So, You’ve decided to holiday in Bali.
Now, the big decision is, where to stay? Will you succumb to the lure of Legian, be seduced by Seminyak or charmed by Canggu? A visitor to Bali in this day and age can be overwhelmed by the variety of 3, 4 and 5 star hotels, hundreds of self contained villas as well as charming home stays catering to every taste and budget.
However before you press that, “book my holiday button,” perhaps you will allow me to introduce you to one of the wonders of one of Bali’s best kept secrets.
This charming seaside village, on the ‘other side,’ is a mere 45 minute drive away from the hustle and bustle and far from the maddening crowd who flock to indulge in the hedonistic pleasures provided by the likes of Kuta, Nusa Dua or Seminyak.
Sanur sits on the eastern side of the island and, unlike its cousins on the West, the coastline is protected by an off shore reef about 500m out from the pristine white sand that for stretches for 12 km East to West.
A paved boulevard, perfect for cycling or a brisk early morning walk runs along the entire beachfront, perfect for watching the sun rise out of an azure blue sea, watched over by the majestic Mt Agung.
Sanur was often referred to, rather unkindly I feel, as Snore given its quiet, village like environment, which actually runs at a pace reminiscent of the Bali of old.
In the last few years however Sanur has seen a few 5 star hotels spring up which now sit comfortably, cheek by compatible jowl alongside the older establishments that line the main street; to be fair, these new hotels have added an extra layer of charm and service to the area.
One is rather spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out in Sanur with a large range of restaurants which line the main street and down little lanes offering western and local cuisine with prices that wont really lighten your wallet.
New boutiques have recently moved into the area, offering unique Balinese home wares and fashions that rival anything Seminyak has to offer.
It was my first time in Sanur and I had neglected to book any accommodation and so took my chances by wandering into Kejora Villas the only beachside villa complex in the village.
As it turned out it was one of the best choices I have ever made on my travels around Bali or in fact in Indonesia.
Lucky for me, I met Wi, a smiling Balinese manager from Cool Bali Villas, who by chance had a late cancellation that meant a villa was free for the next ten days, which I was told was extremely rare.
Given that the entire complex comprises of just 16 superbly appointed residences it is no wonder that it is a popular destination for the discerning traveller as well as attracting repeat guests.
After chatting with Wi for a few minutes, it was time to check out my quarters. Wandering through the complex I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed and in fact my appointed digs far exceeded my wildest expectations!
Sixteen Kejora a three- bedroom villa, complete with a comfortable and well- appointed lounge room set the tone for the rest of the residence.
I spent the first ten minutes lying on the comfortable king size beds Goldilocks like contemplating which bedroom to occupy. Each bedroom has a ‘tropical’ bathroom complete with outdoor shower…. bliss! The living area is tastefully furnished with a couch and comfortable armchair, which seemed to be begging to be napped upon. There was free fast Wi- fi, a large Television and doors that lead out onto a delightful private garden and pool.
A cold, complimentary Bintang lager and small fruit platter was in the fridge along with a welcoming note from the owner, Vanessa, a bubbly English woman, long term Bali resident.
Right, time to explore the complex and head the beach.
Wandering through the grounds I pass several villas occupied by ex-patriots who have made the island home, and now live in this tropical oasis year round…. lucky buggers!
The beach is a mere 80-meter walk away and, once through a discreet door one-steps out onto a pleasant ‘private’ beach with blindingly white sand. An attentive staff member set me up on a comfortable chaise lounge chair and then spent the next few minutes adjusting the umbrella, ensuring that I had exactly the right amount of shade.
The ocean here is calm and due to the reef, the surf breaks off – shore creating a safe swimming environment ideal for paddle boarding, kite surfing and snorkeling.
Kejora Villas staff will happily arrange all the gear you require as well as arrange day trips to some of the surrounding islands.
My stay was nothing short of idyllic as I spent my days lying on my beach chair, having massages from the roving Balinese ladies who perform their magic right there on the sand, bargaining with the souvenir sellers and generally engaging with the locals.
By night I discovered some intimate restaurants and cozy bars as well as watching a few outstanding bands playing in one or two of the rowdier bars that line the street.
I could of course wax lyrical about my stay at Kejora Villas but really, anything I write here is hard to do it justice so I do suggest you see for yourself just how a fabulous stay in a seaside villa can deliver a holiday of a lifetime.
So, as they say, if you don’t try it, you’ll never know!
So, go on, press that “book now’ button, I guarantee you wont be disappointed.
Paul v Walters is the best selling author of several novels and when not cocooned in sloth and procrastination scribbles for numerous international travel and vox pop journals.
He was not commissioned to write this piece and stayed at Kejora Villas travelling on “his own steam”