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Villa Belong Dua
|US$ 320 – US$ 440
|Individual Villa Compound
From the moment they enter Seseh village and cross the threshold of Villa Belong Dua, guests will experience the warm hospitality, history and culture of Bali. The name of the villa is taken from a stone water vessel, dating back to a time when these containers could be found in every household, and were used every day to store water for drinking and washing. Several original antique belongs are showcased at the villa, along with an antique ‘jineng’, which is a traditional thatched Balinese rice barn and a symbol of social status, indicating that the family who owned it had land for rice culture. The jineng now serves as a place to relax or as a playhouse for kids. The villa’s imposing entrance gate is a copy of an 8th century Hindu temple gate at Angkor Wat in Cambodia and, after passing through this, guests will cross a lily pond complete with a bubbling water feature and a Balinese guardian statue. There is also an antique ‘bale gede’ from Bali’s royal Gianyar regency. This lovely old open-sided pavilion made from the timber structure of a Balinese 2 bedroom pavilion was also used for Balinese ceremonies and is now used for relaxation and massage. Villa Belong Dua sits in a traditional street, which is well lit at night. A nearby pathway offers walks through the village to the river, rice fields and beach.
The living pavilion is located close to the main entrance, overlooking the garden and pool. Distinguished by a vaulted roof supported by eight wooden pillars, and open on three sides, it is furnished with a comfy, oversized daybed, and a low dining table sourced from a Javanese ‘warung’ (eatery), surrounded by floor cushions. A large mirror reflects the sunny garden, and the pavilion is beautifully lit at night.
Behind the living pavilion is an air-conditioned media room, which doubles as an office it is fitted with built-in desks, sofa area equipped with a Satellite TV and DVD player.
The semi-open-air dining room shares a pavilion with the kitchen, and the two rooms are linked via a service bar that can be closed for privacy. The dining room is furnished with an antique table, six chairs, and an antique wooden chest on wheels, known as a ‘gerobog’ originally used for storing rice. There is also an iPod and dock. The room is cooled by ceiling fans and natural breezes, and has the provision of electric blinds on the two open sides in case of rain or strong wind. A guest washroom is positioned to one side of the dining room. The immaculate polished kitchen is fully equipped with a five-burner gas hob and oven, fridge and everything else that the cook needs to create delicious meals.
The two bedrooms are in separate stand-alone pavilions named ‘Menaga’ and ‘Bangkat’, these names that go back to the time when the village of Seseh was much bigger and administratively divided into three ‘banjars’ or local village councils. Each bedroom features an open-air terrace at the front, lit by colonial-style bell-jar lanterns; Bangkat’s terrace is furnished with an antique daybed on wheels, and Menaga’s terrace with a built-in cushioned daybed. Each romantic air-conditioned bedroom is furnished with a king-size netted bed upon a wooden floor complete with a shag pile rug, under a soaring roof. The walls are cream with terracotta tiling behind the bed, and each bedroom is equipped with a wall-mounted LCD screen satellite-channel TV and DVD player. Sliding doors can be opened for cross ventilation and the rooms also have the additional facility of ceiling fans. Each bedroom opens into a delightful, air-conditioned bathroom, decorated in earthy tones. Bangkat’s bedroom has a charming, spacious dressing room off the bathroom, furnished with a wardrobe, chair and a dressing table that doubles as a desk. Bangkat bedroom boasts a recycled timber floor, and a dressing area with a built in wardrobe, a long mirror, and an antique dressing table. Each en-suite bathroom is fitted with a sculptured terrazzo bathtub for two, and double washbasins upon a terrazzo vanity unit, which faces a window to ensure plenty of natural light. Glass doors can be opened for a semi-alfresco bathing experience, complete with an outdoor rain shower set in a private walled courtyard with a pebbled floor and a serene Buddha statue. There is also a handheld shower in each bathtub, and a circular skylight that channels the moonshine.
The large garden at Villa Belong Dua is gorgeous, characterised by mature trees and open skies, with a dazzling 20 x 4 metre swimming pool as its central feature. The slate-lined pool is presided over by a Buddha head statue; it presents a separate shallow section for children and is bordered by a candi stone deck furnished with one double and two single Sunbrella sun beds. There is also the thoughtful provision of an outdoor pool shower. The fragrant landscaped garden has a velvety lawn, and is planted with coconut palms, frangipani, lemon and mango trees, pineapple plants, ginger and lemongrass. It is surrounded by a rustic wall crafted from crushed paras’s stone applied by hand and unpainted. A Balinese temple shrine rests in the northeast corner.
The antique ‘bale gede’ is a traditional open-sided pavilion, originally used for Balinese ceremonies such as the Potong Gigi (Tooth Filing Ceremony), and now rests beside the swimming pool. Furnished with two timber built-in beds, some step stools taken from an old sugar cane press and a prayer table, it is a perfect spot for couples to enjoy a massage, or just chill out with a good book. It is constructed of twelve wooden pillars resting on paras’s stone plinths, which support a roof of radiating beam work crowned with alang alang thatch.
A few kilometres to the northwest of Canggu, a towering banyan-one of the ‘elders’ of the tree kingdom-heralds the turning to Seseh, a traditional beachside village approached via an avenue of coconut palms.
The village of Seseh still retains the customs and culture of old Bali. Here, you will see the rice being planted and harvested in the fields, fishing boats returning in the morning with the nights catch, as well as frequent, colourful processions to the large beachside temple. There are no international restaurants here, but you might just see a barong dancing on the street. A Barong is a high-spirited, benevolent beast representing the power of good; danced by two men inside an ornate costume. The good news, for folks who want to immerse themselves in the customs and culture of old Bali, is that the people of Seseh encourage and welcome congenial visitors. There are now a number of private rental villas in this area, which have seamlessly integrated without in any way detracting from the simplicity and charm of the two villages.
Historically, the fishing village of Seseh was important in the 18th century when the temple was established as the major temple of the former Kingdom of Mengwi. At that time it was also a small trading port, inhabited by a number of families of Chinese decent. Likewise there are records of Chinese-style shop houses in Banjar Sogsogan during this period.
Today, this is an ideal destination for those who want to get lost in the beauty of the countryside, and for those who want to engage with the local people and gain privileged insights into the Balinese Hindu lifestyle.
Villa Belong Dua is one hour’s drive from Bali’s International Airport and 20 minutes’ drive from the busy shops, world-class restaurants and vibrant nightlife of Seminyak. It is also 20 minutes’ drive from Nirwana Golf Course, one of the best golf courses in Asia; and close to Tanah Lot, Bali’s most dramatic and venerated sea temple. The famous surfing beaches of Canggu and Pererenan are within walking distance. The majority of the island’s shopping malls, theme parks and tourist attractions are also within reach.
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