Excerpts from some of my published villa reviews


    On a headland beside a remote, windswept beach in Tabanan, Bali’s ‘Rice Bowl’, rests an astonishing six-bedroom sanctuary, known as Villa Babar. This beautiful holiday rental villa is blessed with a 360 degree panoramic vista, encompassing mountains, rice fields, the Indian Ocean and the island’s scenic coastline all the way down to Uluwatu on the southwest extremity of the Bukit Peninsula. Mt Batukaru stands sentinel on the northern skyline, and on a clear day you can see Java; to the east you can watch the sunrise behind Mt Agung and, to the west, the sunsets are amazing. No expense was spared in the creation of this magnificent property – there is even a helipad – and yet there is nothing ostentatious about Villa Babar, the elegant simplicity ensures that nothing detracts from the awesome view.



    This beautiful beachside bolthole offers exactly what you’d suppose from a tropical getaway: spellbinding views, squeaky white sands, soothing seas, soaring peaks and oodles of coconut palms blowing in the breeze. In fact, if more people knew about it, Sira Beach – at the end of the garden – would probably rank as one of the loveliest beaches in the world. Yet, it would be a shame to come all this way and feel that you could be anywhere in the world. No worries on that score. At Sira Beach House, you can expect to find yourselves firmly embedded in Lombok, but with the provision of every contemporary comfort and facility, from a home theatre to a tennis court –to keep you busy while you’re beached-up in this far-flung location. Almost everything else, from the team of thoughtful staff to the grass roofs to the patchwork walls of local stone, is made in Lombok. The decor and amenities reflect the well-travelled eyes of the owners, who trawled the island to source an entire range of pottery tableware, hand-woven textiles, museum-worthy tribal treasures and other resonant flavours of the locale.

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    Goodbye minimalism, hello sensualism. screams C2, a groovy three-in-one residence in the heart of trendy Seminyak, where post-minimalism roars into eclecticism and revels in the retro.

    Names can be deceptive and while C2 may sound like a chemical formula or an astromech droid, the beautifully carved front door of this city-slick pad opens to reveal a trio of villas with the aspirational, cheery names of Dream, Joy and Smile. What’s more – through an innovative system of sliding doors – Dream, Joy and Smile (each with its own swimming pool and private entrance) can be united or divided to provide guests with anything from a two-bedroom to an eight-bedroom renting option.

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    Crafted from indigenous palimanan and serai stone, and capped with alang-alang thatch, the villa is a marriage of traditional Balinese style and contemporary tropical design. From its atmospheric living pavilion modelled on a Balinese ‘Wantilan’ or village meeting place, to its cream palette and understated décor, Puri Bawana is effortlessly cool. Furthermore, it is perfect for families, with frog-filled lily ponds and high-tech surprises at every turn of its pergola-covered walkways.

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    Here, shingle roofs and a corridor of lotus-filled ponds lead the way to interiors of fresh contemporary design embellished with bold bursts of colour. Four standalone bedroom pavilions are split into pairs, while an indoor-outdoor living room spills onto the terrace of a jungle-style swimming pool that twists and turns to meet jacuzzi jets and a splashing waterfall. Throw in a huge coconut grove garden and all the facilities and games you’ll ever need in this remote hideaway, together with the services of a topnotch chef and team of very obliging and endearing staff, and what more could you ask for!

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    Sunset in Canggu and something extraordinary is stirring at Villa Tugu. Approaching via a narrow country lane, we spy orange lanterns glowing through the dense foliage. Two welcome statues are waiting at the main entrance, the heavy iron gates are pulled open and an impressive driveway comes into view. Flamboyant trees and travellers’ palms dot the smooth carpet of grass – their names offering a clue, perhaps, to the nature of our host. Suddenly, we hear the clear metallic tinkle of a gamelan orchestra; six stone statues have come to life! An ensemble of happy laughing instrumentalists is seated on one side of a candlelit path, greeting the party guests with music, laughter and smiles.

    A pair of ancient fertility statues from the island of Flores bids us a fruitful evening, and a cast of Wayang Kulit puppets guides our way, their shadows distorted as they enact a play within a theatre of lanterns. Entering the rotund pavilion we are bombarded with bold colour, “blue and green should never be seen,” our grandmothers used to declare. Villa Tugu’s owners, however, have dared to defy old sayings and the white-walled traditions of contemporary décor; this pairing of ultramarine and emerald looks amazing!


    Entering the main building of the intriguing oval shaped villa is like walking into a treasure trove; rustic innovation is blended with western comfort and quality, and the attention to detail is remarkable. Every step that you take will reveal a surprise, such as an antique door, an ornate washbasin, a hidden alcove, or a garden bathtub fashioned like the spirals of a giant shell. You could spend a month in the property and still continue to be struck by the decorative embellishments and blend of rich colours.


Thank you so much for your write up and the time you took to get to know our villa. I love the way you organised the story and the enthusiasm with which you wrote it....