Villa Batujimbar exemplifies everyone’s dream of a luxury Bali villa, with its Sanur beachfront location, its fascinating history and a celebrity guest list that boasts monarchs and rock legends. This is where Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall tied the knot, Sting gave an impromptu concert, and Princess Diana retreated from the media glare.
When the current owner – who took over from Aman hotelier Adrian Zecha in the mid-1990s – first visited Batujimbar in the early 1970s, acclaimed Australian artist Donald Friend had already invited architect Geoffrey Bawa to apply his signature ‘tropical modernist’ style at the Batujimbar Estate. Bawa created a harmonious relationship between buildings and landscape, influenced by the famed Balinese palaces at Amlapura and Klungkung and the water gardens of Tirta Gangga. His moated Lembu Balé with its stately living area still commands centre stage, and today provides an enchanting setting for wedding ceremonies. Villa Batujimbar’s myriad living areas and nine bedroom suites occupy a series of thatched pavilions enriched with museum-worthy paintings, heirloom artefacts and architectural treasures. Within the meticulously maintained gardens, fountain-filled lotus ponds, moss-encrusted statuary and intricately carved stone reliefs contribute to the villa’s unique character. While its design pedigree might be firmly rooted in the past, the villa’s facilities will be welcomed by today’s discerning vacationer: a 20-metre swimming pool, private tennis court, a private chef and personal round-the-clock butlers to elevate your residency to regal levels.
Start your day with coffee at the beachfront balé, facing the island of Nusa Lembongan across the calm waters of Sanur bay. After a breakfast served on heritage Jenggala tableware in the alfresco dining pavilion, slip through the ornate gateway onto the golden-sand beach for a swim or sprint along the promenade. At day’s end, feast on dishes prepared by your private chef, or take a five-minute stroll to the myriad restaurants that line Sanur’s main entertainment and shopping street.
Bedrooms at Villa Batujimbar
Villa Batujimbar offers nine spacious air-conditioned bedrooms, each oriented for privacy in five separate pavilions. Seven have ensuite bathrooms while the two Family Pavilion bedrooms – one designed for kids – share a shower room. All have contemporary luxuries such as 40-inch or 32-inch satellite channel TVs, safes and bar fridges, matched with historic paintings, collectibles, furniture and oriental rugs that hark back to the villa’s distinguished heritage.
Beachfront master suite
The grand, two-storey master suite is situated close to the ocean, just behind the beachfront living balé. On the ground floor of this palatial pavilion is a peaceful study and sitting area furnished with a large antique writing desk and an elegant chaise longue. Walls are lined with teak shelving and display units and, in one corner is a circular glass-topped table for four and a bar area.
Upstairs an ornately carved, king-size, four-poster bed luxuriates below a lofty alang-alang thatched roof. Warm teakwood flooring and richly coloured antique rugs adorn the floor and a comfortable sofa at the foot of the bed faces a large flat-screen TV. A delightful private furnished balcony overlooks the ocean to the front of the room. A WC leads from the upper-floor bedroom and a full bathroom lies just down the stairs, adjoining the study and sitting room.
The two large master bedrooms in the Longhouse open onto lawns on one side and a water garden terrace on the other. In each, a super-king four-poster rests under a soaring pavilion roof on a polished terrazzo floor that flows into the dressing area. Flanking the mirrored vanity alcove sliding doors lead to the stately WC enclosure and a large shower area that opens onto the water garden.
The Bali Pavilion
Within this most romantic of pavilions, with its brightly painted antique Balinese doors and teakwood parquet floor, are two inter-connecting bedrooms with king-size beds swathed in mosquito nets, and inter-connecting garden bathrooms with alfresco showers. Beyond sliding double doors lies a walled garden with private relaxation bale, huge shade-giving Jewent tree, and a separate entrance to the main villa gardens. The second room also has a small private courtyard with seating.
The Pool Pavilion
On the upper level of the Pool Pavilion are two king-bedded guest suites, with bengkirai-wood floors, ceilings of bedeg (woven rattan) and delightful treetop views beyond full-width windows. The suites are split-level, and each has its own entrance from the garden, ensuring complete privacy. At ground level are dressing areas, bathrooms with Palimanan-lined showers and statement bathtubs, and spiral staircases. Conveniently, WCs and washbasins adjoin the bedrooms upstairs.
The Family Pavilion
On the second level of a building tucked away behind the villa entrance are two more bedrooms – one with a king bed and the other with small twin beds – that share a bathroom with separate WC and shower. They are ideal for a family, or as a separate enclave for up to four kids who will appreciate a little independence.
Living Spaces at Villa Batujimbar
One of the pleasures of a sojourn at Villa Batujimbar is the sheer amount of living space. While there’s plenty of room for a full house to socialise under the same roof, there are also lots of quiet corners for breaking away from the crowd. The main living pavilion is open to the garden alongside the beach; its soaring alang-alang roof supported by towering coconut columns. Three sides of the pavilion are lined with comfortably upholstered built-in benches and at its centre four traditional Indonesian sofas with curved teakwood frames are set around an elaborately carved coffee table.
A breezy, fan-cooled lounge graces the upper level of the historic Lembu Balé, reached by a pair of stately staircases. With its roof supported by elaborate columns rooted in sandstone plinths carved in the shape of animals and mythical figures, this space is defined by two monumental bovine statues (lembu means cow in the Indonesian language). Cane and teak colonial-style seating provides the perfect spot to enjoy the sea view.
The Poolside Pavilion’s living area provides yet another space for relaxation, with clusters of handsome seating, an alcove carpeted with thick comfy cushions, and a breakfast table facing the pool. There’s a small kitchenette and a guest shower room tucked out of sight. Guests have a choice of dining areas. Towards the beach is an enchanting raised dining bale with antique marble table and ten rattan chairs set under a thatched roof. For formal meals, there’s an air-conditioned dining room in the Longhouse, where a 12-seater stunning teakwood table faces sliding glass doors that open onto fish ponds. Next to the dining room is a huge professionally equipped kitchen and, behind, a staff service kitchen and laundry.
In Villa Batujimbar’s fabulous formal gardens ancient moss-encrusted statues stand sentinel by the 20-metre pool whose stone terrace is lined with sun-loungers and parasols. Seemingly floating above a lotus pond is a large relaxation balé – the perfect spot for afternoon tea while admiring scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabarata carved into the wall behind. From the beachfront balé glorious views across the sea to the sacred Mount Agung and the island of Nusa Penida can be enjoyed; Sanur’s acclaimed sandy beach and sheltered waters lie just beyond the traditional gate in the boundary wall. Elsewhere on the estate are the tennis court, refreshment area and sports shower.
0.2 km to sanur shops
3.0 km to Bali Beach Golf Course
15.0 km to Seminyak
15.0 km to Airport
17.0 km to Kuta
24.0 km to Ubud
Service and Facilities
Villa Batujimbar capacity for 16 adults and 2 children (9 bedrooms: 8 with king-size beds, 1 with small twins). 2 additional beds available for an extra charge
Open-sided living pavilion; Lembu Balé lounge; poolside veranda; garden dining bale with table for 10; air-conditioned dining room with table for 12; beachfront balé; study and sitting room below master bedroom
20 x 7 x 1.75 metres Pool
Villa manager; butlers; housekeepers; cook; gardeners; engineer; security. Masseuses and babysitters available on request (extra charge)
A wide variety of Balinese, Indonesian and international dishes are available for in-house dining
Fixed line PABX phones in all rooms; wireless broadband internet access
Satellite channel TVs, Bose speakers
A baby cot, high chair and toys are available on request
Full-size tennis court (rackets and balls supplied); and 2 canoes
Car and driver on standby for up to 8 hours at a special daily rate of USD35++ (excludes petrol)
Weddings and special events for up to 180 people (standing) and 150 people (sitting) can be arranged with prior notice.
Barbecue grill; in-room safes; generator back-up; air-conditioning in all bedrooms.
Exclusive use of the whole villa and listed facilities
Personal service by the villa including full time manager, chef, security