Katie Truman investigates the island’s most inspiring day clubs in which to sun-bask, cocktail-sip, cool-off and basically fritter away the day. Up now: Azul Bali.
Fronting Bali Mandira Beach Resort, all-new AZUL Bali raised the bar this year on Blue Ocean Beach – not noted for its sophisticated dining scene – with its thatched bamboo, three-level venue alongside Blue Ocean Beach. Naturally AZUL is a welcome addition for resort guests, but also for anyone else in the ’hood; the epitome of Bali’s laid-back, casual beach life, open-air and fanned by sea breezes, with marine-themed interiors splashed with aquamarine blue, mirroring the sea opposite – and its name (“AZUL” means “blue” in Spanish). Head first to AZUL’s upper level and the elevated sun deck, with boutique-sized pool, shaded lounge seats and a football-team sized circular Jacuzzi – looking out across Mandira’s main pool below.
Reasonably priced, adults-only and peaceful, this is quite the little secret daytime oasis costing outsiders IDR250,000, with F&B credit back, for double cabanas or sun beds. Working up a tan is thirsty work: cocktails designed by Global Mixultant Joseph Boroski feature house-made, naturally infused liquors with floral, spice and fruit extracts – try the Vanilla Hibiscus Sangria Jars. Time for lunch and out of the heat, in the beach club’s upper floor bar-dining lounge – preferably at one of the cushioned circular pod seats overlooking the beach.
AZUL’s fresh coastal cuisine is created with archipelago-sourced, fresh seasonal produce. Menus, tinged with Middle-eastern to Japanese influences, are specifically geared to sharing, casual dining – try the Turkish Pide Pizzas or wood-fired oven Giant Kebabs, rounded-off with the divine, Papua Vanilla Bean Ice-cream (on Sunday’s, don’t miss AZUL’s all-new Sunday Roast and BBQ, from midday). Time for more sun-baking, then before you know it, Sunset Chill time arrives at 3pm, with special drinks promos and DJ sounds. Repeat at leisure.