Robb Report Singapore

Devil’s Retreat

Immerse yourself in the unexplored side of Bali with M Group’s newest escapade at Nusa Lembongan.


MY TRAVEL COMPANIONS and I have just gotten off a choppy 30-minute boat ride from Bali’s Serangan Harbour when a uniformed gentleman greets us amicably and invites us to hop on his buggy. It’s going to be another bumpy 15-minute journey to our villa – this time on pothole-filled roads – but it’s also the final lap to our destinatio­n. Fortunatel­y, it doesn’t take long for us to snap out of the aftermath of the boat ride ordeal either. After all, we’re in Bali and the Island of the Gods heals everything.

We are specifical­ly in Nusa Lembongan, the southeaste­rn part of Bali, and we’re headed for

Mandala The Bay. The property is Singapore-based M Group’s fourth and newest addition to Mandala Places’ collection of design-centric residences in Bali. A sense of familiarit­y washes over me within five minutes of the buggy ride as it brings back memories of my adventures exploring untouched Gili Trawangan some 10 years ago. The roads here are mostly dotted with local shops and houses, a far cry from the trendy cafes, beach clubs and bars in the touristy areas of Canggu, Kuta and Seminyak.

Mandala The Bay sits in an alluring, unexplored side of Bali that overlooks vast, dramatic views of

waves crashing off Devil’s Tear, billed to be the best vantage point on the island for viewing the sunset. I step in the striking red front door of the cliffside, five-bedroom villa and I am immediatel­y drawn past the living area and open kitchen to the outdoor dining area that flanks the ocean-facing pool. The villa, which sprawls across 1,200sqm, comfortabl­y sleeps 10.

But where M Group truly shines is in its ability to marry the indoors and outdoors seamlessly. While it’s hard to go wrong with a book in hand on the daybeds by the pool, there are plenty of other spaces within the residence that also make for cosy resting spots: from the stools by the kitchen and bar to the capacious TV lounge outside the twin room on the upper floor. These areas are suffused with modern-meets-mid-century chic, and are further punctuated with striking wall mural art and framed art pieces.

Four bedrooms with lush outdoor bathrooms sit on the ground floor: the master (which is housed in a Joglo structure carved from teak and boasts its own mini verandah) and three other rooms. There are options for lazy lunches or picnics at the villa’s lush

There are options for lazy lunches or picnics at the villa’s lush garden and outdoor dining area.

garden and outdoor dining area. The food here is whipped up by an in-house chef and bartender who will be at your disposal throughout your stay.

On our last evening, we’re treated to a barbecue at the main dining area, filling our bellies with the catch of the day in addition to wholesome sides and several variations of the Balinese sambal, which leave us hankering for seconds.

But of course, if you start to feel a little lethargic with the pace of life in the villa, ask the property’s concierge team to sign you up for a snorkellin­g or diving trip, spa services, personal trainers or even private yoga classes around the island. Sandy Bay Beach Club is also nearby if you’re up for a party. But if you’re an island bum like me, all is well at the villa’s hidden firepit that’s tucked away quietly at the cliff’s edge. That chilly evening, we huddled close around the fire in the company of distant waves smashing against rocks at Devil’s Tear across us – and experience­d the newest definition of Balinese luxury.

 ??  ?? Art pieces abound throughout the villa.
Art pieces abound throughout the villa.
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