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Indonesia » Bali » The Bukit » Villa Pemutih
They call it ‘Impossibles’ – an isolated beach somewhere on Bali’s extreme southwest coast. It was given this moniker by the foreign surfers who ‘discovered’ it in the 1970s. Virtually impossible to access back then, with a potentially impossible, barrelling reef break that still challenges professional wave riders today, this white-sand cove was later acclaimed as one of the top ten surf spots in the world.
To the locals, the beach is known as ‘Pemutih’ and the same name has been applied to the spectacular four-bedroom villa that rests upon the cliff-top, 70m above. From here, the panoramic vista of the crashing ocean waves and – on a clear day – the volcanoes of Bali’s heartland, is outstanding, while the thoughtfully positioned spots that the villa offers for the viewing thereof are almost too numerous to mention. Sunloungers on the lawn, a secret balé relaxation pavilion partway down the cliff, an alfresco dining gazebo and another balé beside the pool, not forgetting the pool itself, as well as the balconies and the terraces that wrap around both floors of the main building.
Blessed with oodles of land that has been lovingly tempered into a verdant garden, Villa Pemutih is a place of endless possibilities. The wide lawns are dotted with many unusual varieties of flowering trees and other tropical blooms; in this nature lover’s paradise, birds, butterflies and dragonflies flit, flutter and hover about the boughs and ride the thermals up the cliff. There is also a twitter of colourful parrots, lovebirds and cockatiels living in three aviaries in the grounds.
The magic of Pemutih is complemented by a team of thoughtful staff including security, a driver, cook, housekeeping and waiting staff who will cater to all the needs of their guests – whether a road-tour of the local area, sunset cocktails in the cliff balé, or a Balinese feast in the open-sided dining pavilion. The groceries will be purchased by the staff (on guest account), and a suggestion menu is provided.
The villa’s bedrooms and alfresco bathrooms are all large, comfortable and similar in design, making Pemutih perfect for groups and almost impossible to leave.
The villa is situated in the small village of Labuan Sait, close to Uluwatu on the south west coast of The Bukit Peninsula. A flight of 120 steps carved into the cliff will take you down to Pemutih Beach, also known as Impossibles – a world class reefbreak, which is a Mecca for surfers. There are strong currents and big waves here and the golden sandy beach is narrow at high tide, but at low tide it is full of rock pools. There are a couple of surfer hangouts on the beach, where it’s sometimes possible to get a cold beer or a nasi goreng (fried rice). A few other luxury villas and small hotels dot the cliffs along this coast but apart from some simple restaurants there is little else in the immediate area. Next door to the villa, construction of the Anantara Uluwatu Resort is scheduled to be completed in June 2011 (best to double check this information as building projects often take longer than anticipated). On completion, it will present three restaurants, bars, spa, gym and other facilities.
About The Bukit
The Bukit (which means 'hill' in Indonesian) is a 140-square-kilometre rugged limestone peninsula that dangles like a pendant upon a chain at the southern tip of Bali. Until recently, this windswept outcrop - revered by the Balinese who have built a series of temples around its perimeter, including the spectacular Pura Luhur Uluwatu - was home solely to seaweed farmers, fisherman and die-hard surfers. In recent years, however, it has reinvented itself to become the most upmarket destination on the island.
The Bukit now boasts some of Bali’s most opulent destination villas, glamorous private estates, internationally-branded boutique hotels, and ‘One of Asia's 5 Best Golf Courses’ according to Fortune Magazine, making it the area of choice for discerning travellers and residents. Most development has taken place along the isthmus connecting The Bukit to the rest of Bali, with the beautiful sunsets and sandy beaches of Jimbaran to the west and Benoa Harbour to the east. Further along the coast to the east, are a string of resorts and hotels set along the pretty swimming beaches of Nusa Dua.
Despite recent development, The Bukit remains sparsely populated and has retained a desolate beauty. Its turquoise waters are the playground of migrating whales, and when the waves are calm and the tide is full, turtles and dugongs can be seen swimming close to the shore. The rocky landscape is dotted with wild flowers, manioc, prickly pear cactus, scarlet flowering flamboyants and fascinating kapok trees. The Bukit is also home to some of the most idyllic beaches in Bali; hidden sandy coves – a dream for both surfers and non-surfers alike (although not always safe for swimming). Even in the rainy season The Bukit is a reliable sun-trap.
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: 8.50
It is easy to become a little blasé when it is your job to stay in paradise holiday homes and report back on the findings, but walking into the gardens of Villa Pemutih and seeing that breathtaking view was a rapturous moment, and we knew that the next 24 hours was going to be blissful.
And so it was straight to the pool and the sunloungers on the cliff’s edge with a cold drink, a good book and some sunscreen. A cleverly placed tree provides the shade, while the birds, the cicadas and the ocean provide the music. The sweet Balinese staff bought us cold drinks as the afternoon wore on, and we watched the sunset from the cliff side balé. In the evening, a delicious Balinese feast was cooked for us by the talented kitchen team. We then retired to the super-comfy studio room to blast ourselves senseless with a couple of movies on the villa’s explosive home theatre system.
When the tide is low, do make your way down the cliff to the exposed reef for a bit of beachcombing among the rock pools. The water is calm and none too deep making it a fun, and safe, option for a paddle in the sea. Kids will also love the size of the villa grounds, where they can run around to their hearts’ content, and they’ll enjoy watching the birds in the aviaries. There are numerous species of trees in the garden, including flamboyant, frangipani, coral tree, custard apple, orange flowering saraca trees, acacia, cactus, mango, teak and yellow coconut.
Andrew Baker, Australia Overall Rating: 7.30
Sleeping Capacity: 8
Villa Pemutih is a contemporary Balinese, two-storey house with bow-shaped walls and a random rock façade crafted in local limestone in harmony with the many rockpools on the beach below. It is characterised by terraces and thunbergia-draped pergolas, balconies, lily ponds, and floor-to-ceiling glass doors.
The living room sits in the heart of the villa, presenting a big daybed at the front, which faces the wide open doors, and looks out over the ponds, swimming pool and garden to the million-dollar vista beyond. Fan-cooled and wired for sound, the room also incorporates a semi-circular corner bar kitted out with a fridge and high stools. Above this is a horseshoe-shaped gallery with a half-moon balcony at the front, blessed with the best views of the whole property, and a reading space with a cabinet of books and board games.
There are three bedrooms in the main building together with a home theatre ‘studio’ that can be used as an extra bedroom. Additionally, a one-bedroom bamboo house, with ensuite bathroom and raised terrace, is set back from the main house in the 5000-square-metre garden. Each bedroom is furnished with a queen-size bed (one of which converts to single beds), and fitted with a ceiling fan and air-conditioning. All have balconies or terraces and sunny open-air bathrooms, entered by traditional Balinese doors and fitted with monsoon showers. Three of the bathrooms have bathtubs, and the bamboo house has a DVD player for viewing movies on a 21-inch TV.
Flaunting a spicy red theme, the studio/home theatre/extra bedroom is furnished with lazy chairs, a Persian rug and a king-size daybed fitted with a deep King Koil mattress. The room is equipped with a large flat-screen TV/DVD player, while next door is a bathroom fitted with a shower.
A separate pavilion houses a fully equipped kitchen and a Bali-style open-sided dining pavilion with a table for ten. In the front garden, an infinity-edge saltwater swimming pool incorporates a cold jacuzzi, and a thatched pool balé presents two comfortable daybeds adjacent to an elevated alfresco dining area, which is sheltered by a flat roof. A short stairway leads to a cliff side balé, while a flight of 120 steps leads down to the narrow sandy beach.