Desa Seni, meaning Art Village is a unique hideaway from the busy streets of Canggu. One minute you are motoring along a narrow road, sweating under a bike helmet and concerned for your life as scooters race past you, the next you take a turn towards this sanctuary 250 yards from the road and surrounded by rice terraces.
There are a multitude of reasons to stay at Desa Seni and I have tried to condense these down into my Top 11!
Founded by friends Thomas Talucci and Howard Klein over ten years ago, Desa Seni is the result of a vision they had to create a traditional Indonesian Village. They spent over a year collecting antique wooden Indonesian homes, renovating them and turning them into a collection of unique guest buildings.
The piece of the land they were building on was surrounded by beautiful views over the rice terraces, but conscious of the development happening in Bali and Canggu they decided to have everything face the centre of the village where the pool is situated. In doing this, they have also created a layout which gives guests complete privacy with none of the houses facing onto each other.
First and foremost Desa Seni is a destination for yoga enthusiasts! Desa Seni’s School of Yoga, The Collective, is internationally accredited by The Yoga Alliance and they have a group of highly experienced teachers who have been with Desa Seni for several years.
You have the option of joining individual classes from the extensive daily schedule or attending a group retreat, workshop or field trip organised throughout the year. The collective also offer 50 and 200 hour yoga teacher training courses, the next one starting on October 2nd 2016.
How many places have you stayed where 70% of the produce that arrives on your plate is farmed from within a 100 yard radius of where you sit to eat it?! I estimate, but really, at Desa Seni much of the resort is a farm where vegetables and herbs are being grown all around you.
Any produce that is not picked from their own garden comes from locally sourced providers, typically this includes the meat and fish served on the menu. So with produce this fresh, its pretty hard to go wrong and the meals are absolutely delicious, you will also be delighted with a range of vegan and vegetarian options.
The Merapu Svaasthya at Desa Seni is another sanctuary for you to enjoy and relax. Merapu means “spiritual forces” and Svaasthya means “wellness.” These words embody every aspect of the Desa Seni village resort, but they are especially meaningful when you enter the spa.
There is an extensive list of traditional and holistic treatments with Western and Eastern therapies available. Only natural, alcohol and wax free products that have been made exclusively for Desa Seni are used in the spa and these are also available to purchase in the store. Some of the ingredients used in these products are actually from the garden at Desa Seni.
Yoga is just the start of your journey to relaxation and wellness. Desa Seni focuses on the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. To complement the spiritual work you are doing in your meditation and yoga classes, Desa Seni offers acupuncture and Chinese herbs and a clean and healthy diet to nourish your body and mind.
Additional 5 to 8 day programmes at Desa Seni include Detoxification and Weightloss, Stop Smoking and Rebalancing the Self. Each programme includes accomodation, meals, yoga and happenings, and specific treatments relating to the package you have selected.
THE ART, HISTORY & CULTURE
Each of the buildings at Desa Seni is a traditional Indonesian dwelling that has been converted to be part of the resort. Throughout the village and in your room you will find unusual artefacts, musical instruments and games. To bring the story of these pieces to life Desa Seni provides a detailed written history of each of the items in your room, explaining what the items are and which traditions they represent.
Each of the guest buildings has been made from a traditional Indonesian two room building and has a unique name, we stayed in Rumah Mandau which was named after a traditional Indonesian sword, the ceremonial Kalimantan kris. The main room is the bedroom and living space and the bathroom created in what would have previously served as the kitchen. Each of the rooms is uniquely and beautifully designed with incredible attention to details.
When you arrive you will be shown around your room, with the staff showing you all of the amenities such as the mini-bar and snacks, a water container refilled every day and a box of goodies including insect repellant, candles, a torch and postcards.
THE CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS
Desa Seni contributes to the local community via the Making Dreams Come True Initiative and the Keeping Bali Clean Programme. You can make donations at the front desk to the ribbon campaign, collections are then donated to the Jodie O’Shea Orphanage and the local village kindergarten and used towards supplies and equipment.
Desa Seni’s latest initiative relates to Bali’s serious issues with waste. Desa Seni is working with the village, other businesses and a range of companies such as local recycler Eco Bali, to help educate and combat this problem.
With over 70 staff employed by Desa Seni, and over 30 on site at any given time you may not expect to see the same faces every day during your stay! But you will, the staff are extremely helpful, friendly and remarkably everyone seems to know your name! We felt extremely welcome and part of the family atmosphere at Desa Seni.
Desa Seni also supports a number of local initiatives, one of them being the Work Study Programme which offers orphans in Bali the opportunity to have an apprenticeship in a healthy environment. Two apprentices to date have been accepted as full time employees following their internships and Thomas and Howard hope to have many more.
In the heart of Canggu (13Km from Denpasar Airport), Desa Seni is an easy walk, scooter ride or taxi to some great cafes and restaurants in Canguu and the beach. You are close to the famous La Laguna restaurant and bar where you can go to enjoy early evening dinner with views of beautiful sunsets out over the ocean.
It is also an easy drive to popular tourist sites such as Tanah Lot Temple. Desa Seni offers a small selection of “must see and do” excursions that they can arrange for you, just ask at the front desk for information.
Rumah Candi, is the onsite gift shop at Desa Seni offering guests a place to buy a wide variety of art inspired gifts, souvenirs, jewellery, antique accessories and yoga wear. The shop is open every day 8 am to 9 pm so you can gather some trinkets to take home to friends and family or spoil yourself with some new yoga wear for your classes during your stay!
Have you visited Desa Sena, Canggu or Bali? Share your tips with our readers in the comments below!