O u r S t o r y
We wanted to find our very own slice of paradise and create a place where we could enjoy absolute tranquility and be pampered half to death but still be within easy reach of all of the great things that Bali has to offer.
When we first arrived in Bali, we started looking for those gorgeous rice terraces, misty mountains, unspoilt beaches and charming villages that we had read so much about. At first we stayed in Seminyak as we were told by everyone that it was the place to be and, yes, we certainly did enjoy it. But we didn't want the tourists and the traffic 24/7 and, hey, what had happened to the real Bali, the one they’re selling in Eat, Pray, Love ? So next stop was Ubud, which we also adored but, well, too far from the ocean, already far too busy, and admittedly quite a trek from Ku De Ta and all of those nice boutiques!
So we started searching for somewhere in striking distance of both of these different worlds - in fact our goal was to be able to have lunch in Ubud, a walk along the beach in the afternoon, and then sunset cocktails in Seminyak. But it had to also be a place in the Bali that we’d come for in the first place, the one from those coffee table books with the impossibly green rice terraces, tropical jungle and peaceful village life.
We were told by many that this was rather a tall order but, finally, after a long search, we found ourselves one day being taken down a small path outside a village close to Tanah Lot which burrowed through the jungle and finally emerged into what was, quite simply, an oasis. A clearing in the jungle, a small temple, rice paddies, and a drop-off giving fabulous views over a breathtaking lush tropical landscape and across to the majestic Mount Batukaru in the distance. And yet here we were less than half an hour from Seminyak, just 40 minutes from Ubud and less than 5 minutes from Tanah Lot and the endless untouched beaches of West Bali. We had also just passed the five-star Alila Soori and Pan Pacific hotels on our drive in, so what more could we ask for?
A very wise man had already built a property on the spot and we decided there and then that we had to buy it. The deal was done and we set straight to work to create the place that would become Mandalay Hideaway. The renovation and furnishing was a labour of love but we also had a score to settle: we've stayed in many high-end hotels around the world for both work and play over the years and have long lists of the touches we've loved and also the things that have driven us crazy. As the old adage goes, If you want it done right then do it yourself. And so we did. We designed and hand-picked everything, from the hardwood floors to the champagne glasses to the poolside loungers. We brought in a container of unique items we’d collected on our travels, a dining table made from an antique Rajasthani door, a coffee table that used to be an elephant seat, wooden statues from Madagascar, a Tibetan prayer wheel, a Chinese money box, and the list goes on! We combined these with the best in chic European furnishings and paintings by local artists. And because we’re both big tech fans, we also insisted on putting in a state-of-the-art entertainment system. Finally, we set up a wellness room just across the coi pond from the main villa, equipping it for yoga, massage, and meditation so that our luxury hideaway would offer the ultimate in relaxation and escape.
Overall we have tried to create a place that is chic and boutique, a fusion of minimalist-international-Italian-Bali style with a hint of colonial elegance thrown in! Of course the service needs to match the style and we’ve been very lucky to find simply fantastic people to work with. In addition to the usual butler, chef and chauffeur, we also have a dedicated and simply fabulous personal concierge who takes care of everything you could possibly desire.
And finally, why on earth “Mandalay”? Well one of my favourite books is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (you’ll find the movie in the media library) which starts with the line “Last night I dreamt I went to Mandalay again”, describing a return to a beautiful house near the ocean. We dreamt of creating an exclusive private hideaway that would become our very own Mandalay, and we think we’ve managed to make that dream come true. But why not come and see for yourself?
NB. Please note that, while several other villas in Bali use the word “Mandalay” in their titles, none are associated with Mandalay Hideaway - which is why we are unique as well as being chic and boutique!