Replacing a single-storey villa that once stood on the same site, the newly opened Imperial Villa at Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay has been crafted by Four Seasons to be «the most coveted» of all of Bali’s ocean-facing villas. With one of its two storeys built below ground, there’s far more here than meets the eye, including a fitness and spa space, and round-the-clock service courtesy of a designated butler and chef. Nothing is too much trouble, and those knock-out, uninterrupted views of Jimbaran Bay make this an ideal ocean’s-edge setting for landmark celebrations and special-occasion soirées.
The Imperial Villa
The suite:Since the Balinese believe that evil spirits are lazy and fat, the entrance to the villa compound is through a narrow doorway made of decorated Merbau wood — but from hereon in it’s all utterly modern. From the small private courtyard, floor-to-ceiling glass doors beckon you into an elegant sitting room with an eye-popping view over Jimbaran Bay. Just beyond the infinity pool and manicured, cantilevered stretch of grass is Jimbaran’s sweeping, sunset-facing beach and a big gulp of Indian Ocean.
No evil spirits allowed: the entrance to the Imperial Villa
The look and feel of the Imperial Villa is especially noteworthy since it was the last project undertaken by the late Jaya Ibrahim. Celebrated for his distinct style of modern tropical architecture, the revered Indonesian designer’s work is rich in references to the country’s age-old craftsmanship and artisanal skills. It’s intended to evoke a home-from-home feel (for those who live in residences akin to high-gloss hotels). Three bedrooms are set over two immaculate floors, but it’s the upper-level master bedroom’s ensuite bathroom that showcases Balinese spirit at its best. A woven alang-alang roof, hand-loomed Ikat textiles and intricately carved pale stone reflect Ibrahim’s great pride in showcasing indigenous skills and materials.
Spending time in the ground-floor residential-feel kitchen, dining and living area suggests it’s been carefully planned to be as suited to relaxed everyday socialising and convivial home-cooked suppers as to fine dining and formality. Breakfast for all six guests is prepared to their liking by a private chef, who can also cook a private lunch or dinner in the villa if desired.
The villa’s gardens
The hotel:Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay is no stranger to visiting dignitaries seeking discretion. As you’d expect from one of Bali’s most respected five-star resorts, the warm and friendly service is unparalleled. The sincerity in the hospitality comes from a rare quality: the majority of the team has been here since this Four Seasons opened two decades ago.
Golf buggies shuttle guests around what feels like a sprawling compound, but it’s more compact than the landscaped lanes betray. Services from the Healing Village Spa can be enjoyed in situ since the villa has its own fitness studio, a personal trainer and yoga master, and a setting that begs you to arrange spa rituals under the stars. For watersports, such as stand-up paddle boarding or water biking, there’s the Coconut Grove beach club. On Sundays, don’t miss the all-day-tapas brunch at Sandara restaurant.
One of the villa’s open-plan living areas
What to expect:After you’ve been whisked through the airport, VIP style, your stay at the Imperial Villa officially kicks off with a Balinese Hindu blessing. Held at the resort’s open-air temple by its resident priest, the ceremony is a magical reminder that you’ve arrived at one of the world’s most spiritual destinations.
Since authentic local experiences and flavours are assured through the property’s cultural centre and a fully fitted cooking academy, many residents don’t stray far from this address. Villa guests can, for example, travel back to the 15th century for a traditional megibung banquet, laid out on their private lawn. Honouring King of Karangasem’s pre-battle meals which were intended to unite his soldiers, diners sit on cushions around a low table laden with a shareable feast. It’s there that villa guests can scoop servings of spiced Balinese delicacies onto banana leaves, while gamelan musicians play and dancers perform on the villa’s private lawn.
The villa provides enough space for private celebratory dinners and parties
Standout feature: The service. The chef and butler work together to ensure every detail is personalised for guests here in the villa, and beyond. One Imperial Villa family enjoyed a day’s sailing trip to the nearby island of Nusa Penida. To keep their open-water adventure in line with the comfort of life in the Imperial Villa, a luxury yacht was furnished especially and staffed by eight Four Seasons team members. Fit for the most exacting of sultans and their entourage, there’s flexibility to adapt every aspect of the villa’s offerings to individual needs.
Sea views from the lounge
Not so keen:Some guests might find the view across the water — of (inaudible) planes landing at a distant airport — spoils the sense of serenity.
Location: Only 20 minutes from the airport on Bali’s south-west coastline, in an area of Bali dominated by luxury tourism, Jimbaran Bay’s charming beach stands out for being beloved by locals.
Accommodation at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay Imperial Villa costs from $14,520 (£10,950) per night.