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Indonesia » Bali » Canggu » Pantai Lima - Villa Melissa
Well, you know you have made it in life when you can holiday in Bali, simply soaking up the serenity on offer at an absolute beachfront villa like Melissa. With the beautiful Indian Ocean lapping at the end of the garden, this magnificent-looking villa is opulent yet also soft, simple and unpretentious in a way you would never think possible for a million-dollar-plus property.
Located on a quiet (as in people – the surf is loud) stretch of beach, eight kilometres from Seminyak, Villa Melissa is one of an enclave of five individual villas with a contemporary take on some of the grand properties built in Bali around 15 years ago. This wonderfully designed destination villa uses predominantly natural materials – from stone to teakwood to alang alang grass roofing, pretty much all sourced right here in Indonesia – to emit a wealth of textures and interactions; both physical and cultural.
If you were to take a knife and make a longitudinal dissection of Villa Melissa you would have two perfect halves, and nowhere is this more marked than by the small 30cm-wide water channel that courses through the villa like an artery. It starts from a fountain at the entranceway, runs the length of a long, narrow, colonnaded and thatched walkway, enters the living room - where it moves under glass, before cascading down the front steps into the first of two swimming pools that lie perpendicular to each other across the front lawn. The pools, lined in green Javanese stone, overflow one into the other before stretching out towards the horizon.
This five-bedroomed villa is designed for groups and families, and with the other four Pantai Lima villas so close by (offering a total of 26 bedrooms if all are booked together) – plus the impressive range of common facilities including a tennis court and seminar room – the enclave would work particularly well as an executive retreat or for weddings. There is both a menu and grocery system (provisions, at cost, on guest account) and a five-star French chef on site who will transform the most basic of ingredients into something magical. All the staff are trained to the highest standards, and through the clever use of shift work they are on call 24 hours a day. An added bonus is the inclusion of a car and driver for up to eight hours daily: Bali is yours to discover and enjoy.
The enclave of five villas known collectively as ‘Pantai Lima’ (which also includes Villa Waringin, Villa Mary, Villa Ambra and Villa Sound of the Sea is situated eight kilometres north of trendy Seminyak on an isolated beach peopled only by a few hard-core surfers, the villa security guards, and the odd fisherman. On one side is a river estuary, on the other a field of cows, and inland are rice fields as far as the eye can see. If you walk along the beach the villa is just 700m southeast of the small, friendly village of Seseh, although it falls on the Canggu side of the river estuary.
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: 8.60
The 1.7km approach to Villa Melissa from the main road, passing nothing but rice field after rice field, dotted with farmers, cows, and scarecrows, reinforces the message that this is going to be a ‘sense of place’ experience. The beach is wild and exciting: great for exploring and extraordinarily clean thanks to the Pantai Lima staff who scour it each day to keep it this way. Being a long way out of town, (besides being in such a beautiful place), we had no desire to venture out for dinner, and why would we with a genuine French chef on hand to indulge us with his exceptional talent. We had supper at the water’s edge in the open-sided dining pavilion, and discovered that the fading light and the illumination of numerous fishing boats on the horizon was the perfect accompaniment to the perfect meal. And for afters? The living room has a video projector and a massive pull-down screen for some larger-than-life escapism. It wasn’t difficult to amuse ourselves in the daytime with two pools no less, and we loved the hammock-like sun loungers, which were unlike any we had encountered. Even if you aren’t staying in the master bedroom, find a way to beg borrow or steal your way into its bathroom and enjoy a soak in the outdoor tub. It’s covered with its own little thatched roof, is surrounded by a koi pond and is the most romantic thing this side of a Pablo Neruda poem.
Sleeping Capacity: 10
Unless you build sideways the odds of having a sea view from every bedroom are pretty slim, so at Villa Melissa, with its long sweeping colonnaded approach, three out of five ain’t bad. Facing each other, halfway along this covered walkway are two of the five bedrooms, one twin and one double, each opening onto semi-private gardens. The walkway then spills into the main pavilion which houses the living room, dining room and downstairs master bedroom, complete with queen bed. Meanwhile, twin stairways centred around steel columns with twisting spokes to support the banisters, lead up to a mezzanine and two ocean-facing bedrooms also with queen beds. All bedrooms are equipped with 37-inchTV/DVD players with surround-sound. All have dressing areas, balconies or terraces, and gorgeous ensuite bathrooms, fitted with twin washbasins, walk-in rain showers and bathtubs. The pièce de resistance is the master bathroom, where a sunken bathtub appears to float upon a water garden under a grass roof.The semi-open-air living room is characterised by a timber floor and soft lighting, and features two sitting areas furnished with sofas, chairs and coffee tables. There is also a projector here enabling guests to watch TV and movies on a big screen. The dining room is positioned to one side and offers the choice of semi-alfresco or air-conditioned dining for 16. A horseshoe-shaped service bar links the dining room to a professional stainless steel kitchen, which is generally the domain of the chef but guests are very welcome to cook here if they wish. Upstairs the timber-floored mezzanine under a soaring roof presents an atmospheric chill-out spot with fabulous views.The front of the villa showcases four massive wooden columns with long retractable screens to provide shade inside the house. Here, the roar of the surf comes to the fore with a sea breeze to match. The garden is dominated by two swimming pools positioned perpendicular to one another and bordered by a stone deck. The lawn then rolls down to the beach with a massage pavilion on one side and a dining pavilion on the other, complete with a table for eight and an ocean view to die for.