The Lembongan offering that has it all. Sophie Digby dives in.
IF every decent holiday starts with a cocktail we’ll need to start right at the bottom of this luxury, hillside property at none other than the seriously excellent whisky, gin and wine bar The Howff to enjoy The Art of Mixology Guest Experience.
Did they know I was coming? Nothing could be more up my street! Uber-talented mixologist Luca is in charge and an Old Fashioned is on the cards …traditional and modern boats bob up and down in the aquamarine sea just below the decking and as he regales us with motes and notes of alcoholic consequence, an oak box of Hunter Laing’s Old and Rare Single Malt Whisky selection approaches our table…
Slowly it opens to reveal light wreaths of smoke and two cut crystal glasses with our preferred elixir of the gods, a ball of ice and a sliver of orange rind. We sit back to sip and admire “that view, tho”. Few views garner such admiration and sighs of appreciation, as the sun sets behind Gunung Agung, as seen from Batu Karang Lembongan Resort & Spa. And refreshingly enough it is not just the view that ticks all the holiday boxes at this gorgeous, family-owned island paradise.
Set into a steep north-facing hillside, having totally respected the contours of the land throughout the build, the resort benefits from the sloped (well-buggy’d) incline. Each level has a fantastic view. From The Howff, which overlooks the water at a height of about three meters, it leads up one level to The Deck Café & Bar and the pool (this is just one of three, not counting the private plunge pools and the one in the Wedding / Occasion Villa!) On the same floor find the newly opened Parad-Ice Parlour created for the gelato generation and the Resort’s excellent Muntigs Bar & Restaurant. Here the seats that are most in demand are definitely the barstools at The Balcony Bar, which overlook the bay and beyond, just until nighttime that is – then find yourself a pew at one of the romantic dining tables placed around the pool or in the pavilion.
Since we are at Muntigs, I must mention the food. Just like The Howff Whisky Gin & Wine Bar, with its plethora of Single Malts, one can expect the same level of excellence coming out of the kitchen. The menu blends asian-inspired and international cuisine with an à la carte that reads like my bible of must-eats on every holiday. Time to loosen that waistband!
Delicious food makes one deliciously sleepy, so time to buggy-up to our suite complete with master bedroom, bathroom, lounge, kitchen and private (bubble) pool, situated at the top of the resort. Open the door and my bottom jaw mimics the movement of my suitcase as it is placed on the floor by the staff. Wide angle views of north-facing promise – jukungs, Jungut Batu Bay and Bali. Breathtaking indeed. I’m definitely glad of the buggy ride up, otherwise I might just have fainted.
At the beginning, I touched upon how BK respected the contours of the land when building. So now let’s continue to talk about ethical sustainability and, with what we can actually touch: the toiletries, soaps and salts are handmade from pure, natural ingredients and commissioned by BK. The divine woven items that dot and decorate are from pandanous or palm leaves and water hyacinth. Let’s go bigger; feel the gorgeous doors, hand-carved by Balinese craftsmen; touch the coral limestone walls, up-furbished and reshaped having been hewn on site to make way for the villas.
Local masons handcrafted the 6,000 cubic metres into 6,000 stones and bricks, which are used throughout the resort. Now to taste; the amazing fresh herbs and vegetables are grown right on property in the hydroponic garden and served at The Deck or at Muntigs. Enjoy the immaculate gardens that are watered thanks to a sophisticated water waste management system and, now that we are going underground and behind the scenes, BK also hosts a water filtration system, a reverse osmosis water system, implements energy conservation, responsible waste collection, mindful housekeeping, bans the use of single-use plastic bags on property, and only provides corn starch straws for soft drinks and cocktails. All this is supported by a very strong Local Trainee Programme employing 50 percent of local Lembongites and other Nusa natives at the Resort.
But I have gone all serious on you, so let me get back on track and above ground and offer a quick tour of the recent additions and upgrades to this already fabulous resort. Phase 1 boasted 10 One Bedroom Villas, the Restaurant and Bar, Gymnasium, Pool and Day Lounge. Phase 2 saw the building of the Twin Share Rooms, Double Rooms, Wedding / Occasion Villa, Superior One Bedroom Villa with Plunge Pool, two Three-Bedroom Villas, the Lulur Spa, the Pool Bar (there we go drinking again), two swimming pools and Conference Centre. Here at Phase 3, after a 2018 rebrand, the team at BK added more Superior One Bedroom Villas with Plunge Pools, Double Rooms with Plunge Pools, a Suite with Swimming Pool, a new Conference room and a small but incredible lawn events space – this one is all about the view!
But as with all things it should not always be about the Resort, after all it is good to stretch the legs a bit, and so I go, at the unearthly hour of half six in the morning, on a guided village walk. Accompanied by the charming Pande, native of this beautiful island, I am shown what Bali used to look like about 30 years ago. The temples, and their guardian statues; the cemetery, and cremation grounds. The early morning market also up early, is all a-bustle with the aroma of coffee, the scent of flower petals for offerings and a smoky whiff of pepes of coconut on the small charcoal barbeques. Talking of smoke, if it wasn’t so early, I might just be tempted to ask Luca to make me another of those fabulously smoking cocktails in a box.
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