Deep in the heart of Bali, perched on a venerated spur of land at the confluence of two rivers, is the stunning hideaway known as Villa Vajra. Designed by the internationally acclaimed architect, Guy Morgan, this modern, spacious villa sleeps up to seven guests and offers the ultimate in luxurious accommodation within a totally private and exclusive, close-to-nature setting.
The property and gardens are landscaped into the slopes of the steep valley, and the approach, via a raised wooden walkway through undisturbed rice fields, gives no clue to the remarkable design of the villa, or the breathtaking views of the jungle and river gorge.
Constructed with high quality local materials including ‘alang alang' thatch, Palimanan stone and teak wood; the property combines the very best of Balinese architectural elements with contemporary flair, elegant finishes and modern amenities. The villa presents a blend of outdoor living and air-conditioned comfort.
Villa Vajra is named after the quintessential symbol of Vajrayana Buddhism, a five-pronged ritual object often employed in conjunction with a bell. The Vajra is represented by a carving in a freestanding stone at the main entrance.
Every room and corner of the property has the effect of producing gasps of surprise and delight as guests view it for the first time. The villa is comprised of two buildings, linked on the upper level by a lotus pond and pergola. A serene Buddha statue stands within the lotus pond and white thunbergia cascades over the pergola-covered walkway leading to the Master Bedroom and Studio. The Master Bedroom is characterized by elegant furniture, teak floors, and glass on three sides to maximize the awesome views of the jungle and river valley. Sliding glass doors open on to a timber balcony, fringed by a food forest of fruit trees; the built-in bench seat is an ideal place to absorb the natural surroundings and listen to the ceaseless gurgle of the Ooz River as it coils its way through the deep gorge below. The en-suite garden bathroom is dominated by a large black terrazzo bathtub, creating a strong contrast against the white Palimanan stone floor. A black terrazzo wash stand supports a stylish chrome washbowl, and the shower is flanked by shelves and cabinets. Everything possible has been considered for the comfort of the guests; the luxurious open-air bathtub is sheltered by a thatched canopy, and privacy is maintained by a wall. Wooden shutters, like hatches within the wall, can be opened to reveal a view of the rice fields, and a larger hatch beside the bathtub offers the delightful alternative vista of the jungle. Tree ferns, birds' nest ferns, and stepping stones across a star-grass lawn complete the natural décor of this charming garden bathroom.
Colourful local artwork adorns the walls of a passage way leading to the Studio on the same floor. Situated on the western side of the villa, this room boasts a panoramic view of the rice fields, and features a pitched roof, a cream terrazzo floor and more built-in cupboards and storage space. The Studio doubles as an additional bedroom and includes an en-suite toilet and shower room with a marble floor and black terrazzo washstand.
The adjacent building, across the lotus pond, holds the Study, with a flat screen satellite TV, DVD player and a quality sound system for the entertainment of the guests. This room also doubles as an additional bedroom with an en-suite shower room and a stone terrace that appears to almost float within the gently swaying fields of rice. Cushioned seating is built into the low wall encircling the terrace, thereby creating a comfortable place for relaxing with a book while enjoying a coffee or a cocktail at sunset. A cathedral window in the Study room overlooks the main living and dining area on the lower level, which is accessed by an external cantilevered staircase.
It is upon reaching this lower level that visitors will be able to fully appreciate the unique design of the villa. The gargantuan, 12 x 8 metre, living and dining pavilion extends the full height of the building and features a marble floor underneath a vaulted roof supported by coconut-wood pillars on stone plinths. Furnished with rattan chairs and sofas, pendulous steel globe lanterns and Buddhist welcome statues, this pavilion represents open living at its very best, and is a fantastic venue for parties, receptions and functions. A small aviary is situated to one side, and a large hatch links the dining area with the fully equipped kitchen, where the cook will prepare a range of delicious Indonesian and Western meals. Next door is a toilet and a shower, and the laundry and staff quarters are situated at the back. The adjoining semi-circular timber deck overhangs the lush river valley and provides an alternative romantic dining area. Living jackfruit trees grow through holes that have been cut in the floor of the deck, creating a solution that blends style with nature without threatening the environment. A further example of environmental conservation is the water recycling system that has been devised for the 8 x 3 metre infinity edge swimming pool, the outdoor Jacuzzi, and the graceful cascade flowing down from the lotus pond above. Another Buddha statue rests within an alcove behind the cascade.
The Guest Room is situated at pool level, within the building that houses the Master Bedroom and Studio. Furnished with a dreamy four-poster bed, the Guest Room features a Palimanan stone floor, windows with sliding doors facing the valley, a dressing room, and a garden bathroom with a black terrazzo tub, shower and toilet.
Rustic stone steps lead down from the swimming pool to the lowest level, past an outdoor shower, a bed of beautiful white peace lilies, and a small lotus pond contained within a stone pot. At this level there is an open terrace overlooking a grassy meadow within the valley. Another wooden deck juts out to one side and a narrow path leads down to the river past a small temple and a coconut grove. On one side is a secret sanctuary, a traditional open pavilion, known as a ‘balé', with a thatched roof and a raised teak floor scattered with cushions for relaxing. Even here, guests can enjoy music from the sound system, which boasts eight speakers directed towards every corner of the property. On the other side, a fully equipped gym provides the facility to maintain a daily fitness routine while appreciating the wonderful views.
The Master Bedroom, Guest Room, Studio and Study each feature individually controlled air-conditioning units and powerful ceiling fans to keep the rooms pleasantly cool. There are telephone lines for IDD calls and in-house calls in each room, and also safety deposit boxes. At night the villa takes on a different persona, with cleverly concealed lighting. Guests will appreciate the fresh cool air, and will be serenaded by a chorus of frog song to the accompaniment of ritual music from the village temples and the constant murmur of the river.
There is a barbeque terrace at the front of the villa beside the rice fields and parking space for up to six vehicles. Due to the steep hillside elevation, the villa is not recommended for disabled people or young children.
Villa Vajra Ubud Bali is situated in the quiet traditional village of Sebali in the district of Kaliki, an hour and fifteen minutes' drive from Ngurah Rai international airport, and about ten minutes' drive from the cultural town of Ubud. This remarkable town is Bali's centre for fine arts, dance and music, and the surrounding villages are home to Bali's most accomplished painters, dancers, musicians and carvers. It is located 300 metres above sea level in the foothills of the central mountain range; this gives it a fresher, more pleasant climate than the southern coastal regions. The numerous art galleries in Ubud display traditional and modern work; the museums showcase the island's rich history, and the shops and the market stalls sell handicrafts, jewellery, woodcarvings, textiles, paintings and antiques. There are many, well-presented, cultural performances staged in the town, in particular the Hindu epic, the Ramayana; also the Kecak Dance, the Fire Dance, the Monkey Dance and the Legong Dance. The countryside around Ubud is particularly beautiful, with an abundance of trails offering memorable walks through the peaceful rice fields. The location is convenient for tours all over the island and is only a forty-minute drive from the coast.