luxury loves company …

Looking for an awesome overseas holiday that won’t break the budget? Alli and Genine give you two great options … Bali or Hong Kong – take your pick!

luxury loves company with genine

Balinese luxury is within reach – especially if you’re willing to bring some company along. Genine discovers an idyllic private villa in Bali where luxury oozes from every frangipani flower.

One of the highlights of 2010 for me was an amazing overseas group holiday to Europe. My husband and I, together with six of our closest friends, spent an idyllic week nestled high on the hills of Amalfi in Italy, overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean. Each day was spent lazily kicking-back in a three-storey, century-old villa – breakfast on the terrace followed by a walk to the local village for supplies, a couple of quiet hours relaxing poolside reading books, followed by fun-filled afternoons of swimming, local wine, laughter, eating, more wine and of course all the while gazing down over the picturesque town of Amalfi. Jealous yet? Well you should be. This was a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ holiday that can never be recaptured or recreated. Or can it? I think I have found the perfect holiday destination that will certainly help us recapture our amazing summer holiday – in actual fact, it may very well surpass it.

There are the coastal sea views. Check. Gorgeous warm sunny days. Check. Enormous villa for eight (even ten!). Check. Gorgeous local produce. Check. Sun-filled deck and massive swimming pool. Check! This villa is not in Europe. Nor is it beachside in Antigua. No, this is Bali. And it is Bali at its absolute premium – a once-in-a-lifetime holiday experience. I have found Kerang Kembar, a state-of-the-art holiday villa perched at the cliff top on the southern-most beaches of Bali.

But before you go flipping the page thinking this would be out of reach for your price tag, stop and read on. I,for one, am as thrifty as they come and want value for money for my hard-earned dollar. I have therefore mastered the art of organising once-in-a-lifetime holiday experiences that don’t require the need to take out a second mortgage … you just need a few willing friends. So enough with the jealously. Pop online, book your tickets, pack your bikini and grab your closest friends. This is luxury at your fingertips – Bali style. Kuta (Bali’s tourist capital) is about to become a second home for myself and my husband – my mother and her partner have recently acquired a lovely three-bedroom home in the heart of local Kuta to spend their retirement years in. Thanks Mum! So in scheduling a visit to see them (which also happened to be our first trip to Bali), my husband Rowan and I were keen to explore the Indonesian island.

With 10 days of pure relaxation time up our sleeve, we therefore couldn’t resist booking a stay at Kerang Kembar for the four of us for some luxurious holidaying. Kerang Kembar is an exclusive luxury villa with plenty of wow. In fact, its wow factor is so impressive it has been featured on the cover of some of the most prestigious travel magazines. And I was certainly wowed. This is no ordinary villa. Kerang Kembar, situated in the Ungasan area of Bali (close to the famous surfing beaches of Uluwatu) prides itself in providing an ultimate luxury experience, interwoven with pure Balinese traditions, look and feel. So let’s take it step-by-step so you can truly understand why this magnificent villa was worthy of my ‘wow’.

We were picked up by Kerang Kembar’s private driver, Komang, and driven in air-conditioned comfort south through Bali’s thick throng of scooters and cars (among random cows, chickens and numerous rabid street dogs) until we reached the quieter (relatively!) roads of the southern tip of the island. The congestion cleared and the cows increased, until at last we arrived at the gated community of Kerang Kembar Estate. Arriving at the villa takes your breath away. Sprawling over two levels of manicured gardens, the modern, white-walled villa opens out to a stunning view of the Indian Ocean below. The heavy scent of frangipanis clung to the air as we were ushered poolside for refreshing fruit cocktails and cool face washers by one of the four villa staff … yes, our very own staff. As the chef busily chopped away in the kitchen preparing our lunch, we set out to explore the villa’s expansive buildings.

Divided into three separate wings, we first took a tour of the main building. With its architectural design, soaring ceilings and wall to ceiling glass doors, the area plays host to a commercial size kitchen and breakfast bar, elegant dining area and open-plan living room complete with plump furniture, antique pieces and full entertainment system (including games cupboard, DVDs and a vast array of CDs). The villa then opens out to the timber pool deck which hugged the 21-metre infinity pool and provides numerous relaxation areas; multiple pool lounges, an outdoor dining setting and cosy love seats.

We wandered next to the master bedroom wing which was to become our private sanctuary for the duration, and we were yet again wowed. The master bedroom leads off from the pool deck and the glass doors can be pushed back completely to give picture perfect views of the ocean below, while still remaining discreet from the rest of the villa. A king-king size bed (if there is such a label!) awaited us, complete with king-king sized pillows. Like its own private oasis, the master room offers its own TV, DVD player and stereo. Leading away from the master bedroom and up a level, we discovered a private massage room  – how decadent and heavenly! I assured myself I would make good use of the room during the stay.

Further along is a delightfully decorated children’s room, furnished like a home-away-from home for kids … in fact, English-owner Wendy Wilcox (who lives in Singapore) personally decorated each and every room of the villa, and nautical-themed touches from her two children can be seen in the room with his and her name life-buoy signs hanging from the bunk beds. With the tour far from over, we headed up yet another level to the bathroom. Now when I say bathroom, I mean palace … this was possibly the largest, most exquisite bathroom I have ever seen. Black marble tiles, wall-to-wall, opulent lighting and Chinese antique cupboards, together with a spacious shower and separate toilet. But that was only the start. Leading from the bathroom, separated only by floor to ceiling glass doors, is a sumptuous outdoor bathing area, complete with its very-own frangipani tree.

Typically Balinese, this amazing outdoor retreat had a marble bath carved entirely from one block of stone and an over-sized showerhead promising a waterfall of cool water.

If that wasn’t enough, the third wing of the villa (decked out with another three bedrooms of similar size to the master room), also has its own private outdoor bathroom. Luxury personified! Each bedroom contains its own en-suite also, as well as entertainment systems and of course bigger-than-Ben-Hur beds. I could just imagine our group of friends feeling quite at home here at Kerang Kembar … so long as we snaffled the master suite! So, have I whetted your holiday appetite yet? If not, how about I tell you about the amazing food we enjoyed at the villa – prepared entirely by our very own chef and selected daily from the extensive in-house menu. To sum up in one word, the food was simply … divine. We dined on tropical fruit platters, pancakes and omlettes for breakfast; freshly caught salmon and tuna for dinner, and nightly canapés poolside … along with a refreshing mojito (or three … or four).

The food was simply five-star and we wanted for nothing. The staff was on hand from 7am ‘til 11pm, and the only time I entered the kitchen was for an early morning filtered coffee, kindly set out the night before by the charming staff. That was one of the things that sets villa Kerang Kembar apart – the staff. Balinese people are well-known for their friendliness and beautiful spirit, and our delightful staff were no exception. At first we were a little uneasy about having people wait on us … but we quickly got very used to it! Even the villa manager, Kadek, paid daily visits to ensure we had everything we desired, and of course when he suggested the chauffeur, Komang, take us down to the villa’s private beach house we jumped at the idea.

Komang is on-hand each day to drive you anywhere you wish – a tour of Ubud, lunch at neighbouring Karma Kandara resort, or in this case down to the private beach house (which came complete with its own bales and a plunge pool overlooking the reef). We wanted for absolutely nothing. Should we wish for a relaxing Balinese massage or facial, we simply arranged it with the staff an hour before, all in the privacy of our own dedicated massage room.

The most enjoyable part of our Balinese retreat was simply relaxing poolside each day and taking in the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, admiring the surfers dotted along the rugged coastline, watching the local farmers gather their harvest of seaweed on handmade wooden rafts … all with a mojito in hand.

Kerang Kembar was the perfect mix of chilled-out luxury and holiday fun all in the secure surrounds of your very own private villa. It is a special place that you could visit again and again, and possibly never leave. Take my advice: this is the perfect villa for those who prefer company … all in blissful luxury.

THE FACTS

Kerang Kembar Estate (+65) 9018 1742 (Singapore mobile GMT+8)

www.bali-karangkembarestate.com

Rates from US$900 per night (or US$225 per couple!)

 

 

One Response to “luxury loves company …”

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  1. Overseas holidays that won’t break the budget … « alliandgenine - December 22, 2011

    […] luxury loves company … […]

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