A River Runs Through It: Saratoga

Karen Donald visits Saratoga Villa as the unique north Canggu property comes onto the market.

Nestled in a tranquil corner of Kediri, Tabanan Regency, Saratoga Villa is a fully renovated, turnkey and gorgeous property currently used for weddings, seminars and other events. Lovingly designed to offer guests a one-of-a-kind immersive experience just beyond the hip and desirable neighbourhood of Canggu, its appeal goes further than that, however. Australian owner Janet recently walked me through the property to reveal why it offers something for every type of visitor.

In addition to being one of the most beautiful and accessible jungle retreats available in Bali, this luxury jungle gem is also the perfect opportunity for buyers to jump on board and maximize existing business potential by running lucrative wellness retreats or offering guests the ultimate venue for a memorable wedding – complete with scenic views and cascading waterfalls.

In recent years, wellness has become a dominant lifestyle driver, profoundly changing both behaviour and spending decisions, bringing crowds to inclusive, secluded resorts on islands such as Bali. Saratoga is a business venture ready to utilize the explosive growth of the Asia-Pacific region, catering to people experiencing stress, information overload and urban pollution.

Comprising 3,050 square metres (30.50 are) of freehold land, plus an additional 550 square metres of leasehold land for view protection, Saratoga is situated between Canggu and Tanah Lot in Bali’s main growth corridor –just 18 minutes from the popular beach at Batu Bolong, and 40 minutes to the cultural centre of Ubud. Saratoga offers huge potential just beyond one of Bali’s best surf breaks, and the friendly banjar of Kaba Kaba is fully supportive of tourist development.

It took Janet and her French husband Ralph three years to establish Saratoga as a fully commercial venue. Their original vision was to offer a wedding venue, as the property boasts expansive views of a dramatically sculptured permanent river, but while running several workshops, guests began to report physical and emotional transformation. And that’s not hard to believe.

After entering through the imposing teak doors, the space presents an extremely relaxed ambience, with a beautiful 30-metre spring water swimming pool, adorned with carved fountainheads reminiscent of Tirta Empul Temple. Two stone lions guard a curving wooden walkway, flanked either side by a ‘Claude Monet’ style water-lily pond. Surrounded by walls of cool mossy stone, Saratoga is a welcome escape into the tropical jungle.

Guests love this charming villa with its open floor plan and breathtaking panoramic views. Each of the 42 hand-carved steps takes you down to an open, peaceful veranda with ceramic and wooden floors, which seamlessly transitions into the natural landscape. Rocks below sit beside a mountain stream, creating relaxing water sounds with no signs of trash on the ancient riverbed, nor obnoxious nightclubs in the area.

The style is perhaps best described as Colonial Mansion meets Temple of Doom exotica. What is evident is the love that has gone into its creation and the attention to detail everywhere, embuing the entire venue with a kind of magical and transformative power. The quirky configuration of two pieces of land on either side of the river includes a connecting 12-metre bridge, featuring steel art deco railings and carved columns. With a bridge view of tumbling rapids on one side, the other sees the river spreading out into a lazy crawl, with young Balinese boys playing happily, framed by towering bamboos and the pendulous greenery of giant leafed tropical plants. It’s a totally new experience for visitors.

The 1,500 square metres of vacant land and zoning allow for a total of 25 rooms to be constructed across the bridge with additional land available for sale, allowing for 50 guest rooms in total. Alternatively a shuttle bus could transport guests from surrounding accommodation in Pererenan and Canggu.

With over 740 square metres of covered indoor and outdoor living spaces there are beautiful areas to dine, dance and entertain. The property can cater comfortably for 150 standing guests, or 80 seated just in the main dining area alone. Saratoga also boasts its own commercial kitchen, and cocktail bar.

The villa currently has four fabulous bedrooms, all with private en-suites and built-in wardrobes. There is the Raja or King Suite with its mirror paneled walls, chandeliers, private massage room and bathroom with Victorian, freestanding bath, plus another three generously proportioned bedrooms each with centuries-old polished ironwood floors from an old flood plain bridge in Kalimantan.

A large open “Wantilan” or meeting house features over 80 square metres of elegantly java-tiled floor space, ideal for yoga sessions. The post-colonial, “Romeo and Juliet” balconies, and wrought iron fencing look out onto multiple vistas, and the Styling Room caters for weddings where the bride prepares for her big day on a specially constructed platform by the jungle-lined river.

Said Carol Carter of Queensland Sotheby’s International Realty: “Situated close to other successful retreats, such as Escape Ritual and Kaba Kaba Resort, there has never been a better time to invest in Saratoga. Don’t miss this incredibly rare opportunity to own a unique oasis of nature and one of the most beautiful and accessible jungle retreats I’ve seen.”

Saratoga Villa is priced at USD$2,500.000 or IDR35,000,000,000. Contact Carol Carter at Sotheby’s International Realty on +61 414 760 305 for more information. http://bit.ly/livebali

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