Lounging – sleepily – on the talcum sands of Jimbaran Bay for hours on end is only interrupted by a glistening emerald sparkle from the adjacent pool as it catches the afternoon sun’s rays. It’s here, you can cool off from that sweltering Balinese humidity – and then it’s back to the sand.
In a place where the pool-beach conundrum is the most challenging part of your day, there is no more idyllic spot on the Indonesian island to unwind a busy mind, albeit it remains a tricky practise. Here, at the Belmond Jimbaran Puri tranquillity is free but tradition comes at a price; an experience well worth its fee when you watch the boeing metal giants touch down into Denpasar on the horizon. “Seminyak is where they’re all heading,” I thought watching the latest plane land. “If only they knew of this beach, this lounge-bed.”
It’s true. In Seminyak, amidst the clusters of power lines and uneven, unpaved footpaths, there’s new developments every 365 days. Novel new five-star properties pop up, new Australian-owned and operated restaurants make a crack and subsequently foot traffic – and BlueBird taxi traffic – increases ten-fold. To travel ten minutes down the road can take over 30 minutes at peak time. It’s only after you’re away from the hustle that you realise how commercialised Seminyak is actually becoming. And amid the swankiness of these new resorts, a little bit of Bali’s charm and traditionalism is lost. But just twenty minutes from Denpasar airport lies a hidden luxury – one all the Europeans know about – sans bustle, and with a safe beach and all the traditional (literal) bells and whistles.
The Belmond is a collection of iconic hotels, trains and river cruises worldwide. Its name in the world of hospitality – particularly across Europe – is synonymous with luxury and is so good that Europeans know to book with the trusted chain with little investigation. And Europeans – with their ability to transcend borders and experience an entire other country with little fanfare know where to holiday. While most GRAZIA women have experienced the rite of passage that is visiting Bali, make like the European version of you and step up your next trip to the Indonesian island at The Belmond Jimbaran Puri.
As the wooden door is unlocked by our porter with a single, large metal key that really does look like something straight out of The Lord Of The Rings, we are led into a mini oasis; a private villa with a pool, three day-bed set-ups and a palatial bedroom and ensuite situation. Marble floors and teak furnishings blend subtly with the traditional Balinese wall-hangings, mostly of beautiful naked women, some child-bearing, others with intense stares. I wonder of their stories, their lives, so different from my own.
A high-beamed ceiling with a thatched roof, outdoor shower, black-stoned tub and the piercing cries of a mini gecko drives home that feeling of traditional Bali, something you just wouldn’t find in Seminyak. The staff offer a nightly turn-down service which is complete with bedtime slippers and a different flavoured tea each night to nod you to the land of nigh. Modern, magical and with the sound of waves crashing in the distance, “it’s here I’ll get to breathe,” I thought.
The resort offers 40 one-bedroom cottages, two two-bedroom cottages, 19 one-bedroom deluxe pool villa and three two-bedroom pool villages, all architecturally designed in typical Balinese village style and a perfect sanctuary from the outside world. The feeling is created on purpose, says General Manager Charles Kneipp. “We would like to protect the soul and charm of the hotel,” he explains. “Being one of the very first hotels in Jimbaran, the hotel preserves traditional Balinese charm. This way, guests can have a window into the traditional lives of the locals of days past, compared to the modern Bali.”
WINE & DINE
While you’re not too far away from Seminyak restaurant hotspots (Da Maria, Mrs Sippy and Mama San), the resort continues its traditional aesthetic straight through to the design of it’s main restaurant, Nelayan, and its menu. Situated on the white sands on the beach, you can actually dine under the stars in an experience that wins everything. Candle-lit and quiet, the restaurant is known for its fresh seafood with the Lemongrass Barramundi a signature dish. “Our Executive Chef Adi applies indigenous Balinese styles of cooking to the fresh Asian sea bass, Barramundi,” says Kneipp. “Caught in Jimbaran Bay, the fish is firstly marinated with chilli and fresh basil and wrapped in banana leaves before being grilled. The dish is accompanied by baby vegetables and basa gede sauce (a traditional Balinese spiced sauce).” I can personally vouch for this item, it was truly fresh and filling without being too heavy meaning there’s room to explore the extensive cocktail selection at Puri Bar. Try:
Appetizer: Jimbaran’s Bay Lobster and Prawn (Carpaccio style, AUD $22)
Main: Lemongrass Barramundi (AUD $22)
Dessert: Dadar Gulung (This is a green, traditional Balinese crepe – a must-try, AUD $9)
For breakfast, you have the option of enjoying a private breakfast in your villa or a full buffet breakfast overlooking the lily-pond at Tunjung Restaurant (recommended). Be sure to ask for their daily egg special!
While the sunset on Jimbaran Bay is in itself one of the main attractions of the resort, mountain bike riding, canoeing and kayaking on the still water can be arranged – particularly for those whose boyfriend’s crave some adventure. The best place for you to pass the time however is easily by booking in some treatments at The Beach Spa – and just a hint: the more ancient the beauty ritual, the better. Located on the beach in a little, luxury hut, be sure to try:
60 minute Balinese Massage (AUD $101)
Zimmermann Mercier Bird Floating Dress, $895, SHOP NOW
Zimmermann Tulsi Lace Panel Bikini, $450, SHOP NOW
Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour, $53, SHOP NOW
Celine Bridge sunglasses, $599, SHOP NOW
Oscar De La Renta Classic Short Tassel C Earring, $499, SHOP NOW
Belmond Jimbaran Puri
Jalan Uluwatu, Yoga Perkanthi Lane, Jimbaran – South Kuta – Badung Regency, Bali, 80361
Tel: (+62-361) 701605
Reservations (Toll-free): 1 800 316 635