In the 1960s, surfers used to whisper about a secret spot on Bali's south-west tip where the breaks were reputed to be among the world's best. Then in 1971 Albert Falzon's classic surf movie Morning of the Earth ensured that Bali's secret destination of Uluwatu became public.
In the following decades, simple grass-roofed bamboo shacks were built to accommodate the surfers who had come to discover the mysteries of Uluwatu's waves, but the road was rough, there was little infrastructure, no electricity and no telephone lines, let alone WiFi.
Little had changed in early 2002 when an investor asked a local real estate company for help in finding land and building his dream home. The proposed site was on the cliff top, 100 metres above the ocean at Uluwatu. When he was reminded of the logistics of building in such a remote location, the investor replied 'Ahhhh, but have you seen the VIEW?' And so The Istana was born.
Today this iconic property, backdrop to many a wedding, is described as a palace in the sky (Istana means palace in Bahasa Indonesia); a proverbial phoenix which has risen from the coral limestone to take its place amongst the royalty of holiday rental villas in Bali. With its dazzling two pools, five suites, spa, cliff-edge dining and lounging gazebo, and a wing devoted entirely to children - to say nothing of executive chef Jamie Thewes and his small army of staff - The Istana attracts international jetsetters and celebrities who flip to and from the golf course courtesy of a helipad just up the road.
It's a perfect Bali morning with a sapphire sky, blazing sun and breaking surf. The most glorious wave is starting its long roll in, and you are paddling your board towards it for an epic ride...
Alternatively, relish a gourmet breakfast, peruse the morning paper, check Facebook and merely watch that glorious wave roll in.