Airbnb Review: Luxury Balinese House is a touch of paradise in Darwin

Our Balinese villa for the next few days…

Finding a luxury place to stay in Darwin is not as easy as I first thought. In fact, it became a full time research project. Almost every major city has a range of high end major hotels and boutique stays, but Darwin sadly lucks out. When a harsh wet season robs a hotel group of half of the year’s profits, the numbers don’t stack up, let alone the cost of upkeep. However, this is when Airbnb comes into its own. Having stayed a few nights at Darwin’s top end property, Adina Apartment Waterfront Darwin, we were looking for a sea change somewhere more homely with space and style!

The front garden, newly landscaped

The pre-arrival – Leanne is an experienced host and runs Stay Your Way which manages this villa, along with a number of luxury homes and apartments in the area. She even has her own Darwin Guide to help us navigate to her favourite places. Leanne is a delight, every question is answered quickly, warmly and with insider knowledge. Just as promised, our check-in email arrives the day before and she checks in on us many times throughout our stay even if it’s just to help us to decide which of the sunset bars have the best food (Sailing Club).

The bright orange wall of our Balinese Home, on the marnia edge

The Location – Bayview may look like it is a long way from the city centre, but there is no traffic (well, by Sydney standards!), plus it’s such a dream to drive on fast highways. Within minutes our hire car is winding around a residential area and I have a lovely feeling of anticipation. The sizes of the houses are eye watering, many with water frontage onto the marina. We pull up at a distinctive house with orange flashes in the design. It’s 5 mins from the city but it couldn’t be more of a sea change.

The Arrival –We turn the keys and the door pulls back. Whoah…The sense of scale hits us as we walk into an open plan living and dining area. It’s a beautiful contemporary space with reflective Indonesian marble tiled floors bringing the blue skies into the house. It’s hard to drink it all in. Directly in front of us is a majestic dining table with wooden, rattan chairs. To our right is the kitchen with long sleek benches and it’s hard to look at much else but the two enormous oversize sofa’s elegantly positioned to take advantage of that view.

Many of us dream of living in a house by the water. One we could tiptoe down to, our own jetty maybe? A boat (we have two kayaks), a place to lounge, spots where we can escape from it all, curl up with a glass of wine and listen to the sounds of the wilds and water. Sound’s romantic? Well this house has it all.

Stunning Balinese Entrance and wall art

The House & Style –It’s owned by an airline pilot which makes me love it even more. It’s a home from home and you can tell from all the detailed touches. The owner loves Bali and wanted to recreate that escape to Indonesia. The Balinese theme runs through the house with a real sense of consistent interior design and sourcing from the ornate dark wood beds, to tall boys, cabinetry and gardens.

The Outdoors Area – Each level has been beautifully landscaped
(by local landscape designer Joshua Barnes) . We pull back the patio doors to the main area with a large entertaining table and big planters of palm trees. It’s where we spend most of our days. I wander to our right and follow a zig zag pathway through green lawns, ferns and trees, eventually landing at the water’s edge with a large decked area of oversize outdoor sofas and loving chairs. It’s hard not to go past two luminous red kayaks ready for us to set sail. Everyone tells us that crocs are in all waterways. This marina has a gate and is safe, however Mr G is much more game than I am, quickly changing so he can take the kayak out for a spin, which is the best way to millionaire house spot!

The Bedrooms – The master bedroom is enormous. It also has peek-a-boo glass sections into the main lounge along with high ceilings with no coverings, so a good eye mask is essential for those like us who enjoy dark rooms. The queen bed is beautifully made up with occasional cushions. It has its own escape room vibe, with patio doors that lead outside directly onto the narrow pool with two elegant lounge chairs just begging for a book and a beer! Now some call it romantic, but to me a bathroom without a door is not conducive to improving intimacy! It’s a personal choice, so thankfully there is another shared bathroom on the other side of the house if you need that comfort factor! The huge bath just shouts ‘bath salts, candle, relax’ though the pool is somewhat bigger and invites more splash about options! A walk in wardrobe means that the clean lines of the room stay intact. The only thing missing here were high end toiletries, so bring your favourites as it’s a bathroom to indulge in.

The other two bedrooms are good sizes with black out curtains which make for a good night’s sleep. Each is beautifully made up with quality bed linens and plenty of storage areas. The second bathroom is larger than many peoples bedrooms in Sydney or Melbourne and there is a wonderful sense of space with a huge wetroom shower that could fit an AFL team in!

Kitchen & Dining

As a foodie, having a house this beautiful means you don’t want to leave, in fact the appeal is to chill out and enjoy dinners at home. There isn’t a BBQ, which is a shame, however the kitchen is beautifully equipped with pots, pans, lots of dinnerware, glasses (including champagne glasses -phew!). It is so thoughtful to also include a few basics; olive oil, salt, pepper along with tea, coffee pods and a Nespresso machine! Leanne also surprises us with a beautiful hamper of goodies, sparkling wine, brie, crackers, chocolates and coffee for the next day! There is milk in the fridge too. It’s a really lovely touch and helps kick start our stay.

Out & About – Bayview really is close to everything, we check out the Nightcliff Markets (every Sunday morning from 8am in the dry season), Mindil Beach Night Markets (Thurs & Sun 4pm-9pm) and catch a stunning sunset at the Darwin Sailing Club. I have to share that I also caught some spectacular sandfly bites as a souvenir of our time there too! We jumped on the motorway for an hour drive to Adelaide river, stopping at the Humpty Doo Hotel for some pub tukka ahead of the Original Adelaide River Queen Jumping Croc Cruise where we got to meet ‘Norman’ a magnificent 70 year old croc, who is very sprightly. A tour to Litchfield Park was spectacular, spending time in watering holes and thermal springs with the odd termite mound thrown in for good measure!

What we were addicted to: This villa is stunning. If you want peace and relaxation, it combines style with space and those wonderful ceiling fans keep the place cool even in summer. The beds are comfy and the views enable you to escape it all.

To get us more addicted: A few more pantry items would have been great (Balsamic, herbs, pasta/rice etc), maybe a soda stream for those who like bubbles and toiletries like shampoo, conditioner and body wash. We would have used the main jetty more if there had been a sun umbrella!

Airbnb – ‘Exotic Balinese Paradise + Marina Views’, Bayview, Darwin, NT 
(Photographs supplied by Charlie Bliss Creative)
Stay Your Way – More details here

Dining Guide to Darwin here

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).