Whenever I’m booking a place to stay, I always love to go with a friend’s recommendation. About a year ago a friend of mine, Melissa, went to Bali for a family vacation. She swapped the depths of a Sydney winter for two weeks of tropical bliss in Seminyak.
Melissa and her family chose to stay at Peppers, a resort that is situated at the end of a very long lane, far from the crowds, congestion and commotion of one of Seminyak’s busiest streets. Melissa started posting images of her time at Peppers on facebook and I looked at them longingly hoping that one day I could be so fortunate.
Can you believe that within the next 12 months, Drew had a conference he needed to attend in Bali. It was to be held at Ayana in Jimbaran but Drew and I decided to tack a few extra days onto the end of our mini-break and also spend some time in Seminyak.
We booked a one bedroom villa at Peppers Seminyak that came with its own private plunge pool. The drive from Ayana to Peppers took nearly an hour; not because Jimbaran and Seminyak are a long way from each other but because of the lack of infrastructure in getting around Bali and its subsequent horrendous traffic.
Seminyak is known in Sydney as one of the better parts of Bali as it has numerous luxurious hotels along the beachfront, private villas offering palatial accommodation, retail shopping with designer labels and outstanding restaurants with incredible food and amazing service. However, Indonesia is a poor country and in Seminyak you have all the trappings of the first world pocketed amongst third world conditions.
Peppers is at the very end of a narrow and dirty laneway that has a smell because of the stagnant stream ‘running’ beside the lane. We visited in June which is the dry season so I think the odour from the stream would be lessened when the wet season causes the water to flow.
When I saw the entrance to Peppers I was underwhelmed. I thought the facade was very unattractive with round shapes of raw concrete and seemingly no Balinese features.
The staff at the reception desk were all smiles with tremendous enthusiasm and an eagerness to greet us and make us feel welcome. This is very typical of the Balinese people. The check-in process was relatively painless and it wasn’t long before we were being ushered to our villa. We followed our porter along a narrow pathway, past the shrine to the gods, across a bridge suspended over the smelly stream and along an outdoor path to our room. Our villa was in a section of the resort that was relatively separate from the main part of the resort and there were only about 6-8 villas where we were situated. If you had a villa in the main part of the resort you wouldn’t have to cross over the stinky stream.
Our villa was clean, modern and spacious. There was a king-sized bed with soft, downy pillows and the bedroom had plenty of cupboard and hanging space with a safe for your valuables. There was a desk area which was handy and plenty of power points with adapters for charging all the compulsory technology.
The bathroom was in two parts with the vanity and bath indoors then there was a glass door leading to the rest of the bathroom which is outside. How lovely to have a climate where you can do so much living outdoors. There were two showers and my favourite was the bamboo shower where the water thundered out and it felt like you were having a massage. Would love one of those at home!
The living area had a roof but the wall to the pool area was absent making it seem more spacious as well as giving you the feeling of being outdoors. The plunge pool was a good size and there was a powder room near the pool to save you having to run through your bedroom to use the bathroom. However, while the villa was generous in its proportions, the high walls around the pool area preventing me from having any outlook, made me feel as though I was in a compound. I felt boxed in and wanted to be somewhere where I could sense a bit more of an outlook.
I didn’t remember Melissa’s facebook photos of her villa being anything like this. From memory her villa seemed so much more palatial with a lot of space around the pool and as well as being modern and minimalistic, it also had Balinese design features. I emailed Melissa asking her if perhaps she had booked a three-bedroom villa and that must be the difference but she wrote back advising they booked the presidential suite! I can confirm there is a chasm of difference between a one-bedroom villa and the presidential suite.
Our villa was serviced daily to a very high standard. A team of men would arrive and very quietly and quickly knock our room back into shape. Toiletries were always replaced and so we had a generous supply of everything we needed.
Peppers has a lovely pool area with a couple of waterfalls and lots of daybeds and recliners around the pool. The poolside bar menu has a lot of tempting options and we found the food and service to be excellent.
Breakfast was included in our tariff and was served in the restaurant that used to be one of Luke Mangan’s Salt restaurants but is now Laneway. I understand Salt disappeared with new local ownership. Breakfast is a continental buffet with hot dishes made to order. There is plenty of staff and all communicate very well in English.
I have previously dined at one of Luke Mangan’s Salt restaurants and found the menu and the food to be really enticing. It is a shame the restaurant is no longer at Peppers as I definitely would have dined there. We did notice that despite the villas at Peppers being heavily booked, Laneway was empty most nights.
Peppers has a wonderful gym that Drew used most days. I thought about going and thought about it and thought about it and left it at that. There is all the equipment you could wish for and also personal training sessions if you wanted that option.
Peppers also has a day spa and while I didn’t manage to get to the gym, I definitely got to the day spa. I found the day spa to be very luxurious, peaceful and serene. I thoroughly enjoyed a facial, body scrub and massage then floated out of there feeling like a new woman. Before you leave, they give you a hot, ginger, lemon and honey drink and I loved it so much I would sneak back in and ask for another.
Peppers is in a fantastic location as it is within walking distance of the beach, the shops and the restaurant. The villas are generously proportioned and the communal pool area is peaceful and relaxing. We noticed that most people staying at the complex were families and I would agree that this is more a place for families than it is for couples. We enjoyed our time at Peppers however, for me, I prefer accommodation with an outlook over being fenced in by high walls.
Verdict: A good destination for families.
Peppers Seminyak: Jl. Pura Telaga Waja, Petitenget, Seminyak, 80361