Villa Aalaya, Bali
A very special let
If their story weren’t so inspiring, it would be easy to resent Canadians Renee Martyna and her partner Steve Munroe. They combine running a co-working space, Hubud, with an education company, Turn Point, and, during frequent global travels, rent out their house as a holiday let. Home for them is an exquisite villa complex in Ubud, on the Indonesian island of Bali. It’s the perfect place for families looking for comfort, luxury and fun.
The couple moved into Villa Aalaya (it’s Sanskrit for ‘home’) in 2011. Two years previously, having worked in international development they had become burnt out and decided on a change of lifestyle for themselves and their two sons, Seth, now eight, and Lochlan, 10.
‘We moved to Bali because that’s what people do when they’re in life transitions,’ says Renee. In building their home, they went for drama rather than convention, employing David Seligman, a former Hollywood set creator, as their contractor.
The villa’s resulting form was largely dictated by three antique wooden buildings from different parts of Indonesia that the couple bought, dismantled and rebuilt on site. As far as possible the couple have used recycled materials. ‘The tiles are recycled, some of the furniture is upcycled from oil drums, painted fishing boats and bicycles and we have solar power,’ says Renee.
The couple have created a space that not only they love but others can too, you’ll be on holiday but you’ll be as comfortable as you would be at home.
Paradise for kids
Villa Aalaya was also designed to be child-friendly. ‘When we? rst lived in Bali we looked at a lot of rented places but, while they were all beautiful, they weren’t built in a way that was conducive to family living,’ says Renee.
‘We also built it very much with the idea that the kids could bang around and have fun. We didn’t want them to feel like they couldn’t live in the house. I don’t care if the kids ride their bicycles around the kitchen. If they bang into things or scu something, it just adds character.’ Visiting children have access to everything from a bamboo swing and a sunken trampoline to a toy-packed play area, books and a large swimming pool. ‘This is a place where kids can get dirty and have fun.’
Fun further afield
There’s so much to do outside of the villa. If you’re feeling adventerous head out on a bike tour of Ubud’s paddy fields and lush hillsides or take the children (over-seven)white-water rafting on the Ayung or Telaga Waja rivers. If water isnt their forte, Tree Top Adventure Park is an hour’s drive away. Rope bridges, zip wires and barrel bridges are all part of the fun.
If you want something more chilled sign up for a tour of The Green School for an insight into an education system with a difference, a local academy that’s green both physically and philosophically . You can also sign up for a threeor five-day green activity adventure.
Getting there:Cathay Pacific flies to Ngurah Rai from Manchester and Heathrow (via Hong Kong) from £400 house is an hour’s drive from the airport.
Price: Villa Aalaya costs from £1,670 per week. (Sleeps nine)
Find out more: airbnb.co.uk