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RedDoor, a Private Luxury Villa in Bali
May 19, 2015
We arrive in a sudden tropical downpour, with the rain thundering down through the canopy. It’s a sea of green, and when a single shaft of sunshine illuminates the forest, water caught on the leaves glistens as though the gods have cast a handful of emeralds from the clouds. Spindly coconut palms sway and orchids cling to tree trunks, turning their delicate heads from the deluge.
Thus begins our fixation with RedDoor, a private luxury villa in Bali. The 4-bedroom villa is situated in the seaside fishing village of Canggu, a quiet area with just enough quirky health eateries and trendy bars to keep it the main stomping ground for Bali’s cool expat crowd. Camouflaged between the rainforest, the rice paddies and the river, RedDoor is a dwelling designed for the ultimate hideaway, with the red door in question shielded by a jungle of purple bougainvillea. But other than the entrance, which leads into the garden, it strikes me that at first glance there is barely a wall to speak of here; the living area is romantically open to the elements. Put simply, it’s a roof over one’s head, beneath which a fine collection of Danish inspired custom wooden furniture is laid out. The design is simple and understated, contemporary against authentic touches, allowing the outdoors to take centre stage.
It is the outside that entrances us most; the tiered garden, designed by award-winning landscape architect John Pettigrew (whose other projects include Four Seasons and Aman), is nothing short of intoxicating. Pebbled walkways lead to a pond painted with lily pads; organic vegetable and herb beds; a stream meandering to a miniature waterfall; an aquamarine pool surrounded by lush reeds and twisted frangipanis. Beyond the coconut palms, there’s an infinite stretch of glowing rice paddies.
The villa itself is a prime example of eco chic, without losing out on style. From the second floor terrace, a curtain of delicate flowering vines conceals the main structure of the house. An open plan design encourages natural cooling to limit impact on the rainforest and 90% of waste is recycled, while vegetables are picked from the self-sustaining allotment and amenities are procured from Jamu Spa – the oldest organic wellness company in Bali. Four rooms are split between the upper and lower levels, with two set away from the main villa. We retreat to the River View Suite, where panoramic glass windows from three sides look out over the gardens and the symphony of the Pancaran River still reaches us. The bathroom is the most magical we’ve ever seen; a rainforest shower open to the skies and a tiny garden where bird of paradise blooms grow tall. Although with proximity to nature come unexpected encounters; in the darkness we find a pair of silvery snakes mid-battle, a mesmerising dance played out on stone floors.
But it is an intimacy with the outdoors that makes this place feel so enchanted. RedDoor makes the most of its surroundings with massages held in the garden to a soundtrack of birdsong and meals served picnic-style in a hidden dining pavilion overlooking the river, lit by a row of firelights. And of the food, there’s a personal chef on hand, trained by the world-renowned Australian chef Daniel Moran. Though in nearby Canggu, the organic, health conscious restaurants are worth a visit, and offer delivery for those who would rather not leave the comfort of this dreamlike kingdom.
There’s no expense spared at RedDoor, from the Bose stereo systems, solid wood dressers and artful lighting right down to the frangipani-scented soaps. It’s here amid the rice paddies, far from the humming traffic of Kuta, that we feel that we have found the true Bali.
Rates start from £475 per night based on full villa rental. During low season, a minimum 2-bedroom rental starts from £315 per night.