. The living room will be the central hub of action (or inaction) and has a wonderful feel to it – so relaxing. In fact with so many beds around – sun loungers in and out of the water, sofas fit for a football team or two, a huge sprawling daybed in front of the TV – two of the master suites even have daybeds in the bathrooms – lazy afternoons with books and magazines (bring your own) will drift by all too quickly. We kicked off our shoes and were in the right mood within minutes of arrival, helped by some lovely staff who would not let us lift a finger and were only too keen to make our stay a pleasurable one. The food was delicious (you pay for the ingredients, the staff buy and cook. Prices are a bargain). Breakfast is prepared in the villa kitchen, which can be a bit intrusive, but most meals are cooked in the main kitchens for the whole Shalimar complex around the back. The pool is a delight and seems a natural extension to the main living room, and the master bedrooms are lovely although some might be a tad nervous about the semi-open bathrooms of the two ground floor ones. The basement bedrooms are fine – best suited to kids though.
Sleeping Capacity: 12
At the heart of Villa Kalima lies the huge, open-fronted, split-level living area (measuring over 18 x 9m, with 3m-high ceilings). With its simple cream-painted walls and its wood and concrete floors, the lower level lounge area is dominated by two enormous L-shaped sofas – big enough for 20+ people to laze on – and spills onto teak decking which part surrounds the inviting 20 x 7m swimming pool. The remaining three walls are mainly of glass giving the room a bright airy feel helped by the sea breezes. Bamboo screens can be dropped should the weather turn (heaven forbid). On the upper level of this huge space are an open-plan, equipped kitchen, a dining table for 12 (or try the table in the pool) and a TV corner with 40-inch, plasma screen, satellite channel TV and DVD player (bring your own movies). Petrified wood furniture and off-white cushions give the whole room a pleasant, weathered, beachside holiday feel. Vases of orchids and Heliconia add spots of colour and a simple stereo provides the music.
Four bedrooms lead from the living area – two upstairs and two in stand-alone pavilions off to the wings. King-size plinth beds with spacious, ceiling-hung mosquito nets give the rooms a regal flavour whilst mood lighting adds a distinctly romantic touch. Fold-back glass doors and vaulted ceilings continue the same bright, airy feeling that flows through the rest of Villa Kalima, and this is carried through to the ground floor bedrooms’ semi-open bathrooms with twin rain showers and sunken, grey, brushed-concrete bathtubs. One of these rooms also features a private terrace with daybeds. The two upstairs bedrooms command uninterrupted sea and paddy views, even from the maroon-tinted, concrete, two-person bathtubs – there are curtains for the bashful and a rain shower for the more environmentally concerned. <p>The remaining two bedrooms (one twin/double and one king) are in the basement of the villa facing the back garden. With only enclosed ensuite shower rooms and lower ceilings these rooms are best suited for kids. All the bedrooms are air-conditioned and come with walk-in wardrobes. None have TVs or stereos.