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Inspiring Art-Filled Villas in Bali

in Culture/Destinations/Families by

One of the best things about private villas in Bali is that none of them are the same. Forget uniform lobbies, drab bedding and boring white walls. Think fascinating artefacts, colourful furnishings, amazing art and unique design from around the world, all representing the heritage and lifestyle of their owners. To give you an idea of the delights on offer, we’ve scoured Bali for ‘art-full’ villas that will win over the heart of even the most sophisticated art connoisseur.

Villa Asada, Candidasa

Villa Asada is a contemporary expression of Balinese style, filled with antiques and comfortable furnishings. In every corner is a spot of simple elegance and luxury, lovingly strewn with Oriental decor.  Buddha and other characters in Asian history take centre stage. Little pockets of space prove that in decorating, as in life, less is truly more. 

Villa Canggu, Canggu

Indonesian contemporary artists turn Villa Canggu into a living exhibition that could easily compete with many art galleries around the world. Eddy Susanto’s visual interpretation on the heritage of the Mayan people, who scandalised the world with their 2012 Armageddon prediction, is displayed here just around the corner from Yudi Sulistyo’s interpretation of modern-day life: a hanging metal spaceship entitled “World Without Sea”. Ronald Apriyan’s series of three paintings represents how modern-day women can choose to be whatever they want to be. Grab a glass of wine and start exploring.

Kaba Kaba Estate, Tabanan

For more than 20 years, the owners of Kaba Kaba Estate have been avid art collectors, and the villa serves as a showcase for their beloved treasures, which range from fascinating antiques to contemporary works of art displayed throughout the gardens and pavilions. These include Cai Zhi Song’s Ode to Motherland #5, a striking 2013 bronze of a male figure, inspired by an ancient image of a Qin dynasty warrior, to Sohan Jakhar’s Untitled (2009), which hangs above a guest bedroom headboard, and Hannes D’Haese’s sculpture Just a Dog, a pink resin bulldog that, along with its yellow counterpart, guards the entrance to the guesthouse. 

Then there’s the surprisingly recent (three decades old) 8-foot-long Indonesian carving of paddlers in a boat, displayed above a puckish Dodit Artawan oil on canvas depicting Barbie dolls and liquor bottles; Dadi Setiyadi’s White Goat, a 2011 canvas that reimagines Caravaggio’s John the Baptist as a loincloth-clad figure festooned with swirling Dayak tattoos,

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Have Your Dream Wedding in Bali

in Culture/Destinations/Weddings by

When it comes to destination weddings, it doesn’t get much dreamier than Bali. Where else delivers a marriage of stunning setting, exotic décor, highly experienced event planners and spectacular destination-in-themselves villas? And all this without shattering the piggy bank?

As you relax into your vacation and settle into  the laid-back island vibe, you’re subject to some special Bali magic. If you or a family member are celebrating an engagement, or are in the early stages of planning a wedding,  it’s only natural to daydream of saying “I do” here on the Island of the Gods.

Just imagine –exchange vows on a cliff-top looking over the shimmering sea, with the sound of the surf crashing below. Declare your love on the beach, sand between your toes, as waves lap the shore and the setting sun flames the sky. Or seek the seclusion of a rural oasis and celebrate your union on the rim of a mountain ravine, surrounded by rice terraces.

Imagine the details – delicately woven palm-frond decorations and penjor flags framing the ceremonial space; three-tiered temple parasols and tropical blooms; flaming bamboo torches and candles amidst  a garden of colossal foliage; the hypnotic sound of Gamelan music; a lattice of party lights strung like pearls illuminating the darkening sky. And within that enchanting setting, imagine a paparazzi whirl of cameras recording  those first moments together as husband and wife.

Visualising the romance of the occasion comes easy in this culturally rich landscape. After all, since Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall tied their knot in Bali nearly three decades ago, many celebrities have followed suit. But what about the practicalities of a destination wedding, perhaps the other side of the world from your home?

The good news is that you get more bang for your buck in Bali; so you can save if you want or splurge. Happily, this applies whether you wish to stage a low-key wedding for close friends, or the most elaborate bells-and-whistles event for hundreds. If that’s not reason enough, think about the venue – perhaps a bride’s most important decision, after the dress of course. Here Bali comes up trumps, with a stellar cast of destination villa venues in jaw-dropping settings and an insane choice of accommodation for wedding guests.

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Influencer of the Day: Nikita Willy

in Culture/Destinations/People by

One of Indonesia’s biggest stars, Nikita Purnawa Willy was born in 1994, in the Minangkabau region of West Sumatra. The renowned actress, singer and model has 6.1 million followers on Instagram and is a national icon. Her rise to fame began when she was only 8 years old, as a TV commercial model. Nikita recently became a vegetarian and aims to be more environment-friendly. This desire extends to her beauty businesses as well – she is the owner of Dreamy Skincare and Dreamy Clinic. We chatted with Nikita during her stay at one of our elite havens, Villa Windu Sari.  

Elite Havens:  How was Ramadan? Any unforgettable memory this year to share with us?

Nikita Willy: This year, Ramadan was quite hard for me. I was mostly shooting on location, under hot weather conditions, while fasting at the same time. There was scene where I needed to cry while delivering a romantic line. That was perhaps the hardest one to do while I was fasting.

 EH: What special tradition do you have in your family for Eid ul Fitr?

NW: I always stay home with my family at least for 3 days during the Eid ul Fitr holiday. Eating Eid food and spending time with close ones. Every person in the family who is not married yet, gets special treats from older family members, presents or some cash.

But this year is very special for another reason. For the first time, I’ve indulged myself by flying with family to Bali on the first day of Eid ul Fitr, and staying at an Elite Havens villa. I am so excited to be in the villa, and to spend my Eid ul Fitr holiday with friends and family.

EH: What is your favorite Eid ul Fitr food? Does your mom cook that for you?

NW: I belong to Padang, West Sumatra. The traditional food from my place is ‘Bebek Gulai Hijau’. My mom doesn’t cook this dish because it is quite hard to make in Jakarta. So instead, we ask our family in Padang every year to send it to Jakarta.

EH: This is your second time staying with Elite Havens,

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Bali’s Cultural, Spiritual and Creative Centre: Ubud

in Culture/Destinations/Dining/Recreation by

Ubud is in many ways Bali’s cultural, spiritual and creative centre. Just an hour’s drive north of the airport, it is home to one of Bali’s royal families who actively support the arts, leading to a thriving art scene. Along Ubud’s main street are galleries and stores selling antiques, woodcarvings, bright textiles and beautiful paintings.

An Expertly-Curated Tour of Ubud

As a special gesture to our guests staying in select villas in the region, Elite Havens is offering a luxurious signature cultural immersion tour, carefully curated by our Elite Concierge team. Embark on a journey into the heart of Ubud and get an insight into what makes it so delightfully unique. “We’ve chosen what we feel are the highlights of each location, so our guests can get a glimpse of the province over the course of a day, and it’s all wrapped it up in true Elite Havens style,” assures Andy Grant, Head of Concierge for Elite Havens.

Discover Batuan Village

Batuan, a village in Ubud noted for its artwork, is our first stop in the signature Elite Havens Ubud tour. It contains many cooperative art societies and galleries, which have all played a key role in promoting the local art of Batuan. Batuan is also a style of painting that originated in the village in the 1930s, and your Elite Havens guide will reveal further insights during the exclusive tour. “Expect to see true tropical jungles with vast ravines, and an abundance of local artisans working at their crafts, which have been passed down through generations,” Andy shares.

See Batuan Temple

You will be warmly welcomed into the home of a Balinese family, an unmissable opportunity where you can get a glimpse into the daily life of locals. Proceed from here to the stunning Batuan Temple, which is characterised by towering dark stones. Adorned with Balinese ornaments and elegant black roofs, the temple is known for housing ancient relics from prehistoric times. You will learn from your guide about the influence of Hindu culture in the region, and the origin of the statues on display.

Marvel at Art

We then take you to one of Ubud’s most prominent art galleries. Pause a while and take a look,

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Verdant Landscapes, Rolling Hills and Rice Terraces in Bali’s Tabanan Region

in Culture/Destinations/Dining/Families/Recreation by

Verdant landscapes, rolling hills and endless rice terraces characterise Bali’s Tabanan region. This off-the-beaten-track area is nature-rich and rife with discoveries to be made. Ancient temples, towering mountains and even a UNESCO World Heritage Site are all part of this lush territory. Deserted beaches abound, offering fabulous surf, minus the jostling crowds.

The Tantalizing Tabanan Tour

Our Elite Concierge has curated a spectacular tour of Tabanan, offered gratis to guests staying in select villas in the region. Take a trip down the path less trodden, where adventure and the pleasure of seeking out the new take centre stage. We give you a guided tour through astounding greenery that will take your breath away. Drive all the way up steep hills to the highest peaks, to experience the best views and  the most wondrous sights. “Holiday time is precious as well as limited, so we want to ensure guests embarking on our curated tours really get to experience the best the region has to offer,” says Andy Grant, Elite Havens’ Head of Concierge.

Marvel at Batukaru Temple

A private vehicle with your own personal guide will pick you up from your villa and take you to the Batukaru Temple. Situated at the foot of Mount Batukaru, the temple also has a freshwater spring in the main courtyard that serves as a water source for prayers and ceremonies. As a special gesture from Elite Havens, you may experience a spiritual water blessing at the temple.

Since the 11th century, Balinese Hindus have considered the mysterious site sacred. Often misty due to its elevation, it has an altitude of 2,270m above sea level, the second highest peak in Bali after Mount Agung. It is surrounded by natural forests and is equally perfect for breathing in spirituality and blessings, as it is for Instagram-worthy photo ops. “With the most stunning scenery, for me the regency of Tabanan gives a true sense of authentic, rural Bali,” adds Andy.

Explore Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are one of the tour’s highlights. The paddies fall in a rush, down steep hills, and are surrounded by troughs of water. The area is a draw for the athletically-inclined,

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