I visited the Villa Mente over Christmas and New Year’s with my husband, parents, sister, and her friend and we had an unforgettable time. Before we arrived, we received superb attention from Fang, who sent us an extensive visitor’s guide and promptly answered our every question. My family arrived at the Denpasar airport in a few groups and Fang arranged for drivers to meet us at the airport and bring us to the villa. When we got to the villa there was a wonderful welcome dinner awaiting us. The villa was in the perfect location to explore northern Bali, and was a good distance from the busy tourist districts, which we were very pleased with. When we weren’t lounging by the pool or exploring the nearby waterfalls, we went on day trips, including snorkeling and diving in Menjangan Island, dolphin watching, hiking in the Mayong rice fields, and a tour of Lovina (hot springs, coffee plantation, temples) with our driver. We highly recommend each of these trips. Our hosts made sure that we had all of the details that we needed and helped us coordinate each trip. Villa Mente is set on the side of a mountain that overlooks the sea and the sunsets were incredible. This is the perfect spot if you want to get away from it all (though there’s also internet service, so you’re not completely cut off). My favorite part of the day was watching the sunset from the top balcony while enjoying a beautifully prepared meal with my family. We ventured to the beach by foot on a few occasions, which took about 35 minutes. Using the driver was much easier than expected and we ended up asking him to drop us off and pick us up when we wanted to go into Lovina. There are also a number of local beach restaurants that offer free taxi services, which was very convenient. We can’t recommend the Villa Mente highly enough. Though I haven’t spent much time in southern Bali, my sense is that the north is much quieter and suited to visitors who are looking to spend time outdoors and explore the local culture, which was perfect for us. We hope to return soon!

Francesca Wilmott, NY, USA