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PRIVATE LUXURY: Panchoran Retreat, Bali, INDONESIA

Creating this estate has been a slow labour of love for designer and environmentalist Linda Garland, whose amazing work in bamboo has been recognised around the world.

It was recommended to us by Kirsten Grundy from Grazia magazine who recently sent a team to shoot the interiors of Linda's eclectic house. "When I rang Linda just before publication to ask if everything was the same she said, 'yes but right now Penelope Cruz is in my kitchen' " , says Kirsten. The house was used as a setting in the newly released Eat Pray Love." Cruz was there with her partner Javier Bardem who stars in the film. "

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Linda hails from Ireland but has lived in Bali since she first gave her heart to the island in the early 70's. "I fell in love with this land [and] for the last 25 years I have been slowly planting, sculpting and building around the U turn in the river. Its hilly contours, valley and waterfalls with many natural springs, have been my canvas to create what has become Panchoran Retreat."

No wonder the place is so special.

The estate has seven houses for private rental all have private pools and indoor-outdoor bathrooms with spring water showers that "make you feel like you are bathing in the Garden of Eden" says Linda. Cool breezes from the river blow through the open plan rooms.

There is an also 26 metre lap pool filled with spring water and a yoga pavilion. Scattered around the jungle-like estate are little hideaway bales where you can do yoga or have massage or just relax. Footpaths wind through ferns, colourful heliconias and bamboo. Butterflies and birds flit by. . A beautiful bamboo bridge (created by Linda of course) spans the river. It is all pretty idyllic really. There is even a regal Bodhi tree in the grounds, perfect for meditating under; if Buddha did it so can you.

The Luxury Travel Bible particularly likes the one -bedroom Waterfall House with its private outdoor dining and Jacuzzi overlooking the river. Or the grander River House situated on a bend in the river with three double bedrooms and bathrooms, 15 meter lap pool where kingfishers come to call.

It is a beautiful, harmonious place for those who like their luxe on the alternative side (But not too alternative -there is Wi-Fi in the jungle). Dance festivals are held here and environmental and spiritual workshops of all kinds. "When we asked if we could shoot there, they said of course, come, as long as you bring some slippery elm power, we're detoxing", laughs Kirsten.

The centre of Ubud is a stroll away so Panchoran retreat is an oasis of calm next to the cultural centre of Bali, the best of both worlds; so you can eat, pray (shop) - and love it.

The Luxury Travel Bible insider says:

Linda is also the founder of the Environmental Bamboo Foundation (EBF), an Indonesian non-profit organization which aims to protect tropical forests by promoting and demonstrating the many uses of bamboo as an alternative material. http://www.bamboocentral.org
 
 
Hilary Doling 1/11/10
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