Deborah Dickson-Smith switches from hotels to private villas and finds herself amazed by the luxury wow factor at the Space at Bali complex in Seminyak.

The latest trend in accommodation in Bali is the villa. A private villa, usually with private pool and five-star service, provides a truly luxurious holiday solution and it’s surprisingly affordable.

I’m staying at Space at Bali villas, hidden away off the main drag in Seminyak. In fact it’s a little like a hidden palace.

But the luxury doesn’t start here. It starts at the airport with Denpasar’s Concierge service. I’m greeted by a friendly Balinese face at the airport holding up a card bearing my name and I’m already starting to feel like a movie star. I’m then whisked away from the long queues at customs to a quiet lounge and presented with a cool glass of water and canapés, while they take away my passport to organise my visa.

Every detail of our villa is designed with care, from the aged double wooden doors  and curtained circular day bed in the “chill room” upstairs to the Moorish shuttered windows around the circular kitchen. Each air-conditioned bedroom features a walk-in wardrobe and an indoor-outdoor bathroom, complete with a deep free-standing bath surrounded by palms. They really know how to achieve the “wow” factor in Bali.

On arrival I’ve got time for a quick dip in the pool before my masseur arrives. I’m offered a choice of ylang ylang, citrus or lavender scented oil for my hour long Balinese massage which starts from my toes working all the way up to my forehead with a relaxing scalp massage.

The villa is a short walk from the beach and shops in Seminyak but drivers are available on request. There is a huge range of cafes and restaurants in Seminyak. You can choose from a wide range of cuisine, from traditional Balinese food to French, Italian, Indian or Japanese menus and the prices – even at the top end – are extremely reasonable.

After a surfing lesson in the morning at Kuta – possibly the best place in the world to learn how to surf with glassy gentle waves – I lunch at La Lucciola on the beach at Seminyak.

After lunch I’m taken to nearby Cool Spa in the centre of the hustle and bustle near Seminyak Square. An ingenious foot bath awaits before I’m led over stepping stones through a pebble covered floor to my massage table. The massage today differs in technique from yesterdays, with firm pressure applied gradually followed by a scalp massage.

The next morning I embark on a trip to Uluwatu, while not the most impressive temple in itself, in one of the most impressive of locations. Perched on the edge of 50 metre high cliffs and overlooking glassy turquoise waves below. It’s the perfect spot to sit and reflect on life.

Lunch is at Bumbu Bali in Nusa Dua which serves authentic Balinese cuisine in a beautiful setting resembling a Balinese temple and in the afternoon I’m treated to a Balinese style massage, body scrub and wrap.

Dinner tonight is at Sardine overlooking rice fields in an open plan restaurant built using traditional Balinese bamboo craftsmanship. The menu, which emphasizes fresh fish and seafood from the Indian Ocean and Bali Sea as well as organic vegetables from their own organic farm.

After a shopping spree in Ubud market I have dinner at another of Seminyak’s five-star eateries, Ku De Ta, with one of Bali’s heros, Asana Veibeke Lengkong, who heads up the I’m An Angel Foundation, largely funded by Ku De Ta.

Viebeke works tirelessly with her team to allocate funds and identify the most urgent needs of rural Balinese, talking to village communities to fully understand and appreciate what their individual needs are and providing them what they need to improve their quality of life.

While this is sounds like a holiday that would send most holiday goddesses back to work to pay it off for a couple of years, in fact it’s surprisingly affordable. The luxurious villas, which would comfortably sleep about six guests, cost as little as US$350 per night and mains at the most expensive restaurants cost about $10.

Useful Links

Space at Bali Villas: http://spaceatbali.com
Serene Villas: http://www.serenevilla.com/

Fantastic Local Restaurants

1.       Metis, Kuta
2.       La Luciola, Seminyak
3.       Alila, Uluwatu
4.       Hanging Gardens, Ubud
5.       Sardine, Seminyak

Where to Watch the Sun Set

1.       Karma Kandara, Uluwatu
2.       KuDeTa Bar and restaurant, Legian Beach
3.       The Rock Bar at Ayana Hotel, Jimbaran Bay
4.       Lovina Beach
5. Tanah Lot Temple

About Deborah Dickson-Smith
Holiday Goddess Editor Deborah Dickson-Smith has been immersed in the world of publishing for over 20 years now, working across a wide range of titles including Australian Geographic, Out & About With Kids, Cruise Passenger and Spa Life. Deborah has more recently begun to specialise in the online world as a regular contributor to Ninemsn.com.au/travel, holidaygoddess.co and Dayspaguide.com.au. Always the nomad, Deborah has lived in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Edinburgh, London and is now reasonably settled in Sydney’s northern beaches with her three children. For now.

About Deborah Dickson-Smith

Deborah plays the mother role in a blended family of seven. She's a travel blogger, diver and passionate eco warrior. She has lived in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Edinburgh, London and now resides in Sydney’s northern beaches with her Brady Bunch-style family. Follow Deb here: @where2nextblog and @diveplanit