The Istana is located in the Banjar of Suluban in Uluwatu, and rests high atop the peninsula of southeastern Bali, an area known as The Bukit. The property overlooks white sand beaches and a blue lagoon abundant with fish and living coral, and offers a prime location from which to witness the island’s stunning sunsets.
When the trade winds blow, a massive swell from the Pacific Ocean crashes onto the reefs surrounding Uluwatu, creating waves that attract surfers from around the world; the breaks are known to be the fifth best in the world, and are only a ten minutes walk from the villa. With the villa located so close to the holy Pura Uluwatu, one of island’s nine mother temples, the site is spiritually inspiring and undeniably unique.
Set back 40 meters from the cliff face, The Istana sits on a tremendous gated property and is composed of two swimming pools, a relaxation bale, a private guest house, and a main house, which is fitted with a living room, dining room, entertainment room (known as the Dot com room), and four identical suites.
Both of the buildings are single-story and open-air with rich teakwood floors, inspiring a natural ambiance, while maintaining and accentuating the spectacular view. The overall style is a compromise between understated modern architecture and traditional Indonesian detailing, with features that blend Indonesian materials and workmanship. The artwork represents a mixture of primitive art and antiques originating from Indonesia, keeping with the mood of tradition.
The property is surrounded by an imposing white wall, and it is through the massive accompanying gate that one enters The Istana. The parking area offers ample room for parking, and is paved with grass for a cooling effect. Flamboyant and flame trees line the wall, providing shade, with flowering pink, white, and red oleander and fragrant lilac planted below. The modern kitchen, which is commercially fitted with state of the art equipment, is in this vicinity, set apart from the rest of the structures along with the security post.
Lotus water gardens flank the streamlined covered walkway leading from the entrance into the main house, forming a straight line of sight leading all the way to the horizon. The colour of the pool water blends into the oceanic backdrop, so the two become merged to the mind’s eye, to that point that the pool becomes an extension of the Pacific Ocean that lies beyond it.
The main garden is decorated with palms, heliconias and ferns, mixed with white flowering Spider lilies, Aturium, and dwarf lilacs, whilst the gnarled trunks of numerous frangipanis lead the view upward to their magnificent, flowering blooms. The tropical flora shades the side of the house and creates a privacy screen from parking area and kitchen, while the water-ponds serve to naturally cool the living room with the help of the south-easterly breezes.
The walkway leads to the huge open-air living room, which overlooks this breathtaking estate. The living room is located at the center of the building, and the rich teak wood floors are accented by the 8-meter high, self-supported, exposed cathedral ceiling, complete with ceiling fans. Matching natural wood wardrobes, and a stunning U-shaped sofa bed surrounding a matching table enable the décor to maintain a natural cozy interior, and a large white limestone carving, depicting the legendary establishment of Uluwatu, accents the right wall. The carving represents the arrival of the priest Pedanda Sakti Wawu Rauh, who, according to legend, came to Bali from Java riding on a “Kaluwih” tree leaf in A.D. 1546, and achieved Hindu liberation, “Moska,” at the spot at which the temple was then established.
The open view offers constantly changing natural lighting as the sun moves in the sky from dawn to dusk and into night. At nighttime, with tactfully placed ambient lighting accenting the villa’s design, one is immersed in the interior, and the villa becomes it’s own private little world.
Two symmetrical wings attached to the living room accommodate the bar and dining room to the left, and the Dotcom room to the right. Both rooms are slightly separated from the rest of the space, and are fully paneled internally and externally with teakwood, evoking a warm comfortable feel. The impressive dining room table consists of one solid slab of teakwood, and easily seats ten. This air-conditioned area is enclosed by four sets of swinging glass doors that can be opened if desired, and overlooks the lily gardens to one side, and the expanse of the ocean to the other. The specially designed lighting fixtures in the dining room offer an intimate atmosphere, complimented by the meditative sounds of the water feature in the garden. Outside of the dining room towards the ocean-side of the property is a stylish guest bathroom.
The bar area is connected to the dining room by a glass door, and from here one can look into the living room and out over the entire property. Chic barstools line the bar, offering a prime location to enjoy a refreshing cocktail.
The Dotcom room is also an enclosed air-conditioned space, which can be opened up if desired to overlook both the front and back of the estate. There are two wooden desk areas for computers and a massive relaxation couch, which could easily seat the capacity of the house, covered in Thai silk pillows, which faces the wide-screen projection TV and entertainment centre.
The four bedrooms are located down open corridors, two of which lead past the dining room, and two of which lead past the Dotcom room. Each suite entry is decorated with carved limestone blocks representing traditional Ikat weavings from the islands of Flores and Sumba.
Each of the four matching suites is comprised of a bedroom with a walk in closet, and indoor and outdoor bathrooms. All of the bedroom walls are faced with timber paneling to mid-height with white sand wash on top, leading up to the high cathedral timber-lined ceilings with ceiling fans.
The furniture in the bedrooms was designed especially for The Istana, as were the exquisite lighting fixtures, and is made exclusively of recycled teakwood. The décor in each room is primarily the same, with differences in the color schemes. All of the bedrooms are walled on three sides by folding glass doors which open up to the private gardens in the case of the bedrooms facing the entrance of the property, and which open up onto the huge property in the case of the bedrooms facing the ocean. All the rooms have air conditioning units that are recessed into timber frames for aesthetic concealment. Remote sensors and thermostats have been located as to offer reliability and access.