For most of us, the extravagant life of luxury we see in television shows or magazines stays just that – a notion we understand, can see, can imagine but can’t touch.
It seems so close and potentially so attainable but crossing the barrier through the screen or the magazine page to make it reality often stays just a dream.
There is a way, though, to bring a taste of luxury to the average tourist and I’ve discovered it while travelling in Bali.
As the number of foreign (particularly Australian) tourists increases in Bali, there’s a need for accommodation to keep pace. This isn’t only in the number of rooms available, but in the variety of what is on offer.
Bali attracts one of the most diverse crowds of tourists in the region and that needs to be reflected in the services that are provided for them. The signs of development are everywhere on the island and construction has never been a busier industry.
One of the burgeoning trends – not new, certainly, but dramatically gaining mainstream appeal – is the private villa. The great news is that it’s becoming more affordable than a fancy hotel and at a cheaper price.
In research of an article I’m writing, I was lucky enough to stay at four different villas with four very different styles.
But the common thing that needs to be stressed (although that word shouldn’t even appear in an article about Bali luxury) is that they are private, they are comfortable, they are indulgent and, in summary, they make you feel like you’re living the holiday of the rich and famous.
Imagine a massive four bedroom house that looks out onto an azure pool; forests of green surrounding your outside dining room; a multiple level modern house with an infinity pool with ocean views; and a friendly and attentive staff waiting to cook you a meal or help with any problems.
This is the life you could have.
Then there’s the financial side of things – and this is the point where most people would give up on their dream and join the drunk Australian teenagers at a hotel in Kuta or the cashed-up honeymooners at Nusa Dua. But just consider these sums.
Let’s have a look at the cheapest price per room in off-peak season at the following hotels:
- Anantara: $400
- The Legian: $360
- The Oberoi: $355
- The W Hotel: $350
Now, compare this to the Jajaliluna villa, in the same area as all those hotels, which at the same time of year costs $850 for four bedrooms.
It doesn’t take Stephen Hawkins-style mathematics to work out that this is about $210 a room, or $105 a person if you’re sharing.
So not only are you saving money on the actual room, but you are getting a private swimming pool, much larger private living areas, a much nicer atmosphere and your own personal staff to look after you and cook your meals (all you do is pay the cost price of the food from the markets).
In recent years the large hotels have realised the potential for the villa tourists and now have private accommodations with pools on the grounds. But for the ultimate experience, there are thousands of privately-owned villas with their own unique characteristics that travellers can choose from.
I’ve spoken with a few people who work in the villa business in Bali. They know how attractive it can be and they’re working on increasing the number of available premises.
When the majority of people coming to Bali realise the benefits for comfort and the bank balance, the demand will only increase. If you’re planning a trip here, my advice is to try living la villa loca before it once again becomes the unattainable dream of luxury.
Here are a few recommendations based on my own personal experiences: