The delightful Villa Karishma is a classically-styled six-bedroom sanctuary, embracing the concept of tropical living on 2000 square metres of riverside land in the Balinese village of Umalas. The approach to the villa offers no clue to the peaceful haven that rests behind the high garden walls – a different world that blends history, culture and nature with lashings of comfort, tranquility and privacy. At this charming hideaway, a treasured collection of handpicked furniture and artwork invites you to relax, put up your feet and recharge your batteries. Yet this out-of-town location is only 2-3 kilometres from the restaurants and chic boutiques of the fashionable Petitenget and Seminyak area – Bali’s hip ‘n happening capital of cool.
The main two-storey house is built around two sides of a courtyard, planted with a frangipani tree and a row of royal palms, and embellished with two water fountains and a … hand-carved bas-relief wall mural. On the third side of the courtyard is a high-roofed, glass-sided living and dining room, which stretches the entire width of the property, and on the far side of this is the rear garden with its enticing 20-metre swimming pool and terrace, dotted with shaded loungers, against the natural wooded backdrop of the river embankment. In one corner of the garden is an elevated gazebo that overlooks the river. Two of the six air-conditioned bedrooms, including the master suite, and the children’s playroom / TV room – which converts to a twin-bedded room at night, are positioned upstairs in the main building. The remaining four bedrooms are on the ground floor: two open onto the pool terrace and two are situated towards the rear of the house. Each bedroom is adjoined by an indulgent ensuite bathroom.
Centrally positioned is the villa’s expansive living & dining room, offering the choice of semi-open-air living, cooled by ceiling fans and natural breezes, or air-conditioned comfort under a soaring roof. Presided over by a decorative Torajan roof panel, this elegant room features a palimanan stone bar with a polished black granite top – with four bar chairs – at one end, next to a grand solid-wood dining table for 12 partnered with an eclectic array of mismatched chairs, which gives the setting an arty edge. At the other end is a cosy sitting area with two large and deeply cushioned sofas and three armchairs, and a glass-topped coffee table showcasing an antique door. The room is completed with a cabinet of coffee-table books, a small games table for two with a dice game, sculptures, urns and some fascinating Asian artifacts including a Chinese musical instrument known as a Ruan. Tall sliding glass doors open on three sides to provide access to the rear garden and the pool. Hidden behind the living & dining room is the kitchen, which guests are welcome to use. It is fully equipped with a large oven, hob, coffee machine, microwave, fridge and freezer, together with a corner breakfast table complete with cushioned seating for six.
The walled garden, elevated above the river and open to the river embankment view at one end, is a peaceful retreat filled with the sound of birdsong and the murmur of the river. The garden is dominated by an enticing 20-metre swimming pool. The pool is bordered by velvety lawns on two sides, which are punctuated by mature trees including a fragrant frangipani and a flowering butterfly tree. The timber and stone pool deck is furnished with miscellany of sunbeds and umbrellas, beanbag sunbeds and shaded daybeds. On the terrace next to the living & dining room is an antique daybed and an alfresco dining table that seats eight but can be extended to accommodate more – perfect for breakfast or a leisurely lunch. Thoughtful poolside additions include an outdoor pool shower, a collection of inflatable pool toys and a selection of sun lotions and after-sun balms. Resting in the far corner of … the garden is a lofty gazebo accessed by a flight of 10 steps and romantically decorated with billowing white drapes and a candelabra. A table and four chairs are positioned here, overlooking the tree-lined river and thickets of bamboo, to create a quiet spot for reading or relaxing with an afternoon cocktail.
Villa Karishma is supported by a manager and a carefully selected team of staff who will cook breakfast (at extra cost) and clean the villa daily during your stay. Friendly, helpful and discrete, they are on hand to answer any of your questions, buy groceries, and to generally make your stay as hassle free and agreeable as possible. A security team guards the villa for your safety and peace-of-mind. A car and driver, tour guide, baby-sitting and massage services, and extra staff are also available on request at extra cost.
The lavish master suite is situated on the upper floor of the main building with a soaring roof, and sliding doors opening onto a wrap-around balcony with a garden view. This enormous bedroom and sitting space is furnished with a centrally-positioned king-size bed, and features a seductive contemporary décor complemented by black leather furnishings, a TV/DVD, a huge wall mirror, quirky pieces of artistry and a black & white cowhide rug upon a polished timber floor. The en-suite bathroom features an oversized Jacuzzi tub with angled jet sprays, a separate rainshower recess, a double vanity and a walk-in wardrobe.
Also positioned on the upper floor, the children’s room is a … playroom and TV room by day with beanbag seating, a table and a large wall mural, and a bedroom by night with a pair of twin beds that pull down from the wall. It is supported by an ensuite bathroom with a rainshower and bathtub.
Three of the remaining four guestrooms are similarly sized and, although different in colour accent and décor, they share the same amenities; air conditioning, double beds, writing desks, built-in wardrobes and mini fridges; one bedroom has a TV & DVD player. The fourth guestroom, on the ground floor of the main building, is slightly larger, rocking a black and white theme and boasting a cosy sitting area with a black leather sofa, chaise longue and chair and a huge TV. All have ensuite bathrooms, which vary slightly in size but all are filled with fresh air and natural light and all have rainshowers, tubs and twin vanity units.
Villa Karishma rests riverside at the end of a frangipani shaded driveway in the Balinese village of Umalas, on Kerobokan’s rural fringe. This is a fast developing area with lots of new villas appearing almost overnight in what was once pure rice field land. As a result, small restaurants are popping up like mushrooms in the rainy season to support the guests who stay in the villas. Don’t expect many shops apart from the occasional flower shop or workshop, a couple of small fashion boutiques, and several 24-hour convenience stores within walking distance. However, there is a nearby taxi service on call, as well as some ATMs, a state-of-the-art fitness centre (1.8km), a pub, a health food store, a butcher, a baker, and almost certainly a candlestick maker.
A variety of beaches within five kilometres in several directions includes Seminyak, Petitenget, Batubelig and Berawa. There is a wide choice of fine dining, mid range, and cheep ‘n cheerful restaurants, bars, beach clubs and beach bars in Batubelig, Petitenget and Seminyak (2km – 5km). For shopping, visit the numerous chic boutiques in the Seminyak area, as well as furniture, antique and homeware stores on the main road in the nearby Kerobokan area, which is also abundant in garden centres.
Surfers can ride the waves at Berawa Beach, which offers three different breaks and is only 2.8 kilometres from the villa via a rice field shortcut. Horse riding is available at Kuda P Riding Stables and Bali Equestrian Centre, both of which are within a few kilometres of Villa Karishma, offering beach and rice field rides. The wave-lashed Tanah Lot sea temple (15km) is probably the most photographed temple in Bali, and well worth a visit at sunset.
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