With a three-hour drive from Denpasar Airport, the tiny driveway to Villa Markisa sneaks up quite quickly in the quieter northeast section of Bali. With plenty of staff on hand, our bags were quickly whisked to rooms (either in the main house or the free standing bungalows). As there is no main lobby or reception area, the process of checking in took place quite informally. The resort is not overlarge (just 6 rooms, for a total of 12 guests), but home to all kinds of wildlife and tropical foliage. The main house is made up of two levels, with a small shop area, library, and living room, with a large covered deck which overlooks the onsite pool and beautifully maintained gardens.
Given the surrounding area, there is only a full board option at the property, which works for the slightly rustic quality of the resort. Every morning, we were treated to either an Indonesian breakfast, or Western style of their choice (including hot beverages and fresh juices). Lunch is chosen during the breakfast seating and changes daily. Dinner is done in a buffet style and includes a soup as well as a dessert. While not fine dining, I would mention that we went back for third (!) helpings of the cauliflower soup and the peanut chips our first evening were one of my favorite things I tried while in country.
The resort is home to a swimming pool (with Jacuzzi, not heated) and full dive center (with rentals available for all equipment, as well as additional training and certificates from the dive master). Even with the small nature of the property, there were numerous locations to relax and enjoy a bit of sunbathing (I had one of two chairs staked out daily). Dives are offered at regular times during the day (8AM, 10:30AM and 2PM), with night dives available at an extra rate. Although we didn’t take advantage of it, there were numerous day trips that can be arranged directly from Villa Markisa – including volcano hikes, mountain climbing, nature walks, and a visit to Ubud.
All in, we thought how fun it would be to rent out the resort with a few friends and simply lose a week. The owners are engaging, polite, and just seem to want everyone to have a good time (not hard to do). I’d recommend this as a good first stop in Bali as a place to simply relax and shut off from the outside world. Given the completely private nature of the resort, it’s not difficult to do. Four nights felt like the exact right amount of time for a couple with one diving and one not.
My only notes for the property would include installing a television of some kind (if not in the rooms, then somewhere in a common space), and adding fans both in the rooms and on the terrace. These are very minor requests and wouldn’t stop me from a return visit (although I’d definitely come armed with more movies!).
I know there are a ton of similar choices in Bali, but I thought Villa Markisa offered something a bit special.
Do you have a favorite place to stay in Bali? Where do you recommend?