Leejnd: Pure vacation bliss in tranquil Pemuteran

What can be said about pure vacation perfection? We are two couples on vacation, and we stayed at Jeda Villa for 5 nights as part of a 3-week Bali trip. Of the four different places we stayed around the island, this was far and away our favorite. Let me run through all the ways in which this villa was pure bliss: The location: it’s set quite a distance off the main street, down a couple bumpy dirt roads, so you are well away from the street noise (not that there’s much hustle-bustle in Pemuteran). There are three different villas, each completely isolated from the others, each with its own large expanse of beautifully landscaped vivid green lawn, lush gardens, pool and koi pond. We were in Villa Timor, which has two bedrooms. There may have been people in the other villas, but we never saw them. You definitely feel like you are out in the country…you pass cows, chickens and pigs at the neighboring homes on the way in, and you are woken up each morning by the sound of roosters crowing. The views are truly breathtaking…in front of you is the ocean (you are on the opposite side of the main road, but the villa is up on a hill so you can see all the way to the sea), and behind you are towering mountain peaks. We could spend hours just taking in those drop-dead-gorgeous views. Regarding Pemuteran…it seems most visitors to Bali tend to stick to the well-known, crowded touristy areas of Kuta, Seminyak, & Nusa Dua. This is a huge mistake! While Pemuteran may not have the tourist infrastructure of those areas, if you are looking for the REAL Bali, this is the place to go. And there is plenty to do. Beaches? Check…but without the aggressive hawkers, crowded surf shops and cheap souvenir stores blanketing the streets. Diving? Check…some of the best in Bali. Hiking? Check…Bali Barat Nat’l Park is a short drive down the road. Relaxing? Yes…amidst some of the most spectacular scenery on the island. The villa itself is just incredible! It’s an open-air structure, with the main living areas open to the spectacular views outside. Only the bedrooms and the kitchen have walls. It never rained while we were there (dry season), but there are rolled-up wooden shades that can be dropped to enclose everything if it did. Fortunately we didn’t need them…we LOVED feeling like we were living in the outdoors, surrounded by nature, while encased in luxury. The building is way bigger than we were expecting from the pictures – with only four of us there, we felt like we were in a palace. And there are so many luxurious spots to relax, read, and take in the gorgeous views – there’s a large sitting area with L-shaped sofas outside one of the bedrooms, a chaise lounge near the dining area looking out to the pool, and upstairs is yet another large living area with sofas, and a TV (which we never even turned on – we were enjoying the natural scenery way too much) and stocked bookshelves. Then there are the four poolside loungers, and on top of all that, there’s the Bale set away from the house next to the koi pond…this was a favorite spot for my husband, who spent many enjoyable hours reading out there. Everything is just luxury to the max. The floors are gorgeous marble. (Be careful walking in from the pool with wet feet…it can be slippery!) The dining room has a huge, 8-person table. Unique pieces of furniture and modern art are placed throughout, so that wherever you look, your eye lands on something beautiful. In fact I would say that my most enduring memory of Jeda Villa is one of exquisite beauty…no matter where my eyes landed, there was something of beauty right in front of me. Look straight…there’s a lovely painting on the wall. Look out…there’s the glimmering ocean, or the majestic mountains. Just looking down at my feet as I walked by the pool was an exercise in beauty, as the poolside Frangipani tree dropped perfect little blossoms all around such that it seemed the Gods wanted to blanket each step with a visual delight. It wasn’t possible to NOT see something of beauty at every moment. The pictures simply do not do this place justice! We LOVED the native (outdoor) bathrooms. They were large, well-appointed, sparkling clean, and taking a shower outdoors just feels awesome! The entire outdoor atmosphere of the villa was like camping, only in the utmost of opulence. It was outdoor living the way kings would do it. The bedrooms were very comfortable – king size beds with firm, comfortable mattresses, lots of closet and shelf space, and AC that kept the temps perfect for sleeping. Dining: while there are quite a few restaurants nearby, and the staff will drive you to/from wherever at any time, we found that we preferred to eat in. They offer a fabulous menu right there at the villa, for very reasonable prices – the ladies come over to cook for you in your kitchen, and serve you in the dining room. Breakfast (included) every morning was fantastic…best breakfasts we had in Bali! Cheesy omelettes, delicious banana pancakes, crispy bacon, toast made from a crusty round loaf of bread. For lunch and dinner they offer Balinese and Indonesian dishes, as well as some continental options (pasta, chicken cordon-bleu, burgers, salads). Over the course of our five days there we ate most meals right at the villa, and never tired of the food. On our last night we indulged in the bbq feast, which, at about $15 per person, was an incredible deal…more food than any of us could eat! There was just something so exquisite about eating meals in that open-air dining room, with stunning views on three sides. In fact I would say the biggest problem with staying at Jeda Villa is that we really didn’t want to go out and do anything else! After breakfast there were laps in the long infinity pool (biggest pool we saw in Bali…and just for US!), then books to read, then a walk around the koi pond, then lunch, then (as it was getting hot) another dip in the pool, then more reading in the poolside lounger, followed by some computer time (the wifi worked fine for us), then dinner and a couple of Bintangs, then some time to read a little more before bed. What else would anyone want to do? Fortunately we did get out and do a few more things. My husband and I are divers, and we spent two days diving with Reef Seen, including one day at Menjangan Island, which I highly recommend. Our non-diving friends came along with us and snorkeled, which they really enjoyed as well. It’s not that common to be able to mix both divers and snorkelers on the same boat, but the unique topography of Menjangan Island allows for this – the divers drop in over the shallow reef, then swim out and drop over the steep wall to go deeper while the snorkelers stay near the boat in the shallows, and there’s plenty for all to see. On another day we arranged for a guided trek to Bali Barat National Park, which was pleasant and gave us a chance to stretch our legs and see some unique wildlife. The staff will take care of all arrangements for you. Which brings us to the staff…they were simply outstanding! The place was kept spotless. The food was prepared for us and served with aplomb. Any time we wanted to go anywhere, Salamat would drive us in the golf cart. We felt catered to like we were royalty. In every review I try to find something about the place that could use improvement. So, for Jeda Villa…hmm, I’m stumped! I honestly can’t think of a single thing. It was perfection in every way. Pure vacation bliss.