Villa Zelie is situated on a quiet, leafy lane in an area typified by private villas and traditional rice fields. A bamboo hanging bridge 100m from the villa crosses a lagoon and leads onto Kayuh Putih beach. As currents can be strong on this section of the coast, it’s best to walk south towards Batubelig beach (500m) and swim between the yellow flags. The chill-out La Laguna beach bar and restaurant is a two-minute walk from the villa and further down the beach are Potato Head Beach Club, and the W Resort and Spa – two of the most happening spots in Bali. Along the beach to the north is Finns Beach Club, and the many shops, restaurants and bars of Canggu and Seminyak are within a short drive of the villa.
Canggu has become the collective name for a number of villages (including Berawa, Tegal Gundul, Tiyingtukul, Pererenan, Nelayan and Babakan), which, until very recently, could still be described as a sleepy coastal locale. It's now one of Bali's coolest districts.
Here, amongst the rice fields which extend all the way down to the beach, you will not only find some of the most luxurious private residences on the island, but also a great selection of eclectic restaurants, cafes, bakeries, boutiques and beach bars – especially along Jalan Batu Bolong, which runs right down to the beach. Popular spots include Finns Beach Club, Old Mans, La Laguna, The Lawn and Ji @ Bale Sutra.
Canggu is also an area that most surfers will know about, with reef swells that are larger than those you will find further south in Kuta and Seminyak. Swimming isn’t advisable however as the rips can be dangerous, but there are plenty of other things to do from horseback riding to cooking classes. Finns Recreation Club (for which many holiday villas in the area include guest membership) offers social and leisure amenities, including Splash waterpark, Bounce trampoline centre, Strike bowling, a state-of-the art gym, a 25m swimming pool and a tennis and squash centre.
Along the coast to the north of Canggu is Pura Tanah Lot; a sea temple perched high on a craggy wave-lashed rock and probably the most photographed sight in Bali. Sophisticated Seminyak, a few kilometres south of Canggu, lays claim to the highest concentration of independent fine-dining restaurants on the island, including Sarong, La Lucciola and Ku Dé Ta, together with a wide choice of chic cocktail bars, exciting nightclubs, lavish spas and elegant boutiques.
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.
We are no strangers to beautiful villas, but Villa Zelie is definitely one of our favourites, and we were happy to forget the real world as we immersed ourselves in this enchanted cocoon of sumptuous comfort and superlative service.
In these days of modern minimalism we relished the chance to bask in pure, unabashed old-world glory. Every glance and every turn was greeted with a slice of Indonesian history; from the delicate floral motifs hand-carved on wood, to tribal shell-encrusted neck pieces fastening back drapes, nightstands adorned with feather headdresses and corners filled with stone statues. And it wasn’t just the quality of the antiques, but also their thoughtful placement and display, which made it abundantly clear that the owner has impeccable taste and style.
The use of natural woods and stone accentuated by richly hued textiles in the bedrooms creates warmth and cosiness – despite the generous size of the property, and our bedroom gladak felt like something straight out of a fairy tale. Ensuite bathrooms were wonderfully atmospheric with vanities carved into stone and petrified wood, and pretty courtyard gardens. Fabulous lighting throughout the property added an enchanting allure to evenings, when all was blissfully quiet but for the faint hum of cicadas and the distant sound of the waves,
The pool was absolutely stunning, long enough for swimming lengths, and perfectly situated in the middle of the property to soak up 360-degree panoramas of the ornate buildings framed by elegant travellers palms and a deep blue sky.
Zelie is more than just a villa; it’s an experience – and one that we never wanted to end!
Entering through the colossal wooden doors of Villa Zelie is like stepping back in time.
Four open-sided, fan-cooled teak pavilions, linked by covered walkways over fishponds, make up the villa’s communal areas. The main lounge is set in a stunning, intricately carved, open-sided joglo overlooking the pool and gardens, furnished with immense sofas covered in raw silk and arranged around heavy teak coffee tables. In a second lounge/TV room, alcoves are filled with a museum-like display of antiques, while furnishings include a table with four easy chairs and a long wooden bar concealing the master controls for the audio system wired to all the living areas. Satellite TV and movies on the drop-down projection screen can be enjoyed from an enormous daybed.
Adjoining the main lounge is the kitchen, with stone island/breakfast counter, wine fridge, plethora of appliances and shelves stocked with herbs and spices; the adjacent dining pavilion is dominated by a wood banquet table for 12. Giant copper lamps cast light, and a long upholstered sofa and cushioned benches provide seating. Tribal headpieces cover the sideboard and a wood-fired barbecue is built into a stone alcove. Carved wooden birds are draped from the ceiling of the sofa-filled pool pavilion, while the serene 20m pool is watched over by statues of monks bowed in prayer, and daybeds nestle in the foliage.
Private sleeping quarters are arranged around the garden, with a beautifully carved joglo housing the master suite and four air-conditioned gladak serving as guestrooms – each named after the predominant colour themes of their soft furnishings; Purple, Brown, Turquoise and Orange. All bedrooms are equipped with an iPod dock, king-size bed with customised linen, ceiling fan, antique occasional furniture and carved wall panels as elaborate headboards. Walk-in wardrobes include a bar fridge and safe. Distinctive semi-outdoor bathrooms, each with bathtub and private garden, highlight natural materials including stone and petrified wood. The extravagant master suite features a magnificent tiered wooden ceiling supported by ornamented pillars draped with golden fabric, and is equipped with a Satellite TV and DVD player. Two double-storey spa balés (pavilions) each have a pair of massage beds, one is adjoined by a semi-outdoor bathroom, while the other doubles as gatehouse leading to the neighbouring villa.