Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Delhi Break

A trip to Delhi right before Christmas was not really in the plans, but here I am accompanying B on his quick trip. I hired car to drive me around and look what showed up--this vintage taxi cab. Narem, the driver, even looks like a 50's college student! (I have to take a better photo)

Yesterday we went to Khan Market. Today we are off to Dilli Haat and Central Cottage Emporium. Having him drive me around for the day costs about $20. There are other car services with more modern cars, but I think this is pretty cool.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Villa Kalimaya, Bali

Bali has its share of 5-star hotels like the W, the Bali Hyatt, and all the others in the Nusa Dua area. But originally unique to Bali is the experience of staying in a fully staffed Balinese villa.

Outdoor dining bale

A Balinese villa is just a big house usually on a sprawling property. The common areas like the dining and living rooms are in the main pavilion and the bedrooms are usually separate stand-alone structures. These bedroom pavilions have their own ensuite bathrooms, and if it's truly Balinese, an outdoor shower.

There are other bales in the property, for gathering together and hanging out.

Villa Kalimaya one such villa-- perfectly located in the fun area of Seminyak, where all the hip restaurants and bars are. The W Hotel, Potato Head and Ku De Ta are a little more than a javelin throw away.

The very first time we stayed in Bali was in 2005. I booked the whole (extended) family in a big sprawling, newly-open villa in Ubud called Sukhavati Retreat. We stayed "home" a lot and hang out in the living room bales, the kids swimming in the pools all day.   Ubud is the artists' area of Bali--quiet, serene, far from hip noisy bars. It's like Manila and Tagaytay (in distance).

This time we were seven girlfriends in Bali for a retreat. We had to have enough peace and privacy,  but we also needed to be right in the happening area because we wanted to shop, and go out for dinner and drinks after a full day of reflecting and goal-setting.

Seminyak is authentically Bali and centrally located--it has cool upmarket shops and the most of-the-moment bars and restaurants.

Villa Kalimaya consists of a main house with two bedrooms, and three other bedrooms that are stand-alone units laid out in the sprawling 2000 m2 property.

There is a pool bale, which we didn't even have time to hang out in (But I did a yoga session here one morning!)

(Yoga facing the pool--what a great view!)

The bedrooms were all equal in size with one king bed and a big bathroom.

One of the bedrooms in the main house

The bathrooms are equally spacious, and the showers are all Balinese-style--outdoors--so you're close to nature, meaning there could be a little frog staring at you while you're sudsing.

The villa comes with a complete staff of cleaning ladies, gardeners, guards, butlers and a chef. 

We gave them money for marketing, and they just cooked whatever we desired. If we didn't plan ahead (and they didn't cook anything), we could order take-out from a thick folder of menus compiled by the villa. Remember, we were so close to the main street, and also many restaurants.

Chef Ketut could also give cooking lessons! (But we didn't have time, sayang)

With PAL flying straight to Bali now, Denpasar is just 4 hours away. I remember when getting to Bali was a trek--fly to Singapore and overnight there to be able to catch the morning flight to Denpasar. Not anymore! (except that the PAL flights are at night, not good for morning people, but perfect for night owls like us)

Entrance to our home for the weekend, Villa Kalimaya

I remember always being mesmerized by the low lighting of Balinese gardens. They are masters of atmospheric lighting with subdued glowing "dark-sky" type of lighting.

Many Manila homes have since caught up, and many gardens here also have this kind of dramatic lighting.

It's a bit dark, but that's the whole point. You can see the stars in the sky and there is nothing glaring in your face!

Our stay at Kalimaya was memorable. And to think I found this gem online! I'm looking forward to my next Bali trip, and having another villa experience!

The very efficient staff who saw us off at midnight!


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