The private luxury villa and its superhero cast
Some of the sweetest moments on this trip have tended to be the simplest. Like sitting at the departure gate as a family, quietly waiting for our delayed flight to board, and hearing our little two year old suddenly shout out at the top of his lungs, “SO, WE MEET AGAIN!!!”, in what may be the cutest superhero voice ever spoken. It was a beautiful way to inspire laughter amongst a random group of strangers all wishing they were somewhere else, and yet all stuck there just the same.
Considering his age, Arlo has always had a knack for remembering little details like this, and we think his latest proclamation in the airport came from watching the Lego Batman film one too many times (or in this case once). As we’d come to learn, this wasn’t to be the only Batman reference we’d encounter on this trip.
Kemah Tinggi exists behind an unassuming Balinese gate, on an unassuming Balinese backstreet in an unassuming part of Canggu. The drive takes you through multi-layered rice paddies and perfectly manicured watermelon farms, with hardly a hotel or cafe to steal your attention on the way. As our taxi driver turned into the street we’d call home for the next few nights, it felt very much as though we were arriving at a Balinese homestay, somewhere you’d have to have a reason to travel to and not necessarily somewhere you’d wander into by chance. Perfect when you’re trying to get away from the crowd, but still be able to pop out for sunset drinks when the moment suits.
As we got out of the car and walked through the big unassuming Balinese gate, the full impact of this place finally hit us. Arriving just before dusk as we did, the final rays of that day’s sun were casting brilliant shadows across the vast open courtyard setting now in front of us. A series of white sandstone tiles leads you into the central sitting area of this enormous space, with its triple height ceiling and open-air design. Beyond this lies the picture perfect infinity pool, and beyond this, rice paddies. The buildings flanking the pool house the bedrooms, with four in total offering the option of a big old family get together should you have the organisational ability to pull off such a feat. Off to the right of the living space lies the dining room, and behind this, the kitchen. The final room is above us, and given our constant moving from place to place over the past few months, is a welcomed bit of luxury. Boxes of lego, toy cars and train sets. Heaven on earth. As with most things, the small stuff tends to make the biggest difference, and toys reminiscent of home, or small stools in the bathrooms to help the kids brush their teeth, are all little things that add up to become so much more. In fact, this place is so well set up for the kids that they even offer the option of setting up a complimentary pool fence all the way around the stunning pool.
But as impressive as this place is on the eye (and it is very, very impressive), and as great as these little features add up to be, there is something even more astounding about it. And as always, it lies in something more lasting than mere design aesthetic, and in something I suspect Batman would agree with; having the right people around you. The only difference here is that Batman only had Alfred, and this place has Wayan, Iluh, Sinta and a great many others. Who are these people you ask? Well, they are what make Kemah Tinggi.
Wayan is Alfred in this case, although they bear no other similarities beyond their job title. Wayan is a smiling, quiet man, someone you’d suspect incapable of losing his temper. His role is to make sure you feel at ease in this home away from home, from helping you choose what food the chef will cook for your kids, to driving you to the supermarket to pick up apples when your children eat their way through the pre-supplied ones. It’s clear that he and his team love what they do here at Kemah Tinggi, and the 10 years spent doing it are testament to this.
At first, the concept of being the only guests in this private villa, with a whole team of people to take care of us, was a bit daunting. After all, we like to think of ourselves as pretty independent people, and we certainly love spending time just as a foursome. But this trip is all about getting out of our comfort zone, and if we need to endure the hardship of being spoilt by this great team for a few nights in the name of this blog, then you can rest assured that we will give it our all. And whilst we love cooking, and whilst we want our kids to learn the importance of getting off their arses and contributing from time to time, it was a real pleasure to experience the Kemah Tinggi way of life, even if our two year old son now thinks he’s the real life embodiment of Batman. Until we meet again Kemah Tinggi friends, until we meet again…