You may also like these photo galleries
Formerly the Anantara Vacation Club Bali Seminyak, the rebranded Avani and its all-villa accommodation is one of the many hotels in Bali that had the unfortunate opening year of 2020 and immediately had to close its doors, reopening in mid-2021.
Avani is nestled into a laneway off a popular shopping street in central Seminyak. Surrounded by other villas, the location is peaceful with only the happy sounds of others plunging into their private pools, the soft patter of occasional rainfall, and the chirping of birds and crickets.
New arrivals will land at the open-air lobby, walking past communal spaces such as the pool and restaurant. A pretty paved pathway follows the restaurant, decorated atmospherically with overhanging lamps, frangipani, palms and other tropical plants, leading to the villas, a gym and a free laundry. There are 16 private pool villas and 21 larger apartment suites designed for longer-term stays and all are Balinese-style, modern and luxurious.
The entrance to the villa has its own porch with a heavy wooden door. As I take my first glimpse of the paradise beyond, I struggle to contain my delight as staff guide me through my glorious stay for the next few nights. Central to the space is a zen garden with a large frangipani and private pool with a huge inflatable pink flamingo. By the pool, deckchairs and a table beckon under a protective umbrella. The bamboo-lined pool is lit for night swimming - there's also a second bathroom containing a shower for use after the pool.
While the novelty of having a private pool cannot be ignored, the inside is just as special. The space includes two separate buildings, the first a kitchen and lounge area with a full kitchen, including oven, microwave, coffee machine and a large fridge as well as a three-seater lounge with large screen television. Tiled floors mean it's perfect for ducking in and out for drinks and snacks by the pool.
Opening the sliding doors to the second building reveals a king-sized bed, covered in rose petals and two towels fashioned into kissing swans. There are two wardrobes which light up when you open the doors, stowage space for luggage, two desks, a daybed and another television. The next set of patterned sliding doors reveal a bathroom, including a deep bathtub - again filled with petals - alongside floor-to-ceiling windows for gazing at the garden outside. Next to the bathroom are two showers - one outside, one inside - and a separate toilet.
Customer service is prompt and friendly. If you require any assistance you can contact the front desk via whatsapp. I was even treated to one of Asia's famous "floating breakfasts". Staff bought it in on the dot at 7am as requested in a heart-shaped basket.
Food is served at the open-air, friendly cafe-style restaurant overlooking the main pool and the food is good enough for me not to bother venturing out, with a choice of Indonesian or Western dishes. At the time of stay it closed before dinner at 5pm but is now open until 11pm.
Breakfast can be included in the price of your room and is a substantial but not heavy three courses, with fruit and juice, coffee or tea, pastries, and an omelette. I'd forgotten just how good food is in Asia, no matter where it's served or how little it costs, and simple little Groove cafe pumps out some very decent and beautifully presented Indonesian dishes. Scan your phone over the QR code on the table for the menu, which includes Indonesian-style cabbage-wrapped rice paper rolls with tempeh and peanut sauce, a modern, fresh take on gado gado. The peanut sauce was so lush I had it again for main, with chicken sate and all the trimmings; for dessert, a tropical fruit platter. This was more than enough to keep me fuelled for the rest of the day and into the night.
Photo: Kylie McLaughlin
At the time of writing, Seminyak as you knew it pre-pandemic is gone; there's a lot of empty shops and restaurants, but there was a buzz of activity around some old favourites that were open or in the process of reopening, and there's certainly enough of everything open to keep visitors fed and occupied, so that shouldn't put you off visiting. A few doors down the road there's a spa offering great massages for low prices (Aspya Massage and Beauty). There's hip jewellery (Jewel Rocks), great Indonesian food from old favourite Made's Warung; and famous Ku De Ta and Potato Head beach clubs are still going strong. The beach is a short walk away.
A slice of heaven in Seminyak, and a luxurious respite from the usual crowds with the added privacy of your own pool - a bonus most of us will be unable to look past. Perfect for a few nights, even better for more long-term stays.
Jl. Drupadi No.28, Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia; Ph 62 361 737 908; www.avanihotels.com
The one-bedroom pool villas from $160 per night, but the more nights you stay, the cheaper they become, with three nights in June priced at $135 per night.
I loved the pool's inflatable flamingo. It may be purpose-built for Instagram but who doesn't love floating on one for the ultimate piece of relaxation in your own private pool.
The bathroom was a little toasty, as the air-conditioning was in the bedroom.