When visiting Bali, most of us limit ourselves to Seminyak (or these days, Canggu); perhaps venturing out to Uluwatu and maybe squeezing in a day trip to Ubud. It’s all too easy to forget that there is a whole island waiting to be explored beyond this beaten track. Driving along the southeast coastline, it’s remarkable how fast the beach clubs of Seminyak, the rowdy bars of Kuta and the family-friendly buzz of Sanur fall behind. Following the coastal road, our car takes a turn and glides through a quaint Balinese village. Before we know it, a pair of grand gates welcomes us to Jeeva Saba Estate, our beachfront home for the weekend.
Right on arrival, it’s clear that this villa has some real wow factor and an unmistakably grand feel to it. On the outside, the villa looks quite sleek and modern but as soon as we step in, we’re greeted by some exotic old-world charm, with an actual indoor fountain ushering us in through the foyer.
From the fine China adorning the walls to the two dining rooms lit up by grand chandeliers – not to mention the emerald green billiards room! – the whole place makes you feel like donning your best frock while sipping a chilled martini. “Downton Abbey meets Bali” seems like an apt description. Jeeva Saba’s stately aesthetics feel oddly refreshing in a time when so many villas seem to be focusing on sleek modern minimalism.
Even if you ignore the grand design, Jeeva Saba Estate is impressive based on sheer numbers alone. The estate is built over near one hectare of land and boasts 70 metres of prime beach frontage. The villa has eight bedrooms (all with direct ocean views) which can sleep up to 16 guests in luxurious comfort. The estate’s 17 principal rooms include a private gym, spa room, catering kitchen, two dining rooms… and more. Oh, and did we mention the 25-metre swimming pool? For a better idea of the villa’s grand design and layout, take our virtual tour of Jeeva Saba Estate.
Dining in Style at Jeeva Saba
Like any grand manor worth its salt, Jeeva Saba Estate knows a thing or two about entertaining in style, offering a setting that Jay Gatsby himself would more than approve. Thanks to the property’s beachfront setting and colossal size, it’s little wonder that the villa has become one of the most sought-after wedding venues on the coastline, with a capacity to host events for a whopping 200 guests.
We’re also happy to report that Jeeva Saba Estate works just as well for entertaining your own private entourage – no nuptials necessary. The villa is staffed with a sensational chef who treated us to a real feast of Indonesian delicacies: sate lilit (minced chicken satay), pepes ikan (fish steamed in banana leaves), sayur urab (blanched vegetables with grated coconut and a chilli-spiked dressing), ayam betutu (Balinese roast chicken) and seafood curry. Dinner was set in one of the villa’s two dining rooms, a beautiful space lit up by a shimmering chandelier which added a real sense of occasion to our relaxed dinner.
Our team has dined in some of the finest villas across Bali and Jeeva Saba’s chef is definitely up there with the best of them. In fact, this was one of the best meals we’ve ever had in Bali!
Exploring Saba Beach
Jeeva Saba Estate takes its name from Saba Beach, a long stretch of dramatic black sand waiting right on our doorstep. As the sun catches the sand (which owes its unique colouring to the island’s volcanic activity), the beach shimmers as if encrusted with jewels. Powerful waves crashing to the shoreline only add to the exotic scenery. That we have this stunning beach all to ourselves (save for a few local families enjoying the waters) makes for a real “on the edge of the world” experience – something you just can’t find in more crowded areas like Seminyak or even Canggu. It’s also just a short drive up the coast to the challenging Keramas surf breaks.
Leisurely strolls down the beach were the perfect way to get better acquainted with our beachfront surroundings. Right next door, we discovered a sea turtle conservation centre where visitors can release hatchlings to the ocean against a small donation.
Luckily, you don’t have to drive all the way to Seminyak just to enjoy a day at a beach club. Flamingo Bali Family Beach Club is a brand-new venue located just a short stroll up from Jeeva Saba. The club has a large beachfront pool, plenty of cabanas to laze about in and even a cute pirate themed playground for the kids – perfect for a day out with the family or a fun night out with a group of friends.
Though it’s only a 30-minute drive to central Sanur (and the villa provides a complimentary car and driver for added convenience), we found so much to do in the villa and its immediate surroundings that leaving this private utopia was the last thing on our minds.
But alas, the time did come for us to head back to reality and so it was goodbye to dinners beneath the chandeliers, games of pool in the billiards room and strolls along the deserted beach. Leaving Jeeva Saba Estate certainly felt like waking up from a dream – one we hope to recreate before too long.