Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tropical White House

 I suppose that every time I visit a new villa, I end up reckoning that it’s the best I’ve ever been to.

Of course, they can’t all be the best; but, in a particular way, they can be the best at what they are, in an individual rather than a comparative sense. I’m talking about what we might call personality or character – that certain something – or coalescence of somethings – that sets each villa apart from all others, and forms, in those it hosts, a numinous complex of experience and memory that survives long beyond one’s stay, to mix and blend its defining thread to the unfolding fabric of one’s life.

For this reason, I can say with the utmost assurance that you will never visit another villa quite like Rumah Putih, nor can you hope for a more rewarding and enjoyable experience.

The villa is located on the island of Nusa Lembongan, a quick 20-30 minute boat ride from the southern shore of Bali,depending on how fast your choice of fast-boats proves to be. Far from being a natural-born sailor, I prefer as fast as fast gets – although, given the brevity of the seaborne phase of the trip, one hardly has time to become woozy. Before you know it, you’re wading on shore, picking up your bags and heading down the path to your home for the next few days.

Rumah Putih is a cliffside dwelling, so that if you are, as I am, getting a bit on the ‘well-seasoned’ side, you’ll have to take the long stairway at a leisurely pace – but that’s okay. You’re not in any hurry anyway. You’re on vacation, right? And in any case, there will be a staff member there to carry your bags (and you, too, if need be).

But the destination is well worth the climb. And that’s the most perfect of understatements, folks. For, now, you will enter a spacious, airy open area set between two two luxurious dwellings, each having its own cosy, cushy pavilion just at the verge of the overlook to the spreading expanse of the sea, and between the dwellings and pavilions is a stunning blue infinity edge pool, poised upon the lip of the view as if you might swim to the edge and continue into the air itself.

The view from almost every point of the villa takes in the fullness of the horizon – the aquamarine bay and the white sand of the shoreline, tourist and pleasure boats of every colour and size plying the gentle waters, along with traditional jukung boats parked like taxis atop the bubbly surf. Shops and restaurants recline at the edge, interspersed among lush tropical greenery and flora, dotted, as the land rises, by a meandering caravan of festive rooftops, from traditional thatched grass to bright new tile.

Each villa room is fronted by floor to ceiling windows and has a comfy king-size bed with bedside tables. In the rear is a luxuriant bathtub, a counter with twin sinks and then an private outdoor shower with pleasant greenery. Naturally, the rooms are air-conditioned and each has, as well, a powerful ceiling fan.

The name, Rumah Putih, in the Indonesian language, means, simply, White House, and the simplicity fits well with the clean, crisp lines of the villa and its dominant white colour, offset by the rustic brown of the thatched pavilion roofs, the mild green hues of the living room sofas and, of course, the stark, fresh blue of the pool, which, at night, is lit from beneath like a soft velvet carpet – a flying one, if you like to imagine.

Above this area are two additional dwellings, also with a pool and other special touches – but one would hardly know they were there, but for the presence of a service staircase near the villa entryway. These upper villas have their own private entrance and interfere in no way with the units below.

At the rear of your villa grounds is a spacious seating area as well as a dining area with a table with six seatings. Two delightful staff members, Ketut and Ika, will cook breakfast, lunch and dinner – and the spicy, authentic Balinese dinner is not to be missed! They produce their culinary creations in a full kitchen, which includes a walk-in freezer – just in case you want to stay for a year or two (and you will!).

But there’s more to come, for beyond the dining and kitchen area, you will find a private theater with a large screen TV, Blue Ray, Apple TV and DVD options, along with three rows of lazy-boy chairs and appropriate moviegoer lighting.

People come to Lembongan for any number of reasons – to surf, to go snorkeling, or wind surfing, or just to explore the shops and the shoreline. We came to relax, and that we did, in high style! It is difficult to describe the sense of ease one feels, the fading of cares, even of time itself, as if the common old world had been sipped up and swallowed by the lazy sun and left you floating in a timeless paradise – just exactly as you had always imagined it might be. I feel confident in guaranteeing that your stay at Rumah Putih will be the purest delight. Most probably, it will also be too short!

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