Staying at a holiday haven in Bali that offers a comfortable stay amidst a scenic and serene surrounding is a luxury sought after by most. One of the most popular destinations in the island, Ubud beguiles visitors with its verdant terrain, spiritual atmosphere and relaxing tranquillity. Earning its place as one of the best places to stay in Ubud is Villa Kerasan, a villa designed with the comfort and functionality of a home.
“Kerasan” is a Javanese word that describes a positive connection someone maintains with one’s locality that entails a homey vibe and a friendly sense of place. Desa Kerasan, as the name suggests, is a cosy six-holidayvilla compound located a mere five kilometres away from the centre of Ubud. It’s a small gated space that stands on the philosophy of green design and prides in its spectacular vista of the surrounding nature. Guests will feel even more kerasan with the array of facilities and reliable full-time service at their disposal.
Villa Kerasan, the last of six cottage homes, resides at the far end of the site. A mesmerizing stretch of endless lush rice field surrounds it, taking the concept of a private backyard up a notch. Done by David Collins, the mastermind behind Desa Kerasan, the design was inspired by local architecture as well as Americanstyle arts and crafts.
The traditional-meets-modern interior design of Villa Kerasan is simple yet stunning with clear-cut lines and structure. Naila Djatnika of Designpartners Indonesia perceptively translated the original concept of this compound, ‘to make one feel instantly at home,’ into reality. The interior design of this cottage home aptly conveys the ambience of a vacation home where families and friends can gather, have cookouts, lounge around or quite simply, enjoy the view. For the latter, the vast terrace would make an ideal spot.
Another noteworthy aspect of Villa Kerasan is its layout concept. Closed dining rooms and kitchen areas seen in other villas, for instance, are something that are absent in Villa Kerasan’s thoroughly open design. Everything in the retreat —the living room, workstation, dining room and kitchen— spells airy and spacious. In part, it owes its size to the folding glass panel windows that frame the beautiful view of the leafy garden as well as the vast rice field on the opposite side. “One of the rules applied in the design of the villa is that it should ensure an abundance of wide open areas throughout the building in order to capitalize on the beautiful views in the surrounding,” explains Naila. With three bedrooms encased in a total dimension of 300 sqm, the villa is considerably larger than other villas in the compound that only measure between 155-180 sqm.
Locally sourced materials are liberally used throughout Villa Kerasan: including recycled wood for the doors, windows, frames, and panels; and solid timber and dried straws (alang-alang) for the roof. Although a thatched roof made of alang-alang requires more maintenance, Naila still decided on the material as it was the best fit for the villa’s traditional design that sits seamlessly with nature. From an aesthetic point of view, the dried straws create a beautiful composition of lines that perfectly complements the supporting wooden blocks, adding an artistic touch to the design.
Almost all of the furniture pieces —also made of recycled wood— were custom-made to suit the taste of the owner. Considering the humid Bali air, Naila designed all of the built-in furniture to appear as if they were floating by elevating them around 200 mm above the floor, also to match the overall height of the marble skirting. “We also designed the wardrobes with louvers in each door in order to create good ventilation,” adds Naila.
Unlike most Ubud villas that have small swimming pools or plunge pools in their backyards, Villa Kerasan presents a fully-functional lap pool that is designed for swimming, and not merely for lounging or soaking. The pool lines the terrace and features an elongated design that runs almost as long as the total length of the building. Indigenous arts and accessories obtained from the nearby Seminyak and Tegalalang areas are abundantly found throughout the villa, gloriously displaying various decoration pieces made of wood and metal. The main art feature hanging on the wall in the living area showcases an antique Javanese gebyok (wooden partition), displayed in its natural finishing. Another main focus of the entrance is a pair of double wooden doors which dates back to 100 years ago.
The villa borders sweeping paddy fields on all three fronts, stretching as far as the eyes could see. The management of Desa Kerasan stays true to their name by ensuring guests the best experience of ultimate tranquillity and comfort during their stay. Here, discovering the meaning of kerasan is the easy part; leaving is the hardest.