In Bali’s burgeoning elite residential communities from Berawa westwards, options for shopping and dining are very sparse. Villa dwellers out west face a half-hour drive on the highway to hell if they want a decent meal, an evening out, or a spot of shopping. That’s all about to change, with the arrival of Sea Sentosa, a new project now under way between Batu Bolong and Batu Mejan surf beaches.
Following on the success of their villas and spa in Seminyak, local lifestyle brand, Sentosa is branching out with this mixed-use development in Canggu, combining restaurant, club, retail and residential elements. Multi-storey villa-apartment buildings will be blended with low-rise retail and lifestyle venues. But don’t freak out about high-rises marring the landscape just yet. Vertical gardens, like those at the Musée du Quai Branly will cloak the taller structures of Sea Sentosa, making more green surface area than the green fields which the buildings will replace.
Word on the street is that 40 units of retail-lifestyle space are for lease. Grocer & Grind is rumoured to be one of the first to sign pre-lease papers, and I expect we’ll see a Periplus bookshop, along with all the usual suspects. Think Seminyak reloaded (but edited). I see a Milo’s boutique and a Surfer Girl shop, a florist and and wine merchant in my crystal ball. If a Cempaka or a Vinoti Living pops up, I for one, will not be shocked by it. Maybe a Blue Glue, too.
Beachside features at Sea Sentosa will include a restaurant/club modeled on the likes of KuDeTa and La Lucciola, with two infinity pools. I expect there will be something rooftop, too, plus a spa and health club.
Don’t for one second think this is just island gossip and rumour. I’ve seen progress on the project myself on morning mountain bike rides. It’s happening, and here are some photos to prove it (above, below), courtesy of “De Tom“. Based on my observations of the initial phase of construction and marketing, this looks like a serious, quality operation. Like the Sentosa in Seminyak, it’s already obvious that Sea Sentosa will be well-managed from ground-breaking to completion and beyond, and with financials that make good investment sense.
Still, I’m sure some of the bumpy, grumpy, and frumpy regulars at a particularly popular beach café nearby are grumbling and cussing into their Bintangs. And I expect surfers are feeling edgy about Sea Sentosa, too. Bruno and I, like many Canggu, Pererenan, Cemagi and Seseh dwellers, don’t know whether to laugh or cry or applaud or run for higher ground. Personally, when there’s a choice, I prefer to laugh and applaud.
If change is coming to the Canggu area, at least it’s being brought here by professionals with a proven track record, whose previous projects haven’t been at all horrifying – – quite the opposite. Sentosa in Seminyak is “fun”. The master plan and landscaping are very good indeed, and the place feels sane, solid and pretty stylish, without being an eyesore. The development mind behind Sentosa, Saxon Looker (pictured above), is a man who professes an interest in quality and design. He’s brought in energetic creatives for Sea Sentosa and is giving them free rein. Sounds ok to me.
P.S. The offices of the Yak magazine have also moved to Canggu. Change is coming, let’s see what we can do to make it as positive as possible.