Shandelle Battersby checks in to Baby Melon Villa in Seminyak, Bali.


This beautifully appointed villa is one of two rooms at the back of Melon Villa in Seminyak, southern Bali, about half an hour from Ngurah Rai International Airport depending on traffic.

Check-in experience: Great because my driver (I recommend you get one in Bali, the roads are narrow and the traffic can be crazy) rang ahead and the villa rep met me at the door with the keys for a quick rundown. The reverse happened on my way out.

Room: I had the Garden Room, which was very comfortable and airy, with a high ceiling. There's a large walk-in storage and dressing area, a telly (I couldn't find a channel but someone had left The Hobbit in the DVD player. You wouldn't read about it), and an array of repellent and insect spray which, trust me, you will need. Set in lush tropical gardens, the other half of the villa has a small kitchen with a fridge.


What's in the neighbourhood? The beach is a few minutes' walk one way, and has bars and restaurants, and there are many shops and restaurants in the opposite direction. Kuta Beach would be the main nearby attraction, but there are famous nightlife spots, such as Cocoon, Potato Head and Ku De Ta, a short cab ride away. If yoga is your bag, you have a gazillion options. Ubud is 1.5-2 hours' drive north.

Exercise: There's an infinity pool you could do short laps in, otherwise you could run on the beach if you can handle the heat.

The bed: A comfortable super-king, with a large, square mosquito net.

Bathroom: Vast, and half outdoors, with a rain shower (outside), a garden (outside), many orchids, a huge sunken mosaic bath and twin vanities.

Toiletries: Mostly BYO but there is shampoo and conditioner in little vials, and a bottle of supermarket body wash. There's a small hair dryer.

Wi-fi: Unlimited.

Noise: Noisy, but in a good way - nature is loud! The rooster next door started carrying on at daybreak. There was also a little noise from Villa Melon next door.

Price: I paid US$140 (about $210) for one room - a woman and her two kids were in the other. I was fortunate to have a late checkout, so could enjoy the lovely pool before I flew home.

Food and drink: Tea and coffee, but no fridge in my room for milk. There was a pitcher of drinking water left out - a good reminder not to drink the tap water in Bali.

What's so good about this place? The freedom to come and go as you please, the glorious pool, and a couple of comfy areas to relax. It's great to be able to choose between the beach or the shops, and have plenty of space to enjoy the tropical grounds.

Would I return? If I could take a few mates and rent the whole joint it would be ideal for two or three days in Seminyak. It's nicely decorated and comfortable, and that pool, which gets lots of sun, is to die for. If the other villa is occupied it's not too private, so you'd be out and about more, which is probably not a bad thing when you're in a foreign land.