Sand, sea & sun
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Indonesia » Bali » Canggu » Pantai Lima - Villa Sound of the Sea
From the soothing melody of gentle waves lapping the shore to the booming roar of the ocean surf as it pounds the reef and rushes up the beach, the sound of the sea is mesmerising and unforgettable. Resting absolutely beachfront, beside an out-of-the-way stretch of brown-sugar sand and a mangrove-lined river estuary, is the blissful and aptly-named, five-bedroom property Villa Sound of the Sea. The songs of the waves will serenade you while you dine alfresco at the water’s edge, they will captivate you like a hypnotic mantra while you indulge in a massage, and they will lull you to sleep at the end of the day. This is definitely not just an empty seashell pressed against the ear. Villa Sound of the Sea resonates with open-air living, dining and relaxation pavilions, a 20m infinity pool, separate kids’ pool, and an air-conditioned home cinema. The thatched-roof architecture is a contemporary take on the classic Balinese style, while the interiors are a quirky cohesion of funky furnishings and natural stone and timber fixtures, especially in the ensuite bathrooms where each space has been given its own distinct look. This glamorous villa is a place to immerse yourself in the beauty of the locale. Here, you can sink into a soaking tub on the balcony of the master bedroom and be swept away by the glorious view of the sunset over the ocean. When all five villas are booked together (offering a total of 26 bedrooms), Pantai Lima works particularly well as an executive retreat or wedding venue. The enclave’s impressive range of guest facilities includes a tennis court and a seminar room. Meals can be selected from the villa’s extensive menu or prepared according to request (provisions, at cost, on guest account): the on-site, five-star French chef will transform even 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.
The enclave of five villas known collectively as ‘Pantai Lima’ (which also includes Villa Waringin, Villa Melissa, Villa Mary and Villa Ambra) 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 is actually a small fishing village, but has become the collective name for a number of villages (including Berawa, Tegal Gundul, Tiyingtukul, Pererenan, Nelayan, 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. It is also an area that most surfers will know about, with reef swells that are larger than those you will find in Kuta further south. Swimming isn’t advisable however as the rips can be dangerous. Nearby sporting facilities include the Canggu Club (of which many holiday villas in the area include guest membership), offering social and leisure amenities, including 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 the Nirwana Bali Golf Club which was designed by Greg Norman and is frequently voted the number one golf course in Asia. Next to this 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
Villa Sound of the Sea is a wonderland of spaces designed for relaxing. We lounged by the pool for a large part of the day, were massaged in a ‘floating’ pavilion and watched movies on the big screen in the media room till late. The next morning we breakfasted right on the edge of the sand watching both the surfers riding the waves and the local fishermen trying to avoid them as they brought their small outriggers up onto the beach. On the occasion of our visit, the low tide fell in the late afternoon and opened up the beach. It seemed like the whole village was down on the sand taking advantage of the lull. This is normal community activity, especially on Sundays, with boys playing football, women gossiping, and fathers and children (and us) playing in the river estuary. The beach is bordered by a wide reef, which makes it popular with surfers, but at low tide the reef is exposed and creates a very interesting foraging opportunity for kids who want to go in search of crabs and shells in the rock pools. The neighbouring Villa Mary had three families staying with a large pack of under-eights who were loving the experience. Make sure you try the hot tub as well: it is truly decadent in a hot climate, but oh-so-nice for taking the chill off the water when the sun goes down. The staff delivered fresh drinks on an almost-clockwork, 20-minute schedule, earning both our praise and a nice fat tip. Also take time for a dip in the river mouth, it is calm and cool and also gives you the opportunity to see the five Pantai Lima properties in all their stunning glory from the outside. Music is piped throughout the villa and garden. The villa owners are French, so don’t be surprised to hear a chanson or two coming out of the speakers hidden in the undergrowth. Édith Piaf pour le petit déjeuner anyone?
Jan Degner, Germany Overall Rating: 9.90
DG Overall Rating: 9.20
Sleeping Capacity: 10
Entered via a covered colonnaded walkway, the property unfolds to reveal a series of stand-alone pavilions, the most impressive of which is the open-sided living and dining room, fashioned in the style of a Balinese village meeting hall or wantilan with a high, two-tiered roof supported by wooden pillars. It is furnished with sofas, chairs and a large glass-topped oval dining table for ten. Next to this, the sun deck sports ten bold red sun loungers beside a 20m pool, which juts out towards the ocean and lives up to its infinity moniker, overflowing on all sides and with a separate hot tub at the far end. Another thatched pavilion runs adjacent to the pool furnished with a wooden table and bench seating for ten. Alongside this is a small shallow kids’ pool, perfectly positioned so parents can keep an eye on the little ones while they swim. And, just to spoil guests for choice, a third dining table is positioned alfresco on the edge of the beach. Further back in the garden, encircled by a koi pond, is a sunken, cushioned, chill-out lounge which doubles as a massage pavilion. There is only one double-storey building at Sound of the Sea; housing three of the bedrooms, with the master suite on its upper floor. Here, under a pitched ceiling, French windows open onto a panoramic deck with a romantic outdoor bathtub. This suite also incorporates an indoor bathroom with a walk-in rainshower, and a large sitting room at the back with a Balinese daybed, which can sleep one child. Located beneath the master suite are two bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms fitted with walk-in rainshowers and bathtubs. Both bedrooms open on to the garden and are blessed with ocean views. Finally, a single-storey pavilion close to the entrance of the villa houses two more ensuite double bedrooms, also with walk-in rain showers and bathtubs. These bedrooms are situated on either side of a media room fitted with a bar, a long built-in sofa, and a high definition TV and movie projection system, complete with a library of DVDs. All five bedrooms are equipped with air-conditioning, TVs and DVD players, all have queen-size beds apart from one (in the two-storey pavilion), which has a smaller double bed.