Behind the tall planted walls of Seminyak’s boutique hotel One Eleven lies a pampering retreat of sleek seductive private villas. Close the doors on the world to indulge in Bali’s most sought-after pastimes: long soaks in vast stone tubs, head-to-toe treatments in an airy spa gazebo, or a cooling cocktail by the mirror stillness of your very own pool.
Noon; late check-out until 6pm can be arranged for 50 per cent of the villa’s rate, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £391.88 (IDR7,100,000), including tax at 21 per cent.
Rates include the in-villa breakfast prepared by a private chef, airport transfers, shuttle to Seminyak and a 24-hour butler.
You’ll find two massage beds side-by-side in the villa’s glass-sided spa gazebos, which open up to the pool area. Guests receive a welcome foot massage and scrub on arrival, and can book sea salt scrubs, traditional Balinese massages or oil wraps from 9am to 9pm.
At the hotel
Butler, yoga classes, free WiFi. In villas: spa gazebo, kitchenette, flatscreen TV with DVD player, iPod dock, minibar with free bottled water, Nespresso machine and tea-making facilities.
Our favourite rooms
Spacious, clean-lined and secluded, all the villas are identical, with manicured lawns and a private pool. The open-air pavilions – all natural wood, stone and glass – make the most of Bali’s warm and breezy climate, but the bedrooms are cleverly equipped with air-conditioning, floor-to-ceiling sliding windows and heavy black-out curtains for a good night’s sleep. Bathrooms have a beautiful freestanding stone bath tub and a huge rainfall shower. If you don’t mind the 300m walk from reception, pick Villa Nine, the furthest away from the hotel entrance, for complete privacy.
Each villa has its own 14m mosaic-tiled swimming pool, flanked by a wooden deck, curvy sunloungers to stretch out on, and a perfect patch of palm-tree-dotted lawn.
Leave your tropics survival kit at home – bathrooms at One Eleven are stocked with his 'n’ hers toiletries set complete with sunscreen and little tubes of insect repellent – perfect for slipping in your handbag before heading out for sunset cocktails.
Each villa has its own private spa gazebo with floor-to-ceiling sliding windows.
The hotel is mainly a tranquil adults-only retreat; if you're staying in the Penthouse, though, under-10s are welcome if sharing a parent's bed or in a cot (free) and older children can stay in an extra bed for IDR950,000 a night (including breakfast).
Ask the Chef to organise a poolside barbecue in your villa.
Raid the Seminyak boutiques for something cool and breezy for dinner in minimalist-chic Shiro; what you do or don’t wear in the privacy of your villa is up to you.
In an intimate dining room of golden wood and slate floors, Shiro serves fantastically fresh sushi and sashimi. Sit at the counter to watch the Japan-trained chefs at work, dishing out creamy sea urchin or rich tuna belly over the counter, or sample the crispy oyster tempura and delicate steamed egg custard.
Shiro has a selection of sakes, Japanese beers, and barley or sweet potato Shochu. At night, the villas’ pavilions and palm-trees light up atmospherically – a dreamy backdrop for a classic cocktail or leisurely cigar by the pool from the in-room menu.
Breakfast is served 7am to noon; just let your butler know when you would like it cooked in your villa’s kitchen. Shiro serves dinner 6pm–11pm.
Order from Shiro during restaurant hours, or from the in-villa menu of Indonesian classics, sandwiches and pizzas (available noon–10pm). The truly peckish can call their butler after-hours to see what’s available on the late snack menu that night.
On a quiet street off Seminyak’s buzzing main drag, One Eleven is located a five-minute walk from Seminyak Square Shopping Centre, and a 10-minute walk from Petitenget Beach.
Ngurah Rai Airport (www.baliairport.com), just south of capital Denpasar, is your nearest international hub and a 30-minute drive away, serving flights from Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Australia. You can buy a visa on Arrival, if required, which costs US$25 for 30 days (ideally bring cash).
A car is a must to explore the island, but hiring one with a driver is often safer than trying to come to grips with the chaotic local driving. There’s free parking at the hotel if you do come with your own wheels.
Worth getting out of bed for
In the heart of buzzy Seminyak, One Eleven is on a quiet backstreet surrounded by villas and neighbourhood restaurants. It’s a short walk to the stylish clothes and interiors boutiques on Jalan Laksmana, and the tranquil stretch of beach dotted with enticing restaurants, glitzy clubs, and, yes, the occasional surfing posse too. Beyond the villas’ walls, Bali’s an island for the curious, active, and downright restless; whether you choose to brave the Ayung river’s white water, gallop on black-sand beaches or catch the swaying of kecak dancers in clifftop temples, the hotel can assist with excursions near and far. About 45 minutes away on the road to Ubud, the Bali Purnati Centre for the Arts is a blissful artists’ retreat set in lush tropical gardens, where traditional Balinese dance, music and arts are studied and taught. Look out for T’ai chi and yoga retreats, as well as performances, Hindu blessing ceremonies and craft workshops. A short stroll along the shore past Ku de Ta will take you to the long strip of beach that stretches from Legian to Kuta, where the gentle morning swells make taking those first few paddles a slightly less daunting affair. The area has well-established surf schools such as Rip Curl School of Surf; for more tailored one-to-one instruction, ask your butler for a recommendation.
Balinese wood carvings, muted golden lighting and crisp linens face lush paddy fields at elegant and romantic Métis. The French-Mediterranean menu has a whole section dedicated to foie gras, and indulgent meaty mains such as a 14-hour crispy pork belly or a gargantuan côte de boeuf with all the trimmings. Leave some space for something from the soufflé menu – the airy coconut, lemongrass and lime one is dreamy. Nestled in a verdant tropical garden, Sarong’s dining pavilions have an indoor-outdoor feel, with oversized sofas, billowing drapes and intimate lighting. Book ahead to sample the exceptional fusion food: a pork belly starter comes stacked high and drizzled with a black vinegar caramel; the soft-shell crab and mango salad is a moreish mix of salty, sweet, tender and crunchy. Desserts range from the exotic (black sticky rice with lychee and mango ice-cream) to the truly indulgent (Balinese chocolate cake with white chocolate ganache and cashew nut ice-cream).
Stop by Nalu Bowls' roadside shack on Jalan Drupadi for a little pot of healthy – and tasty – goodness. Choose one of their six bowls, all of which are filled to the brim with fresh fruits and vegetables from that morning's market and topped with Nalu's homemade granola, then add your favourite extras, such as chia seeds, dragon fruit, shreded coconut or bee pollen.
The glittering chandeliers and wooden bar of The Garden Bar at Watercress draw in a buzzing crowd each night. Drop in for a refreshing brew and a couple of their tasty side dishes, such as king prawns with papaya and sticky pork. Treat yourself to one of award-winning mixologist, Jacob Sweetapple's creative cocktail concoctions inspired by the local markets. Try their signature Watercress negroni, the coconut-infused-arak based Wayan Goes to Market, or their flaming (literally, it can be served alight) Beet, Bruised and Bitter whisky tipple.
Mr Smith and I nearly miss our flight to Denpasar – an indication of just how intense the weeks leading up to our holiday have been. We are clearly in need of some R&R. I’m not sure we’ll find it in Seminyak, a bustling hot spot for wining and dining.
We’re pleasantly surprised, then, when we set foot on One Eleven Bali's turf. Rooms are set back behind a main building: the linear, metal-and-wood structure hints at the Zen spaces we will find on the other side.
The staff greet us with smiles and lead us past a high wall of greenery to our room. Behind a simple wooden door, we find a lush green lawn, the sound of trickling water from the 14-metre pool, an outdoor, glass-enclosed cabana and 350 square metres of pared-back living space. There’s a blissful-looking bed decked out in simple white sheets that promises a zonked-out sleep, and a deep, rounded tub that’s all set for heavenly baths. Beside the tub are One Eleven’s delicious, home-made bath products: the girls get fresh lemongrass body wash and hair care; the boys get tomato and basil.
Japanese designers Shigemasa Noi and Naoya Matsumoto are responsible for the architecture and interiors, and they have achieved a modern sense of minimalism – something you don’t often find in Bali. It suits the place. It feels calm, so much so that we quickly feel ourselves winding down and beginning to relax.
It helps that we’re given plenty of space in which to do this – both mentally and physically. The room is spacious enough to almost be described as a villa, plus it’s situated in its own compound. We feel cocooned, like we’re in our own private world. The only interruption is the sound of our neighbours splashing around in their pool: a reminder that we’re not exactly alone.
But the illusion is, essentially, complete. One Eleven’s staff seem to have figured out just the right balance when it comes to service. They don’t overcrowd; we never experience that claustrophobic feeling you get at some hotels, the one that makes you want to bark ‘Back off!’ And yet we don’t feel neglected, either. They’re always ready to help, whether that’s by having a car at the ready to take you somewhere (at no extra charge), to suggest where to shop, to book a restaurant, to restock our water when asked.
It’s delivered in a personal way, too – something Mr Smith and I notice at the very first instant; we peek in the hotel’s information book and in it, there’s a picture of every member of staff, plus a biography that tells you each of their stories. We like this get-to-know element. This isn’t a place for those who like faceless service. These are real people, and friendly ones at that, and they treat us in the same way. They ask us how our days were and give us recommendations for things to see and do in Seminyak. An extra little treat is the petite desserts they pop in our fridge every day – each afternoon, we open the fridge wondering what lovely surprises we will find.
Our first full day at One Eleven is spent in the sun. We kick it off with some yoga on our lawn, courtesy of a Balinese yoga teacher One Eleven has on hand for private classes. The yoga is a straightforward hatha class; not challenging, but just the gentle stretch we need.
We spend the rest of the day poolside, leaving the comfort of our room only to go for dinner at One Eleven’s sushi and sake restaurant, Shiro. Here, there’s a sushi bar where a Japanese chef prepares an impressive selection of sushi. We each order the Zen set menu, a generous selection of fresh sashimi and sushi, fish, salad, tempura and more. It’s another element of One Eleven that surprises us: Mr Smith and I lived in Tokyo for a couple of years and, as a result, have become pretty fussy about our sushi. Shiro ticks all the right boxes.
By comparison, the room service is slightly disappointing. There’s nothing wrong with the food at One Eleven… it’s just that everything else is so impressive and high-end that the room service ends up feeling like a letdown. Breakfast consists of a selection of a few bits and pieces: some mini pastries; a plastic tub of yoghurt. There’s also a choice of two Western dishes or an Indonesian dish. On day one, Mr Smith picks the eggs Benedict – I should say egg Benedict, singular – and it’s rather unexciting. I win, having chosen the Indonesian rice noodles. Evidently Indonesian food is the way to go.
The next day, feeling rested and rejuvenated, we decide to venture into Seminyak, the heart of which is far closer than we thought it would be. Mama San is just around the corner from the hotel, with its delightful fusion fare and potent cocktails, and Jalan Laksmana – a local shopping mecca – is a mere five minutes’ walk down a street pock-marked with road works. I drag Mr Smith on a buying spree, getting a rude shock at the prices but impressed by the contemporary Balinese fashion, jewels and homewares I unearth.
This is what makes One Eleven Bali such a find: it’s super-convenient for those who want to shop or eat out at some of Seminyak’s many gourmet eateries, or for those who want to party. At the same time, it offers a peacefulness that’s so rare in this part of Bali. It’s the best of both worlds.