Friday evening we were at a sneak preview party at Pantai Lima, a collection of five luxury villas on the beach in Pererenan. Mary Justice, Bali’s PR whizz kid, pulled off this publicity coup with aplomb despite the unfinished state of the villas. She was looking distinctly piratical on the night, sporting a black eye patch (above, with Sophie Digby of The Yak). It wasn’t a fashion statement, however. She just had urgent eye surgery in Singapore. How MJ managed to do so much with so little is a mystery to me.
We loved the Russian models serving as cigarette girls (above, with Michaela and Jaclin), but the Charlie Chaplin lookalike looked too Balinese to be believable. Bali Starz, the entertainment and modelling agency provided these and other amusements throughout the villa complex, with each villa staged according to a particular theme.
I liked the “India” villa best, myself. And I loved the mondo flower balls floating in the pools, created by Bloomz, Bali’s most sociable florist (above, behind Jaclin, Michael and Polly).
We met the Pantai Lima owners, Mathias and Gaelle Echene, a gentle and lovely couple based in Hong Kong (above). They seemed slightly gobsmacked to suddenly find themselves standing in the middle of a full-on Bali bash in five multi-million dollar villas that they had created themselves. It was a little like: “How did I get here?” They were utterly charming, nevertheless, even when we and MJ were the last stragglers, still sloshing red wine under the stars by the pool.
The villas were looking a little raw, with workers’ tools still strewn haphazardly about and upended mattresses in some of the bedrooms. But it was a sneak preview, after all, not an opening. Although the food and wine were fabulous and the setting a dream, there were signs of hasty labour and typical Bali slap-dash finishing here and there. The “snag list” for the contractor must be as big as the LA phone book. Oh well. There’s time to fix that before the grand opening.
Photos, Neal Harrison