In the heart of busy Seminyak Bali, nestled in the not-so-attractive back lane ways lies an extraordinarily opulent Villa reminiscent of Aladdin's cave. As you step through the pagoda doorway to Villa Barissan you walk into an unexpected world of lush greens, Mediterranean blues and Oriental lines The traditional Javanese-style 3 bedroom villa is built around a natural stone swimming pool and gazebo and is designed so you can literally roll out of bed and into the pool Outside the earthy warm tones of the walls, reclaimed timber decking and tiled floors meld with cool tropical greens and turquoise hues of the weather-worn furniture and the pool Enclosed by a walled garden of lush tropical plants and bamboo it offers the utmost in opulence and privacy My favourite room is an al fresco bathroom. With only three walls and a courtyard complete with flowering Heliconias, heavily scented Frangipanis, giant snails, butterflies and geckos, it offers the ultimate in exotic bathing
A soulful cockerel, crickets and barking geckos heralded the mornings By mid afternoon the sound of the wind whispering through the golden bamboo proved very soporific as we lay around and in the pool
Inside, the story is very different. Silk textiles and decorative pieces in rich magentas, golds, bronzes, turquoise and purple reign throughout, creating a luxurious sense of Morocco - of the days of old. It's no wonder really, given that the owner is none other than the extremely busy and well-known local Moroccan interior decorator, Zohra Boukhari At Villa Barissan, Zohra has created an elegant little haven - an escape from the noise and the hustle bustle that is busy Bali, using a delicate fusion of east and west - Moroccan, Indian and Balinese
Each room is filled with furniture, photographs and artifacts, which obviously come from a place deep within. The place is very much a home - her home. A very private, rich and exotic experience The scent of incense from the many religious offerings and also Indonesian Kretek (clove) cigarettes, filled the days and nights. Add to this a dash of citronella (for mozzies) and the Sedap Malam (fragrant tuber roses) from our kitchen and you have a potent, intoxicating aroma that is Villa Barissan Bali! We found Zohra's unique style throughout our stay in Bali and her shop Haveli is an assault on all the senses - much like Villa Barrisan, and I dare say her boutique hotels and other villas on the south side of the island near Jimbaran Bay - Villa Balquisse and The Shaba Bali The beautiful bare-footed, doe-eyed Balinese House Manager, Rika, looked after our every need starting with breakfast every morning - complete with colour co-ordinated linen napery and exotically cut fruit adorned with the cheeks of freshly chilled lime - de rigueur in Bali!
Her smile was electric and she was a joy to be around in our cool, exotic retreat in the heat and heart of Bali.