Every now and then if you are lucky, you come across a place that is so unbelievably magic you want to keep it only for yourself, safely locked away in your memory, filed under irreplaceable. This is how I feel about the 3 days and 3 nights we spent at the Puri Ganesha Villas, but alas as selfish as I would like to be over keeping this beautiful hideaway to myself, that would not be much fun would it? And why oh why would I want to starve you of colour, spirit, warmth and did I say already? Yes, magic!
We arrived in Pemuteran in the North of Bali after a four hour car trip from Serangan Port. Travelling through Bali is an experience itself, of course we hit peak traffic, but we were finally up and over Mount Baratan. Passing families piled on mopeds, farmers working in the famous lush green rice plantations, shops, shacks, markets, oh so much! Even on the highest and most zig zag of climbs there were purchases to be made, my kinda place! As we started our decent down the mountain towards the sleepy village of Pemuteran, night started to fall and the peace, calm and quiet of the unspoilt North of Bali surrounded us.
I always knew that our stay at Puri Ganesha was going to be special, but absolutely nothing prepared me on arrival, for our incredible, enchanting, bewitching and beautifully overwhelming home for the next few days. We were pretty jaded from a day of travelling, slightly dishevelled and fuzzy but our words literally just escaped us, we were speechless and there was nothing but constant glances to each other, translating: Do you think they have made a mistake?
Puri Ganesha was built and created by Diana von Cranach, and it really is like nowhere else. Diana’s imagination and character fill the luxury homes she lovingly calls shabby chic! A shabby chic I can get right on board with. With four houses, from one to three bedroomed. We were staying in Villa Santai, huge (huge as in it was bigger than our house at home!) private, graceful and luxurious. Villa Santai was set footsteps from the waters edge. Traditional, authentic and beautifully created, filled with antiques, beautifully chosen Indonesian prints, not one but two beautiful bathrooms. Downstairs, a huge day bed and an antique dining table. An open garden bathroom, which you stepped into through intricately carved wooden doors, a definite Narnia moment with a shower which dreams are made of, a huge bathtub, a double sink and vanity area (the epitome of luxury in my book) and hanging beads which clink clinked in the warm breeze. Finally antique chairs to collapse in, to soak up the view looking back over the mountains. I could have spent my whole three days happily just in the bathroom.
Up the wooden spiral staircase the master bedroom awaits, with a dressing room (my ultimate life dream) and shower bathroom, with an open air window allowing the outside in and that amazing Indonesian air that I miss so much now I am home. The huge wooden four poster bed was almost swallowed up by the vast height of the thatched roof. The bedroom was filled with antiques, books and with fresh flowers arranged beautifully in bowls and perfect trinkets everywhere you looked, all which have been found and chosen in Java an East Bali. The veranda complete with little cushioned nooks to while away the hours with a good book, or to just take a moment to soak in the nothing but amazing sea view, or look over the most breathtaking garden and grounds with a private swimming pool which all the superlatives couldn’t describe …..so I’ll go with beautiful! The villa was truly fit for Royalty but it was just us, lucky us, breathing and soaking it all in and pinching ourselves to make sure it was actually happening!
If you didn’t quite think that was all enough, Villa Santai came complete with, wait for it, our own staff, in our case the smily and oh so friendly Budi. Budi an almost a National Treasure to Puri Ganesha, has been working with Diana from the very beginning, and his grandfather, was also a key figure to the land back in the late 1930’s that the villas proudly stand on. We felt very lucky to have met Budi and his calm, quiet, unintrousive almost regal manor, a true classic gent, with trousers that Wes is still coveting! (Don’t ask)
Although the villa was grand, it was not intimidating, full of warmth, and a calm and peace whistled in from the garden, you could almost hear the whispers of history in little corners, it was majestic and full of soul! Puri Ganesha, was truly one of those places we never thought we would ever get to stay in, but above all the latter, the most delightful characteristic was that in every way it was so very real.
We had dinner in the garden of our villa, which Diana had kindly arranged with us en route, we tucked into Pomelo & prawn salads and Baked Feta Sagagnaki with Bintangs and Gin and Tonics (More on the delicious food at Puri Ganesha next time ) The swimming pool glistened under the full moon, the the waves crashed at the bottom of the garden, the geckos and crickets chatted as we sat, still a little speechless, still a little in awe of this feast for the senses, but so happy for the days ahead….
I slept peacefully, deeply and soundly that night for the first time in three months ….. Magic!
Thank you so much to Diana for hosting us x
Next time, much more on the indomitable character that is Diana, and the warm spirit that fills her home Puri Ganesha
Diana arranged all our travels from the port to the hotel. You can even be picked on a Harley if that suits….
Red dress: Topshop
Gingham Dress: Zara
Thank you for reading x