getaway - Space at Bali


getaway - Space at Bali
As Emma Wheaton discovers, Bali is a tropical
isle bursting with fresh, new dining, shopping and
drinking options that don’t, however, outshine its
traditional creative and laid-back charms.
While many young women dream only of wearing
pearls, Pia is happy farming them at the Abrolhos
Islands. More recently Pia opened Latitude Gallery as
a means of showcasing these beautiful pearls as well
as works by our local artists.
169 Marine Terrace, Geraldton WA 6530
Ph: (08) 9964 6601 Web:
Email: [email protected]
Open 7 days Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm Sunday 9am-2pm
Opening image and this page, clockwise from top: Ku De Ta on the beachfront; one of the private
infinity pools at Space at Bali Villas; offerings to the gods on the footpath; a watermelon cocktail.
As I wander down
skinny lanes flanked
by high walls and tropical greenery, every so often
I pass an ornately carved wooden door left ajar and
I’m treated to a momentary glimpse of a little hidden
world. It might be a hint of azure-blue pool water,
manicured lawn fringed by palm trees or a set of
perfectly lined-up lounge chairs. These hidden oases
are self-contained villas that are tucked away from
the dust and noise of Bali’s chaotic main streets,
and they are becoming the popular way to holiday
on the Indonesian island. It’s been a trend for a while
now, with the norm being the inclusion of a butler
and a pool, not to mention the beautiful standard
of Bali’s decor and gardens. It’s affordable luxury
for any traveller.
Much better than only having a sneak peek from
an alley, I’m staying at Space at Bali Villas, a Moroccaninspired set of four-, two- and one-bedroom villas
located in the heart of stylish Seminyak.
With the personal, attentive service of a driver,
chef and butler, and a private enclave where you can
relax, party and dine, it’s not hard to understand
the rising appeal of this style of accommodation for
couples, families and groups of friends.
When I arrive at Denpasar airport late at night,
I’m greeted by the friendly face of driver Gede, who
is holding a sign. He hands an ice-cold towel to me,
along with water, while we drive to Space Villas. The
anticipation builds as I enter the newly built onebedroom villa I’m sharing with a friend for a few nights
of unforgettable Bali bliss.
On hand are chef Dewi, who whips up breakfast
each morning – eggs, toast, traditional Balinese dishes,
croissants, juice and coffee – and butler Mudana, an
enthusiastic Ubud local who is passionate about taking
care of his guests. Driver Gede takes us wherever we
please and offers endless advice about everything, from
local culture to the coolest new place for a meal.
Mudana, Dewi and the team at Space are also
available for all your dining dreams. Everything
from traditional banquets and menus to romantic
dinner packages in the villa or simply a pizza can be
arranged. Cocktails by the villa pool? Yes please!
Space at Bali Villas is an open-plan Balinese-style
building with a thatched roof and Moroccan touches.
A wooden path through the tropical garden entrance
leads to the outdoor dining area and adjoining bedroom
that opens out onto the private infinity pool. The
bathroom and walk-in wardrobe set a new personal
standard for dream-worthy amenities: Balinese wooden
features complement metal Moroccan lamps, and the
bathroom is semi-outdoors with a lush palm garden by
the bathtub and a rainwater shower.
Outside, a thatched bale and cushioned daybed by
the pool provide respite from the heat of the day, or a
spot for a massage by one of Space’s masseuses. It’s a
space I don’t ever want to leave, but I drag myself away
– I’m in Bali, after all, and there’s exploring to be done.
Bali, which has long been a favourite holiday
destination of Australians, has undergone something
of a makeover in recent years. With tourism being
the island’s major industry, it has always been a place
that does this well. While visitors were, and still are,
chasing unridden waves, spiritual awakening and an
affordable beach break, there’s a new, more stylish
wave washing over the isle, with international designers
and world-class eating and drinking establishments
moving in. Thankfully, Bali’s cherished creativity,
spiritual essence and laid-back vibe aren’t lost to the
great dining, shopping and bar scenes, all of which
make the island so special.
Bali entered Western consciousness in the 1930s
when enraptured visitors created a picture of ‘an
enchanted land of aesthetes at peace with themselves
and nature’. From that initial image a spark was
ignited and Western tourism was developed, and it’s
a description that holds true today.
From my base in Seminyak it’s an easy walk to the
nearby beach and surrounding streets for dining and
shopping. The usual atmosphere of a busy Asian street
“It’s a space I don’t ever want to leave,
but I drag myself away – I’m in Bali,
after all, and there’s exploring to be done.”
pervades: honking of car horns, intriguing Hindu stone
temples (some crumbling more than others) and colourful,
square offerings scattered at entrances and along footpaths.
These small gifts to the gods serve as a reminder of the
Balinese people’s spirituality and generous nature.
Many overseas designers, ranging from those just
starting out to bigger names, have their products made in
Bali and sell them from their stores in Seminyak. Prices
range from what you would pay at home in Australia, to
market bargains. My driver, Gede, navigates the streets with
ease, pulling over when I spot something I like and making
suggestions, and I discover a refreshing collection of artists
and burgeoning designers selling beautiful, often individual
pieces. There are great homewares, stone bowls, beautiful
carved furniture, silver jewellery, batik sarongs, woven
blankets and brilliant-hued silks.
Bali has plenty of leather shops to choose from, too, all
with copies of the latest designer ‘it’ bags, as well as pants,
jackets and boots. I take my pick of the stores and tell the
chatty owner how I would like my handbag made, picking up
samples and describing as best I can. When I return a couple
of days later to pay the equivalent of AU$60, I’m presented
with a spot-on creation made from buttery-soft leather and
lined with suede. It’s the same story from friends and family
who visit this island of skilled creatives who can make
intricately wrought handbags, shoes and purses with ease.
The range of food in Bali is vast, with fantastic fresh local
cuisine – nasi goreng and gado gado are Indonesian favourites
among visitors – served alongside chef-prepared meals in
top-class restaurants. Humming Seminyak is bursting with
flavour, and the rise of trendy eateries, from laid-back to cool,
means there are plenty of exciting spots to try.
On Seminyak’s beachfront I sit among the lantern-lit
trees outdoors at Gado Gado Restaurant, a great place
serving elegant food such as kingfish carpaccio with
shallot marmalade, dill and apple vinaigrette and green
pea ravioli with braised beef cheeks, plus a wicked dessert
menu. It’s a great place for a special night out that isn’t
ridiculously priced.
Following Gede’s recommendation I also visit trendy new
Mama San. It has a dark, edgy, warehouse feel with its high
ceilings, along with a fresh, modern Asian approach to its decor
and food. I try the spicy lamb and pumpkin pot sticker,
Fast Fact
Indonesia was a Dutch
colony, with its headquarters
in Batavia (Jakarta), before its
independence was proclaimed
in August 1945. As a result,
many older Balinese
people also speak
Dutch today.
Skywest flies to Denpasar from Port Hedland twice a
week (Saturday and Sunday), with connections to/from
Broome once a week.
1300 66 00 88,
Space at Bali Villas
Rates are from US$285 (AU$273) per villa per night,
depending on the number of bedrooms and the season.
Taxes, services, transfers, breakfasts and wi-fi are included.
Other meals, garden barbecues (about AU$30 per person),
spa treatments, tours, cooking classes and yoga cost extra.
Jalan Drupadi 8, Seminyak
chilli steamed snapper dumplings, crispy pork ribs with green
mango and Vietnamese pho bo … and vow to visit again.
A great spot for lunch is the bungalow-style Café Bali,
which offers a range of local and international meals. Featuring
light-coloured wooden furnishings, fresh flowers, chandeliers
and white crochet tablecloths, it’s a mishmash of familiar styles
and cheap, good food, which makes it a favourite.
For a beachside treat I try La Lucciola, a large, airy,
Italian-style restaurant framed by palm trees, which is
something of a Bali establishment. The quality cuisine and
attentive staff made my meal here a memorable occasion.
With its colourful flags and beanbags on the beach out the
front and a rickety wooden rooftop bar adorned with lanterns,
La Plancha is where you can have a casual drink among the
trees overlooking the beachfront between Kuta and Seminyak.
Ku De Ta, a large establishment with a classy but relaxed
ambience, is another top spot. The decor is beautiful and
the lighting is so pretty that after an afternoon spent sipping
cocktails here I’m tempted to stay for dinner.
Also in Seminyak is Potato Head Beach Club. The grand
entrance ramp spirals past a huge wall of wooden Dutch
colonial-era shutters sourced from around Indonesia.
At the other end I come out at a big, open area fronting the
beach. There are ponds, pools, huge red daybeds and a variety
of other seating and spaces. It’s a spot worth exploring over
a summery cocktail or two, or if you time it right, Potato
Head often hosts concerts and parties featuring international
artists. I recommend the extravagant cheese platter and
the kookaburra cocktail, an Aussie favourite topped with
passionfruit foam.
Bali is a long-favoured destination that truly offers it all:
friendly people with infectious smiles; hidden surf spots where
perfect sets roll in off the reef; ancient temples; sunshine and
sand; a range of shopping options; and world-class food and
drinks. It’s no wonder visitors keep coming back for more.
Previous page,
above and below:
Ku De Ta is a
popular beachside
establishment; the
fantastic shutterclad exterior of
Potato Head Beach
Club; The Balinese
are highly skilled
at intricate
wood carving.
Gado Gado Restaurant
Jalan Camplung Tanduk, Seminyak
Mama San
Jalan Raya Kerobokan 135, Seminyak
+62 361 730436,
Café Bali
Jalan Laksmana, Seminyak
La Lucciola
Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak
Ku De Ta
Jalan Kayu Aya 9, Seminyak
+62 361 736969,
Potato Head Beach Club
Jalan Petitenget, Seminyak