Anyone who’s ever been to Bali knows just how easy it is to dig your heels into Seminyak. Having all those great restaurants and exciting beach clubs right on your doorstep might be enough to make you forget there even is a Bali beyond Seminyak.
But this weekend, things are a little different as Ministry of Villas’ team heads for Candidasa in East Bali. We’re spending two nights at the beautiful beachfront villa Tirta Nila.
After a winding drive through rice fields and mountain views, we arrive at the villa just in time for sunset. And what a sunset it is! If there ever was a time to apply the hashtag “no filter needed”, this would surely be it.
The word which best describes Tirta Nila is comfort. From start to finish, the villa has been designed to pamper guests to such a degree that there’s little reason to venture out at all.
The living and dining room can be closed off and it’s air-conditioned. The villa is spotlessly clean throughout and the Wi-Fi is incredibly fast – not that you’d want to waste a single moment online. There’s also a separate air-conditioned media room for watching movies once the sun goes down.
It’s hard to choose a favourite spot in Tirta Nila. The villa itself is gorgeous – and then there are the outdoor spaces. Tirta Nila has a 15-metre swimming pool which is incredibly photogenic thanks to its infinity edge and palm tree backdrop.
Snorkelling in front of the beachfront villa using the in-house snorkelling gear is great: the water is crystal clear and there are plenty of colourful fish darting between the corals. There’s also a private volleyball net between the pool and the ocean!
Once we’re able to tear ourselves away from the poolside views, it’s time to pick our bedrooms.
Tirta Nila has four bedrooms. Three bedrooms have super comfortable king-sized beds and one room has a king that can be converted into two single beds if needed
All bedrooms have ensuites with rainfall showers – the master bedroom also includes a huge bathtub. The in-house toiletries are beautifully packaged and smell amazing.
All the bedrooms are under the same roof, flanking the living and dining room on either side, creating a nice setup for families. Both the beds and the soothing white decor are sublimely comfortable and make for a great night’s sleep.
Services at Tirta Nila
As always, it’s the staff that makes staying at Tirta Nila so very special. The villa manager, Gusti, is hospitality personified. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for him and his love and dedication for his work, the villa and Bali just radiates through.
Gusti works with a team of housekeepers, a chef, butler and security guards, all of whom have been at the villa for years – this is really reflected in the dedication and professionalism that’s consistent throughout.
Interaction with the villa staff has been made incredible smooth. There’s a retro hotel reception bell in the living room. Our favourite, however, was the discreet buzzer in the dining gazebo which allows you to call the staff over from the main house when you’re having dinner with the family or enjoying drinks at sunset.
These thoughtful touches mean the staff can retreat to the staff quarters when not needed, giving guests all the privacy they need – but help is never too far away should you need it.
Staying in Candidasa
Tirta Nila is in Candidasa, a relaxed beachside village located about 60 kilometres from Bali’s international airport.
To this day, Candidasa still maintains the feel of Bali in the 1980s. There are a couple of restaurants and tour bureaus and we even see a few boutiques and coffee shops that have popped up in the neighbourhood.
Over all, though, Candidasa still has the look and feel of the “real” Bali. The pace of life feels relaxed and there’s not even a hint of the rapid development happening in South Bali.
A case in point: the neighbours at Tirta Nila. Our luxury villa is surrounded by towering high coconut trees. We spend a morning watching local men climb the trees using nothing but a piece of rope. Once they reach the top, they send fresh-as-can-be coconuts tumbling to the ground below. “Oh yes, we do this every day,” the men say with a laugh as we watch in awe.
Dining, Celebrity Style
Last but most definitely not least, we need to talk about the food.
Tirta Nila’s staff includes a professional chef and the food we had at the villa was delicious. There are two options for dining venues at the villa. One is the indoor dining table which seats 10. The other is the gorgeous beachfront dining bale which also seats 10. Needless to say, we had all of our meals out by the beach.
The breakfast spread was great: omelettes and toast cooked to perfection, fresh mixed juice and a colourful mix of tropical fruit. For dinner, we had an amazing spread of Indonesian food. The nasi goreng, chicken satay, gado gado and lumpia spring rolls were all delicious and you could really taste the freshness.
As we’re getting our second helpings and topping up our glasses, someone makes a sweeping gesture towards the table, the villa, the beach and the ocean and jokes “You know, this is the super star lifestyle. This is how the celebrities do it.” And really, it is.
Instead of a crowded restaurant or a hotel lounge, we’re sitting at a private dinner table overlooking the Indian Ocean, with dedicated staff at hand with the single push of a button.
It is exactly this which makes staying in a villa so very special.