dining - the istana
The Istana – Uluwatu 5 bedroom clifftop villa and luxury venue The Istana – Uluwatu 5 bedroom clifftop villa and luxury venue

With its dream location high above the Indian Ocean on a Bali cliff-top, The Istana is regarded by many as the ultimate luxury villa, and has won the hearts of the world’s most discerning travellers.

‘Istana’ means palace in Indonesian, and The Istana is truly palatial in every sense: in its profuse living space, in the symmetrical elegance of its architecture, in its stunning interior design, and in the impeccable service provided by its staff. Indeed, one can be forgiven for feeling like royalty in this sublime setting where attention to detail is second to none and every wish is fulfilled.  

The views are beyond spectacular. On a clear day Bali’s necklace of volcanoes to the north are visible on the horizon, while 60 metres below, world-class surf breaks attract seasoned wave riders. The sky blazes with fiery oranges and pinks as the sun sets on a perfect day, and when darkness deepens the sea sparkles with a latticework of lights from the fishing boats of Jimbaran Bay.

It is little wonder that the Istana is one of the most sought-after wedding venues in Bali; celebrated for its cliff-top ceremonies, candlelit poolside dinners, and dance floor under the stars. Adding to the romance is the secluded master suite, which has its own private pool and is positioned well away from the four guest bedrooms in the main villa.

The space and facilities at The Istana have huge family appeal. When not cavorting in the 32-metre infinity pool, kids will be thrilled to have the run of their own special wing, where a games room is equipped with pool table, Wii and PS3, and every night is sleepover night in the four-bedded bunk room. Parents can play too – a couples’ massage at the spa perhaps, followed by sunset cocktails and a gourmet dinner to rival the best of Bali’s restaurants, capped with a Cognac and Cuban cigar.

Such is The Istana’s magic that many guests choose not to stray far. But for those few who do have the urge to explore, Suluban Beach is only a five-minute walk away, and a seven-seat chauffeur driven car is on stand-by to whisk guests across the isthmus to Seminyak or further afield into Bali’s rural and cultural heart.

The Istana
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US$ 2470++ US$ 3945++ out of 1


A pivotal part of The Istana experience is the cuisine – as awesome as the extraordinary setting in which it is so gracefully served. The villa’s exceptional dining service is considered to be on a par with – or better than – Bali’s best restaurants, which explains why many guests choose to dine in every night.

There’s an extensive priced menu available throughout the day, and a series of specialty menus requiring a day’s notice. The culinary adventure starts at breakfast time when the wide choice includes the delicious ‘Istana Breakfast’ (fruit, bakery basket with home-made preserves, and eggs benedict with Tasmanian salmon or Parma ham). For lunch, try something from the ‘Food of the Bukit’ menu (gado gado, beef rendang or Balinese curried chicken); or sushi and sashimi, shabu-shabu salad or beef teriyaki from the Japanese menu. For dinner, how about cosmopolitan cocktails at sunset followed by a barbecue of the freshest seafood sourced from Jimbaran fish market by the chef? There’s also an excellent drinks menu with a choice of wines, spirits, champagnes and cocktails. And to top it off, there’s even a cigar menu.

Of course, the chefs are also more than happy to tailor meals to accommodate any special dietary requirements, and are able to prepare gourmet meals for up to 25 guests should you wish to host a dinner party while in residence.