Seaside Luxury in Bali (Part 1)
This continues from my previous travel post on Bali, where I explored its Northern Hillsides.
We left the lush highlands of Ubud on day 3, trundling down Bali’s small twisty roads in our Balinese driver (Kenny’s) car…
Nasi Ayam Kedewatan Ibu Mangku
Jl. Raya Kedewatan 2
No. 18 Ubud, Bali
But first things first… brunch! Earlier that morning, we tanked up on fresh fruits at the hotel’s breakfast, and now it’s time for a bit of local deliciousness.
And here’s Balinese nasi ayam campur. (Rp. 20,000 / A$2), a beautiful chilli chicken rice accompanied with umami-laden deep fried chicken skin, gizzard, chicken satay and a wonderful chopped dried chillie sambal. It ended up being the cheapest and best meal out of the whole trip!
Pura Taman Ayun
On our way into the coast, Fatbee chose two temples for us to visit. It’s all part of his ‘Tastes of Bali’ introductory itinerary tailor-made just for me since I’m a newcomer to this island.
First, a water temple… fully surrounded by a moat.
Pura Tanah Lot
And then a tourist must-see – Tanah Lot… a temple perched on a rocky outcrop in the sea.
I confess while the temples looked good, it was a bit touristy (of course) and the weather was too damn hot for me to fully appreciate them. I just wanted to clamber back into the car… hah!
Alila Villas Soori
Banjar Dukuh, Desa Kelating,
Bali 82161 Indonesia
+62 361 894 6388
Fatbee knows what I like when it comes to holidays… remote locations far away from crowds (and good food, if possible). After a long 1-2 hour drive down narrow roads and small villages, we finally reached our villa-by-the-sea.
Lobby’s water feature
I’ll tell you a funny story. When planning this trip, I remember Fatbee saying “we’ll stay somewhere cheaper at the start, and then end with somewhere nice”. I of course just said “Sure… book away!”. Credit cards appeared and he started clicking away…
Welcome drink – lemongrass, ginger & honey
That’s how we ended up staying here. When I asked how much is this place, he cooly said “didn’t you know? It’s US$500 a night”.
All the same, I was blown away with every aspect of this resort. On arrival, our bags were taken care of right away and taken straight to the villa. Meanwhile, cool face towels appeared, scented face mist applied and iced welcome drinks were served. We then had a brief tour of the resort’s common grounds.
Beyond the lobby…
And this sight, right after the reception as you approach towards the sea… was just spectacular!
A buggy then took us to our villa, and check-in happened right in our room. No waiting, no lining up, nothing.
View from the entrance
Fatbee initially booked the one bedroom Mountain pool villa, where it faces the paddy fields and mountains. But on arrival, we learnt that they’d run out of those villas, and we got upgraded to this 3 bedroom residence (normally from US$1800 a night).
So naturally, our villa ended up being MASSIVE! My eyes popped out a little (…actually, a lot!)
Our master bedroom faces the pool. While we were told the two other (smaller) bedrooms were locked out, we actually could have a sneak peek from the outside. And there was even a huge basement kitchen / dining / lounge area downstairs which we didn’t use.
There’s a Nespresso machine with complimentary coffee pods, TWG teas, and a minibar of drinks that’s fully paid for with the room (you can consume as much as you want and it gets replenished daily).
I confess this villa was so big that I kept losing track of where I left my stuff. Lost my sunnies, phone, iPad and camera quite a number of times as I forgot which room I’d left it in!
… first world problems much??
The bathroom was sensational too. I’m sooo not used to having two wash basins… one for each half of the couple.
And the amenity box next to each sink is specifically designed for ‘his’ on the left and ‘her’ to the right. So Fatbee and I shared the amenities for ‘him’ while I nabbed some of the ladies’ amenities for mum back in Singapore… hah!
And here’s what I think is this upgraded villa’s winning feature – a large, private infinity pool overlooking the resort grounds… just for the two of us!
Poolside pavilion, with day bed
Even though you don’t exactly get any mountain or ocean views with this residence, to me… this gorgeous, tranquil aquamarine pool more than made up for it. Fatbee calls this a plunge pool, but the reality is, it’s actually bigger than my apartment complex’s swimming pool back in Melbourne!
And that’s how we spent our first afternoon at Alila Soori… taking a dip and relaxing by the pool.
Fatbee’s holiday itinerary continued with Kenny (our gay-friendly Balinese driver) taking us on a 90min late afternoon drive into bustly bustly Seminyak. After our serene afternoon at the villa, it was quite jarring coming face-to-face with Bali’s crazy peak hour traffic. Actually traffic on this island is pretty crazy all day.
Seminyak, Bali 80361
Our first beach sunset was spent having cocktails at one of Bali’s many beach clubs.
Sweet potato crisps
Of course the mood here is very different compared to our secluded villa. It was vibrantly busy… with a beach DJ pumping out lounge tunes.
Once again, Fatbee planned ahead very well… he’d actually called and made a booking, so we got a lounge sofa to sit on when we arrived.
Sherbet mojito + Chocolate mojito 160
And here’s to sunset drinks by the Balinese ocean!
Jl. Raya Kerobokan No. 135
Br. Taman, Bali. T.
+62 361 730436
Once dusk settled in, Kenny drove us to our dining spot. And that’s the thing about Seminyak… while it is quite stressful and busy negotiating your way around this part of Bali, it’s also where all the interesting beach clubs, shops, cafes, good food warungs and restaurants are.
Chicken & pomelo salad with lime leaf white coral mushroom & sesame seed 115
Salt & Pepper soft shell crab with red nahm jim 90
For Melburnian readers, Mama San can be called the Chin Chin of Bali. I fell in love with the commanding presence of the ‘mama’ herself, so boldly painted with that ‘don’t-mess-with-me look’ right against the back wall of the restaurant.
The food’s modern Asian and very well executed. We loved the combination of chicken and pomelo in a salad, and the soft shell crab was perfectly crunchy.
Steam whole snapper with black bean leek shitake mushroom shallot & soy 165
Crispy salt bush lamb ribs with ginger coriander lemon segments & pomegranate sauce 185
The steamed snapper was also very fresh. Only the lamb ribs were a bit of a letdown for me as I thought it needn’t have had so much crumbed batter over it… it masks the natural flavour of the saltbush lamb itself.
Mango lychee & pandan trifle 60
While the portion sizing for the savouries were perfect, dessert here comes in pretty large serves. We weren’t that keen on the sweets here, this unusual trifle was quite coarsely textured and the banana pudding that we had was very rich and sweet.
All the same, I’d probably come back here again… if anything else, it’d be just to see that painting of her majesty – the fierce ‘mama’ again!
This ends our first day luxuriating in Bali’s seaside. In the next and final instalment, we’ll explore Uluwatu and enjoy more of the secrets that our villa resort had to offer.