HOW TO BOOK A BALI VILLA

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - TRAVEL WISDOM - JENNY HEWETT

Since set­tling in Bali, I’ve stayed at more ho­tels than I can count. Need­less to say, it’s one of the best parts of my job. But when friends (and friends of friends and their friends) mes­sage me for ad­vice on where to book, I’m quick to rec­om­mend vil­las, too. Ho­tels are ideal for spe­cial oc­ca­sions, hon­ey­moon­ers and honed ser­vice, but pri­vate vil­las of­fer the best value for money, pri­vacy and space. Only in Bali could it cost about the same or less to rent a 7-bed­room sea­side man­sion for the night as it does to book a ho­tel room in the most glossy of re­sorts. When it comes to fam­ily hol­i­days, reunions and par­ties, vil­las are a no-brainer. Here’s the best way to book one.

BOOK VIA AIRBNB

Ac­cord­ing to 2017 data from the on­line home­shar­ing por­tal, there are now 31,000 Airbnb list­ings on the is­land and many of those are pri­vate vil­las. As well as al­low­ing you to ac­cu­rately re­fine your search, Airbnb The Noku Beach House is the lat­est in up­mar­ket de­sign for those want­ing an op­u­lent beach­front ex­pe­ri­ence. has a “su­per­hosts” fea­ture, which high­lights the top-rated, most re­spon­sive, ac­tive (at least 10 stays a year) and re­li­able (no can­cel­la­tions) hosts. This can be es­pe­cially handy in a non-English speak­ing coun­try, be­cause the hard work has been done for you, and you’re al­most guar­an­teed a seam­less stay. Al­ways check the list of ameni­ties and fil­ter your search to in­clude things like break­fast, Wi-Fi and fam­ily es­sen­tials such high­chairs and cots.

SEARCH VILLA DI­REC­TO­RIES

When it comes to the big­gest, best and most rock star pads in Bali, you’ll find ex­actly what you’re look­ing for on­line. Third-party book­ing sites such as Villa Concierge Bali, (vil­la­concierge­bali.com) and Min­istry of Vil­las, (min­istry­ofvil­las.com) of­fer ev­ery­thing from one bed­room tra­di­tional-in­spired vil­las in Ubud, to lux­ury 7-bed­room beach­front es­tates with trop­i­cal gar­dens in Canggu.

Most sites clearly state the in­clu­sions, fea­tures, op­tional ex­tras and spe­cial deals or last-minute book­ing rates.

Min­istry of Vil­las also of­fers an up­grades pack­age, which in­cludes a com­pli­men­tary mas­sage and bot­tle of cham­pagne on ar­rival.

Those with more of a pro­file such as Red Door Villa, (red­door­bali.com) in Canggu, and the new de­sign-savvy Noku Beach House, (nokubeach house.com) in Seminyak, can be booked di­rectly via their web­sites.

USE LO­CAL IN­TEL

If you’re look­ing for the best prices and most au­then­tic stays, go lo­cal.

Bali ex­pats, lo­cals and landlords use a num­ber of fo­rums on Face­book to ad­ver­tise or rent out their homes to hol­i­day-mak­ers and dig­i­tal no­mads while the own­ers or renters are away on hol­i­day, or when the villa be­comes va­cant. Closed groups in­clud­ing Canggu Com­mu­nity and Bali Hous­ing and Ac­com­mo­da­tion are go-tos for find­ing both short and longer-term ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The down­side is that book­ing di­rectly with an owner via Face­book comes with more risk and it’s not as se­cure as of­fi­cial book­ing sites. Al­ways ask to see pho­tos of the prop­erty and com­mu­ni­cate with the owner off Face­book, ei­ther by phone or email.

Ask them about the area, whether its easy to get around, if you have the use of things such as scoot­ers and if they can rec­om­mend lo­cal driv­ers or any­thing else.

PIC­TURE: SUP­PLIED

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