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Best-Looking Bali Villas Site

by Susi, 22 July 2008

Mandalay villa, from the Maison Bulle collection of Bali rental villas.

Maison Bulle was Pierre Cardin’s kinky bubble house near Cannes where he welcomed the bright young things of Europe during his heyday. Now the name of Cardin’s Cannes crash pad has been recycled by a French expat for her super stylish website showcasing super special rental villas in Bali. There’s a double entendre in the name that only Indonesia expats would understand. White expats here are called bule meaning “albino”, usually an albino cow, which is basically a derogatory term like “nigger”. Western-style houses are known as rumah bule. Drop one “l” from “Bulle”, and there you have it.

Maison Bulle offers a collection of properties that are not your ordinary luxury villas. These are the kind of places one usually finds out about only from close friends. All of the properties are idiosyncratic, charming private homes created by people with a creative bent. Some are rustic and simple, others cushy colonial-style places that recall something out of Somerset Maugham. None are standard-issue, generic luxury rentals, so don’t expect predictability, expect the unexpected. In selecting properties for inclusion Maison Bulle declares, “Character is our selective criteria.”

Sumatra house from the Maison Bulle collection, Bali.

The site also features pages on Bali’s ne plus ultra options for dining, nightlife, shopping and activities. This is a godsend for we long-term Bali residents who are constantly being asked by friends-of-friends about everything Bali, especially places to stay. It can be a bit tedious. It was exactly this which motivated the creation of Maison Bulle. According to their very well written site:

Maison Bulle was born out of a phone call. A call repeated year after year, always the same:

“Would you know of a house….for friends, friends of friends, relatives coming to Bali for a holiday? Something nice, great, haven like…’

“These requests, of course, did not come unwarranted: a renowned and lasting relationship with the island, a discerning taste for beauty, comfort, great food and hospitality sent them forth. Thus the idea for an open ‘rolodex’ came about… giving easy access to those of you who share our taste and sensibility in your search to experience the perfect holiday.

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    • Susi
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    • July 22, 2008

    @ Rod: You are absolutely right! Expats in many places in Indonesia are familiar with the term "bule". Let's not forget the most famous "bule gila," our Flemish friend in Jakarta, creator of the inimitable Bugil's bar, author of Bule Gila, and gutsy blogger. The term "bule" in Javanese, Balinese, and perhaps several other related dialects refers to all-white cows. And it is highly derogatory, at least it was, but it has weaseled its way into common parlance among expats as if it weren't derogatory. Interesting how evolution of language works. Western residents of Java and Bali not so many years ago would be in their rights to punch the lights out of anyone who called them "bule". Similarly, African-Americans often use the term "nigger" when addressing other African-Americans familiarly, and in reference to themselves, and it is not considered derogatory in that context. So, we bules can probably call each other bules without risking offense. Thanks for commenting!

    • Rod Parish
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    • July 22, 2008

    Hi, I think you get it wrong a bit when you say "There’s a double entendre in the name that only Bali expats would understand"; most of the other expats in Indonesia would as do most of the 240 odd million Indonesians that live here. Also, after living in Indonesia for almost 20 years this is the first time I have heard that Bule means “albino cow”. Can you let me know which dialect this originates from. Thanks and regards, Rod

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