Antique wooden homes, decorated with bright cushions and religious artifacts, cluster around gardens and a saltwater pool like a tiny Hindu village. It’s hard to believe Desa Seni is only a few minutes from the crowded beaches and shopping strips of North Kuta and Seminyak. Traditional structures from different Indonesian islands were imported, restored, and placed into a landscape of native plants and waterways. Each contains unique embellishments and stories. Forty percent of the land was dedicated to organic farming, which today is responsible for 80 percent of Desa Seni’s produce. Sustainability standards seep into the recycling and composting programs, too, and eco-friendly bamboo straws and biodegradable cleaning products are used in place of harmful alternatives. Desa Seni also raises money for a local orphanage for which it runs yoga and dance classes as well as an apprentice program for older children.
In addition to the environmental and cultural experiences provided at Desa Seni, wellness is also a focus. A number of complimentary yoga and meditation classes are held every day; the restaurant offers extensive options for healthy meals; and an on-site doctor is an expert in Chinese herbal medicine. Regular yoga and spirituality workshops are held throughout the year.
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Located in the town of Canggu, Desa Seni is near the beach clubs of Kuta and Seminyak but also worlds away on a quiet street of spas, cafés, and low-key restaurants like Red Salt and Echo Beach House. The Tanah Lot Temple is roughly 20 minutes northwest; great surf pumps all along the coast; and the trendy dining, shopping, and clubbing of Seminyak is only a short drive or walk south.
Need to Know
Rooms: 13 guesthouses. From $135. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:The on-site restaurant serves mostly vegetarian and seafood dishes that highlight ingredients from the property’s organic garden or those sourced sustainably from nearby villages. Spa and gym details:The wellness center, Merapu Svaasthya, offers holistic spa packages that could include a yoga class and a Chinese medicine service like acupuncture or cupping. A variety of massages and body scrubs are also offered as well as the Balinese Aura Chakra Therapy, which combines spiritual offerings with a reiki-type method of balancing the chakras, the energy centers believed to run up the center of the body.
Who's it best for: Seekers of authentic culture in touch with the natural and spiritual world. Our favorite rooms: One of the teakwood houses was imported from East Java and named Rumah Widja after a famous master of wayang kulit (Indonesian shadow puppetry). It’s a collector’s dream house, brimming with interesting objects—from terrace statues used to ward off crop devils to a Javanese instrument called a gender featured in Indonesian gamelan music. There are also donkey saddles from the 1930s; an original tobacco-cutting chair from the island of Madura; and copper stamps, the likes of which are still used in batik printing today. Local souvenirs:The lodge runs a great little gift shop that sells sculptures, carvings, clothing, and jewelry handcrafted by local artists as well as Desa Seni’s line of spa products, infused with ingredients from the hotel’s organic garden.