The Jewel is a luxury holiday villa designed by Balinese Architect Popo Danes.  With only four guest suites, each with the name and colour way of a precious gem, this cliff top villa sits within the “Tiara Nusa” private estate in south Bali. Tiara Nusa translates roughly as ‘the crown of the island’. The views from this height are truly spectacular, and Danes has ensured that they can be enjoyed from almost every spot in the building.

A rare and appealing combination of five star surroundings and amenities,  intimate size, and modern design with lots of traditional Balinese influence, the Jewel is a balance of everything an up-scale resort-goer in search of escape could want. Traditional Balinese design means architecture that is uniquely suited to its environment. Instead of sealing the indoors off from the outdoors with cost and energy intensive climate controls, Danes has created a space that naturally makes the most of soft tropical breezes to optimize guest comfort. Of course, every room is equipped with air conditioning and can be sealed, just in case the weather is less than perfect.  Luxury finishes include abundant natural stone polished to a high gloss, tropical woods, and lots of rich and brilliant colour.

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Here in Canada, we have an, er, restrained relationship with colour. A few winters ago, I bought a white down-filled jacket. Now that I’m on a first-name basis with my dry cleaner, I remember why it is that we prefer coats, boots, and carpets in the colour of sand mixed with salt residue… and everything else in our wardrobes and spaces tends to follow. It is so refreshing to see high-end architecture with such a distinctly Asian and tropical colour palette… just visiting The Jewel’s website is a little visual vacation.

I love the old-fashioned romantic image of mosquito nets over the beds, and here, they have a very real and practical function. Generous fabric curtains puddle on attentively polished floors in the communal dining area. Guests can eat out or cook for themselves, but with only a maximum of three other parties visiting at any one time, this looks like a great way to make some new friends. The villa also hosts lessons in all the most enjoyable aspects of traditional Balinese culture: Music, dance, floral arrangement, and food. Just in case the intimate surroundings become too small for some guests, there are two villa vehicles with professional, multilingual tour-guide operators at the guests’ disposal.

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Among the spa services offered is the ridiculously sensual “flower aroma bath”. The outdoor tub is made of solid stone. Don’t even get me started on the pool… Ok, I’ll start. Huge (18 metres), with stone infinity edges all the way around, and fantastic views both from the pool, and of the pool from the villa. Make sure to check out the 10 things must try section on the villa’s website. Most of the activities are off-site, and the best of the best that the local neighborhood has to offer.

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