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Indonesia » Bali » Sanur-Ketewel » The Ylang Ylang - an elite haven
The Ylang Ylang looks right over Saba Beach just where the Petanu River enters the sea. The area is a popular remote enclave of stand-alone villas set a kilometre or so off the main Denpasar–KlungKung bypass, five kilometres east of Ketewel. Within the immediate vicinity is little except a few sleepy local houses dotted amongst the rice terraces and coconut palms. Saba, the nearest village is two kilometres further up the bypass road, whilst Sukawati, famous for its cheap local market, is a few kilometres inland on route to Ubud, the cultural and artistic heart of Bali.
If Kuta is the energetic, crowded hub of Bali’s tourism, the historical and easy going village of Sanur is its sleepy antithesis, sitting on Bali’s south-east coast just a short distance from the capital Denpasar and 16 kilometres from the airport. Relaxed restaurants and bars line the road whilst a slew of resorts line the pretty beaches which are more protected than those on the west coast. They start from backpacking huts and progress to some of the original beach retreats, popular with celebrities of the '60s and '70s, which put Bali on the tourist map.
In common with many other tourist centres in Bali, Sanur has expanded, not always beautifully, and now boasts the 9-hole Grand Bali Beach Golf Course, a bowling centre and collection of spas and massage centres, supermarkets for provisioning, banks and ATMs, and a range of shops selling everything from simple postcards to sophisticated artwork. Bali’s famous silver, teak, paintings, masks and more are all available in Sanur, which remains a charming, low key, relaxed destination.
Thirteen kilometres east of Sanur, the area collectively known as Ketewel includes a string of traditional fishing villages - Pabean, Saba, Lebih, Maceti and Ketewel itself - running along the coast. The construction of Sunrise Road (also known as the Klungkung bypass) in 2004 meant that the windswept black sand beaches of this part of the Gianyar Regency suddenly became a lot more accessible. Bounded by the River Wos, terraced rice fields, tobacco plantations, papaya and banana groves, the area is blessed with spellbinding views extending across the ocean towards the beaches of Sanur and Nusa Dua, the islands of Lembongan, Ceningan and Penida, and the mountains of East Bali.
Ketewel village itself is the origin of the celebrated Legong Bidadari Dance, and the neighbouring village of Saba produced the finest Legong dancers on the island. The nearby beach of Pabean was once a small port through which oriental traders brought their products; at low tide you can still see the structure of the old harbour, and a Chinese cemetery is located close by. Balinese Hindu purification ceremonies are held beside the ocean at the sacred Pura Segara sea temple, and the offshore reef is renowned for its surf breaks. There are no Western-style restaurants in this area, but there are plenty of local warungs (eateries), while international restaurants galore can be found just down the road in Sanur.
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: 7.50
Initially, The Ylang Ylang can come across as quite daunting, especially the atrium, but it doesn't take long to settle in and feel comfortably at home. The staff are incredibly welcoming and gracious; some of them have been working here for nine years. The black and gold theme will not be to everyone’s taste – it is a bit glitzy – and we never did figure out what the blue lighting under the beds was all about!
Given its seafront location and the salt water environment maintenance is a continual battle and, in places, the villa is definitely showing its age. Some fittings may not work and some of the huge doors maybe stiff – it shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of Villa Ylang Ylang though, and staff are on hand if you need help with anything. Some of the bathrooms feel a little dated but they function just fine.
YJ, Malaysia Overall Rating: 7.40
RM, Switzerland Overall Rating: 8.70
YJ, Singapore Overall Rating: 8.20
The chef's cooking was EXCELLENT! We asked for traditional balinese/ Indonesian food, and for it to be extra spicy, and we weren't disappointed! Absolutely fantastic, and the homemade sambals were to die for!!
Manish G, Indonesia Overall Rating: 1.00
Kevin P, China Overall Rating: 1.00
Mr. Xingquan Y, China Overall Rating: 1.00
Joy M, Singapore Overall Rating: 1.00
Tria S, Indonesia Overall Rating: 1.00
Amanda F, Australia Overall Rating: 1.00
Irma L, Indonesia Overall Rating: 7.60
Paul H, Singapore Overall Rating: 1.00
Milda R, Philippines Overall Rating: 1.00
Tina P, Austria Overall Rating: 1.00
Kate A, Australia Overall Rating: 8.80
Yenny L, Indonesia Overall Rating: 1.00
Rose R, Australia Overall Rating: 1.00
Ravindran Krishnan, Singapore Overall Rating: 8.40
Luisa McCluskey, Australia Overall Rating: 10.00
Philippe L, Overall Rating: 9.40
Kailey Furniss, United States Overall Rating: 10.00
Helen Chalmers, Australia Overall Rating: 9.70
Michelle Law, United States Overall Rating: 8.70
AH, Japan Overall Rating: 8.80
David Broughton, Australia Overall Rating: 9.20
Sleeping Capacity: 15
The main two-storey house has a huge vaulted ceiling, and looks down past the swimming pool and lawns to the beach. The second floor has an outstanding balcony with daybed to look down on the villa grounds and the crashing surf beyond. Within the main villa are the well-equipped – if a little dated – kitchen (not that you will ever need to go in) and a cosy entertainment room with a neat bed/sofa configuration for the whole family to lie back on and enjoy large screen-projected movies, of which there are over 100. In the atrium is a pleasant table for up to 17 diners and a rather formal seating area, both with great views over the pool and beach.
The six large bedrooms mirror each other in sets of three down either side of the pool. Nearest the beach are the two master suites with a lovely terraces facing the sea and jacuzzi plunge pools. Each has a generous bathroom with a large stone sunken bath and separate shower. These are the only bedrooms with cable TV and DVD players.
Running back towards the main house are two queen-bedded rooms which each connect to a twin room via internal sliding double doors. The queen bedrooms have a small sunken bath of stone which doubles as a shower whilst the twins have ensuite showers. There is no TV in these rooms just a simple stereo. All the bedrooms are air-conditioned.
On the lawns are two relaxation balés and a small gym complete with an infrared sauna.