For the past 10 days I’ve been soaking up rays in Bali (yippee!) and for three nights I was lucky enough to head over to the island of Nusa Lembongan to stay at the most stunning villa I’ve laid eyes on – 353 Degrees North. Big call I know, but have a read and you’ll see why (plus there’s a special discount for RJL readers!).
The villa, owned and designed by talented Perth interior designer Jodie Cooper, opened in April 2015 and with four bedrooms and bathrooms it’s ideal for a getaway with friends or family, or even a romantic escape (yup, hubby and I hogged the place to ourselves!).
From the moment you step foot through the gates you’re instantly blown away…so much so that you’ll need a couple of seconds to pick up your jaw from the floor. Here’s a sneak peak of THAT view when you arrive:
Holy moly. Yes, a happy dance is totally acceptable.
The glorious 14m infinity pool, with sprawling views of Jungut Batu Beach and Mount Agung looming in the background, is a worthy centrepiece. Pool with a view…you can’t go wrong! From the outside, you could easily mistake the setting for Greece or Italy (just trade the Ouzo for a Bintang). Think: fresh, white facade, daybed on the rooftop, huge detached alfresco area, cheerful Bougainvillea and sparrows skimming the pool at sunset. Bliss.
Inside, the villa is cleverly laid out with two freestanding wings, which is ideal if you’re travelling with families or couples. The main hub of the villa is the west wing that features a spacious split-level open plan living area with TV, Sonos speakers, huge couch that looks out over the pool and two occasional chairs complete with footstools, PLUS there’s super speedy wi-fi (big tick!). The kitchen, with floating island bench and cowhide stools, is akin to something out of Vogue Living. It conveniently has all the appliances you’ll need to cook in-house (there’s even a BBQ outside) and it’s where you’ll be prepared your complimentary brekky each morning by the wonderful housekeepers, Ketut and Ocha (the banana pancakes are SO good!).
The two bedrooms and bathrooms in the west wing are their own level of stunning. Intricate wood panels from a 100 year old rice temple in Sulawesi frame the master bedroom, which is enclosed by glass sliding doors so you can see the greenery in the courtyard or you can look straight out in the living room and the views beyond. The double doors take you through to a huge bathroom and outdoor shower – you can stand under the rainwater shower-head with the smell of the frangipani that peaks over the wall (best shower ever!). The east wing is comprised of two bathrooms, a bedroom, and a room with a desk, huge daybed and bi-folds that open onto the deck with sun beds and bean bags couches (note: the daybed can be converted to a normal bed if you plan on sleeping 8 at the villa).
Jodie has meticulously filled the villa with treasured items that she’s collected from all over the world: rugs that she dragged around Morocco, vintage talismans from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan but everything aside from the decor and lights were sourced in Bali and tie everything back to its roots. All the textures, colours, attention to detail and the stories behind the decor and artwork give the villa warmth and plenty of personality. Speaking of personality, the villa is also home to two gorgeous, happy pups and while they’re happy to stay outside if you’re a dog lover they lap up attention. Really, it feels more like you’re borrowing a house from a well-travelled friend with impeccable taste but one who isn’t afraid to put their feet up on the sofa or watch TV sprawled out on a rug. It feels like a home as well as a little piece of holiday paradise.
If you can drag yourself out of the villa there is so much to do on Nusa Lembongan! To get around the island you can hire a scooter or golf buggy through the villa or just take advantage of the many restaurants with pick-up and drop-off services. As soon as you get off the fast boat ride from Sanur the vivid turquoise of the ocean is breathtaking and it’s no wonder that its waters are ideal for snorkelling, diving, surfing, stand-up paddling boarding and kayaking. Head over the little yellow bridge to neighbouring island, Nusa Ceniginan for the day (check out the seaweed farms on the way) and close by is also a wonderful local artist called Rai, who is just near Mamma Mia (a fantastic seafood restaurant overlooking the seaweed farms). Or, if you don’t feel like venturing too far there is the overwater Deck Bar and Cafe with views that are too good to be true, where you can sip cocktails and while away the hours.
Pic: The Deck Bar and Cafe (taken by Jade Just)
Top restaurant picks: Hai Bar and Grill, Sandy Bay Beach Club, Mamma Mia, The Deck Bar & Cafe, Muntigs Bar and Restaurant
How to get to Nusa Lembongan: It’s a 25 minute boat ride from Sanur, and then you’ll jump in a car to be taken to the villa. Kiri, the bookings manager will help you arrange your transfer.
RJL SPECIAL OFFER!
20% discount off villa prices*, use the promo code: RJL353
*Offer runs for 2 weeks from Tuesday 5th April. Valid for stays between Tuesday 5th April and December 15th 2016, subject to availability.
The villa comfortable sleeps six but can be adjusted to sleep eight. Rates below are to book the whole villa for your exclusive use.
High season: $920 AUD per night – December 15 to January 31; June 1 to September 30
Low season: $690 AUD per night – February 1 to May 31; October 1 to December 14
Written by Jade Just – Contributing Travel Editor