As its name suggests, Villa Maya Retreat is the perfect place to slow down and escape the frantic pace of everyday life. Resting on the banks of the Penet River, that flows through the pretty village of Cepaka in the heart of Bali`s `rice bowl`, this six-bedroom villa has been designed to soothe your body, mind and soul.
Shaded by natural jungle vegetation and lush tropical gardens, the villa`s living and sleeping pavilions offer total peace and privacy while maximizing the serene river views. With a 12-metre swimming pool, three plunge pools, numerous relaxation bales and secret garden hangouts, Villa Maya Retreat offers plenty of space to relax unwind and recharge the batteries.
From the moment you descend the steep stone staircase that carves its way down the river gorge, Villa Maya Retreat will captivate you with its beauty and tranquility. Jungle vines hang from mature trees, moss and lichen cling to carved statues and a waterfall cascades all the way to the villa hidden below.
By the time you reach the villa it really sinks in that this is your own private paradise. A huge rust-red door swings open to reveal a lush and secluded oasis. Traditional thatch-roofed pavilions overlook the fast flowing Penet River and clusters of towering bamboo, while a 12-metre swimming pool with timber deck provides the perfect spot to soak up the forest ambiance.
With six stand-alone bedrooms, (three with plunge pools), Villa Maya Retreat is perfect for families, friends or groups looking to share their holiday experience but who also desire privacy and room to breathe. Designed with space in mind there are plenty of places to take in the views and absorb the solitude; from the curtained relaxation bales to the secret garden alcoves to the sunset lounge at the river`s edge.
While the villa may be in an out-of-the-way rural setting, everything you need is at your fingertips. A full complement of staff, including an experienced chef, is on hand to prepare and serve delicious home-cooked Asian and Western meals. A car and driver is also on standby for those eager to explore the island or indulge in Seminyak`s trendy restaurants, bars and shops (a 45 minute drive).
A stay at Villa Maya Retreat is not complete without exploring the pretty neighbouring village of Cepaka, located in the heart of Bali`s `rice bowl`. Here, guests are privy to local traditions that have been practiced for centuries. Whether it happens while you`re witnessing a temple ceremony, watching farmers tend their fields or simply playing with the village children in the street, it`s hard not to fall under the spell of the Island of the Gods, its magic leaving you refreshed and rejuvenated for your return home.
A steep stone staircase bordered by lush foliage and a man-made waterfall carves its way down a terraced gorge to the villa`s main entrance: a large rust-red cantilevered door that opens onto a lotus pond traversed by stepping stones.
Beyond the fish-filled pond, and overlooking the pool and river, is the dining pavilion which also houses an informal living area and stainless steel kitchen. Downstream from here rests the open sided TV lounge and three standalone bedroom suites, while upstream lies the riverside lounge terrace, relaxation bale and master suite. The two remaining bedrooms are located on a terrace higher in the gorge, accessed by stairs to the rear of the kitchen and master suite.
All six luxurious bedrooms at Villa Maya Retreat are housed in separate pavilions with high vaulted ceilings, polished terrazzo floors, ensuite bathrooms and individual patios to admire the views. Each air-conditioned suite features a four-poster king-size bed with mosquito net, additional ceiling fans and a small bar-fridge.
The master or honeymoon suite offers total seclusion with its own private garden featuring a 5-metre plunge pool with timber sundeck overlooking the river. A slatted screen divides the ensuite bathroom from the garden enabling guests to soak up the ambiance from the cream terrazzo bathtub or the rain shower made from black volcanic stone.
The bedroom, with its traditional alang-alang roof, has a large walk-in dressing area and a small TV lounge decorated with blue and white batik cushions. Large glass doors open onto a sheltered patio with a comfortable daybed perfect for bird watching or listening to relaxation CDs.
Three thatch-roofed sleeping pavilions sit side-by-side along the riverbank offering sublime jungle views. Each spacious suite features a lovely indoor seating area that captures the natural light and is furnished with a rattan sofa and marble topped coffee table. Glass bi-fold doors open onto an outdoor terrace.
The ensuite garden bathrooms have been cleverly designed so that a real stone cliff face, dripping in vines and creepers, forms one of the walls to evoke the feeling of bathing in a jungle cave. Each ensuite has twin vanities and a black lava-stone rain shower, while the suite closest to the main living pavilion also has a terrazzo bath and built-in seating area. This suite is also equipped with a TV and DVD player while the other two suites have only stereos.
Upper Terrace Suites
Reached via a set of stairs leading up from behind the kitchen and master suite, the upper terrace suites have great views of the river valley. Being higher up the gorge, these two rooms receive more sun and each feature a timber deck with sun loungers and a small plunge pool. Light and airy, these suites are a later addition to the estate and are more modern in their design but still feature high-vaulted ceilings; this time with sirap-wood tiled roofs.
Each room has a black rattan sofa with white cushions and a small table perfect for afternoon tea. Both ensuite bathrooms have tubs and rain showers however one is semi-open to the elements while the other is totally enclosed.
The open-sided dining pavilion with its alang-alang thatched roof, polished grey floors and ceiling fans forms the communal hub of the villa. Positioned next to the swimming pool, this room features a huge 4-metre-long solid wood dining table complemented by ten black rattan chairs with beige and black striped cushions, and a large vase of bright tropical flowers. An antique Javanese drinks cabinet sits to one side, along with a long wooden desk and surround-sound stereo system. This pavilion also houses an informal living area, with two comfortable rattan sofas decorated in the same striped fabric, an ottoman and a rustic coffee table.
Adjacent to the dining area is the fully equipped kitchen with stainless steel work tops and appliances. Wooden-framed windows retract to allow for natural ventilation and a service bar with three bar stools is just the place to enjoy a cocktail while watching the chef cook.
Across from the pool another large open-sided pavilion with a two-tiered roof, fashioned in the style of a traditional Balinese wantilan (village meeting hall), forms the TV lounge, complete with 42-inch satellite TV and DVD player. Fan-cooled, this pavilion features a polished concrete floor with three sofas positioned around a marble-topped coffee table and a sideboard displaying some interesting Indonesian artifacts. A good collection of magazines and DVDs will keep guests entertained for hours.
Among the many highlights of Villa Maya Retreat are its lush tropical gardens, river setting and jungle vibe. Designed to maximize the villa`s natural surroundings, outdoor living spaces invite guests to unwind, relax and admire the native vegetation and fauna - in particular the iridescent blue kingfishers and alu (water monitor lizards) that scale the river banks.
The 12-metre green-stone swimming pool sits strategically at the centre of the property surrounded by a large wooden deck upon which six sun loungers are shaded by white ceremonial umbrellas. To one end of the pool is an alfresco dining area, while to the other end a traditional style bale adorned with batik cushions provides respite from the heat.
A lily pond with a tall bubbling water features leads to a furnished terrace overhanging the river - an idyllic setting for pre-dinner drinks. Here, a comfortable U-shaped sitting area with space enough for a small party surrounds a polished tree-stump coffee table ornamented with a bonsai tree.
Next to the terrace rests a huge curtained bale which looks especially romantic when lit at night, and is a great place to enjoy a massage and be soothed by the sounds of the river.