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Aug 1, 2008

Paradise Found

by Jenny Chua

Novica News

Bali, island of gods and divine villas. Trying to choose a place to stay here is like being a child in a candy store. Yet in paradise, there are two villas that beckon from their character-draped walls.

They are Villa Balquisse & The Shaba, sitting side by side, conceived by Zohra Boukhari. It all began 13 years ago on a plot of entangled jungle with a huge tree standing guard in the courtyard. In the middle of this jungle was a charming but abandoned house. Upon entering, Zohra instantly felt the place was right. Building something this wonderful began with Villa Balquisse, fittingly named after her daughter.


Zohra started renovating the house as her own home, guided by her fine taste in silks and furnishings. Silk weaves she designed rest as cushion covers, while interesting antiques from distant islands peer wisely from every corner. Another beautiful, warm-colored room was built with every passing year, unique in layout and style as Zohra designed a rustic oriental identity for each room.  Inspired by the island, each room has a little garden to bring in the lushness of Bali.


Today Balquisse is a fully-fledged villa, radiating an authentic coziness from its humble beginnings that is achieved only by a few. One could spend all day in the open living area, sitting on its wide daybed of splendid cushions and facing the pool, cooling off during Bali's perfect summer days.


The Shaba, by contrast, is for the colonial chic. This time Zohra took inspiration from her Moroccan roots, the name coming from Bilqis, the legendary Queen of Sheba.

Just like the historic fairytale, it takes you to faraway lands. Dozens of twinkling lights await the restless traveler, casting a magical glow on new arrivals. There is an immediate feeling of openness as the wind passes freely through the villa, revolving around a pillared courtyard looking up to a starry night.


The bedrooms are Baroque opulence with subdued colors. You can imagine yourself a queen as you sink into a claw-foot bathtub covered in petals. Dazzling details heighten the experience, such as the golden cutlery, a velvet pull instead of ordinary light switches, and a chandelier made by Zohra from Egyptian crystals.


She refers to both villas as "Maison d’Hotes" – a home shared with guests, because that's how it really all started. These homes of exquisite décor are a dream come true for this designer, who would not have started the project had she not moved to Bali: "In Bali, I was born again and I found my way," confides Zohra.


Much happiness comes from sharing her creations with the world.

Novica is very pleased to recommend these beautiful Balinese villas.

For more information, visit Balquisse and Shaba.



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