An enchanted, hidden, jungle haven, in rural Ubud, where Nature surrounds, Comfort abounds and Service astounds.
It seems like forever that the four of us dearheart friends dreamed and schemed, and planned and replanned, and researched up, down and sideways, whilst saving and giddily anticipating our Bali or Bust! chick trip.
And now, in hindsight, as if by magic, or some potent wizardry, here we are, living the dream at Villa Sagitta. If you are ever so blessed as to experience a stay at Villa Sagitta, you will know exactly why I mention 'magic' and 'wizardry'. By what other means could such a heavenly vacation home exist?
Villa Sagitta is perfectly perched near the top of a jungley hillside, on a gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage river gorge. Wow, right?! We've been here nearly 2 weeks and still the views from the villa leave us breathless, at every turn.
Situated about a 20 minute drive from the hustle bustle of Ubud, Villa Sagitta is a stone's throw from narrow country lanes, garlanded by rice paddies, where rural life passes by, with bewitching timelessness.
For our arrival in Bali, we arranged airport pick-up, ahead of time, through Villa Sagitta, keeping everything easy peasy. Sure enough, our friendly driver, Ketut, was there, at the Denpasar airport, to transport us 'home'. Tired, but eager to just be here, as soon as we arrived at the villa, Yande, the villa manager, greeted us with big, warm smiles, open arms and genuine welcomes. The eagle has landed.
And even now, recounting this to you, I get goosebumps of gratifying pleasure, at how I felt seeing, feeling, Villa Sagitta for the first time. An unbridled rush of joy surged through me, as my eyes encountered the golden glow of dusk reflecting off the beautiful infinity pool, the Balinese-ness oozing from the villa, from the grounds, from the jungle.
And, of course from Yande, and his happy team, who effortlessly got us settled, fed and welcomed, like only they can.
Then, of course, tired from our long journeys, we were all eager to each go to our own delightfully spacious, gloriously comfortable, Bali bedrooms (all with their own bathroom), to tuck in and drift off to dreamland.
And then...........Morning has broken.
"I am waking up in Bali!", I silently, excitedly, exclaim to myself, as soon as I stir. I can't even remember the flurry of dressing, combing and throwing open, that came next, but I sure do remember stepping out of my bedroom right onto the poolside lanai, for the very first time.
Our pool reflected the gorgeous sunrise colours, while golden shards of sunlight played tag in the tall palms along the top of the far hillside. Birds cooed, twittered, chirped, sang, and cockle-doodle-doo-ed, in an unorchestrated, audible ode to joy.
From the temple, just over the way, on the hillside beside us, the entrancing rhythm of morning prayers and melodic chanting rises up, up, up, to the heavens. More goosebumps.
I see the early morning wisps of misty clouds that couldn't resist dropping down to kiss the river, now silently drifting upwards, through green treetops, somewhat reluctantly, making their way home, to the sky.
Even the morning breezes seem to be in cahoots to surround us with heady pleasures. From the soft whooshing of gazillions of leaves, to the whispering of swaying bamboo and the percussive wave, much like a flock of birds flying overhead, as the giant silver-green palm-like leaves rustle each other, in all the right ways.
From somewhere, over the way......the calming aroma of incense wafts around us, making our noses smile.
ZEN ~ TRANQUILITY ~ JOY ~ CONTENTMENT ~ BLISS
And I'm so tickled to tell you, that this isn't just my, or should I say, our, first morning experience at Villa Sagitta, it is our every morning, at Villa Sagitta.
And so our day begins. By 7am Yande and a couple of his team dudes are here, rolling into a day of keeping this stunning villa ship shape, of cleaning, tidying, cooking deliciousness and always, always, dishing out absurdly wonderful service and food, whilst keeping us delightfully entertained.
*More on this charming, helpful, friendly team and the delectable dishes they serve up, in Villa Sagitta - Part Two - stay tuned. *
The 4 of us always start our day with warm gratitude as we greet the morning, and gather at the big table, poolside, on the lanai. Next order of the day is tea, tea, coffee, coffee. Aaaah.
We always have fresh picked, local fruit for breakfast, and then more often than not, Yande's rather sublime Pineapple Pancake, (which is more of a cross between a pancake and a crepe) riddled with lime zest and boasting fresh pineapple chunks. Good morning Bali!
Then, it's time to decide if we are going to laze and play around the villa, for the day, or adventure out. It's often a tricky decision between experiencing the marvelous, exotic, sights and sounds of the Ubud area, or staying put and being all one with ourselves, and understanding pure, unadulterated, pampered, relaxation.
Around the villa we fall easily into grace, magic and beauty. Our lanai begs us to stay, to put our feet up, and just hang out. The aqua blue of the infinity pool, that hangs over the jungle slopes, is forever whispering sweet nothings to us. Beckoning....beckoning.....
Another bonus of our stay-put-at-the-villa days, is witnessing first hand the daily ritual of Canang. Canang is a Balinese Hindu offering of gratitude. Small coconut leaf containers holding colourful flowers, a pinch of rice, pieces of snacks, traditional herbs and burning incense are placed strategically around the home and grounds. Beautiful.
Potent blessings, of every kind come to frolic, at Villa Sagitta.
Speaking of which, one day last week, Yande arranged for two lovely masseuses to come to the villa to give us all one hour, full body massages. Massage tables were set up along the rail, overlooking the jungle, in Lynnea's crazy beautiful, open-air Joglo suite. One thing lead to another, and yessirreebob, I am no longer a bashful un-massaged old chick. Uh, uh, I sucked it up, threw it off, and let my body have the pleasure of a fragrant, true Balinese massage. Oh my!! There's no looking back now!
Deb, Donna and Lynnea are all old hats at getting massages, and were so pleased with the their massages, that we have already all had another full hour of those magic hands, making happy bodies, Balinese style. Life is good!
And then, before we know it, Happy Hour rolls around, and Yande makes us some perfectamundo Margaritas on ice, as we drift towards dinner time. Choosing what we want from the menu, for dinner, has become one of our rituals. Oh my goodness, we always have a tricky dicky time, choosing that just-right-for-tonight dish, well knowing that all of Yande's meals are prepared with experience, passion and freshness.
* Again, more on Yande and team's style of hosting, of raising the bar high, of big smiles and cheerful assistance, in Villa Sagitta - Part Two - stay tuned *
As evening has it's way with us the muted darkness of dusk is softly interrupted by the golden glow of patio lights......the table is set, and dinner is served. Tonight, happiness is ~ Sauteed, just-picked-this-afternoon Ferns, lightly seasoned with sultry chilis. ~ Made-from-scratch Springrolls, draped in a luscious, tangy sauce ~ Perfectly al dente Spaghetti, crowned with a tangy, bold, fresh tomato sauce ~ And some tasty, saucy, Mie Goreng Balinese noodles. Mmmmm. Suksma, Yande!
Then, as happens every night, at Villa Sagitta, calm contentment sets in and soulful gratitude oozes from us, for this food, this place, this day. For each other. We smile out loud, in unison. In the glow, and magic, of Bali moonlight, we sit together, we chatter, we giggle and then we collectively ponder about what might be in store for us tomorrow. We smile again. In unison.
Thanks oodles, for listening. I'll be back soon, with more of our Bali or Bust! chick adventures.