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Indonesia » Bali » Tabanan » Villa Tao
Villa Tao, as its names suggests, is all about balance; the yin and the yang. It’s a place where guests can completely submerse themselves in luxury but at the same time feel part of the villa’s natural surroundings and the island’s traditional way of life.
Set on a sloping grassy hill, with cows grazing the pastures, and surrounded by coconut trees, this four-bedroom villa has an incredible view out across the ocean from almost every room. Guests can take in the vista from the sunken lounge, looking out over the 18m infinity-edge pool which appears to merge with the watery horizon, from the grassed rooftop terrace with its 360-degree views, or from the master bedroom balconies and bathrooms.
Designed by two surfers, the villa is modern and masculine in look and feel with broad timber beams, black polished concrete floors, mirrored pillars and spacious living areas. And the villa’s integrated sound system means that guests can relax to their favourite sounds wherever they are. However the old has been beautifully blended with the new by incorporating two antique Javanese gladak houses which form the upstairs master bedrooms.
The pleasant housekeeping staff work flexible hours to fit in with guests’ schedules and Komang the cook is available to prepare basic meals from the fixed-price in-house menu. Be sure to let the staff know of any special requirements before arriving.The villa manager conveniently lives next door and is on call 24/7 should any issues arise. While a driver is not included in the rate, one can be arranged easily enough if required. Most guests, however, are likely to find it hard to leave the tranquillity, peace and quiet of the villa.
Villa Tao may be a bit of a drive from the airport (60km), but the trip is just part of the adventure, and it is the perfect place to escape city life and get back to basics in a beautiful and luxurious setting. Without doubt, this villa is the ultimate hang-out for surf fanatics but it will also suit anyone yearning for a taste of the real Bali and a place to rebalance the soul.
Villa Tao is located on the south side of the Balian river on a grassy hill overlooking the ocean just a short stroll down to the beach and local warung. During the dry season guests can walk across the riverbed to the local bars and eateries at Balian Beach. With its only neighbours being a few other villas and a nearby homestay, Villa Tao is in a truly rural setting a long way away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Tabanan has a 30-kilometre-long coastline, which presents isolated coves and rocky outcrops and is famous for its surf beaches, including Medewi and Balian, offering the longest point breaks in Bali. (The drawbacks if you’re not a surfer are the sometimes-three-metre-high waves and the undertows). The beaches are sloping and lovely to walk along; covered with black sand which is regarded for its curative, therapeutic properties and especially helpful for arthritis.
The Regency is known as Bali’s ‘rice bowl’ – the most agriculturally productive region on the island, with rice fields stretching from the coast to as high as 700 metres above sea level, where the terraces are reminiscent of amphitheatres. Besides rice, there are crops of coconuts, coffee, cacao, spices and tropical fruits. This area is also home to Mount Batukau (2276m), the higher slopes of which are alpine, with mountain streams, ferns, wildflowers, creepers and orchids, as well as the rare, black, leaf-eating monkey, the kijang (small forest deer), large butterflies and moths, flying lizards, the landak (porcupine) and the lubak (mongoose). It is also a bird watchers’ paradise, habitat of the Bali black eagle.
There are no western-style shops or bars in this area, and restaurants serving international cuisine are few and far between, mainly adjoined to the region’s limited number of small and remote hotels.
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: 7.30
After the long and busy drive from Seminyak we were super-excited to arrive at Villa Tao. As we sipped our welcome drinks and gazed out at the ocean, the glistening black-sand beach and the waves of Balian surf break just a short stroll down the grassy hill, we felt we had landed in paradise. And we loved the rooftop garden with its 360-degree views of the mountains and the beach. Looking down on the cows roaming the pastures, fisherman catching their dinner and the waves rolling in, we got a very real sense of the simple lifestyle that has attracted so many visitors to Bali’s shores.
At sunset we went to check out some of the local bars and eateries at Balian beach on the other side of the river. A very laidback surfer/backpacker crowd was hanging out in the beachside bungalows. It was obvious that the word was out that this was the place to be if you want to escape the hectic Kuta scene.
The staff were pleasant, and Komang the chef is on hand to cook up a wide variety of home-style meals according to a priced a la carte menu.Just be sure to give the villa a heads-up for any special dietary requirements as there are no western style supermarkets close by.
The villa itself had heaps of space and the gladak houses were definite standout features, but we felt the downstairs concrete bedrooms lacked a bit of soul. The villa is quite new (we visited in November 2011) and there were a few things missing – mosquito nets and blinds on the bathroom windows – but overall it was very well equipped.
Sleeping Capacity: 8
Villa Tao has been designed to harmonise with the natural elements. Guests entering the villa’s living area are immediately struck by a powerful sense of space created by the high ceilings and broad recycled timber beams opening the living area up to fresh ocean breezes. The black polished concrete floors complement the glistening volcanic sand on the beach and mirrored pillars reflect the surrounding coconut palms and ocean views.
The semi-open living area encompasses a huge sunken lounge which looks directly across the 18m infinity pool seamlessly merging with the ocean. Behind the lounge area, an eight-seater hardwood dining table matched with cowhide chairs can be easily accessed from the fully equipped kitchen. Stairs lead up from the kitchen to the roof garden, which is a fantastic location to capture a Balinese sunset or practice yoga postures.
The TV room to the left of the entrance features a wall of volcanic black rock decorated with a large white anchor and is furnished with comfortable black suede sofas. This room can also be closed off with glass sliding doors if air-conditioning is preferred. It really is a great place to escape the heat and watch some old surfing classics.
Two king-bedded master suites are located upstairs, each within their very own wooden Javanese gladak houses. Both these air-conditioned bedrooms are equipped with TV/DVD players and iPod docks and have glass doors opening up onto private balconies furnished with daybeds and offering amazing ocean views. The black polished concrete bathrooms are fitted with chrome washbasins, bathtubs plus indoor and outdoor showers, and give onto yet more wonderful views.
The two downstairs bedrooms (one king and one twin-bedded) are more modern and minimalist in style, with concrete walls, floors and ceilings. Each has an ensuite bathroom with shower.