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Posted by - Helen on August 1, 2006 at 1:30 pm:
As usual, Bali seems a world away now that we are back home, but I still can hear the sounds, see the wonderful sights, and imagine I am back again.
We arrived early in June and spent the first week at the Peninsula Beach resort in Tanjung Benoa - a great place to relax and spend time by the pool and walk the beach. I am beginning to like this area - it is more laid back and the beach is good - not so many hawkers - and you do get to know the few who are there and they seem to be much less agressive and are good humoured. There was a strong breeze the whole time we were there, this made walking along the beach a pleasure as it was not too hot. At times it was quite cool and some people needed to wear jackets. This time we walked to the end of the peninsula and around the village, and explored the small lanes and areas where lives goes on as usual without many tourists.
Everyone was very friendly and invited us in to sit and talk. As the weather was cooler, this was quite a pleasant experience.
We then went to our much anticipated stay at Villa Angkasa - it was wonderful - Carolyn and others have written about this villa previously, and I just echo what they have said. We were the last guests as the owner was arriving the day after we left. The area here is very dry and even when it was raining on Kuta it was dry there. Talking about rain, this is the first time we have experienced so much rain in June; and there was a great deal of cloud cover for well over two weeks. After four days at Villa Angkasa, we were rather spoilt and wondered how it would be at Sunset Hill Villa in Ubud. We were not disappointed - and thanks Gabrielle for your reports which encouraged us to book here.
We stayed in the owner's master suite downstairs next to the pool - this was extremely spacious - huge in fact, and the main attraction for me was the twenty meter infinity pool, it was magic, swimming lengths and looking across the ravine to the other side. We loved our stay there and would go again - it would be particularly pleasant with a couple of friends. One of the most appealing aspects of this area are the magnificent walks and the views, also the village is only a kilometer away and we happened to be there during a temple ceremony - with the wonderful procession the next morning. We felt marvellously included and welcome. I have always loved Ubud, and our first visit was in 1974 when there were very few hotels or restaurants - in many ways development has added to the variety of life there - they still maintain that village atmosphere. Our next stop was Alam Puri Villa and Spa - we had booked for three nights, but only stayed one. In this case the reality did not live up to the photographs - it may have once been a great place, but has become rather run down. There was only one other couple staying there and perhaps this makes for a rather desolate feeling. Even though we were the only guests dining - the food took ages to arrive, and it was not particularly good. Staff also sat in the dining room watching tv - very off putting.
We arrived two days early at out next destination - Villa Cepik in Sideman - this was wonderful and the area was beautiful and quite spiritual. Unfortunately it rained and rained - so we were unable to explore the area around us - we could only walk along the road with our umbrellas. We would have stayed longer but for the weather.
This is another place we would return to - hopefully with sunshine.Puri Santrian Beach Resort in Sanur was next - This is a large resort, and after staying in villas it was difficult to adjust to the rather impersonal attitude of the staff - we missed the friendliness of the smaller villas or Boutique hotels. Hard to adapt to "room" rather than a villa or bungalow - we had been spoilt.
We spent the last week in a villa owned and built by a New Zealand friend of ours and his Indonesian Partner. Called Arvina Villas it is situated at the end of a small lane next to Cafe Moka in Seminyak,only four villas, each has complete privacy. There is an outdoor kitchen and bathroom. The bedroom has airconditioning, and includes dvd player and tv, a walk in wardrobe, with a chest of draws, original paintings and art works. There is a small lap pool which we had to ourselves most of the time. This is a little gem and we loved our stay there. I will continue later and report on the restaurants we enjoyed.