Let’s just say… I picked the right place for my working holiday. I really can’t get enough of Indonesia, and The Arsana Estate was fabulous. Only about half of me even wanted to spend the day touring Bali with everyone else that first morning when they left the estate after breakfast. The other half was thrilled that I had a good reason to stay back at this gorgeous villa and sit by the pool with my computer.
We weren’t sure exactly what to expect when Shannon booked the Arsana Estate. The pictures on the website are lovely, and we had been told that there were five individual villas that could sleep up to 20 people comfortably… but without a first hand account from someone you know, it’s always difficult to predict what you are going to get.
As soon as we arrived on the property my mind was put at ease and you could see Shannon almost visibly relax. It’s breathtaking. Arsana means “flow” in Sanskrit and there is no better word to describe the Arsana Estate. The whole place seems to flow right down the hills it was built on.
When you arrive you are greeted by the staff with welcome drinks on the top level, before being led down the steps to the living area. This main pavillion has a reflecting pool and waterfall that cascade down the hill further to the pool and outdoor bar level. From the pool you can continue going down the grassy hills to the area where we held the wedding reception. There is a small fence here to keep you from falling even further into the river that flows right beneath you. Flow, flow, flow. Arsana Estate was definitely named appropriately.
The five villas are spread throughout the property and each has a winding path that leads down the hill toward the main pavilion. The villas each have a bathtub that looks out onto a private koi pond, spacious showers, sitting porches and gorgeous views.
The fifth villa includes a large “kid’s room” with 6 bunk beds and two twins. Right outside of this bedroom is a trampoline and play area.
The main living area is a U-shaped building with sliding glass walls that remain mostly open in good weather. The kitchen and dining area are on the left. The openness of the structure almost makes it feel like the reflecting pool that the pavilion wraps around is part of the building. On the right are long sleek red couches, more floor to ceiling windows and a rather sleek bar.
I don’t know much about feng shui… but I’d guess that whoever designed and decorated this place did.
In addition to the estate itself being beautiful, you couldn’t ask for a more attentive staff. Lunch and dinner are served family-style. You pick menus at the beginning of the week, and groceries are bought accordingly, though they were very open to changes we made as we went along. The chef is excellent and the butlers are always there to assist with everything.
The manager of the estate, Tia, was a calm and quiet presence, always overseeing the staff and anticipating our needs around the clock. We had two driver’s that worked with us all week, chauffeuring us all over the island on the various adventures Shannon had planned. Every morning at sunrise we had the option of doing yoga over in the main pavilion overlooking the reflecting pool, and every evening a team of masseuse came to rub out kinks we’d gotten during the day.
“So this must be what it’s like to be a Kardashian,” Shawna said as she floated around the pool one afternoon, mimosa in hand. “Do you think we could get them to bring the champagne down here on ice?” Just as the words came out of her mouth we looked up toward the stairs and saw sweet Tia making her way down the stairs… and sure enough, she’d put the champagne on ice.
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.