Ondy Sweeting experiences a unique Berawa property with a style all its own.
Like walking into a Salvador Dali painting during his happier times, an experience at creative sensation Pascal Morabito’s Berawa villa is wondrously surreal.
The mind-boggling collection of art, furniture and artifacts are the first things to halt a curious mind.
A flock of white wooden carved birds suspended over the entrance gently bounce in the breeze to greet you – apart from bountiful bagatelle of relics that flank the property.
Enter ‘Morabito Living’ to find long tables lined with Chinese porcelain in piles, Asian furniture, statuary from remote islands, ancient wedding crowns, concrete carved funereal memorials with characters in Mandarin and pods of giant metal monkeys. The collection is so perfectly placed and spaced that the museum quality pieces are of stand-alone interest – rather than creating a messed up vibe.
A professional curator with an eye for interiors is behind every installation. Pascal Morabito is an artist, designer, architect, perfumier and colourful collector of all manner of objet d’art; he is a superb interior decorator with precision for placement.
A brush stroke smaller than one hectare – the Morabito Art Villa estate has a restaurant, tree house bar, sprawling living spaces, private dining rooms behind Jepara carved panels and a slice of Berawa beach that delivers an air of French sophistication to an area brimming with beach bars and booming music.
Think vast lawns dotted with pretty balés – sun lounges, armchairs, landscaped gardens and trees beside the ocean. Giant crystal rocks are beautifully lit up at night and there’s a children’s space by the pool where the chairs are in the trees and vary, Alice-style, from tiny to enormous. Coconuts nesting in towering palm trees are red rather than green.
Morabito Art Villa has 14 rooms set across seven suites and seven rooms. Each one is vastly different to the other. The Damien Hirst suite – named for the one-time guest and celebrated artist – has original artwork from its namesake, a private pool, kitchen with port holes for windows and giant white renditions of sea life. The view across the estate to the surf at Morabito beach is delightful. You can stay where Damien may have found his ‘treasure’ inspiration after long talks with Pascal about Pandora-like findings that led to his Venice Biennale work.
The canopy suite is a second floor space – with big views to match – and two private pools – a white one and a black one plus an outdoor shower posted in the centre of a pond with three shower heads – like a mythical beast. Inside French Regency drinks cabinets capture attention. In an earlier life it would have been on wheels and with a runner to push it where it was needed. Black floorboards contrast with white walls that feature an installation of Pascal’s work of Chinese porcelain finished with contemporary resin from an exhibition in Marseilles. A bed is suspended from the ceiling and swings gently in the air.
There is a Museum Suite – which has multiple dining spaces and a glass wall view into Morabito’s astounding museum – where the best of the Morabito collection is presented and sold from, while a spa suite has a separate bedroom and a massage room curtained off from the living space.
The Kings Suite – is an ode to Chinese style in an open sided joglo with dark wood, red pillars and opulent style with thrones and alter tables. A small door has golden Chinese characters and leads into the space of the suite. A glass wall has shelves with dozens of pieces of oriental ceramics and a view of the beach. A piece of Pascal’s wonderful ‘earthquake’ series, of fractured jars in black and yellow with gapping pieces missing that create an celestial quality, sit upon a table. Black lacquered stairs – thoughtfully fitted with motion sensor lighting – lead to another universe of ethereal Franco prettiness with white painted furniture in the feminine French style with many mirrors, a long leather sofa packed with cushions, a collection of brass Asian deities in contemporary recessed and spot lighted cabinetry. A four-poster bedroom is netted and gorgeous and hidden behind a remote controlled black-out curtain to protect sleepy eyes from the full beach view through a glass wall to the balcony. The bathroom has a massage table in the entre and a beautiful white armoire and the floors are sleek, polished concrete. This is where the brides go to prepare for their nuptials.
Morabito is an unforgettable destination for a wedding – not only with its external colonnade wall fitted with colourful antique opium beds in yellow, blue, red, white and pink, the estate has the ability to house entire families in uniquely different spaces with a lovely pool in the centre of the beautiful lawns that are a rare treat when held in private hands.
The restaurant – which is absolutely French in style and dining – caters for 40 to 500. It has a treetop bar set back from the beach – plus a little shop selling dresses, vintage sun glasses, hats and antique jewelry.
Morabito restaurant is the place to unleash your inner-Provençal with double linened lunch tables shaded by tropical trees and set with fine crystal and porcelain. Silver ice buckets dripping condensation on to the soft grass while chilling wine and water. Delightful dishes such as a luscious mushroom soup and salade Nicoise made with fresh tuna crusted with sesame seeds arrive as ordered.
Outside guests are welcome to spend a day at Morabito beach with a pool pass for Rp150,000 per person. After a day lounging by the pool or surfing in the ocean, guests can slip into one of eight enormous stone baths – each are big enough for up to three people – which border the sand and lawns. Order a cocktail to be delivered directly to the bath and enjoy that famous Bali sunset.