BALI, Indonesia — Construction is underway on the first 22 units sold at The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bali, a remarkable real estate offering taking shape on a naturally accommodating clifftop where the group’s inaugural hotel in Bali is also in development.
Set within the confines of budding Bukit Pandawa Resort & Golf on Bali’s southernmost tip, The Residences will eventually comprise 91 standalone villas conceptualized by acclaimed international architect Jean-Michel Gathy, who took inspiration from a traditional Balinese farming technique in imagining the layout.
“The topography lends itself beautifully to a series of tiers that is really reminiscent of the terraced rice paddies you see all around Bali,” said the lead designer at Kuala Lumpur-based Denniston Architects, which has conceived many of the world’s most exclusive resorts built in the past 25 years. “So even from the villas at the very back of the complex, you have these unobstructed, 180-degree views of the ocean.”
To enhance the views for all residents and their guests, each villa will possess a flat roof dressed with an array of exotic grasses, shrubs and palm trees, a design flourish that also serves to create a seamless connection with the surrounding environment.
Homage has been paid as well to the spirit of Balinese architecture, in that no villa will exceed the height of a typical coconut tree, no matter how many rooms it has.
"This is not London or Singapore or anywhere else,” said Gathy, a Belgian who has spent 35 years in Asia. “It's Bali. We took that into account every step of the way. But we didn’t go overboard. And that’s an important distinction to make. Because sometimes designers go too far in that respect.
“I like to use the analogy of chocolate. When I have my coffee, I have it with one piece of chocolate. I don’t have it with 100 pieces. That would make me sick. It’s too much.”
Restraint has also been applied indoors, where Gathy and Indonesian interior design guru Jasin Tedjasukmana of Kiat Architects have collaborated on a style they describe as “simple elegance.”
Tasteful amounts of understated local artwork, comfortable pieces of furniture, discreet water features and low-profile, high-tech features are blended in harmonious fashion.
Even the line between inside and outside is deftly blurred, thanks largely to windows that extend from floor to ceiling and glass doors that retract, such as the one between the living room and the infinity pool.
“These homes are the ultimate expression of luxury living,” said Djie Tjian An, president/director of PT Bali Ragawisata, Bukit Pandawa Resort & Golf’s developer. “I’ve been here for more than three decades, and I can tell you Bali has never had anything like this.”
In addition to being part of an elite club, owners at The Residences will have access to a 2-kilometer stretch of private white sand beach and all the facilities and services associated with Mandarin Oriental, Bali.
When finished in mid-2018, the 88-room hotel will include an 88-meter-long swimming pool along the edge of the clifftop, a private beach club steps from the ocean, a cantilevered gourmet restaurant, a state-of-the-art fitness center and a 1,725-square-meter spa with eight treatment rooms.
Together, the Mandarin Oriental hotel and residences will occupy approximately 5 percent of the 150-hectare piece of property that makes up Bukit Pandawa Resort & Golf, which Gathy masterplanned and that will eventually include another super-luxury hotel designed by him, a Waldorf Astoria and a Swissôtel.
The link between them all is Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club, an 18-hole, par-3 championship-caliber golf course that opened in October 2016 as the first course of its kind in Southeast Asia.
“The routing is magnificent and the concept is brilliant,” said Gathy. “You don’t need four or five hours. You just need two.”
Blueprints also call for a 2.2-kilometer “eco trail” that runs across the cliffside and leads to three sacred Hindu temples and a new amphitheater where traditional cultural performances are conducted on a nightly basis.
Villas at The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bali mostly range from one to five bedrooms, but floorplans for the four largest residences could be altered to allow for more bedrooms.
The villas are coming on the market with price tags that start at US $615,000. Handover of the first residence is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2019.