A lot has changed in Bali since the mid 1980’s when a group of South Australian university students formed the band REDGUM and entertained us with the catchy song “I’ve been to Bali too!” Bali was the destination of choice for cheap package holidays marketed at backpackers, students and footy clubs. The most basic accommodation could be found in central Kuta and was really just a place to recover from the previous nights’ club hopping down Legian Street.
Those hotels, clubs and bars are all still to be found, but the new wave of accommodation in Bali is the development of Villas. They are generally located in the quieter, more upmarket areas of Seminyak, Jimbaran Bay or Sanur. For complete relaxation and serenity there are also a couple up in the hills of Ubud. For around the same price as a good hotel, you can enjoy the luxury of a private villa set in tropical garden settings with your own private swimming pool. Most are air conditioned, have spacious living and dining rooms and large terraces for outdoor relaxation. They are generally built from local materials such as wood, bamboo and stone with high roofs, and decorated in contemporary Balinese style.
For a romantic escape, head to the hills of Ubud and check out the Santi Mandala Villa and Spa. The resort is surrounded by rice fields and tropical gardens and facilities include restaurant, swimming pool with sunken bar and jacuzzi. They have a fabulous ‘Plunge Pool Villa’ for 2 adults for around $130 per night including full American Breakfast daily. You can have your breakfast served on your private balcony and soak up the sunrise over the Panaraga Giri River. Along with the standard international facilities like airconditioning, cable TV and room service it of course has its own private plunge pool.
If you have a large family or are on holiday with a group of friends, the Sentosa Private Villas and Spa in Legian is the ultimate in 5 star Modern Bali Chic! There are 38 luxuriously appointed villas with landscaped gardens and private pools with sundeck and reclining loungers – so much more than just a hotel room! All the villas feature gourmet kitchens, king-size bedrooms, flat screen TV and DVD player, satellite channels and internet access in case you must communicate with the outside world. There is also the Blossom Restaurant and Bar, Luxe Lounge Spa with steam room and gym, a 35m natural rock pool with sundeck and even a kids play room. The top of the range Villa is a 5 bedroom Presidential Pool Villa and costs around $1400 per night. When you split that between 10 adults and factor in the full daily breakfast and the features the Villas offer, it is very reasonably priced.
Now, to rustle up 9 friends to come to Bali with me…there are some great holiday packages around.