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Bali Property

FOR many years Bali was known as a cheap destination, with all kinds of accommodation options for backpackers and surfers. Then came the five-star re¬sorts, the villas and celebrities. Bali style is now as modem as anything you would see in Paris or Milan. While the cheap option is still available with family-run losmens and small hotels, you can now stay in a villa with a private pool, kitchen, cook and even a butler.

For families, couples and groups of friends, villas can offer particular benefits. Despite the reluctance of many Australians to holiday in Bali following the bombings in 2002 and last year, hotel and villa building is booming.

Up to 15 super-luxury hotels are being built, including the new Bulgari Resort Bali, by the Italian watch and jewellery¬maker, overlooking the Indian Ocean on the southern tip of Jimbaran Peninsula. Chief executive Francesco Trapani said the company was willing to invest in Bali even though the island hasn't recov¬ered from its economic slump after the bombings.

The target market for the luxurious hotels is still Japa¬nese, but Australians are next on the list and celebrities have been assured exclusiveness. Meanwhile, the growing Indonesian middle class, Aus¬tralians and others are invest¬ing in the growing villa market.
Marcus Goldstein, owner of Villa Coco villas in Seminyak said more foreigners were mov¬ing to Bali to live.

He said an average three¬bedroom villa with furniture sells for about $517,756 and gives a return of 7 to 8 per cent. But locals and others warn those wanting to buy into this market to do their homework, making sure the villas have been approved as rental prop¬erties, and all the i's have been dotted and i's crossed.

In some cases foreigners need a Balinese co-owner, especially for freehold title, and this may make the villa difficult to sell. A new development, Angsana Resort & Spa is on 4ha on the southern tip of the Bukit Peninsular, a location that is being called Millionaires' Row. The resort has been designed by British architectural firm GFab and managed by the Banyan Tree Group.

Karma Resorts, which has Australian involvement, has 38 villas with pools at Jimbaran Bay on a "rent-back" program. The Villas Bali Hotel and Spa in Seminyak began as the vision of artist Jim Elliot, and then friends asked him to build villas for them and they later decided to rent them out.

Attached is Prana, a spa with decor inspired by the Moguls of Rajasthan. Or nearby Chill has reflexology treatments and products at affordable prices. Another gorgeous place to stay is Kayumanis private villa and spa at Nusa Dua designed in "contemporary simplicity". Prices start at $425 a night for a one-bedroom villa and pool.

Meanwhile, Balinese-built resorts such as the Pita Maha and the Royal Pita Maha in Ubud use traditional architec¬ture and furnishings. They are owned and run by the royal family of Ubud. The Royal Pita Maha was designed by Ijokorda Gde Raka Sukawa¬ti, the third son of the family.
Also in Ubud, Kamandalu is nestled amid rice terraces and built along ridges that curve above the Petanu River.

Many people make a holiday combination of the beach and mountains, giving themselves a few days in the calmer, more cultured atmosphere of Ubud. And there's still the luxury and centrality of the older hotels such as The Oberoi, opposite the beach in Seminyak, a stone's throw from the bars and night¬life that attract many to Bali.

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