Southside Bali, in Jimbaran, lies a special little place called The Shaba. Before staying here, I had been obsessing about it online for a good few years, the interiors are striking in pictures and it did not disappoint. Hidden in a coconut grove, this spectacular villa feels like a secret lair for a French aristocrat in the 1920s, but will suit anyone who wants a peaceful and private stay close to the beach, but not on the beach. This mansion is for a couple, family or group of friends who will price privacy, and personalised butler service, higher than lots of different facilities. Here, an array of delightful details await: amazing flowers, gorgeous furniture, rich silky fabrics, and a lush courtyard with a fountain.
The bathrooms are filled with romantic touches like flower petals in the claw-foot bath and bath salts in beautiful glass jars. The house is run as a hotel (with only 3 rooms) unless it is booked in its entirety, and whilst it is possible to only book one of the rooms, I would only do this during quiet times (where you could hope no-one else would be staying) as you might hear each other between the rooms and feel a little awkward. Booking all the rooms is comparable price-wise to booking a suite, and you do get a huge place all to yourself, where you can ask for drinks and food at your leisure (until 11PM anyway, when the butlers leave) and you can splash about as much as you want in the lovely pool… and of course, pretend to be an aristocrat from the 1920s, prancing around the house whilst sipping champagne – and who wouldn’t want that?
You can watch movies in the library, play billiards, go to the SPA next door, meander down to the beach, visit the restaurants at the nearby resorts (Intercontinental, Four Seasons, Le Meridien), venture out for the day or just hang by the pool surrounded by tropical foliage and order another Nasi Goreng when you get hungry. If you came to party, 10 people can easily fit at the dining table, but they can arrange any event and I am sure celebrating here would be amazing. I will say, you’d better get on Bali-time before staying, as the service here is calm and collected rather than snappy and stressed – but that is most likely a good thing, as I did arrive here stressed but left nice and calm a few days later. I booked through Mr & Mrs Smith and therefore got a nice bottle of Balinese sparkling wine and a 30-minute massage gratis. Not only that but the breakfast, afternoon tea and one airport transfer is included in the room price too. Lovely!