Katie Truman heads south to sample Awarta Nusa Dua Luxury Villas & Spa.
Proud of their ‘Peranakan’ ethnic culture, this Chinese-Indonesian family created their first (and so far, one-off) boutique property, the luxurious Awarta Nusa Dua Luxury Villas & Spa which unusually balances warm Balinese hospitality with Indonesian-Chinese Peranakan style, heritage and ambiance.
Awarta (actually part of the family’s surname) is a real family venture; the father overseeing the Peranakan-inspired architecture and the family matriarch supervising the landscaping, aiming to bring Ubud’s lush nature to Nusa Dua. The result is a tropical garden of Eden, found in the villas’ pretty gardens dominated by frangipani trees, the timbered pathway overhung with foliage leading to the cluster of villas and magnificent water wall feature (a recurring theme for all the villa’s private swimming pools) heading-up a giant reflection pool, the compound centrepiece.
The 14 sumptuous private pool villas come billed as “Your home away from home,” but it’s anyone’s guess whose home they refer to here (perhaps someone filthy rich with very good taste). Entered through a traditional wooden door into private high-walled gardens, the eight, one-bedroom Private Pool Villas (250-square metres) and larger, Royal Orchid, feature a single-storey main pavilion with vaulted serap roof and open-plan marbled floor interiors.
Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open out to a semi-open living and dining area beside the terrace and pool. Stylish bathrooms are roomy enough for his n’ her grooming, while an outdoor sensuous “playground” reveals an open-air spa-style bath filled with rose petals, discreetly screened with cotton drapes and tropical shower.
One-bedroom villas are the ultimate couple’s sanctuary (most holing-up for days, ordering room service from The Long Table restaurant), but families and sets of couples will feel right at home in the larger villas, which follow the same format as one-bedrooms. The two-storey, two-bedroom private pool villa and even larger, Royal Roselle, resemble mansions, with master suite, elegant indoor and outdoor living-dining areas and gazebo, while the three-bedroom private pool villa and largest of all, The Awarta (850-square-metres) are positively palatial, with a pool almost the size of a resort equivalent. These multi-room villas come even more lavishly decorated and far more spacious, but still can be classed as good value.
Villas – and throughout the public areas – drip with rich teak woods and Chinese-style furnishings and décor, which include lacquer art works and highly polished rosewood tables from Shanghai, while all modern comforts cover IPod docks and Illy coffee machines.
If anyone can bear to extricate themselves away from their villas, there are several resort facilities. There’s a 24-hour Fitness Centre and Thevana Spa, with sauna, steam room and Kneipp Foot Therapy facilities complimentary for in-house guests (don’t miss their wonderful yet uncommon spa therapies like the signature Peranakan Heritage ritual or Pot Garam, a Thai-Malay medicinal treatment with heated herbal terracotta pots).
Intimate fine-dining restaurant, Ru Yi, serves traditional mainland China and Hong Kong specialities with modern twists, worth dining alone for its exquisite red-themed interiors; head first for pre-dinner drinks at Eight Degrees bar, designed in vintage British-meets-Malay-Chinese drawing room style. Relatively new on the scene, Awarta has already bagged Conde Nast Johansens’ Best Newcomer Award 2016; everyone finding this “Home away from home” hard to forget, let alone leave.