A drive down Jalan Raya Seminyak, the bustling main street connecting sophisticated Seminyak to laidback Legian and casual Kuta offers a kaleidoscopic view of modern day Bali. This lively street is lined with world-class restaurants, local warungs, hip boutiques and Hindu temples, all happily coexisting in a way that’ll make you blurt out “only in Bali!”
What also feels very distinctly Balinese is that taking a single turn off the main street means that all that buzz falls behind. As soon as you turn the corner, you can feel life slow down to a more palatable pace. On a sunny afternoon (is there any other kind in Bali?) me and my husband find ourselves driving down a peaceful street in Seminyak, framed by cobblestone walls, exotic flowers, a handful of relaxed restaurants and our final destination – it’s time to check in to Villa Kubu.
Introducing Villa Kubu
Hidden in plain sight in fashionable Seminyak, Villa Kubu inhabits a pocket which to this day maintains the feel of the real Bali. Nothing about this boutique estate is garish or over the top. At Villa Kubu, luxury comes from soulful Balinese hospitality rather than superficial bling. Think thatched roof pavilions, tranquil koi fish ponds, lush tropical gardens and bird song. It’s the kind of place where time seems to lose all meaning.
On a more concrete level, Villa Kubu is a boutique estate of 17 private pool villas with one, two and three bedrooms. The villas are set down a private garden lane, creating a luscious feel of an exclusive Balinese village. Besides the villas, the estate also has its own restaurant and spa… but more on that later.
Living the Villa Life
For our impromptu couple’s getaway, me and my husband are staying in villa number six. I still get butterflies when checking in to a villa (especially after scrolling through what seems like endless five-star reviews!) and Villa Kubu 6 more than lives up to its online hype.
Our two-bedroom villa is nothing short of a tropical oasis built around a lagoon swimming pool, with three Balinese pavilions crowned with thatched roofs offering a royal sense of space. We can’t stop smiling as the staff shows us around the villa, pointing out the complimentary fruit basket in the open-plan lounge, the crisp white kimonos in the air-conditioned bedroom and the beautifully packaged toiletries in the open-air bathroom. You know what they say – God is in the details.
Besides being incredibly romantic (hello, double bathtub!), Villa Kubu has an wonderful sense of ease about it. A case in point – our open-plan living pavilion is fitted with surround sound speakers and an iPod preloaded with jazz standards. Hats off to whoever curated the playlist – there are few things more relaxing than chilling in your private villa with dreamy jazz floating through the tropical afternoon. There’s also no fear of getting a case of the FOMOs (that’s fear of missing out for the acronymically challenged) as you know you can reach all those “must visit” restaurants you’ve spent weeks researching in a matter of minutes – but only if you want to.
Spa Bliss and Fine Dining
Besides the beaches, paddies and Bintangs, Bali is famous for its spas. As a vast majority of travellers is looking tick a Balinese massage off their bucket list, most villa resorts offer on-site spa services. All too often though, those run of the mill massages and perfunctory facials feel like something of an afterthought. At Villa Kubu, the spa services are honed to perfection. Guests can have their massages in their own villa or at Villa Kubu’s very own Spa Venus. Eager to take in the whole Kubu experience, I opted for the latter.
Spa Venus offers a curated menu of massages, facials, beauty treatments and traditional Balinese baths and scrubs. Like the rest of the estate, this is an intimate boutique spa rather than a corporate “wellness centre.” After hours spent hunched over a laptop, I opted for a 45-minute back massage which was so relaxing I almost drifted off to sleep. My massage therapist Sulpa was amazing!
After a blissful hour at the spa, it was time for dinner at Villa Kubu’s Oasis Restaurant. Tucked down the estate’s private cobblestone lane fringed by tropical greenery, the restaurant is very intimate and romantic, especially after sundown. After perusing the menu which covers both Indonesian and international cuisine, we ordered surf and turf served with mashed potatoes and Balinese grilled snapper with an artful serving of red and white rice arranged in a yin yang shape. For dessert, we shared a divinely gooey chocolate fondant. We loved dining in the restaurant, but you can also order meals to your villa.
Villa Kubu is the perfect place to relax – and I love that you get decide what that means for you. You could easily spend your whole holiday inside the villa, letting the outside world simply melt away. It feels incredibly luxurious to let the days drift by for a change, with a lazy à la carte breakfast followed by a dip in the pool, the air filled with sounds of bird song and flowing water.
It’s equally relaxing to know that you have the best of Seminyak right at your fingertips should you crave some excitement. During our stay, my husband rode his motorbike to the beach for an afternoon of surfing in five minutes flat. If you don’t feel like braving the traffic, don’t worry – Villa Kubu also offers a complimentary shuttle service to central Seminyak. When staying in Villa Kubu, there’s really nothing left for you to do but to enjoy.