Nestled in the heart of stylish Seminyak on Bali’s south-west coast is what I can only describe as a ‘little hidden gem’. Down a discreet side street off the main road - right next door to the W Hotel - are a set of simple gates. However, once inside the gates you are transported into a magical ‘Moroccan Nights’ wonderland.
Sayang D’amour is a 6 all-ensuite bedroom massive villa with Moroccan inspired interiors mixed with local Balinese style and flair. The lush tropical gardens contain a large swimming pool with coconut palms and scented frangipanis making this home the ideal hideaway and escapism.
Along with two other families, each with three kids in tow, we took over this stunning property and instantly made ourselves feel right at home. The house came with the sweetest staff, a chef, kitchen help, cleaners and security – all on hand 24/7 to assist with any help we required.
The house has 6 bedrooms – 4 in the main house and two large stand-alone bedrooms next to the pool, which actually looked like 2 large villas. We took one of these rooms which was the master bedroom with the most amazing bathroom I have ever seen plus doors which opened out to the outdoor shower. Now if you know me or have read a few of my posts, you will know I love baths and I will book a hotel room based on the bathroom! Well this bath took me to heaven. A large freestanding cast iron bath sat in the middle of the room, which was big enough to fit me and the three kids.
The main house had a large open kitchen, dining area and seating area - great space for all +15 of us to relax in when we needed a little time out of the sun. To the side was a separate TV room for the kids.
The main reason why I loved this house was because of the garden space – the pool was big enough for all the kids to go crazy, jumping in and out on their floaties and any of the kids that didn’t want to swim they amused themselves around the garden. Most days the dads did a work out in the garden, the kids entertained themselves while we lay on the beds, with a glass in hand soaking up the sun.
When it came to eating, our chef catered to our every need including any dietary requests and what all the fussy eaters like to eat. They cooked a wonderful breakfast spread every morning and on alternative days we would have lunch or dinner. The kids loved the fact that the chef was so attentive to their every need. My eldest fell in love with his freshly made pancakes and still asks if she can have the “pancakes from Bali”.
I really cannot find any fault in this this property - not only was it extremely spacious and we had 18 people staying in it, but it was really comfortable, the service was great, and the location was just perfect. We were a stone’s throw away from the W Hotel and the beach and 5 mins walk to the Alila Hotel. Despite our pool scene, we managed to squeeze in time to a get a day pass for both hotels to check out their pool scene!
One day we decided to have a kids free, adult only afternoon and left the kids at home while we went to the urber cool Mrs Sippy. With the music and party scene in full swing we walked in and instantly let our hair down and enjoyed a cocktail or two AND a few of us did jump from the diving board which stands at 5 meter high with everyone watching, clapping and urging you on.
On the main Seminyak road you can find many cool shops and market stands – I think the ‘hottest’ item to buy and which was all over social media was the round straw cross over bag. The bags were so cute that we made sure we all bought one including the kids.
One morning we left the kids at home with their friends, and my husband and I went exploring on a moped. The mopeds actually came with the house and can be used for the guest’s convenience. Now the idea of this particular adventure was to check out a cool surfer’s beach which was about an hour away from Seminyak. I’m not a fan of motor bikes but mopeds I can handle…that is until we hit the busy streets with traffic coming at you in every direction. I felt like I was in a mouse trap and we just needed a gap in the traffic to escape. It was pretty scary but well worth it because once you hit the quiet roads, the views and the calmness was tranquil.
Bali is a foodie goldmine - full of many great eating spots that are also ridiculously cheap. Even the more luxurious Michelin star restaurants are very well priced compared to other cities. The current trend in cuisine especially in Cangu which is the next town down the coast from Seminyak is all healthy eating, plant based, vegan food. But there something about the way these outlets are doing it. Most cafes restaurants look hip, they have a large Instagram fan base, and they entice you in with their secret ingredients. One of our favorites was Kynd Community - think pink walls, large palm tree leaves, and photogenic healthy food.
Staying on the food topic, below are a few of our fav restaurants which we visited while in Bali:
Mama San - Dinner
One of award-winning Chef Will Meyrick's Bali based restaurants. At Mamasan you can step into colonial Britain in Shanghai during the 1920s, with marble top mah-jong tables and oversized tan leather chesterﬁelds, in a purpose designed industrial high ceiling warehouse. Reservations a must and smart/casual attire
Metis - Dinner
Chef Nicolas 'Doudou' Tourneville, formerly of Kafe Warisan, brings his legendary talent and culinary artistry to the table with a masterful combination of French Mediterranean cuisine. Flawless service in one of Bali's most elegantly sophisticated settings is just the beginning of this seduction into the depths of the five senses.
Reservations a must and smart attire.
Kiln – lunch or dinner
KILN had just opened when we visited, yet we had heard that it had been a hit since day one. It sure didn’t disappoint. With an eastern Mediterranean menu, we ordered literary everything available. It was extremely well priced with top class food for a casual dining experience.
Sea Circus – Breakfast or lunch
Sea Circus is not an actual circus. Its a ‘restaurant, cocktail bar & coffee den’. Its also one of the most photographed places in Bali. It’s a sharing concept, which I love as you get to try so many dishes, my personal favorite was the taco bar menu… yummy!
Ku de Ta – offers the best sunset views
As Bali's original sunset destination, this restaurant, bar and beach lounge has panoramic views where you can enjoy dinner or drinks. Plus, their resident DJ has a great soundtrack to get you in the mood.
Naughty Nuri’s – lunch or dinner
Famous for their killer bbq pork spare ribs and twisted martinis.
In 1994 a young man named Brian Aldinger from New Jersey was traveling around Java, Indonesia when he met a beautiful and interesting young woman called IsnuriSuryatmi (Nuri). They fell in love and were married shortly after.
When holidaying in Bali they decided that Ubud, (the artist's area in the hills of Bali) was the place for them and opened a small warung in 1995 where they could sell some drinks, make a few simple dishes and talk to the customers. So Naughty Nuri’s was born! Nuri says the name was chosen because she was Nuri and her husband Brian was Naughty. Before too long, many of the local expatriate community and some of the local Balinese people would come by and chat with the couple and some friends suggested that Naughty Nuri’s put a small BBQ at the front of the warung. The pork ribs became so popular that the BBQ became one of the most photographed tourist attractions in Ubud, if not the whole of Bali. Then they opened in Seminyak and still to this day attract large crowds.
SO - to sum up Bali, I now understand why people stay for the entire summer or end up packing up and moving there. I love the pace of life, the convenience of everything, the laid back chilled social scene, the abundance of great places to eat and all being for a fraction of the cost of living in Dubai.
Put it this way, if I suddenly drop off the radar, you will find me chilling in a secluded spot somewhere in Bali.
Don’t forget to read my blog post on Unbelievable Ubud – another magical place to visit in Bali.