With a name like Kebun Villas & Resort (kebun means garden in the local language), I was expecting a property surrounded by greenery, but nothing prepared me for the lush Eden of tangled vines, blushing frangipani and fiery red heliconias that awaited me and my partner.
Words: Beverly Rodrigues
Located in Senggigi, Lombok’s main tourist strip lined with cidomo (local horse-drawn carriages), Kebun offers an indulgent stay in beautifully-landscaped villas. A wooden walkway shaded by overhanging tropical plants led to my weekend abode, the Angsana Villa. Even before I received my welcome postcard, I knew this award-winning resort would be a special place that would make me feel completely pampered and utterly spoilt.
Stepping through a wooden gate, I was immediately transported into a realm of tranquillity – possibly helped by the hypnotic sound of water trickling from the spout of a stone seahorse into my very own private pool! Yes, that’s right. Whether you opt for the two-bedroom Balsa Villa or the 2,100 square metre presidential Cendana Villa for six, all villas come with their own private pools.
The layout of the Angsana Villa has the pool and deck set in the middle of the 240 square metre villa complex, separating the living and dining areas, from the bedroom and bathroom areas. It’s really a clever use of space, and the design affords wonderful privacy.
Stepping into the living area, I noticed a high ceiling with wooden beams, dark wood furnishings, one-of-a-kind artwork from the owner’s private collection and a home theatre system with an iPod docking station. Sliding glass doors led to a sunny deck enveloped by flowering hibiscus and tropical greens, and beyond that, the bedroom. This inner sanctum was done up in warm, autumnal reds and earthy greens, with pale gold thrown in for a subtle splash of shimmer. I particularly loved the carpet, which featured blocks of olive, crimson and cream. The bedchamber also offered a cosy window seat strewn with cushions for lounging – just in case one tires of lazing on a king-sized bed or sun-kissed deck chairs. Connecting the spacious bedroom with the expansive bathroom was a dressing area with thoughtful touches like a weighing scale. The centrepiece of the bathroom, which was big enough to tango in, was a deep tub that easily accommodates two guests craving a wonderfully bubbly soak. For guests who enjoy a steamy shower after their bath, there’s a rain shower encased in glass with blinds to let in warm sunlight.
Although the three-year-old Kebun Villa does not have a spa, it offers in-room massages, which can be enjoyed on the deck or in the bedroom. I opted for a one and a half hour massage that draws from a blend of traditional Balinese and Javanese treatments to improve circulation. Using lavender oil for relaxation, my therapist combined long strokes and firm pressure to knead my travel-weary body into a blissful ball of pliable dough. Looking out upon the aquamarine pool and a garden of verdant green, I felt all my tension ebb away. The therapists here are very good at working out your kinks, but this can be painful. Be sure to specify the pressure you prefer. Even though I chose ‘soft’ pressure, my calf muscles felt slightly sore for a couple of hours after, but the improved circulation was well worth it.
At night, I headed to Bamboo Restaurant – the resort’s sole dining venue – to try the seven course Fine & Rustic dinner. This creative western-style menu started off with creamy pumpkin soup served in shot glasses with aromatic basil leaves, as well as a sprinkling of cornflakes for crunch, and included such delights as bacon-wrapped asparagus on a bed of mashed potato and grilled seafood served with rice and coleslaw. The When in Lombok section of the newspaper-style menu offered local specialties like pepes ikan (steamed fish in banana leaf), ikan masak bumbu kuning (snapper in traditional yellow curry) and pelecing kangkung with tempe (water convolvulus and soybean patty in a spicy sauce). For bites by the pool, try Kebun’s spicy Buffalo wings and warm banana fritters served with ice cream. Of course, there’s nothing like enjoying a cocktail by the poolside, and at Kebun, the bartender whips up new cocktail creations every month. I savoured Ginger Gin, a decadently refreshing combination of the aforementioned ingredients along with ginger ale and a stalk of bruised lemongrass for aroma.
For those who’d like to take in the sights, there’s an art market across the street, and Kebun offers a city tour, fishing excursions, snorkelling trips and more. But, really, there’s no reason to venture out. This is the perfect playpen for honeymooners. A private pool for moonlight skinny dipping and an even more private tub for frolicking – what more could one desire?
KEBUN VILLAS & RESORT
Address: Jalan Raya Senggigi Km 8, Lombok, Indonesia