Monday, 23 April 2012

Villa Barissan, Seminyak Bali

In the heart of busy Seminyak Bali, nestled in the not-so-attractive back lane ways lies an extraordinarily opulent Villa reminiscent of Aladdin's cave.
As you step through the pagoda doorway to Villa Barissan you walk into an unexpected world of lush greens, Mediterranean blues and Oriental lines

The traditional Javanese-style 3 bedroom villa is built around a natural stone swimming pool and gazebo and is designed so you can literally roll out of bed and into the pool 

Outside the earthy warm tones of the walls, reclaimed timber decking and tiled floors meld with cool tropical greens and turquoise hues of the weather-worn furniture and the pool

Enclosed by a walled garden of lush tropical plants and bamboo it offers the utmost in opulence and privacy 

My favourite room is an al fresco bathroom. With only three walls and a courtyard complete with flowering Heliconias, heavily scented Frangipanis, giant snails, butterflies and geckos, it offers the ultimate in exotic bathing

A soulful cockerel, crickets and barking geckos heralded the mornings

By mid afternoon the sound of the wind whispering through the golden bamboo proved very soporific as we lay around and in the pool

Inside, the story is very different. Silk textiles and decorative pieces in rich magentas, golds, bronzes, turquoise and purple reign throughout, creating a luxurious sense of Morocco - of the days of old. It's no wonder really, given that the owner is none other than the extremely busy and well-known local Moroccan interior decorator, Zohra Boukhari

At Villa Barissan, Zohra has created an elegant little haven - an escape from the noise and the hustle bustle that is busy Bali, using a delicate fusion of east and west - Moroccan, Indian and Balinese 

Each room is filled with furniture, photographs and artifacts, which obviously come from a place deep within. The place is very much a home - her home.  A very private, rich and exotic experience 

 The scent of incense from the many religious offerings and also Indonesian Kretek (clove) cigarettes, filled the days and nights. 
Add to this a dash of citronella (for mozzies) and the Sedap Malam (fragrant tuber roses) from our kitchen and you have a potent, intoxicating aroma that is Villa Barissan Bali!

We found Zohra's unique style throughout our stay in Bali and her shop Haveli is an assault on all the senses - much like Villa Barrisan, and I dare say her boutique hotels and other villas on the south side of the island near Jimbaran Bay - Villa Balquisse  and The Shaba Bali

The beautiful bare-footed, doe-eyed Balinese House Manager, Rika, looked after our every need starting with breakfast every morning - complete with colour co-ordinated linen napery and exotically cut fruit adorned with the cheeks of freshly chilled lime - de rigueur in Bali! 

Her smile was electric and she was a joy to be around in our cool, exotic retreat in the heat and heart of Bali.

All photos taken with iPhone


  1. Oh my goodness, my tongue is tingling.
    Lime juice on tropical fruit, and the smell of Aeroguard and frangipanni incense.
    Not a holiday easily forgotten.
    Thankyou for these incredible images.
    Belinda xxx

    1. I can still taste the lime and smell the frangipani weeks later! F xx

  2. Costas - it was beautiful - a great experience - but my heart still yearns for Greece. Η ψυχή μου ζει εκεί! Francesca

  3. HI Francesca, wow, so gorgeous to see your beautiful shots of Bali and makes me long for that part of the world. I have always adored the Asian aesthetic and after many holidays in Bali still dream of it. Sorry I haven't been in touch for a while moving urls was like moving countries. Carla xx

  4. Thank you Carla - I spent hours photographing - SO much colour and so many happy faces - I loved it. More of Bali to come! Francesca xx

  5. Dear Francesca,
    The staff at Villa Barissan and Villa Balquisse were so happy with your lovely email that they forwarded it to Zohra Boukhari (owner and decorator), who is also delighted.

    It is so nice, and so very encouraging to read such compliments about our villa and to know that our guests are satisfied with their stay.

    We are also most taken with your blogspot. Both the photos and wording are lovely.
    Zohra would very much like to post it on our website. We would be flattered if you would agree.

    1. I would love Zohra to post this onto your website. Thank you. Francesca

  6. Wow! Such a lovely place! Who wouldn't wanna stay there?! All those wonderful things in such a wonderful place! You make me want to travel to Bali, and then of course there is no question where I will stay!!!

    Fantastic you've been living in Crete as well! Who knows, maybe we have even met?! Hersonossos, Crete was our familys home 1986 until 2005 when we moved here to Glyfada - a suburb of Athens by the sea. We still go there every summer, at least for a few weeks.

  7. Eva you would love it. We may have met in Crete who know we were there at the same time - I lived in Aghios Nikolaos and had the only English speaking radio program and news program on the island on Radio Lasithi. I know Glyfada well - I stay with a friend in Athens every time I go to Crete - so may meet one day. Φιλάκια! F xx

  8. Hi Francesca,

    Just noticed these photos from Bali and the style of the property was very familiar - looked back and realized I had stayed at one of the sister properties in 2004 - Villa Balquisse!

    Thanks so much for sharing these!


I love reading your comments - so please feel free to add something. Thank you! F x


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