A clutch of new hotels open in Bali to bring more choice in the high stakes world of resort luxury, writes Ondy Sweeting.
The Aryaduta Bali boasts a spanking location for urbanites and families who long to be downtown and beachside.
Jaded suburbs and sleepy countryside be gone and welcome to southern Bali with buzzing restaurants, street side bars, colourful markets, nightclubs, air conditioned malls, cinemas and some of Indonesia’s best activities.
Aryaduta has four styles of accommodation covering many bases including family friendly interconnecting rooms and balconies that open to the green tropical gardens. Even the smallest rooms are 40 square metres and can easily fit a family of two parents and two young kids.
Thoughtful touches include international power terminals and sarongs and slippers in every room plus the standard IPTV and satellite TV. They also have plenty of in-room storage for suitcases.
Superior rooms mostly face the famous Kartika Plaza Street while deluxe rooms are mainly interconnected and have a sofa and oversized bathrooms. The Executive rooms are 70 square metres with a sitting area and dedicated workspace.
The award winning Waterbom Park – which is an incredibly serene place with beautiful gardens and no booming music – is minutes away, as is Segara beach.
The popular Henry’s Grill and Bar is an Australian and New Zealand-style BBQ with tender steaks and crisp salads, home style sausages that are all cooked to perfection on ‘The Beast’ – Henry’s wood-fired grill. Aryaduta also has a well-chilled sports bar with an old school pinball machine, a snooker table and lounges as well as a constant feed of international sports on mounted TV’s. A great city hotel in the South Kuta style.
DevinSky Hotel Seminyak
The name nails it for this devine sky hotel that sits in Bali’s hip urban centre of Petitenget that borders Seminyak.
The rooftop pool and social space is home to the Blu Sky restaurant-bar-lounge where electric blue and white pool side pods overlook town to the horizon and catch the famous Bali sunset in all of the its colours. The restaurant has wrap around windows to make the most of this aerie and dining spills outdoors on to timber decks and the long bar. The zone is sheltered from sun and rain by large white shade sails attached to a central tent that delivers a fun circus vibe. The rooftop retreat is also home to regular movies plus cooking, fruit carving, flower offerings and, rather uniquely, nail art demonstrations.
The rooms in this four-star hotel are spacious and combine fresh and modern styling with every comfort including rain showers and marble bathrooms.
Ten Superior rooms cover a full 30 square metres while the 38 deluxe rooms swing in at 42 square metres, some with stage beds.
The suites are the size of a standard Paris apartment and have a whirlpool separate from the bathroom. DevinSky reserves two quadruple rooms with four single beds in a row.
The beautiful Petitenget Balinese Hindu temple, shopping malls, dozens of restaurants, bars and nightclubs including the iconic gay bar Bali Joe Bar and its sensational drag shows are all within easy reach.
DenvinSky’s Nari Spa has a relaxing Aquatonic signature treatment that uses heated water for a jet massage triggering relaxation and a release of muscle tension. The aim is to improve blood circulation so it’s a hot treatment for jetlag.
DevinSky has meeting rooms, a small library, gym and a business centre plus a tours, transport and rental office.
Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach
Expect arrested movement upon entering the lobby of this dazzling design destination with museum style creations from the stacked wooden ceiling to the hand-crafted artifacts. Indigo has perfected fusing daily Balinese design with avant-garde panache.
Every niche, chair, painting, lamp, cushion and cup is an artful replica of uniquely Balinese pieces including the ubiquitous tajen chicken cage, bokor boxes, parasols and ceremonial paraphernalia plus those fabulous fabrics and metal krupuk – or cracker – containers. This is love at first sight and an artisan collection that demands more than a 24-hour stay.
The architectural use of black volcanic stone is taken to a heavenly level and set against lush green gardens and subak sari-style water features. High art photography is on display beside master carvings and an interior design that deserves a standing ovation. Quirky and fabulously chic it is and the five-star luxury is seamless.
Accommodation encompasses Balinese neighbourhood themes that have an epic cocktail corner – complete with shaker, citrus press and oranges – and bespoke ceramics plus a cloud-like bed.
However, the final word in opulence is the two-bedroom pool villas, which are set out like a local banjar – or village council – over 800 square metres. Indigo facilities are equally stellar with three pools, including a Secret Garden pool, and a beachfront lagoon, a health club with fitness programs and equipment that includes TRX and weightlifting while classes embrace yoga and martial arts. The ritzy Sava Spa has 10 treatments rooms, a nail bar and a reflexology lounge.
Dining at Indigo’s Salon Bar is the go-to place for a trek through organic produce and beautifully crafted menu of contemporary dining with Indonesian flourishes. The four course degustation menu – paired with unique and heavenly cocktails that use aged rum, cacao nibs, wild honey and vodka – is a perfect starting point. Crushed scallop mixed with smoked coconut and bengkuang – or white yam – with a light sambal is lightly briny and an alluring hint of what is to come. All fish is caught daily by traditional fisher folk on Nusa Penida so it changes every 24 hours and delivers unrivalled freshness and quality – two words that aptly describe the entire 4.7-hectare that are Hotel Indigo.
Renaissance Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa
Big skies, epic views and an imposing reception wildly flaunts every perspective of a grand position and regal services. This is the Renaissance Uluwatu.
Everything about this addition to the Marriot chain speaks of large-scale style overlaid with cool contemporary lines.
Guests can throw clay and learn pottery from a master in an air-conditioned studio complete with potter’s wheels after enjoying a buffet breakfast that delivers dishes from a delicate dim sum to a hearty full English at Clay Craft restaurant – the resort’s all day diner.
With two immense salt-water infinity pools – which have a great stash of pool toys and a separate kids pool – the resort has 207 rooms and a village atmosphere with the restaurants, bars and pools as the town square. Guests can enjoy that big ocean view from a glassed-in 24/7 gym, the pool bar, the restaurants or over an indulgent afternoon tea and cocktails from R Bar in the palatial open lobby.
The accommodation is cutting edge contemporary with minimalist lines and every luxury. The huge bathrooms have freestanding tubs and rain showers with jungle and water views. Artfully designed interiors harness Indonesia’s famous ikat-weave patterns on tiles and textiles and Balinese statements fuse wooden floors, bamboo and butter soft bedding with sculptural features.
The Double Ikat restaurant is designed with each table surrounded by a huge loom complete with threads and an Indonesian dining experience delivering superb renditions of local cuisine. Every dish can be curated for kids as half size and half price dishes and spiced to order. It also has a cooking studio teaching the techniques and secrets of Indonesian cuisine.
Roosterfish Beach Club is the resort’s beach club that is a 10 minute shuttle away at the beautiful Pandawa beach. See our review on page ….
Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu
There is a special wow factor when you arrive at this beautifully intimate hotel – particularly if you arrive at dusk when flames dance upon a reflection pond that borders the discreet reception.
As the first Radisson Blu hotel to open in Indonesia, the location in Pecatu, Uluwatu, is a 10-minute walk to the beach and the views from the hotel capture the blue colour spectrum of breaking waves and the surfers who ride the ocean.
Radisson Blu is a design dope’s paradise with timber lines, rope accents and a layout that echoes a traditional Balinese village blueprint. The serene public spaces and guest rooms honour the ornate design of Balinese homes. Interiors are influenced by the detailed patterning of Bali’s ancient ‘lontar’ texts, which contain the traditional laws of Balinese life from religion to crafts that are finely inscribed onto folding manuscripts of dried leaves and string. Tenganan village – home the Bali’s first people – in the north-east Karangasem regency is the reference for the building materials and methods used to create Radisson Blu. It is no surprise the property is owned by an architect.
The guest rooms have private balconies on the upper floors and private sundecks on the lower levels while 14 gorgeous suites with huge rooftop terraces have glorious views of the sea or the pool and verdant gardens.
Filini restaurant is a casual Italian diner with an excellent wine stock, delicious dishes and fresh pizza but be warned . . . the ‘small plates’ are very generous. All-day dining is at Artichoke, which does a good pork belly, and poolside snacks and quenchers come from Choka cafe.
Pop the kids into the Eureka Kids Club and make use of the fragrant spa and gym or jump on to the revolving daily activities that include yoga classes.
Saranam Resort and Spa
In the spirit of Europe’s grand mountain resorts and spa retreats, Saranam Resort has a tone of old world glamour. Soaring above the incredible views in the lush hills of Bedugul, Saranam delivers dreamy views and is a place to take a breather and enjoy nature at its finest.
With a choice of luxury suites, deluxe suites or hilltop chalets, every room is beautifully appointed with wide verandahs that overlook the grounds that cascade down the hill, mirroring the surrounding rice terraces.
While the temptation is to just relax and enjoy the scenery beside its riverside pool there is also a fitness centre, an elevated yoga and meditation room, spa plus a dining room and poolside café. Bedugul itself has a lot to offer the curious traveller and even the adventurous.
The half-day trip to the Ulan Danu Temple on Lake Beratan is well worth taking. The ancient Hindu temple sits on the lake surrounded by mountains and colourful ceremonies are common. Check out the growers market where the aroma of heady spices fills the air and fresh fruit and vegetables are piled high.
Bedugul is home to Bali’s Botanical gardens, with orchid gardens, a cactus forest and the popular Treetops Adventure Park, where everyone becomes a kid again flying from tree to tree on zip lines. The kiddy friendly ‘squirrel’ run is just a metre off the ground while the adrenaline-packed SAS style Black circuit is not for the feint hearted.
Bali Handara Golf Course is jaw-droppingly beautiful and a challenging course for lovers of the game.
Lakes, farms, mountains and rice fields surround Bedugul, it’s a truly beautiful part of Bali and leaving the resort is not easy as the crisp mountain air and luxury triggers a yogic calm.