Evidence for the prosecution:
We were collected by horse drawn cart [whats the word?] and ferried with our bags across the middle of Gili Meno to the jetty. We bought our tickets for the fast boat and had time for a cheeky exit Bintang before embarking and returning to Bali, a journey that takes about 90mins.
Arriving at Bali, we then joined a busy minibus for the worst part of the day - a transfer to Seminyak, sitting up front with a rather unpleasant driver, prattling on about money, girls and his marriage for two hours, while we dropped fellow backpackers at the airport and in Denpasar. It was jaws that dropped collectively though when our tired minibus pulled up to the W Hotel, a huge new resort at the north end of Kuta Beach. Designed and manicured to a level that was beyond the comprehension of people (like me) used to the lowest budget digs.
We'd agreed to wait at the W for a couple of hours before being collected and driven onwards to Villa Sungai because the previous occupants had arranged a late check out. Not such a chore though, despite the torrential afternoon storm that broke as we settled in to comfy chairs, coffee table books and a beer or two. Not for the first time I considered retraining as an architect while leafing through a big glossy tome on distinctively designed houses.
Little Made, Sungai's manager collected us and drove us to his home village of Cepaka where we were to stay for the next three nights. There's actually two villas, Villa Sungai and Sungai Gold, we were in the latter. They're carefully constructed in the side of a deep verdant gully. Above are steps up to the front gate, below a deep creek; in between, our two bedroom villa with outside dining area, swimming pool and a kind and attentive team of staff. It really is the height of luxury, the best accommodation that Bali, or even the southern hemisphere, has to offer. As we arrived, a pair of gamelan players provided us with a private soundtrack.
We spent the next three days, the last of our two weeks together, enjoying the amenities of the villa - the beautifully cooked meals, the supremely comfortable bed, the swimming pool, the bad movies on TV, the sun loungers and the kind and gentle staff; not venturing out more than a few times, sheltering cosily from the rain, and definitely feeling extremely spoilt.