LUXE City Guides
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LUXE Loves: Desa Hay, Bali

Poutine and mac ‘n cheese might not be on your bucket list of things to eat in Bali, but they definitely should be when you’re staying at (or anywhere near) Desa Hay, a new member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World that’s the perfect blend of Balinese design and Canadian hospitality.

Located in the heart of Canggu, the six-villa boutique hotel is owned by the Kowaleskis, a close-knit Canadian family made up of Scott, his wife Julia, and their son Josh – who was the first of the family to set foot in Bali during his Southeast Asia travels. He’s since inspired the entire fam (and a solid group of friends) to move there with him, and who could blame them?

With Desa Hay, they’ve not only built their dream home, but six spacious and stunning villas for guests to enjoy, replete with all the personal touches they love.


Desa Hay is located just a few minutes north of the Canggu coastline by taxi or motorbike. Surrounded by lush green rice fields, a stone path driveway leads the way into the property, which is lined with a wall of swaying bamboo shoots and covered in solar panels to generate sustainable energy. Guests then enter the hotel through a traditional Balinese carved stone entrance, just one of the many details of Desa Hay that pays respect to the local culture and traditions. 


There are a total of six villas (or ‘jabus’) spread across Desa Hay – three to the left of the restaurant and pool, and three by the outdoor garden area – ranging from 100 square metres to 120 square metres for the premium jabus. All are immaculately designed with North Sumatra-style roofs, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, a private outdoor plunge pool, day beds, a hanging wicker chair and semi-outdoor stone bathtub.

Inside, guests can relax with all their modern-day creature comforts, including a king-sized bed, 55-inch Smart TV loaded with Netflix and Spotify, fully-stocked minibar with loose leaf tea and coffee, plus a designer bathroom fitted with a rain shower and Sensatia Botanical skincare products.

A unique feature of Desa Hay is the absence of room keys – something Scott explained to us as being one of his biggest pet peeves when staying at hotels. Here, you’ll never have to fumble around for your room key, as each villa is fitted with an electronic lock accessible by a unique passcode. Guests are also added to a villa-specific Whatsapp group upon check-in, giving direct access to the hotel staff for any requests.


Guests at Desa Hay can enjoy all-day dining at Ijo, which boasts a vibrant menu of Western and Asian dishes, plus innovative drinks and cocktails to match. From avo toast, croissants and salmon rosti to steak sandwiches, butter chicken and “mac n’ quattro formaggi”, there’s no need to commit to just one dish per meal. 

Instead, the kitchen can make smaller portions of everything for you to mix and match (tip: the poutine is not on the menu so be sure to make a special request to Scott or the chef.) Don’t forget about the drinks either – the smoothies and shakes are drinkable art, while the teas, kombucha and juices will keep you energised and refreshed for the day. 


Besides hanging out in your jabu, eating and drinking at Ijo, and soaking up the sun on your private deck or at the main pool, Desa Hay also arranges group yoga classes at the outdoor garden and in-room massages on request.

Planning an event? Thanks to its intimate size, Desa Hay is also a great option for anyone looking to host events such as small weddings, parties or yoga/wellness retreats in Canggu.


Another thing to love about Desa Hay is how much emphasis they place on sustainability – a must these days for eco-conscious travellers. From solar panels to carbon offsets, to minimising food waste and employing individuals from the local community, the Kowaleskis truly believe in responsible tourism.

What’s more, Desa Hay even has its own scholarship fund, where they take care of the post-primary school education fees for every child at Chloe Orphans Bali.


With just six villas and the wonderful Kowaleskis as hosts, staying at Desa Hay felt more like staying with family – especially when Scott, Julia, Josh and his wife Geniya were around. A place beaming with the genuine warmth and friendliness of Canadians – not to mention, the best poutine and mac ‘n cheese on the island – we couldn’t help joking (from one Canadian to another) that they should really change their name from Desa Hay to Desa Eh… 😉

For adventures further north, don’t miss Desa Hay’s sister property called Munduk Cabins, a six-cabin boutique resort in the jungle.

Desa Hay is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and part of their Considerate Collection.

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