Bali’s one of those enchanting, magical places that I try to visit at least once a year. Obviously, when I say enchanting and magical, I’m not talking about Kuta (nor do I ever set foot there). Usually I stay down south at sunny Jimbaran Bay for the beaches and the seafood, then up the misty mountains to Ubud, the pulsating cultural heart of the island. Last month, for the first time in my life, I stayed for two nights in stylish Seminyak at a pretty new property.
One Eleven — or 1 11 (you know the cool quotient goes up when a venue is inconspicuously named with numbers) — is a minimalist jewel tucked away in central Seminyak, well within walking distance to all the upscale shopping and trendy hangouts on bustling Jalan Laksmana. And this boutique resort villa really knocks it out of the aesthetic ballpark with its sleek design and sleeker service.
Nine private villas hide behind an unassuming façade of slatted wood, suggesting the tastefully restrained veneer of a Kyoto machiya.
The main gates of each spacious 350-square-meter villa face a vertical garden of over a million potted plants that stretch deep into the block. Villa number one is nearest to the lobby and the street, so proximity to all the action might make it seem less secluded (and consequently less serene) than the other villas. So if peace and quiet is what you’re here for, request a villa that’s deeper within the compound. It’s a nice meditative stroll down to my villa number eight (THANK YOU; auspicious number for Chinese). Of course you can take the buggy as well if you’re too lazy to walk, or somehow in a rush to go somewhere in Bali.
I think I stayed at a quaint 3-star traditional Balinese villa in the Seminyak area before for one night only, with a fantastic gilded Balinese door surrounded by garishly fierce garudas and rakshasas with bulging eyes that freaked me out, and the metal key never unlocked the ancient lock without me breaking into a sweat and acquiring that irritating metallic smell all over my sore fingers. Thankfully, I did not encounter that problem this time at One Eleven as the stately wooden gate to my villa has this groovy electronic lock that just opens with a majestic click when wave my card key, or if I press a button from within (either right at the gate, the semi-outdoor sitting room, or the bedroom).
Upon entering, I’m immediately enthralled by the open-plan architecture and the smooth, clean lines of its modern design, which really complete the illusion of total outdoor living. The place really is like how it looks in the photos!
While it seems like the neighbours are just beyond your walls, and sometimes you do hear a faint hint of their music selection wafting through, your villa is an inviolate dwelling, and privacy is promised.
And the colour palette, while simple, is exhilaratingly contemporary and fresh.
Emerald lawn; milky off-white stone flooring and walls that gleam like alabaster under the tropical sun; calming café au lait brown wood paneling on the spacious wardrobes in the room and the cupboards of the open kitchen; a 14-meter stretch of vivid azure that you simply cannot ignore. Oh yes you’ll want to jump into the blue mosaic-tiled swimming pool for a cool dip or an energizing swim first thing in the morning.
Reception and staff are available 24/7. In the mornings, your butler and a cook will come in and prepare your first meal at the open kitchen in your semi-outdoor living area. I ordered my favourite mi goreng to break my fast.
Sorry, no close up food shot. I only took this quick snap of my splendid mi goreng with my iPhone before devouring the yummy noodles. Nothing like a plate of deliciously spiced stir-fried carbohydrates as a hangover breakfast.
Yes, before devoting myself to spirituality in Ubud and Uluwatu, I had my first big night out in Bali this year. My friend Rebecca (who just relocated to Canggu) took me to dine at her favourite Mamasan, then drove me to check out the new hotspots, the ghetto vintage fab La Favela and the kitschy chic Motel Mexicola, funky slices of Central and South America in Seminyak. We finished with a chat by the roaring waves of the Indian Ocean and the thumping beats of that bastion of Bali, Potato Head Beach Club, and I ritually ended the morning at the glorious hot mess that is Jalan Dhyana Pura (danced to Gaga’s Applause here the first time this year with the drag queens!)
I had been exploring Yogyakarta for four full days before my big Bali night out, so I had no problem doing absolutely NOTHING after breakfast except for lounging around the cool blue pool, soaking up some sun whilst listening to my music selection on their speaker stand, and jumping in occasionally for some leisurely laps.
Did I mention a private spa gazebo inside your villa? There’s an extensive list of treatments and delicious aromatherapy bar, but your own private spa gazebo means that you can also play masseur or masseuse with your traveling companion if you’ve ever wanted to practice your shiatsu or your mad reflexology skills.
I really enjoyed One Eleven’s own branded bath products as well, which come in two “flavours” — Lemongrass + Vanilla + Coconut, and Tomato + Basil. The former practically smells like a Southeast Asian dessert, the latter is sweet with just a subtle suggestion of the Italian herb. People forget that the tomato is really a sweet fruit, so don’t worry. You won’t smell like you’ve just shampoo’d in marinara sauce because it’s just tomato and basil, not Tomato + Basil + Onions + Garlic and possibly + Capers.
There’s also a Vanilla + Coconut sunblock and a Cucumber + Aloe post-tan cooling gel after your affair with the Balinese sun. Yum.
Here’s a selfie before heading up to One Eleven’s only restaurant, Shiro, for an omakase meal with Chef Mimaki. I’ll post my review of their equally sleek sushi and sake bar later, but I can tell you with bold assurance that Shiro is serving the BEST sushi in Bali right now. What a thoroughly enjoyable dinner experience and unexpected surprise! I suppose Chef Mimaki had an unexpected surprise as well, as he got to speak Japanese with me.
Check out more gorgeous pictures on 1 11’s website and get a room via the quintessential boutique and luxury hotel booking specialists Mr & Mrs Smith. It’s fantastic and free to join! Their number is 800-905-326.
3 Jalan Pangkung Sari, Seminyak, Bali 80361