If you’re travelling to Bali with a big group – say for an extended family holiday or perhaps a special birthday – staying in a villa is the perfect way to make your trip all the more special (not to mention making the logistics run smoother).
This is something that Ministry of Villas specialises in – finding the perfect villa to accommodate an entourage under the same roof. With this, allow us to introduce you to Abaca Villas, a gorgeous property which can sleep a whopping 32 guests.
Fine Dining and Rice Fields
The vibrant street of Jalan Petitenget pierces its way through Seminyak, lined with some of the best restaurants, trendiest cafes and most iconic beach clubs on the island – does the name Potato Head ring any bells? Needless to say, this is also one of the most coveted locations in Bali. To get an idea of just how cosmopolitan this area is, the neighbourhood covers every cuisine imaginable, from local Indonesian fare to exotic Lebanese food – you can even sample some Peruvian cuisine at the hip-as-can-be Aya Street restaurant.
Zooming past trendy boutiques and fine dining restaurants, you could easily assume that the farming days of Seminyak are long gone and to spot Bali’s famous rice paddies you need to head further up north, say to Ubud or Tabanan. Though it seems hard to believe when sipping your artisan latte in a hipster chic cafe, Seminyak’s rice paddies are far from extinct – if you know where to look.
Hidden down a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it entryway right off Jalan Petitenget, Abaca Villas’ entrance is a picturesque bamboo archway, not unlike the oft-photographed entrance of the W Retreat just a few blocks away. As soon as we start our drive down the bamboo lane, the crowds fall behind. Before too long we are greeted by rice paddies that leave us feeling like we’ve opened a door to Ubud. Abaca Villas certainly knows a thing or two about making a first impression.
Welcome to Abaca Villas
Abaca Villas is a private estate of three villas: Villa Iluh, Villa Kadek and Villa Nyoman. Each villa is fantastic on its own – think contemporary furniture, tropical gardens, private pools and rich Balinese details – but what really makes Abaca Villas stand out is the fact that the three villas have interconnecting garden gates, meaning the whole estate can be booked as a huge 16-bedroom villa, exclusive to you and your group.
That’s right – no need to share the pool with strangers and or to fight your way to the breakfast buffet. At Abaca Villas, the whole 16-bedroom shebang is exclusively yours.
The three Abaca Villas are housed in a single line. Once you throw open the connecting gates between the villas, you get a huge rectangular estate with back to back swimming pools (ranging from a 13-metre pool in Villa Nyoman to the huge 18-metre stunner in Villa Iluh) lined with bedroom pavilions and tropical open-sided living areas.
Clever design is consistent throughout the property. When the connecting gates are opened, Abaca Villas really does feel like a massive private villa rather than a mish-mash of standalone properties. When all three villas are booked together, a large dining area big enough to accommodate all guests can be set up in Villa Iluh, the largest standalone villa at Abaca.
16 Bedrooms in Seminyak
So how does it work – 16 bedrooms in three villas? If we break it down per villa, Villa Iluh has six bedrooms, Villa Kaded has five bedrooms and Villa Nyoman has five bedrooms. A total of twelve bedrooms are located on ground level and four bedrooms are housed upstairs. Two bedrooms in Villa Iluh are purposefully designed to be wheelchair friendly which is something of a rare find in Bali. All the bedrooms are similar in size and come with ensuite bathrooms, so there’s no need to fight over who gets to stay in one of the “good” rooms.
All in all, Abaca Villas’ 16 bedrooms can sleep 32 guests. If you’re travelling with a bigger party still, seven extra beds can be set up at an extra fee. That’s 39 guests staying in the same villa in the heart of Seminyak! And this, ladies and gentlemen, makes Abaca Villas one of the best kept secrets in Bali.
It Starts with Breakfast
The charm of Abaca Villas is not just about the ingenious design. As always, what brings the villas to life is the level of service and hospitality. Bali of course is famed for its gracious people and high-level hospitality, but even on a Bali scale, the staff at Abaca Villas managed to knock our socks off.
Expertly headed by manager Merry, Abaca Villas’ team is hospitality personified. From check in to poolside breakfasts and from turn down service all the way to check out, the staff exudes the kind of confidence which only comes through expert training and years of experience in the hospitality industry. Besides housekeeping, butler service and on-request cooking services, Abaca Villas also provide 24-hour security which offers a peace of mind, especially if you’re a first-time traveller.
Breakfast is a great litmus test for any villa. If breakfast is served late or it doesn’t taste all that great, it’s unlikely that the villa itself is all that, either. At Abaca Villas, our daily breakfast (which is included in the rates) was served precisely at the time when we requested it with our butler cooking the breakfast in our villa. The quality and variety were also more than up to par – fresh tropical fruit, omelettes, bacon, sausage, fruit juice and fresh plunger coffee. Served poolside, this is the perfect way to start the day.
After we’re done with breakfast, it’s time to take a closer look at our surroundings. Abaca Villas is located in the vibrant Petitenget neighbourhood which blends into neighbouring Seminyak seamlessly. This is arguably the most sought-after region in Bali where today, Abaca Villas’ is one of the only places where you can experience world class dining and tranquil rice paddy views all in one fell swoop.
Though “spoiled for choice” sounds terribly cliched, it really does apply when talking about all the dining options available within walking distance from Abaca Villas. Just two doors down from the villas you have Metis, one of the best fine dining restaurants on the island and right next door, there’s Livingstone, an Instagrammable café serving beautiful brunch spreads. Then there’s Nam Nam for Vietnamese food, Barbacoa for epic barbecues, Nook for Indonesian dishes … and the list goes on.
If you can tear yourself away from the villa, that is.