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Insider’s View: Kaba Kaba Estate

in Destinations/News/Tips by

We were invited to visit Kaba Kaba Estate in Kaba Kaba in the Tabanan region of Bali a few weeks ago. Having already seen a few luxury villas in Bali and having stayed in 3 different ones, I thought I knew what to expect: lots of space, quality building materials and a swimming pool. 

How quick one is to realize that they were lacking in foresight. First, the open foyer—or the first space that you discover after entering two large handcrafted wooden doors—had huge intricately carved walls. Housed in a square garden-like space surrounding a flower-filled pond, the open foyer beckoned you to enter with steps leading up to the main entrance of the estate.

 To the right was a path that led to the guest cottage, and to the left was an entrance to the main dining hall. Straight ahead was the main entryway, which led to the main foyer, which was absolutely luxurious. Filled with antique cabinets and curiosities from around the world, including a giant female Buddha, a welcoming bench and a staircase that led upstairs, the main entry hall also led to the master’s quarters, which contained a large four-poster bed and beyond, a deck that opened up into a private swimming pool. 

This pool was big enough for four people, but with the way it was situated, slightly shaded by an abundance of plants to give the bedroom privacy, you could imagine a couple luxuriating in its shallow waters. It led back outside to the main hallway with a cozy study-cum-den area replete with telephone (a rare sight nowadays) and all the accoutrements  necessary for a modern connected lifestyle. 

   

An exciting part of the villa was the open living room nearby, which had a wall filled with precious objets d’art and antiques that faced the outside: a humongous swimming pool with dark gray tiles to give the impression of murky waters. The living room was laden with art books on tables low enough to park your feet on, and several couches with pillows in the shapes of animals to tuck under your head for a light nap facing the outdoors. 

It was done in colors of beige and represented a way of life where you leisurely lounge in the presence of rare art across a “yard” (more the size of 2 football fields) that comprised several hundred square metres.

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Trendiest 3-Bedroom Villas in Hip Canggu

in Destinations/Families/News/Recreation/Tips by
Villa Pangi Gita - Kidney shaped swimming pool

When holidaying with family, everyone needs their own space.  Set within our tropical gardens, these large and versatile, three-bedroom villas are perfect for both multi-generational family vacations and special gatherings with friends. With multiple indoor-outdoor lounging corners, a private pool and oversized living and dining areas, there’s plenty of space for everyone in your party to find the quiet – and fun – they seek.

Canggu provides for those craving a holiday destination that offers a blend of privacy, ease of access, seclusion and serenity while being a short walk from restaurants, shops and the beach. It’s the understated, slightly more relaxed version of neighbouring Seminyak. Imagine it as a sophisticated older cousin, nonchalant and confident while being hip enough to hang with the cool kids.   

In the 1970’s, adventurers arrived to surf the waves and take in the landscape. Cut to the 2010’s and the coastal village has turned into a see-and-be-seen area, managing to keep its local vibe and laid-back ambiance. The number of expats living here is significant, and new bars and restaurants open everyday. While neighbouring Seminyak can be crowded, Canggu still has areas that are sparsely populated. Rice fields dot the landscape and there are many shortcuts you can take through them. Uluwatu is close by, with wild waves that excite pro-surfers.

Canggu’s Echo Beach is hailed as the most popular surfing area in this surf-crazy town and the main area to discover cafés and restaurants.  The beach has a 180-degree seascape and advanced reef breaks with  cafés up and down the shore. If you don’t surf, simply relax and chill with a drink in hand. Wander around and discover street art which the village is known for.

Other beaches in the area are Batu Bolong Beach, Berawa Beach, Perenan Beach and Nelayan Beach. All are known for their spectacular sunsets so keep them in mind for end-of-the-day selfies.

If you want some fun for the whole family, head out to Finns Recreation Club, where a water park and an indoor trampoline area will keep your children entertained. Adults can check out La Laguna Gypsy Market, which has over 150 stalls selling organic products or the Love Anchor Canggu market in an open-air shopping centre next to Monsieur Spoon, an artisan French bakery. The Samadi Bali market is flocked by Canggu locals and the nearby neighbourhoods of Seminyak,

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Chocolate Heaven in Bali

in Culture/Dining/Tips by

It’s Easter this Sunday, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll want to get your hands on the most delicious chocolates to celebrate the holiday. Chocolates are definitely a “Bali thing,” as evidenced from the number of shops that offer them. The chocolate industry in Bali boomed in the early 1990’s. You’ll find everything from local convenience-store varieties to high-end imported brands. The most flavorful ones we’ve tried here, however, are both homegrown and posh. They’re also all organic and ethically-sourced. From vegan to creamy-smooth varieties, here are the top four.

1) Pod

Easter Chocolate - Pod

Known as one of Indonesia’s best chocolate brands, Pod is the creation of Toby Garritt, who hails from Adelaide, Australia. During his studies in the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, Garritt met his future wife Inda, an Indonesian princess. Fast forward several years and the couple have made Bali their home. It was here that Garritt first thought of creating a chocolate that could rival European ones in flavor and quality. In 2013, the first Pod chocolate was created using Balinese cacao and European machines and processes.

Pod is proud of using locally-and-ethically-sourced ingredients that are sustainable. The brand helps local communities remain relevant in the making of high-quality, delicious chocolates.

Our analysis? The Café Mocha variety gives off a pleasant coffee smell. The chocolate itself has a perfect creamy texture and an excellent sweet-but-not-too-sweet flavor. An added bonus is a coffee-bean crunch with each bite.

The Michelin Guide has hailed Pod “a small band of chocolate makers turning the $100 billion chocolate industry on its head.”

2) Elevated Cacao

Easter Chocolate - Elevated Cacao

Like it’s name suggests, Elevated Cacao goes above and beyond your typical chocolate brand. The label, which hails from Ubud, has a deep appreciation for chocolate, which it claims lifts moods, makes people feel better and, simply, “smile.” Raw, vegan and absolutely ethically-sourced, Elevated Cacao is the brainchild of foreigners Amanda and Paul, who met in Yoga Teacher Training in 2015. Paul was an experienced chocolatier and taught Amanda the business of raw chocolate-making. The two focus their time on creating only the healthiest and purest forms of chocolates.

One of the brands initiatives?

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Chef du Jour: Villa 1880

in Dining by

Entering Villa 1880, you are transported back in time. Set on a lot in Bali surrounded by palm trees large enough to cover its 8-foot high surrounding fence, Villa 1880 is reminiscent of a colonial plantation. Owned by an interior designer and a vintage store owner, the tastefully decorated villa includes among its decor a large boulder on sand, a giant stuffed peacock, and china from a shipwreck. Other modern touches are seen in upholstery from Hermès and clusters of modern hanging lamps. Whimsical and unique, Villa 1880 is full of little details.

You may not want to leave the 5-bedroom  (including an 8-kids-bunk-bedroom) villa, what with its impeccable service and design. But if you feel like taking a stroll, Batu Belig Beach is only 500 metres away. The villa is also a close drive to Seminyak and Canggu. This is Bali at its best, with food that lives up to expectations.

We interviewed Chef Adi Sutrisna, who shared with us his recipe for Lemon Butter Salmon with Couscous. Simple but flavorful, the dish was made with fresh vegetables and salmon. The couscous was freely dribbled with lemon butter sauce and vegetable stock. It had just the right mix of gritiness and mushiness.

Why do you like this dish? Why do you make this dish?

I like everything. I like making this dish because there are many Asian flavors and I like them all.

Ah, the different flavors. Why do you like them?

I think all food is essentially the same. There is no good food or bad food. Italian, Asian, they are all good.

Do your guests at the villa agree?

In the villa, we have guests from all over the world. They all like my flavours because I use all kinds, especially Asian.

What’s your main dish usually made of? Beef, pork, seafood?

I like salmon. Salmon is a nice fish.

How long have you been cooking?

I studied hospitality decades ago and I’ve been cooking since 2000.

What’s your favorite thing about being a chef?

I like to experiment with flavors. Western with Asian.

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Romantic Seminyak: Rekindle Love in Bali

in Wellness by
The Layar Romantic Seminyak Villas

The number one place for a romantic getaway? The dream honeymoon destination? The primo anniversary escape?

It’s got to be the Bali, Indonesia. Beach lovers can’t resist the lure of this spiritual island, where tropical luxury is at its best (and lovers can’t resist each other). 

More specifically, it’s got to be Seminyak, where wining and dining is effortless and hideaways like The Layar are kitted out for high-end leisure.

The Layar Private Pool Villa in Seminyak

THE LAYAR DESIGNER VILLAS & SPA

Feel The Romance

First, get comfortable with cool spacious interiors, zillion thread count sheets and an open living area. Next, a private swimming pool and manicured tropical garden await nearby. A dramatic slanted ceiling overhead also makes your very private villa a personal theatre. Finally, display your affection. O Romeo! 

The Layar Seminyak One Bedroom Villa

THE LAYAR – PRIVATE LUXURY VILLA

If Shakespeare’s famed duo had dashed off to Bali, theirs would be a very different play with all the passion and none of the tragedy because this place is a romantic’s Heaven on Earth. Thus, thanks to the natural beauty and wealth of things to do, it’s the couple’s getaway of a lifetime. So forget R+J and take your cues for romance from this script instead.

The Layar Romantic Seminyak Villas

THE LAYAR – ROOM SERVICE

Act I. Scene I. Luxury one-bedroom villa. A warm welcome note and chilled champagne on the table.

To borrow a page from The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene, surprise is an easy road to romance. Being in a new place for the first time also serves up a bit of wonder, but a love of travel doesn’t necessarily bring people together. It’s the thoughtful surprises (and bold moves, says Greene) planned by one person for the other that bring back flutters of new love.

A simple request when booking is all it takes. Hence, set the scene for arrival however you’d like. Arrange special occasions and activities in advance. Also, leave the legwork to your hosts while you go barefoot. Enjoy your holiday worry free.

Seek Adventures in Sync

Act II. Scene II. The beach. Golden sand surrounds. Palm trees sway in the pleasant sea breeze.

Roses, chocolates and sweet surprises are strong symbols in the book of love.

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