I have to be the worst person in the world at keeping secrets. I don’t know how the Boy does it but consistently for some years now he manages to crack the puzzle on what his Christmas gift is from me. It frustrates the hell out of me! So this year I thought I’d go way outside the box from the usual gift giving we normally do and instead I decided I would get him a holiday …. and I would come along of course!
Now obviously the first place that came to my mind was Thailand as our love affair with this country continues and I really wanted to organise a trip to Bangkok with a detour via Hua Hin for some beachside relaxation. But after some investigation with our travel agent, I soon realised that with a wedding to save for; going to Thailand during its peak season was realistically out of my budget! She suggested we go somewhere a little closer to home such as Bali. Being only three and half hours flight from Perth it seemed like the perfect place to get in a quick amount of much needed R&R.
For nearly half the price of a trip to Thailand she arranged a five night holiday to Bali including flights staying at Villa Air Bali in Seminyak. I laminated some brochures of the villas and pictures of Bali and wrapped it all up in a big gift box with the Flight Centre travel documents. To my exquisite delight the Boy had absolutely NO IDEA what it was until he opened it! Finally success at keeping a secret!
The flight was over before we knew it and we were collected by our pre-organised transfer. We travelled for nearly two hours from the airport bouncing along on potholed streets in the bucketing rain while our transfer tried to sell us guided tours. It was much to our relief when we pulled into the lobby area and were warmly greeted by our hotel receptionist. The lobby was open plan with a large moat pond surrounding it with some beautiful Koi and a symphony of frogs. The locations of the villas are slightly out of the main area of Seminyak so it was generally a taxi ride to get to the restaurants and beach clubs.
We were taken to our villa where our porter showed us every infinite detail of the villa right down to opening the kitchen drawers and showing us the forks and knives. The kitchen had only basic utensils and enough glasses and plates for two people. Although there was a stove top, there weren’t really enough kitchen bits and bobs to make much more than a stir fry. Not that I planned on doing ANY cooking mind you.
The villa was clean and free of any mouldy odours so common to some middle range accommodation during the wet season in the tropics. The only downside of the villa design was that during rainy downpours, water would flood across into the living area and onto much of the tiles. Both of us nearly stacked it a number of times as the floor became very slippery. The pool was so refreshing and inviting; it was invigorating to stumble out of bed each morning and plunge into the pool.
The bedroom was icily air-conditioned much to the Boy’s delight and the bathroom was enormous. In fact it was bigger than the bedroom. There was a large selection of amenities and in addition to the usual suspects there was some insect repellent and some fragrant bath salts.
Despite the brochure for the villa mentioning it has free WIFI, it took us a couple of days before they could actually get it to work properly. The connection was very poor as reception informed us that the internet in Bali is not very fast. The villa comes with a free stocked minibar but this was a little deceiving as it only contained only a couple of beers and some soft drink. I guess I can’t really complain if it’s free!
Breakfast can be served in villa or the restaurant with six options available: American, Healthy, Chinese, Indonesian, Korean and Japanese. We decided on arrival we would try and have a different kind each morning for a bit of fun.
The first (and worst) breakfast we had was The American. It was bland and very simple but I suppose it was acceptable enough. The scrambled eggs were light and fluffy albeit a little tepid. The black rice bread was gluten free and had a distinct nutty flavour which I really enjoyed. The yogurt was watery and fairly inedible.
The Chinese breakfast consisted of some congee (rice porridge) with a myriad of accompaniments not all of which I recognised and could identify. It was served with some mantou (steamed buns). I carefully selected a number of the accompaniments and placed a sprinkling of them into my congee.
The Boy on the other hand piled all of his on top of his congee and mixed it all through. The end result looked at little scary and was not very pleasant apparently! I quite enjoyed mine but I was a lot more conservative with what I put in it.
The Indo breakfast option gave an option of either Nasi goreng (fried rice with shrimp, chicken and vegetables) or Mie goreng (fried noodles with egg, chicken and vegetables). I ordered the rice and the Boy ordered the noodles. My nasi goreng was fairly run of the mill and was nothing I couldn’t have recreated better at home. Unfortunately I spotted some onion contained in this one and ended up spending a fair amount of time having to sift carefully to pick the pieces out which was annoying. As with our American breakfast, our meals were served a little on the cold side.
The Japanese breakfast was by far and by large my favourite – I actually ordered this one twice I loved it so much! It came with some bean paste soup (miso), steamed rice, a couple of pieces of marinated grilled fish and some steamed white and orange sweet potato. There were also some green beans in peanut sauce. On the side was some dessert containing sweet jelly, red beans and fruit which made a refreshing end to the filling meal. I did make the mistake of tasting the side dish of natto. What the hell!! I always thought I was good with eating weird tasting things but this stuff is definitely an acquired taste – we both thought it was pretty gross. Is there a better way to eat this stuff?
Overall if we return to Seminyak we will probably stay somewhere more centrally located, but if you don’t mind being a little off the beaten track Air Bali was good value, peaceful and clean.
Like Me on Facebook!Villa Air Bali, Seminyak | (+62) 361 737378 | www.villa-airbali.com Price: $$ Package deal with Flight Centre: $1014 per person for return flights with Virgin Blue from Perth, airport transfers, 5 nights accommodation in a pool villa with breakfast included, two massages in villa, free minibar Food: 2/5 (in villa breakfasts should be served promptly after making to avoid being cold) Service: 3.5/5 (reception went out of their way to notify restaurants in advance of my allergies) Ambience: 4/5 (relaxing, clean and modern style villas) Drinks: 2/5 (minibar was scant and was refilled only intermittently) Total: 11.5/20