Hej. I am Benedicte Hansen, but my friends call me Bene.
I am half French and half Danish, but during my early teens, I lived in the hills of Bandung, West Java. This is where I first experienced the facinating Indonesian nature and the complex Indonesian culture. My parents were big travellers and I was lucky that their hunger for experiencing new places in Indonesia included exploring Bali. This became the island we returned to most frequently, and which I later kept returning to, many times.
After living 25 years in Australia, working close to 20 years with a global furniture and homewares company, an opportunity to start up the first of it’s stores in Jakarta Indonesia, presented itself. Launching a global brand I love in a country I truly love – was a great opportunity.
During this period, a chance meeting with the previous owner of Villa Kalisat, lead to my love affair with Bali being reignited. I fell in love with Villa Kalisat and after staying here a few times an opportunity arose to take over the hotel as of February 2015.
The Balinese are very conscious of their land and their heritage. Villa Kalisat is on leased land and will always be part of the village land.
Villa Kalisat is built on the edge of the cliff overlooking the amazing rainforest and river valley below. To access Villa Kalisat you walk through the working family village approximately 80m to get to the hotel. This provides a beautiful insight into normal the Balinese lifestyle and culture. Many of our staff live in this family village. The village has beautiful temples and an impressive bonsai tree collection.
Temples are a very important part of the lives of the Balinese and a substantial part of the land leasing fee was allocated to restoring the three village temples on the premises; by the village entrace, left hand side inside the village and by the river. Everyday, the family places offerings at the temples and holds ceremonies on special worship days. There is also a temple by each Villa Kalisat buildings to bring heath and fortune to all our guests staying here.
Villa Kalisat has a precious partnership with the village, and we welcome you to be part of it. So if you happen to be visiting during a ceremony – please join in.
In the village you will often hear the gamelan music being practiced for the next ceremony, see offering baskets being made and placed whilst worshiping at the temples. You will smell the incense burning and the fangipani flower (Villa Kalisat’s logo) and of course take in the view of the lush rainforest below and around you. The river below us is believed to be sacred, as it is located between two rivers, the large Petanu river and the small waterfall at the right of Villa Kalisat. Just like the centre of Ubud, where two rivers meet, this is the most sacred place of Ubud and the reason for originally placing the township there.
With so many temples, ceremonies, daily prayers, and genuienly friendly people diligiently practicing their religion, it is no wonder Ubud is one of the most spiritual places on earth. It has become a worldwide yoga centre, a spa heaven and it attracts a muriade of people wanting to experience the traditional Balinese dance rituals, visit healers, temples and view the rice fields. And an increasing number of creative artist have taken up residence here – making jewlery, homewares, stoneware, wood carvings, textiles, and paintings.
Most of all, you will find that the Balinese smile is instantly contagious especially as you walk through our village. It is very likely you will be asked “kemana?” (where are you going?) or “kapan kembali?” (when will you be back?), and it is a sincere caring query about your whereabouts.
We hope you catch the spirit of Villa Kalisat – the real Bali – during your stay!