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Through the Keyhole: Villa Zelie

in Destinations by
Villa Zelie - Canggu, Bali

Villa Zelie owners tell us about their unique private pool villa in Canggu, Bali.

Villa Zelie - Outdoor living area

where stress is unknown.

People have described Villa Zelie as a private Eden or Heaven on Earth (and we agree!). How do you describe it?

It is a garden of Eden. Villa Zelie is a haven of peace and calm in the middle of Seminyak and Canggu. You forget about the world, the heat, the dampness, the noise and the traffic as you arrive at the villa. There is only peace and harmony there. That’s why I do not hesitate, several times a year, to make this long trip just to relax a few days. There are only good energies at Zelie, where stress is unknown.

Les gens ont décrit Villa Zelie comme étant un Éden privé ou un paradis sur Terre (et nous sommes d’accord!). Comment la décrivez-vous?

C’est un jardin d’Éden. La Villa Zelie est un havre de paix et de calme au milieu de Seminyak et Canngu. Vous oubliez le monde, la chaleur, la moiteur, le bruit et la circulation dès que vous arrivez à la Villa. Là, il n’y a plus que calme et harmonie. C’est pour cela que je n’hésite pas, plusieurs fois par an, à faire ce long voyage juste pour venir me relaxer quelques jours. Il n’a que de bonnes énergies et le stress y est inconnu. 

 

Villa Zelie - Outdoor living area

Where is your favourite place to relax at your villa?

I actually have two. During daytime, the pool house by the pool, from which you can hear the sound of birds and the rippling water. Simple pleasure but so relaxing. In the evening, the sofa in the living room, facing the garden, which is adorned with all its lights. I can watch this for hours, with a glass of wine, it’s magic.

Quel endroit dans la villa est votre préféré pour vous détendre?

J’en ai deux.  La journée, le pool house au bord de la piscine, vous écoutez le bruit des oiseaux et le clapotis de l’eau. Plaisir simple mais tellement reposant. Le soir, dans le canapé du salon, face au jardin, qui s’est paré de toutes ses lumières. Je peux regarder cela des heures, avec un verre de vin, c’est magique.

 

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Ubud Royal Cremation attracts thousands

in News by
Royal Cremation Ubud Bali photo by Sonny Tumbelaka AFP

Attending a cremation is unlikely to be top of the ‘must do’ list for the average vacationer. But then Bali is far from an average holiday destination.  As anyone who venture a few kilometres from the main tourist beaches will discover, this really is the ‘Island of 1,000 temples’ – an understatement if ever there was one. The fabled sea temples of Uluwatu and Tanah Lot, the mother temple of Besakih on the slopes of the sacred Gunung Agung, and the oft-photographed Ulun Danu Bratan temple feature on many a day-trip itinerary. And driving through traditional villages and across swathes of rice terraces can bring many unexpected sights as you come across small temple festival and colourful processions. 

Visitors to Bali’s cultural heart in early March found themselves in the right place at the right time to witness something spectacular: the cremation of Anak Agung Niang Agung, the wife of Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati (1910-1978), widely known as ‘the King of Ubud.’

ANAK AGUNG NIANG AGUNG

 “Strange as it seems, it is in their cremation ceremonies that the Balinese have their greatest fun. A cremation is an occasion for gaiety and not for mourning, since it represents the accomplishment of their most sacred duty: the ceremonial burning of the corpses of the dead to liberate their souls so that they may thus attain the higher worlds and be free for reincarnation into better beings”. The words of Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias ring as true today as when he wrote his Island of Bali book in the 1930s.

A ngaben – literally translated as ‘turn to ash’ – is perhaps the most unique ritual in the unique form of animism-influenced Hinduism followed by the deeply spiritual Balinese, who believe that life, and death, are transitions. Even more elaborate is the pelebon –  the cremation ceremony reserved for members of the royal family.

For the preceding three weeks, visitors would have seen intense activity outside Ubud Palace as the community gathered to construct the two enormous structures that are the core of the ceremony: the Bade, an intricately decorated, gravity-defying multi-level tower in which the body is placed and carried from the Palace to the Pura Dalem Puri, and the Lembu, a magnificent black velvet bull sarcophagus, to which the body will be placed for cremation.

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Bali restaurants and party venues for groups

in Dining by
La Laguna

Bring a crowd. Bali loves a party and whether your crowd is 10 or 100 people, some of Bali’s best venues are happy to host and do it brilliantly. Here are our top picks.

Bali restaurants for groups

 La Laguna La Laguna

La Laguna

Spread out over a large garden, with views over the long stretch of beach from Kuta to Canggu, La Laguna on Kayu Putih Beach, is a fantasy. The whimsical restaurant and garden bar is festooned intimate corners, where creative moments are coloured by tumble-down chic. Choose your space, your menu, drinks and they’ll even lay down a soundtrack just for you. Villas Zelie and Avalon are right next door.

La Laguna
Jl. Pantai Kayu Putih, Berawa, Canggu
Monday-Sunday 9AM-12AM
+62 0812-3638-2272
lalagunabali.com

 Ling LingsLing Lings Ling Lings

Ling-Lings has brought Asian-fusion to a whole new level of delicious. The menu is a mix of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese street food, and the cocktails almost steal the show. The animated restaurant has a large terrace overlooking the street, a long bar, booth seats indoors and a funky backyard just made for parties. Choose from a la carte or cater for a crowd with finger food, sushi platters and canapés. Cocktails by the jug or served in real fruit containers add colour and fun to any event. Check their VIP room for a more intimate setting.

Ling-Lings
Jl. Petitenget No. 43 B, Kerobokan
Monday-Sunday 12PM-1AM
+62 819-1641-7867
linglingsbali.com

Da Maria Da Maria

This modern Italian restaurant will soon have you speaking Italian and dancing through their cocktail menu. With great wine, and great design, Da Maria turns on the charm from lunch to late dinner! Known for its Neopolitan pizzas (and the handsome pizzaiolo), and hand crafted pasta, Da Maria sings for its supper. Book tables inside, take over the bar or throw a cocktail party in the Capri-inspired entertaining space at the back.

Da Maria
Jl. Petitenget No.170, Kerobokan
Monday-Sunday 12PM-2AM
+62 361 9348523
damariabali.com

 
Bali party venues

Waterbom Waterbom

It’s not just for kids anymore. Waterbom has teamed up with one of the island’s top caterers,

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Balinese art of monster-making

in News by
nyepi ogoh ogoh bali art

Nyepi is the first day of the Saka lunar calendar, a sacred occasion in Bali when people stay indoors for quiet reflection. For many visitors in Bali during this time of year, the message is strong and simple, for respecting ‘Silent Day’ is mandatory: stay in, turn off the lights and be quiet. From dawn until dawn, the island completely shuts down, including the airport. Only pecalang (neighbourhood security) go out in public, whilst everyone else takes time for personal reflection at home.

What more is there to know about the annual Nyepi holy day in Bali, and what do the papier-mâché monsters in the streets have to do with it?

Arts are integral to Balinese culture, and the Balinese have a long history as accomplished woodworkers, stone sculptors, gold- and silversmiths, and textile- and basket-weavers, as well as being ingenious horticulturalists. Balinese artisan crafts, ceremonial customs, daily offerings, performance arts, masks, costumes, adornments and agricultural traditions are all ways of life which honour the values of Balinese Hindu ideology; at the crux a divine balance between people, God and nature.

Balinese customs preceding Nyepi are all about maintaining this trinity, known as the Tri Hita Karana, by cleansing, warding off all evil forces and giving selfless offerings before the start of the new year.

The great task of ridding the island of a year’s worth of evils is taken care of by giant ogoh-ogoh statues of mythological witches, grotesque demons or modern anti-heroes.

Just one of the many essential rituals surrounding Nyepi, the ogoh-ogoh are paraded around by their creators in raucous processions late into the night on the eve of Nyepi. They scare away or encapsulate bad entities, then get set on fire at the cemetery to burn to complete non-existence.

Despite their short lifespans, ogoh-ogoh can be elaborate monstrosities with impressive construction and attention to detail. A popular and visually stunning trend is to create artworks which appear to hover in thin air or connect multiple figures in a dynamic pose. In each of Bali’s thousands of banjars (community organizations), young adults begin making an ogoh-ogoh weeks or even months in advance of Nyepi.

Many adults can’t resist joining in this artistic tradition. Local Bali tattoo artist and graphic designer Putu Marmar Herayukti is one of them. For the ogoh-ogoh parade preceding Hari Raya Nyepi 1940 (17 March 2018),

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Omnia Bali – a lifestyle destination in Uluwatu

in Wellness by
Hakkasan Group Day Club in Bali

Uluwatu has changed. The pristine beaches that first attracted surfers to the area are as beautiful as ever, the legendary waves still roll up to picturesque white sand beaches, and the limestone cliffs and perfect sunsets never fail to inspire with their natural beauty. Other things, however, have changed a lot. With some of the island’s most sophisticated new venues opening on the cliffs of Bali’s stunning southern peninsula, there are now more reasons than ever to head up the hill.

OMNIA BALI - UluwatuPOOLSIDE AT OMNIA BALI – PHOTO AND BAG: KEMBALI COLLECTIVE

The island is on a fast track to join glamorous island destinations like Ibiza and Mykonos with ever more beautiful, and exclusive, beach clubs in Bali. The jet set would be very happy here and the arrival of the occasional helicopter is a clear sign, that Bali is changing. From designer bikinis to glittering caftans, men in linen shorts and boardies straight out of GQ Magazine, Omnia is a game changer for Bali.

The cliff-side club is the latest and the largest day club to open and the venue is every bit as the stunning as the crowd. It is here that one of the world’s biggest hospitality groups, Hakkasan, has opened their first Indonesian property. And what a statement it makes. They are already big in Las Vegas, this is brand new and already making waves in Bali’s social life. 

Blue and white are the colours that define the expansive club that follows the edges of the cliff with a sparkling horizon pool. Complete with VIP gazebos, private pools, day beds, and a bar that defies gravity, Omnia raises the bar for Uluwatu and Bali.

From the impressive entrance, to the tiered lounge area that leads to the main pool deck, Omnia is chic, crisp and inviting. Here everthing from the towels to the glassware, the service, the menus, the cocktails and the food are polished and ready for guests.

The location, beside the Alila Uluwatu resort, on the cliffs of Pecatu, is breathtaking. The tiered lounge area offers shade from the sun as well as expansive views over the club. Smart looking day beds and sofas line the pool deck. A bridge leads to the main bar, which is suspended above the cliff. A large floating cube gives the bar its name.

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