Luxury travel today involves much more than just booking a round-trip flight and scouting out best hotel deals on Agoda. With more sophisticated, discerning travelers and the shift towards unique, personalised experiences, it’s not surprising to see a boom in bespoke tour operators and private destination and lifestyle clubs. The Hideaways Club is one such programme targeting those looking to both invest and travel, combining a diverse portfolio of more than 100 exclusive properties around the world with access reserved solely for its members.
The Hideaways Club properties are classified into two separate “funds”: the Classic Collection of villas and chalets and the City Collection of apartments. How does it work? Members choose between the Premium, Lifestyle or Associate programme, each with varying entry costs, redeemable weeks and flexibility options to suit different schedules and travel needs. The Hideaways Club Concierge Service coordinates all reservations, airport transfers, insider information on attractions and dining, and even pre-arranged groceries – offering that completely hassle-free luxury holiday experience that we all crave.
Traveling can go quickly from pleasant to burdensome when you have babies or tiny tots in tow and you’re frantically planning a comprehensive itinerary of daily meals and activities. As part of The Hideaways Club Classic Collection, the Asmara in Bali offers the perfect opportunity to truly relax as a family and take a load off the travel anxiety, with personal butlers, cooks and concierge personnel on-hand to plan your day-to-day!
With three large bedrooms and two spare bedrooms in separate garden pavilions (sleeping 10 in total), Asmara is ideal for large families and parties who want to stay together while having their individual space. I experienced the villa for a two-night stay with one other travel companion, which was a bit strange considering there was a handful of spare rooms and more than enough staff on hand to cater to us!
The property in itself is beautiful, crafted with traditional Balinese ironwood and nestled amongst rice paddies and a neatly manicured garden landscape. The open plan of the villa allows for the flexibility of curling up with a book in the downstairs foyer, lounging about the 14-metre outdoor pool, enjoying a cocktail or snacks in the upstairs dining area over-looking the rice fields, or watching a movie in the cinema room, complete with a Nintendo Wii games console. The key ingredient for a successful family vacation is giving everyone the freedom to enjoy the leisure activity of their choice, and the facilities at Asmara truly allow for that flexibility and freedom.
If you’ve got tech-obsessed kiddos on hand, they’ll love watching movies on the large-screen cinema, playing Nintendo, and bumping to tunes from the Bose iPod music system. As I was there with my girlfriend, we relaxed in the cinema room during the evening whilst flipping through programmes on E! and indulging in some snacks and girl talk. At night, we each had a massive, air-conditioned bedroom to ourselves, complete with an ensuite private bathroom.
If you want to truly indulge, the villa also includes a stand-along spa building, where guests can receive relaxing beauty treatments and massages.
Services + Catering
The experience at Asmara is all about ensuring that your every need is catered to without having to make that extra trip to the mini market or spend hours planning out an itinerary. Our trip began even before we arrived, with our concierge asking us to fill out a personal grocery shopping list, choosing from a catered dinner menu, and reserving a private car for outings. For families with babies and toddlers, you can also opt for babysitting services, as well as flexible bed configurations with cots on hand to sleep the younger ones.
The villas are manned by a full-time staff, who work round-the-clock to cook meals, tidy up your room, and suggest outings to nearby attractions. Ketut, our personal concierge, was a jovial and charming guide who helped us arrange tours and transportation, make the most of Asmara’s various facilities, and even give directions to our driver when we lost our way coming home from the beach (tip: don’t hop on the back of a stranger’s scooter!).
No holiday destination is complete without delicious food, and whether you choose to dine in or out, you’re sure to be happily fed during your stay at Asmara. Every morning, a complimentary breakfast of toast, eggs, coffee and fresh fruit juice is served upstairs – the perfect way to start off with your day as you watch the sun rise above the neighbouring rice paddies.
You can then choose from the in-house catering menu if you want to enjoy dinner from the comfort of the villas, an option we chose for the second night. Throughout our stay in Bali, this was one of the best meals we had, with a truly authentic Balinese spread of Chicken Spring Rolls, Nasi Goreng, Rendang Sapi (beef stew in coconut milk), Jukut Kacang Urab (long bean salad with grated coconut) and Gado Gado (boiled vegetables with peanut sauce). The staff were so discreet that we never actually had a chance to compliment the chef, but we truly enjoyed the meal and even asked them to save the leftovers for us the next morning…
As far as experiencing the rich Balinese culture, Asmara is in a prime location for sightseeing and exploring the island. The popular Echo Beach is only a 15-minute ride away, featuring a white sandy beach and plenty of activities for water-lovers, including boogie boarding, surfing and paddle-boarding. There are a few decent BBQ seafood restaurants for dining on the beach, as well as a cute little town to walk through with Western-style bars and even a tiny gelateria.
At night, I would recommend venturing out to the town of Seminyak – a 15-min drive away – which is one of Bali’s prime destinations for shopping and nightlife. Here you can choose from a variety of local bars and restaurants, including some of the best-rated on the island, as well as shop for local Balinese souvenirs to take back home.
For golf-loving dads, there’s also a championship golf course nearby that runs partially along the cliffs of the Indian Ocean, providing a spectacular view as you drive and putt away.
Those interested in exploring more of the local religion and culture can visit the incredible Purah Tanah Lot Temple (20 mins’ away), which lies on a rock-island off the shore of the coast. This temple is a peaceful haven along the rock cliffs, offering incredible ocean views and a glimpse into the spiritual side of Bali:
With Bali’s diverse range of attractions spread across an expansive island, the Hideaways Club’s “Asia Concierge” will be your lifesaver in terms of planning your daily itineraries and travel arrangements for the family. Look to them to plan your action-packed adventures in Bali, including horseback riding, watersports and scuba diving, mountain cycling, white water rafting, golf, spas and a “Bali Royal Experience” complete with a royal dinner procession and traditional Balinese dancing.
Whether you’re after a relaxing holiday hanging out at the villas or an action-packed adventure exploring the best of Bali, the Asmara from the Hideaways Club provides the perfect base for bringing the family together and taking the hassle out of vacation planning.
Families staying at the Asmara, Bali enjoy:
- Complete kitchen with complimentary tea, sugar, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, dried pasta, rice, cling film, foil, dishwasher tablets and salt, washing up liquid, kitchen paper towels, cleaning items and laundry powder.
- Complimentary Welcome Basket with coffee, milk, bread, jam, butter, orange juice, eggs, cereal, wine, mineral water, savoury snacks, fresh fruit and chocolate.
- Personal grocery shopper and in-house catering menu to choose from.
- Washing machine, tumble drier, iron and ironing board.
- Child travel cot available for babies and small children.
- Selection of toys for small children in large ground floor playroom.
- Baby facilities including high chairs, changing mat, crockery and cutlery.
- Internet & WiFi
- Laptop and printer
- iPod and Bose System
- Sky TV with movies, sports, news, children and music channels
- Nintendo Wii
- Children’s pool toys and pool noodles
- Selection of board games including Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Articulate, Yahtzee, Chess and Backgammon
- Paperbook book library
- Travel guides, language guides and “Inside Guide” to restaurants, bistros and bars
Asmara Bali, Asmara Estate, No. 29D, Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong, Banjar Pipitan, Canggu, Kuta, Bali, 0062 0361 8853 211, www.thehideawaysclub.com