When Robyn Schats and her husband Pieter, Managing Director of Toys R Us, went for lunch by the beach in Canggu, Bali, little did they know that it was to be the beginning of a long love affair with the area and the place they would soon call home.
Robyn, you’ve been in Hong Kong for 25 years; when did you move here and why?
I grew up in Singapore so there was no doubt in my mind that I would return to Asia after studying in the UK. However, like so many long term Hong Kongers, I never planned to be here forever. Twenty-five years later, there’s no doubt that this is my family’s home. I can’t imagine being anywhere else – other than Bali!
Why did you choose to have a holiday house in Bail?
It was one of the first places I went with my husband Pieter and we just fell in love with the country and the people. It’s a stunning place with so much on offer both culturally and visually. It also offered a fabulous beach lifestyle for my children.
Did you buy the house complete or build it yourself?
On one of our early trips, Pieter and I visited a wonderful restaurant called The Beach House at Canggu. We came for lunch and stayed all day, and felt instantly at home in the area. That began our search for the perfect villa location. We found land for sale just 200 metres from Echo Beach, next to a river and surrounded by paddy fields; it was perfect.
What was on your wish list for the perfect holiday home?
Fun and space! I wanted lots of room for our children, Ben, Michael and Lara, to kick a ball around and I wanted the swimming pool to be huge! I also wanted that feeling of space to continue in the living areas (there are two), so that the adults could continue on the vino while the kids were watching TV, swimming or playing table tennis. We knew that the villa would be a place we would host large gatherings of family and friends, so we needed large bedrooms, all with en suites, and a teenage hideaway. The aim was to create an integrated family holiday home offering everyone the chance of their own space without being secluded.
What style did you choose for Villa Asante? Are there any particularly Balinese elements in the design?
I have always loved the Balinese ‘open’ living style and, as I grew up in an old colonial high-ceilinged black and white in Singapore, I suppose I wanted to replicate that. I wanted open-plan living surrounded by lush, tropical gardens, slow moving ceiling fans and a feeling of space. We also had to include the traditional Balinese day bed; ours sits at the end of the pool overlooking the whole villa, a wonderful place to lay, watch the kids, read a book or have a nap.
Describe a perfect day at the Villa?
When everyone is happy! On holiday, Pieter and I like a leisurely start – a slow breakfast with the paper to ease us into the day which is usually very active with three sports-crazy kids. We love to get some surfing in before a late lunch either on the beach or at the villa. A little snooze and a massage are a must in the afternoon and a family walk along the beach is a great way to work up an appetite for dinner.
What has having a holiday home added to your expat lifestyle?
Hong Kong is our home and we love it, but it’s good to escape the buzz that makes the city what it is. Our home in Bali gives us the chance to slow down, recharge and reconnect. It’s also a wonderful place to reunite with family and friends; there’s always a constant stream of visitors, which was part of our original plan. We already have so many wonderful memories of times spent there and I can really see us there in 15 years time with the next generation of Schats still loving it as much as we do.
Villa Asante is available to rent through Prestige Bali Villas. Contact +62 361 733 320, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.villaasantebali.com.