Review: A New Nature-Inspired Villa Retreat In Canggu, Bali

March 5, 2023

Nestled within one of Indonesia’s best tropical paradises, check into Desa Hay in Canggu, Bali for an unhurried, tranquil respite


The family-run Desa Hay, a newcomer launched during the pandemic, show how personal ownership can make a difference to tourists seeking more than Instagrammable shots.

The Canadian Kowaleski family of Scott, Julia, and Joshua envisioned the six-villa Desa Hay as an integral part of the local community. According to Scott, employees place offerings on the premises as part of a daily Balinese ritual that helps them feel at ease while working there. Along with the Lost Lindenberg, the hotel in Canggu is part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s (SLH) Considerate Collection.

The hotels in this category have either been certified by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) or have passed a rigorous assessment by the SLH Sustainability Advisory Panel, with an independent and impartial review by the GSTC.

Desa Hay

Furthermore, they are known for being environmentally conscious, community-minded, and cultural custodians. In addition to sponsoring local environmental and food programmes, Desa Hay pays for the tuition of 13 children from a local orphanage and the children of its employees.

I went straight from the car to my Desa Hay Jabu, where a breezy Spotify playlist was already playing. Modern and practical comforts abound in the villa. Yes, even electronic codes to access the door (no chance of losing key cards) and in-room massages, so lazy guests like me can roll off the therapy bed and head straight into a nap or lounge by the villa pool.

At Ijo, the hotel’s only restaurant, you can enjoy hearty Asian and Western favourites, including vegan scrambled tofu, mac and cheese, crackling braised pork belly, and juicy roasted local duck, all accompanied by stunning cocktails. Scott and Julia are often on- site, attending the morning yoga class, interacting with guests and handling maintenance.

Text: Grace Ma/The Peak