15 years ago, when I went to Bali – I went as a first-time tourist. We went to the monkey forest in Ubud, Tanah lot temple and the Tegalalang Rice Terrace and in seven days I had my fill of Mee Goreng. This time around, I wanted to explore parts of Bali in an unstructured way. Here are some wonderful places of note:
A 5-minute walk to the beach and located in the bustling Seminyak, full of restaurants and shops, Tijili Seminyak is a quaint, boutique hotel. In fact, their, “Where the happiness happens” slogan fits the hotel perfectly; the hotel comes with the name “Tijili” that refers to a traditional motif that represents the rice goddess – Dewi Sri; a symbol of prosperity and fertility.
The Kakatua Tropic Lounge that opens up to the swimming pool and lounge was my favorite spots in the hotel to sit and take in the tropical breeze over breakfast.
Architect Ridwal Kamil from Urbane now is the mayor of Bandung-west java and Alex Bayu for interior design created a bright, yet soothing space. Local artisans work contribute to the room décor, such as the handmade pottery (which I liked the best). Sculptural lamps and stone slab tables were each made from uniquely patterned fossilized wood that has petrified after millions of years.
Bring Bali’s spa essentials home by visiting Jamusara. Opened in 2012 across from the historic Ubud Market, Jamusara is derived from the combination of jamu, meaning herbal and sara from the Sanskrit word apsara, which
means cloud or water fairy. The store offers a wide range of hand made body products including massage oils and lotions with a small housewares collection, offering items like essential oil diffusers and jewelry trays. All products (including most of the packaging) along with the sales staff live and work within a 5-kilometer radius of the store. While the market close by offers mass produced spa goods, the products sold at Jamusara are unique and only the most organic and local ingredients from Bali and around Indonesia.
A short 30-minute plane ride from Bali is the island of Lombok and nestled on Mangsit Beach is the Puri Mas Boutique Resort and Spa. It first was open for business in 1987 by De Rijk family who still owns and operates the establishment. Being a world champion ballroom dancer, Marcel De Rijik has insured his elegance and grace has carried over to Puri Mas. In fact, the resort restaurant is aptly named the Ballroom restaurant.
39 guest rooms that range from large pool villas to cozy budget rooms sit amongst the manicured tropical gardens of the resort. A large infinity pool matches the waters edge perfectly.
The Puri Mas Spa Resort is located 2 km away and has 2 spa villas flanking the pool. Puri Mas Spa Resort is the only day spa and spa retreat in Lombok that receives recommendation from Conde Nast Johansens Luxury Spas the past five years, and has been voted the “Best for Couples Spa” by Conde Nast for 2015. The spa uses Babor product and also specializes in traditional Indonesian spa services (I recommend the Coconut Hair treatment).
Housed in the Qunci Villas, located in Lombok, Qulai is an open-air restaurant located on the Lombok Sea beachfront. In a beautiful surrounding, are group shared an incredible meal. From the presentation to the actual meal itself – it was definitely one of my favorites. My soft shell crab Nasi Goreng was complemented well by the sugar cane cocktail
Located in Gobleg village, Munduk Moding Plantation was open to guests in June 2009, introducing eco tourism to Northern Bali after two years of development. Since 2014, the Green Globe Community has certified the working coffee plantation in sustainable tourism.
I had the great opportunity to have a guided walking tour on the 6 hectares coffee plantation and learn about the all the fruits, spices and flowers grown. As an avid coffee drinker, it was interesting to learn about the harvest of Robusta and Arabica coffee and how the process starts from bean to bag.
Along with the walking tours, guests of the plantation have the opportunity to partake in kite making and playing, basic wood carving, how to wear Balinese attire, traditional Balinese dance class and traditional Balinese offering making.
The resort accommodation on the plantation ranges from beautiful suites to villas. Guests have access to the 18-meter infinity picturesque pool that has been ranked the world’s third top Infinity Pool by Asia Spa. The plantations’ spa utilizes fresh spices and fruits in the treatments provided.
Complementing the majestic landscape, there is a strong commitment to preserving the Balinese heritage through the education of both staff and guests and the plantations’ ongoing support of the community.
A restaurant found right on the Double Six beach, serving grilled food straight from the sea (I recommend the ceviche trio). Sit on giant beanbags under colorful umbrellas and listen to the ocean. Such a pretty atmosphere to watch the sunset, as the tide washes over the shore, tables close accordingly.
I managed to find this spa last minute as I thought it would be a great way to ease into my vacation. I was not disappointed – the spa looks like a castle of sorts with a beautiful garden and ornately Indian and Moroccan designed rooms. The treatments are incredible for such value. I booked a Mystique of Bali, which came with of a variety of aromatic scrubs and massages and by the time I hit the rose petal and frangipani bath, I never wanted to leave. Pure bliss.