Tips for choosing the right villa rental in Bali from an industry expert
Things you need to know about booking your next holiday villa in Bali
Updated 23rd March 2020
Booking a luxury holiday villa in Bali is now considered normal when it comes to your accommodation in Bali. Villa rentals are quickly replacing hotels as the preferred place to stay for families, groups or those on a honeymoon; where you can live like king at a fraction of the cost of hotels. It’s really the perfect alternative.
Villa vacation rentals are well known for their space, luxury, 5-star service and most of all seclusion and privacy. Saying that there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account when booking your perfect villa; making the wrong choice can lead to a disastrous holiday. Not all villas are the same and you need to look at many variables that go into matching you up with your ideal villa rental.
Being one of the largest and oldest villa management agencies in Bali, we know what to look for when hand picking our villas to put on our website and also what signs are screaming out at us that a villa is not going to deliver the type of holiday experience that our clients expect. Some villas just don’t meet our strict standards policy.
If you’re on the hunt for a Bali holiday villa and doing your search online, following are some helpful tips from a person who has been in this industry for well over a decade; Steven Waldberg ( one of the marketing team of Bali Villa Escapes ).
See some of Steven’s Bali YouTube Videos here.
1) What are the important things to make your Bali holiday a success?
What type of person are you and what kind of villa do you expect? Are you the type of person that demands the best or are you prepared for a few villa hiccups that can happen and are prepared to let it slide as part of the laughable holiday experience. Ask yourself these questions?
- Are you an adventurous type or do you like certainty?
- Are you prepared to risk it a little bit – I am not talking a major risk but they type that can always be fixed?
- Are you fed up with the same old boring, stock-standard hotels that offering nothing more than a room?
- Are you happy to help the ‘little person’ make a living in Bali ( by renting their villa) instead of ploughing money into the big hotel chains coffers?
- Do you want to have your own private chef, private pool, butler, breakfasts made for you in the privacy and comfort of your own villa – we know how queuing up at that buffet in the morning is such a nightmare. Also read: Private Pool Bali Villas
- Are you prepared to spend a little bit more time online working out your villa requirements rather than one click of a mouse giving you the same product each and every time?
- Are you looking for a romantic, secluded getaway, whether it be a honeymoon or wedding ceremony?
- Do you want a villa near the beach, near local temples, close to shops, restaurants and entertainment or do you prefer a more secluded location in the rice fields or near a mountain or clifftop?
- Do you want to save money yet still have the same if not better level of luxury?…..of course you do!
If this sounds familiar then this article is going to help you choose the right villa & go with the right agency.
Bali is part of Indonesia and this means that it is still a developing country. The major hotels have done their part in capturing most of the tourist dollars in Bali and to their credit have also eliminated a lot of the third world external factors that can plague guests and ruin holidays: mosquitoes, really bad Wifi, loud noisy roosters waking you up at the crack of dawn, noisy scooters, vegetation fires and barking dogs. Yes, all of these loud external factors have been successfully eliminated by these hotels.
Alternatively, your modern villa in Bali may be in an area where these factors are hard to dilute and you will be affected 24/7 by some of these noises and issues. If your villa is sitting smack bang in the centre of an area with bad Wifi, loud dogs etc etc, you need to be prepared for this.
I can hear you ask, why should I choose a villa if there are going to be all these potential issues? Why don’t we just book a hotel, enjoy the break, put up with the other guests and just relax? The answer is quite simple; you have to choose your villa carefully and ask the right questions from your reservation team. This will ensure your holiday does not turn into a complete disaster. After all, this is your time off and you want the best experience possible.
2. Finding the right Bali villa for your needs
Basically, you have to do your homework and choose your villa carefully. On this website we have over 925 villas all over the island which means that we will definitely have the right villa for you, it’s just a matter of searching for it.
Whilst some maybe a great choice for some people, others may be not. The trick here is to really look at all the amenities, the location, how it will help your holiday experience (for example, if you are a keen surfer, you should look for a villa near a beach and not too far inland), is it child friendly, does it have house keeping, a chef, pool fence, the list could go on forever.
Basically, it’s a matter of researching and pestering the reservation staff with questions. I know our team are more than happy to handle this for you. All you need to is give your list of ‘must-haves’ and we can come up with the perfect solution. You can contact us here!
2-i) What part of the island do you want to stay – this is really important.
Bali is dotted with pockets of areas that have their own unique, individual personality and offer travellers a different experience altogether. Making the right choice here is going to be critical. Getting around in Bali can be hard ( especially with the notorious traffic ) so you need to choose your location wisely to avoid spending half your holiday in traffic jams, even worse being next door do a bunch of backpackers that want to party the whole time.
Following is a quick rundown of the main tourist areas of Bali:
This is where we have most of our villas and the reason is simple: it’s where all the action is. Restaurants, bars, chic boutiques, shopping, nightlife, great coffee, vegan cafes, world-class mega nightclubs, shopping galore, need I say more. For those wanting to laze by the pool all day and party all night Seminyak is your ticket. It is also on the beach so it caters for surfers, sun-lovers; basically for those travellers that want a beachie & shopping holiday.
If you want peace and quiet, forget Kuta. Here it’s all about night life, teenagers on scooters letting their hair down post school, booze, late nights, Maccas, KFC, mega malls, beach massages, traffic chaos…you get my drift. Kuta is definitely not a place for a family holiday. But Kuta definitely still has it’s charm and reasons for visiting. It’s got great shopping malls and areas where you can spend hours browsing shopping malls such as the Kartika Plaza area.. Plus the beach area is lovely especially when it’s time for that must have sunset Bintang.
Uluwatu, The Bukit, Pandawa & Ungasan areas
If you love surfing, if you crave quiet surroundings, if you want majestic cliff top villas with insane views then head off to Uluwatu. As a surfer myself and one who has spent many weeks in the Uluwatu / Bukit area, all I can say is give it a try. It’s a world away from the insanity that is ‘touristy’ Bali yet only an hour away by taxi. If you are into the waves then this place is magic. Nothing beats it. Perfect for families and groups that crave tranquility on their holiday. However, Uluwatu can get quite busy with tourist buses and crowds on the weekend when they come to watch the sunset and spend time at notorious drinking and party bars like Single Fin at the Suluban Cliff area on a Sunday afternoon / night. Having said that, this is only a small pocket and the rest of the Uluwatu area is dreamy with picturesque clifftop views where villas are perched. In a nutshell if you like a beach style holiday and want a luxurious villa where you can laze about the pool sipping cocktails then Ulu’s is fabulous.
Many people escape to the Ubud area and rent a villa for many reasons. It’s the rice field capital of Bali with picture postcard rice paddy views ( yes we do have villas surrounded by rice fields), it’s also the art and culture centre of Bali and offers tourists another aspect of Balinese way of life. Tranquil, peaceful, alley ways with hidden villas make Ubud perfect for travellers looking to really escape, bunker in and unwind. If you are into yoga, cooking classes, art and culture, long walks in the rice fields, incredibly cycling trips, chatting with friendly local farmers then think Ubud.
Chic villas, uber-hip cool tourists, hipsters, young families make Canggu the next Seminyak. It’s got everything Seminyak has but it takes it to the next level with fabulous cafes, wonderful restaurants and sensational beach clubs such as La Brisa and Finns Club.
I personally think for an all-round villa experience you can’t go past Canggu. If you’re into day spas, renting a scooter and driving from cafe to cafe, learning to surf, going to delish cafes, shopping at markets, improving your yoga, hitting the gym & shopping; Canggu is the go. It is actually becoming more popular than Seminyak with a younger generation discovering this place and all it has to offer. From the outskirts of Batu Belig, through to Berawa, Batu Bolong, Echo Beach, Pererenan and Seseh; Canggu is evolving to become a very popular tourist hub.
Canggu is quite large so you need to know a few important points about its main areas, so here we go:
Berawa – great for families with lots of family-friendly cafes like Cinta, Milu by Nook, Milk and Madu and The Tamora Gallery where there are cafes with a kiddies playground and the Finns Recreation Club where there are water slides, ten pin bowling and a massive indoor trampoline centre called Bounce. The beach at Berawa is also lovely where you can swim, learn to surf ( you can hire boards and an instructor), long beach walks and sunbaking.
Batu Bolong – this is the shopping, dining and entertainment hub of Canggu and you can also include the Jalan Batu Mejan & Jalan Nelayan area as well. Loads of cafes where hipsters, digital nomads, backpackers and families all hang out and enjoy their smashed avo on toast or vegan smoothie bowl. It’s the equivalent of Eat Street in Seminyak and is pretty much action-packed the whole day. Places like Deus ex Machina, Mason, Old Man’s ( probably the most popular beer garden in Bali), The Lawn, Crate Cafe, Betelnut and Black Sand Brewery are just a few names that come to mind when you mention Batu Bolong. If your renting a villa here you’re going to be near lots of exciting places to eat, shop and surf. The beach area at the end of Jalan Batu Bolong is a great place to learn to surf and is packed with swimmers and sunbathers during the day but at night it’s packed with party-goers who spill out from Old Man’s, The Lawn and the new Sand Bar. It’s totally family-friendly with easy surf conditions closer to shore.
Pererenan – This is what Batu Bolong was like 5 years ago with rice field views, farmers & villagers going about their daily work, lovely little cafes and restaurants and a much slower pace. The beach at Pererenan is great for surfing and long beach walks. Great are for people that really want a very chilled holiday with a villa close to the beach.
Also read: The Ultimate Travel Guide To Canggu, Bali
Quick tips from Steven ( one of the marketing team of Bali Villa Escapes )
- look for the area that interest you most
- what type of villa do you want; modern, Bali style, luxury, budget, beach location, wedding, party, event etc etc
- decide which area suits your interests and then look for your listing in the area
- decide on the number of bedrooms you want. If your travelling with young children looks for a villa with interconnecting rooms.
3. Great ways to save time looking for your villa
Once you have chosen your preferred location, the next step is the villa. We have so many varied styles to choose from; clifftop spectacular ‘bucket list’ style villas, through to ultra-contemporary villas, Balinese style, to your more basic budget style. The list is huge so what we have done to make life easier is installed a price filter to eliminate those villas that are simply out of your budget. So once you have chosen your area and budget all you need to do is research.
4. The importance of your villa reservation team.
You can always tell how your holiday experience is going to pan out by the relationship you have with your villa booking team. Take note of how quickly they get back to you, their response times, their level of English, their attitude, level of customer service support and willingness to answer as many questions you throw at them.
Speedy, amicable, helpful, friendly responses are what you should be getting. I know for a fact that at Bali Villa Escapes our response times are immediate and our English speaking staff are trained by customer service experts who have been in the industry for years…give it a go and you will see what I mean. Have a sneaky peek at what people say about us on TrustPilot.
A good customer service experience at the beginning will generally flow through to your holiday villa being perfect. Think about it, if we get back to you with super-fast response times, just imagine how quick we are at handling any villa issues that can happen like your Wifi going down or your air conditioning not working. It’s these small things that can really spoil a holiday so you need a team that is really proactive in helping you. This is where we really excel. I have been to a villa where the pool pump broke. One phone call and it was fixed within the hour. This is how good we are.
5. Reasons why people have had poor villa rental holidays – also questions to ask your Villa reservations team.
5-i. Dirty Villas – this is a holiday killer. First impressions really count so your villa must be spotless
Always ask: Who will clean the villa and what times of the day will this be done?
5-ii. Mosquitoes in your room – nothing worse than a sleepless night
Always ask: If the villas come with repellent or coils and if there is a fumigation program in the villa. With this point you really have to be realistic and a bit forgiving. You are in a tropical climate, perhaps surrounded by rice fields, so there is only so much one can do to get rid of these pests.
5-iii. Comfortable bed.
Always ask: What are the mattresses and are they single, queen or king. Also, is there air conditioning in each room, powerful enough to cool the place down at night.
5-iv. Noisy construction sites and neighbours.
Always ask: No villa will show photos of a massive construction site just outside the pool area or next door. It’s crazy if they do! The last thing you want is to arrive at your villa and see building cranes next door. So always check to see if there is a noisy development happening nearby. Neighbours on the other hand are hard to determine. I guess with this one you really need to roll the dice and see what happens.
5-v. Slow or really bad WiFi
It’s amazing how even on your holiday you need to be connected. This is a no brainer. Make sure you have Wifi and make sure it’s fast. Nothing will kill a holiday quicker than finding out you have to race to the local café to get internet access every day. Or use your own data which can end up costing a lot of money. You need wifi and you need it to be reliable and fast. Simple as that!
5-vi. Free airport pick ups
Arriving late at night after a long plane flight is bad enough. So make sure the villa comes with a driver that will meet you at the airport and take you to your villa. You don’t want to be haggling with local taxi drivers who fumble their way to your villa OR WORSE get lost.
5-vii. Who is the local contact
Always ask: If we run into trouble, need help or need something fixed who can we call? What is the lead time and are they available 24/7. Plus you want to know if there will be security in the villa area.
You work hard, you want to enjoy your beautiful, luxurious holiday villa rental experience and hopefully these tips have been helpful enough to get your started in the right direction. Remember we are always here to help you out if you have any questions or need advice on the best villa for your particular style of holiday. Don’t be shy or reluctant to make an inquiry – we are here to help.