We booked a private villa using the Airbnb platform for our Bali trip. There were 6 of us in this trip (all adults who had slogged hard for many years) so it made economic sense to book a villa with private pool. Airbnb provided a cheaper alternative to pamper ourselves without burning a hole through our pockets, and as it turned out, the services provided by our Airbnb accommodation exceeded that of a hotel!
It was not an easy task finding an accommodation for 3 couples that fits all our expectations and budget. We were there on a relaxing trip, so ease of access to food was our utmost consideration. Also, I was looking for a 3-bedroom house with bedrooms that were about equivalent size so as to avoid potential conflicts. Many houses I saw usually have one bedroom (master bedroom) which was bigger than the others, so it took a long time before I finally settled down on this house which fitted all our requirements.
Our villa is located in a quiet alley about 100m from the main Seminyak street. There is a small convenience store just 50m away, but if you want to buy fresh food to do some cooking, the nearest supermarket (Bintung Supermarket) is about 10-15 mins walk away. We did not try to take taxi back to our villa as we were using the villa’s driver everyday, but I reckon you would probably be able to direct the taxi until the main Seminyak street (stop at Warung Ocha). From there you will probably need to walk back to the villa on foot because the road towards the villa is seriously narrow (I have no idea how the Airbnb driver managed that). Even on foot, we overshot the alley several times during our trip.
The villa is flanked by two main roads (Jl. Raya Seminyak and Jl. Sunset Road). There are several food options along these two roads which are 10 mins walk away. Seminyak beach is at least 20 mins walk straight down the road (Jl. Camplung Tanduk).
The villa is owned by an Australian-Indonesian couple who live just next door. The husband, who is an Australian, received us on the first day and introduced us to the villa. We only managed to see the his wife, who is the person we corresponded with on Airbnb, in the morning of our last day. She was surprisingly very young and energetic, which was different from the impression I got from our online conversations. We had no problem with communication and they were helpful with our questions, especially with the arrangement of transport and recommendation of places to snorkel. They also left us their watsapp number so that we can reach them faster.
Our villa is one of the two villa owned by our hosts, both which are identical in design, side-by-side each other and connected by the garage, both of which can be found on Airbnb portal. In Singapore terms, the villa is considered a semi-detached house. The security room is located at the garage, where the guard will keep watch of the security cameras 24 hours .
Honestly speaking, the house and the pool are smaller than I expected from the photos. However the living room is spacious enough for all 6 of us. The house is also kept very clean as it is maintained by two housemaids, who you can find in the day in the security room. Mosquito coils are provided because being a tropical country, Bali is just full of them. Another important consideration for me was that the living room area has to be able to be enclosed and air-conditioned (most Bali villas living room area are open-air). Who wants to be feeding mosquitoes while watching TV right? One thing I love about the house is the modern design. The teak furniture is stylish and blends into the overall Balinese theme. The smart TV is 60 inch wide, big enough for us to watch comfortably from the sofa or the armchairs. The TV is connected to stereo speakers, and there is also an Iphone dock provided on the TV console.
The house comes with a fully equipped kitchen. I especially like the water dispenser which you can ask the housemaids to top-up, so there is no need to stock up water from the convenience store. The fridge is stocked up with drinks which are not free. We did a comparison of the cost of Bintang beer provided by the villa and outside. The Bintang beer in our house cost IDR 20,000. The convenience store sells at IDR 22,000. The supermarket sells at IDR 18,000. Well honestly the difference is really not much, so for the convenience just drink the beverages in the fridge. You can ask the housemaids to top up if the drinks run out.
All 3 bedrooms are located on the 2nd floor, two rooms which are facing the pool and 1 room facing the villa entrance. All bedrooms are about equal size but slightly different in design and come with ensuite bathrooms. Here comes the part which I am most excited about of the house, which is that all ensuite bathrooms has its own unique garden features! Imagine a refreshing shower at the end of a hot sunny day surrounded by natural plants (and yeah they are natural because my friends told me there were one or two bugs crawling on the plants). Now, I know many other villas have open-air bathrooms too, and from reviews such open-air bathrooms are not wise options because sometimes weird stuff gets into the bathroom (I shall decline to name what they are). The bathrooms in our villa were perfect because the garden features create a natural setting in an enclosed environment. So yay, clean bathroom all the time!
Ok the swimming pool should be called a dipping pool instead because the pool is not big enough to swim. The depth of the pool range from 1.3m at one end to 1.7m at the other end. This seemed to be common for all the villa pools that I have read about. I was pretty disappointed because being a weak swimmer, I couldn’t tread water and so I couldn’t enjoy the pool as much as I wanted. Luckily, my wonderful friends rose to the occasion and brought two gigantic floats all the way from Singapore. That took up half a medium luggage space and an hour of non-stop manual pumping because we didn’t have an electric pump. Yay for them! There are also steps at the side of the pool that you can sit, chill and have a drink if you can’t swim like me.
P.S. I have mentioned that Bali is a tropical country, so bugs and mosquitoes are common in the area. My friends who are stronger swimmers and have better eyesight told me that the pool floor do have a lot of bug carcasses so they did not dare to dive into the pool. I supposed the bugs dropped from surrounding plants. I wasn’t wearing my goggles so that did not affect me. In any case, that sight probably occurs only at night because by the next morning, my friends told me the pool floor was much cleaner, maybe because the housemaids cleaned it *shrugs*
One great service provided by our villa is that you can ask the host to help you engage a private chef, who provides breakfast and dinner services. The security will open the door for the chef, so that by the time you reach home, voila! Table is laid and dinner is ready! No need to go out again for dinner! We engaged the chef for one dinner and one breakfast, and I must say that the food provided was wayyy better than those you find outside (you can read other reviewers’ comments in the Airbnb link if you don’t believe me). Furthermore, the chef will serve you during the meal, prepare fruits when you are done with your mains and wash the dishes after the meal is over. What a pampered meal we had! Before the meal, the chef only asked us for any special requests, so we did not know exactly what we will be having. For me, that was what made the meals so special, because I love being surprised!
Since this is a private service, the fees are not cheap by typical Indonesian standard. You will need to pay for both the cooking service and the ingredient fee. In addition, if you order breakfast, transport will be charged. However, the bulk of the cost was actually the ingredients, to my surprise. I supposed this is because the ingredients were bought from supermarket so that he has receipt to show you during payment. Having said that, now that I compared the receipts between the Airbnb dinner and the dinner we had at a restaurant along Seminyak street the next day, I realised that the Airbnb dinner was actually much reasonably cost. So for the type of service we had and quality of food, I will still highly recommend getting the chef, even if it is just for one meal!
We engaged the driver recommended to us by our Airbnb host for all 4 days of our trip. Initially, we have only hired him for airport transfer and to bring us to snorkel, but he was such an awesome person that we decided to engage him for another day. He drives a 7-seater car, speaks excellent English and cracks jokes and entertained along the way so we won’t feel bored. His charges are reasonable at USD 50 a day (usually for 10 hours) but on both days we exceeded the hours by quite a bit and he did not charge us extra. More importantly, he was totally cool about it when we got on the car with our dirty shoes and clothes after snorkelling, even though he had to spend one hour cleaning the car after he dropped us off.
So that is all for my review of the Airbnb villa we stayed in. I really thank the host and all the staff working for the villa for making us feel so pampered and welcome throughout the trip!
Click on the links below to read our Bali itinerary: