Villa Raja

4 br  |  from USD 430

This quite extraordinary dwelling is one of Bali’s newest and most opulent mansions, and yet the moment you enter Villa Raja, it’s as if you’ve taken a time machine back to Bali’s golden era of architecture. Tired of the plethora of minimalist “Bali Zen” villas springing up across the island, owners Ralph and Janet Hogan set out to turn back the clock and create an architectural masterpiece to showcase the myriad textures, styles, arts and crafts for which Bali is so rightly famous.

Crafted by two of the island’s most talented traditional builders, this is a structure of great beauty with a timeless patina which weaves state of the art technology into a fabulous fabric of antiquity. 400 year old timbers, richly carved paneling, coral, pebbles, limestone, marble and even re-cut Art Deco roof tiles decorate every aspect of the building.

Beneath this dramatic exterior, new buildings frame and stabilise an ancient 12 metre high ironwood and teak “jineng”, containing the ground floor media room (complete with giant cinema screen and foundation-shaking Yamaha sound system.) Upstairs, an unforgettable master bedroom, with soaring 6 metre ceilings and sweeping views of the surrounding rice paddies. The massive antique carved bedhead frames a king size bed and was once a prestigious house façade in Java. One visitor likens spending a night here to “sleeping in the world’s sexiest art gallery,” with waxed, black ironwood floors, massive teak beams and, wrapping around the room, the unfolding saga of the Ramayana in beautiful, softly lit kamisan paintings.

The bedroom leads onto a separate walk in robe (huge) complete with safe, and an exotic, hand-formed ensuite bathroom that’s straight out of the Arabian nights. This in turn opens onto the eye-popping Gaudi-esque outdoor shower, patterned entirely underfoot and on all sides with a dazzling collection of 1920s terrazzo tiles rescued from mansions being demolished in Java.

The villa features another 3 stunning bedrooms with beautiful ensuite bathrooms. One forms the upper floor of a separate smaller timber jineng which overhangs the huge 20 metre lpool, rimmed with carved stone and fed by spouting, 2 metre stone statues. Here you swim in drinkable water produced by a sophisticated colloidal silver purification plant. The pool also features an 8 metre waterslide made by the builders of Bali’s famous roller coaster waterslide centre, “Waterbom” in Kuta.
Like the country which inspired it, Villa RaJa is itself an unforgettable cultural experience. From the huge ‘fantastic creatures” front door (carved out of a 1000 year old sprawling lychee root) to the magnificent, carved Borobodur style taro stone gate; or the priceless antique Sumba stone ceremonial slab which serves as a bridge to the dining gazebo, which “floats” on a water lily pond, replete with giant fish. This is indeed a photographer’s paradise.

The Healthiest Villa in Bali
After 20 years of tolerating wrenching gut problems, twisted limbs from shonky architecture, lying awake to an insane cacophany of flirting geckos and fighting rodents, or sweltering in the heat while drowning in mosquito repellant, the owners decided that some aspects of their villa would be quintessentially un-Balinese.

Insect screens, (practically unknown in Bali) protect all bedroom and bathroom windows at Villa Raja. All rooms are air conditioned and supplied with fans as well. The buildings have been built to Western safety design standards so no shonky, wobbly steps, cracked paths or dangerous shortcuts here.

A sophisticated advanced secondary sewerage treatment system ensures that Villa RaJa only recycles clean, safe water back into the Balinese environment.

Kitchen staff have been trained in Western standards of hygiene and prepare food in two impeccably clean and modern kitchens (one for guests, one for kitchen staff) but of course training is of little use in a country where an ice block in your gin and tonic can put you on your back for a week.

Water, water everywhere but not a drop you’d drink
If there is one thing as synonymous with Bali as beauty, it’s tourists laid down with Bali Belly. Bali’s water is decidedly 3rd world and everyone uses bottled water to drink, brush teeth etc. But it’s pretty well impossible, if not financially unviable, to wash food in bottled water, or shower and wash in it, which is why the owners have installed a state of the art water purification plant, again using the colloidal silver filtration system, the world’s most effective water purification technology (as used on the space shuttle.) Pure, totally safe drinking water is piped to all showers, basins etc in the house.

Summary of features

Rates
Low USD 550
rest of the year

High USD 650
Chinese New Year, Easter Week, July 15 – Sep 15

Peak USD 950
Aug 1–31, Dec 15–Jan 8

Rates are inclusive of taxes and full staff.

Minimum Stay Requirements
* Low Season: 3 nights
* High Season: 7 nights
* Peak Season: 10 nights
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