Ultimate Villa Vacations: Room and Boards

  • The Istana’s nearly 105-foot-long main pool overlooks the legendary surf break of Uluwatu, on Bali’s southwest coast.
  • Photograph by Paul Pegler/www.istockphoto.com
    Photograph by Paul Pegler/www.istockphoto.com
  • Photograph by Paul Pegler/www.istockphoto.com
<< Back to Robb Report, July 2008
  • Compiled by Lori Bryan, Jennifer Hall, Michael Schulze, and Oliver Slosser

Four friends travel from Los Angeles to Bali, Indonesia, for a 10-day surfing trip.

Providers.
Air travel by New World Jet Corp. (201.288.8400, www.jetaviation.com) and Air Bali (www.airbali.com); villa developed by Elite Havens Group (+62.361.731.074, www.elitehavensbali.com) and available through BHM Villas (+62.361.730.668, www.bhmvillas.com).

Getting There. A limousine sent by New ?World Jet Corp., the U.S. charter operator for Swiss company Jet Aviation, delivers the travelers to the Landmark Aviation facility at Los Angeles International Airport, where they board an ultra-long-range Gulfstream G500. “Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport is approximately 18 flight hours from LAX,” notes Jet Aviation vice president Michael Volpe, “so the Gulfstream needs to stop at the Marshall Islands to refuel and change crew. During that stop, the aircraft’s reclining club seats will be set up for sleeping.” The G500 features a full galley and includes such amenities as phone, DVD, Internet, and iPod hookups. At the end of the flight, which costs $475,000 round-trip, the men, escorted by a BHM Villas employee, clear immigration and customs. A chauffeur greets the travelers at the arrival gate and drives them to their destination, about 30 minutes away.

Villa. “Considering the surfing aspect of the trip, the logical villa to recommend is the Istana [www.theistana.com], as it overlooks the world-famous Uluwatu surf break,” says Ian Macaulay, president-director of Elite Havens Group. The contemporary, cliff-side villa, which the group rents for $25,000 for 10 nights (the price includes a 22-person staff and a chauffeured car; food, beverages, and other services are additional), is located on Bali’s southwest coast, a 10-minute walk from Uluwatu beach. The 1.25-acre property includes a guesthouse with a pool and a master bedroom, as well as a main house with four bedrooms, an ocean-view dining room, a bar, and a “dotcom” room with a small library, projection TV, and WiFi. Just outside the main house is a nearly 105-foot-long swimming pool perched above Uluwatu.    

Experience. “After a hard day of surfing, the guys might want to throw a party to enjoy with the people they’ve met along the way,” says Macaulay, who adds that Elite Events Bali, which is affiliated with Elite Havens Group, can orchestrate such an occasion. ?“The Istana [staff] makes a mean lychee martini, and [Elite Events Bali] can throw in some catering, a private staging of a classic Bali dance such as the Kecak, a DJ, a sound stage, et cetera, et cetera.” If the next day calls for limited exertion, Macaulay recommends that the friends skip surfing and instead charter a helicopter for a tour of the island, or pass the afternoon at the seaside Ku de Ta bar, where high-energy DJs set the mood. On surfing days, in addition to Uluwatu, Macaulay suggests the Padang-Padang and Bingin breaks, which, like Uluwatu, are just a few minutes from the Istana.

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