Indonesia Travel Guide
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Not only did a kind tipster point us to The Ritz-Carlton Bali missing from our list of hotels opening this month, he also provided us with a set of photos of the days-old hotel. We first looked at the beachfront / cliff-side hotel last summer, now we have much more detail on the return of Ritz-Carlton to the Indonesian island and can compare rendering to reality. Speaking of Ritz-Carlton, Bali, and renderings, we also have a whole bunch of new ones for Mandapa, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve that will open in Ubud next summer.
Our tipster was at the resort a day after the first guests arrived, but noted that while it looked stunning, quite a few rooms and the spa weren’t ready. The above shot is taken from the top of the cliff overlooking the majority of the resort down to the beach, and construction is still visible on the left, although in the aerial view we saw last year all there was meant to be were trees.
The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas in Bali opened a signature Chinese restaurant called Table8 last June. It serves high-end Cantonese and Szechuan delicacies and is beautifully designed, but what will leave guests saucer-eyed is, of all things, the tea service. If tea doesn’t sound that exciting to you, perhaps you’ve been spending too much time with the Brits, and perhaps you’ve never been poured a cup by a Kung Fu Tea Master.
Called “The Art of Tea,” it is as much a performance as it is practical. When a guest orders the signature flower tea, it is served by a Kung Fu Tea Master, who has, according to the Mulia, spent months in China learning traditional kung fu moves and a year practicing the pouring routine before performing it live in the restaurant.
We were thrilled back in February about the announcement of Andaz Munich since we have
a hot and heavy love affair sort of a thing for Andaz Hotels. But somehow we totally missed out on the other news that Andaz dropped that month as wel--Andaz Bali.
There's not much info to go on but the beachfront Andaz Bali will open in 2016 (before the Andaz Munich). The property will be designed by Tierra Design and Japanese interior design firm Spin Design Studio. Here's a little more on the hotel set-up, straight from the Hyatt press release:
The hotel will be comprised of low-rise clusters and pavilions set within dramatic landscaping, and will feature 144 guestrooms and villas, small intimate meeting facilities, multiple dining options, a fitness center, several outdoor swimming pools, and a spa.
Sounds so very Andazy. And we're completely ok with that.
But aside from Andaz Munich and Bali, there doesn't seem to be any other Andazs on the horizon. We have to ask--Andaz, are you ok? Are you ok, Andaz? Or are you just taking your time with the foreplay?
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We can rattle off a handful of hotels opening in Bali in the next few years without much effort (there is the Regent, Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton again, Starwood (Luxury Collection and Westin), and Six Senses, among others), which, together with everything that’s already there, raises the pressure once again to slow down hotel development on the island.
While the discussion on overcrowding and what is right for Bali continues, so do the announcements of new openings, with this week the addition of a Waldorf Astoria resort in 2017. Only a short transfer from Ngurah Rai Denpasar airport, the resort will have 96 villas on a cliff facing the sea.
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Just the mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of a lush paradise, doting service and poolside cocktails. It's truly hard not to love everything the Indonesian island has to offer and now with Sentosa's brand-spanking-new resort, those little bits of tropical heaven are just icing on the top of a perfect vacation.
Opening by July, Sea Sentosa will blend European styling with Balinese warmth and plop it down right in the middle of one of the island's best surfing beaches, Echo Beach. Each of the one- and two-bedroom apartments will have either a lagoon swimming pool for a 'front yard' or Indian Ocean views.
Aside from killer views, the designers have outfitted each apartment with exotic details like mother of pearl trim and coconut shell wall coverings as well as a fully-equipped kitchen with all the tech comforts of home. Even the smaller garden studio rooms offer a tropical feel with private balconies and internal walled gardens to remind you that you're near the Equator.
The question we've been asking about the Caribbean -- whether or not the addition of hotels to an island is a good thing or a bad thing for tourism -- is quietly being answered in Bali.
“Many tourists complain about the current condition of Bali. Too many buildings make them feel uncomfortable as it is too crowded. Buildings are everywhere and it is hard to find green areas,” Indonesian Tourism's Bali chairman Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya told Bali Daily last week.
As we speak, the Indonesian Tourism Industry Association (GIPI) Bali chapter is asking local governments to implement and invoice a moratorium on hotels. Bali currently has over 90,000 rooms and is facing both issues of space and demand.
Back in June we talked about the return of Ritz-Carlton Hotels to Bali, with a new 288-room resort scheduled to open next year. Apparently the thinking over at RC is that two resorts is much better than one, as the group is adding another resort – this time an even fancier Ritz-Carlton Reserve – the year after.
Opening in the summer of 2015, the Reserve is set along the Ayung River in Ubud. It will be much smaller than its “regular” Ritzy sibling, with just 60 suites and villas. Read on for an aerial view and another shot of a suite.
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A brand new hotel name has hit the serene shores of Bali and, if your plans are bringing you to the Indonesian island, this one might be worth checking out -- and the name is easy to remember as long as you know the alphabet.
New hotel chain, L Hotels, have opened their very first luxury property in the tourist hotspot of Seminyak and marries urban, sleek design with the quintessential Balinese warmth that we have come to love.
This 30-suite property boasts Balinese butler service for each floor of the hotel for all of your needs in paradise. Once inside the room, guests can pamper themselves with plush décor, Kiehl's amenities, soap and pillow menus and thread-count specific sheets. While the design is heavy on the 'downtown high-rise apartment' each room features a hand-carved wooden ceiling ornament reflecting the Balinese influence.
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Looks like Regent Hotels will encounter another contender in its quest to have the number one resort in Bali: Ritz-Carlton just announced last week it will return to the island next year. This follows a previous RC resort at Jimbaran Bay, which became the independent Ayana Resort back in 2009. A first rendering shows a sprawling resort with both a beachfront and cliff-side angle, including what we assume is a set of lifts in the shimmering vertical building connecting the two.
There will be a total of 288 rooms, including 90 suites and 14 villas. Cliff-side, there are an additional 10 villas. The other thing that is unequivocally clear from the aerial view is that there will be pools. And lots of them. Restaurants and all the usual accoutrements of a luxury resort will no doubt be there as well.
Getting away from the sandy shores of Denpasar, we trekked up to the inland town of Ubud. Along with being considered the cultural center of the island, we found the ultimate in rejuvenation at Como Shambhala Estate surrounded by lush jungle and tiered rice-paddies.
We aren't looking for sympathy, but it's nice when the only thing that you need to worry about is missing your yoga class overlooking the river gorge or snoring during your Balinese massage.
Each grouping of four villas boast a view like this and also come a communal "living-area" that is bordered by a gorgeous pool for cooling off or just relaxing. The private environment had us thinking we we were the only ones around until our personal butler came to see if we needed anything beyond the fruit basket and bottled water.
...The W Hotel Bali!
Yesterday, we teased you a bit with how hotels are gearing up for Summer with heat-wave worthy cocktails. Well, there's a place that only really sees summer year-round and knows how to serve up some easy, breezy drinks to soak up the sun. Bragging about their near-perfect weather, the W Hotel Bali just posted an Instagram that will stir envy with all of their followers.
Rooftop bars are cool and very few hotels do them as well as a W, so why not showcase the super hot sun and tropical libations with an over-the-top fabulous shot? We really can't find an answer for that, and we're totally alright with it.
There has to be something that is retro chic about lounging around surrounded by all things paradise, not to mention it makes us want to head back to Bali as soon as we can. With a few warmer days here in the 'nifty fifty', there is a glimmer of hope that Summer is right around the corner and we can find our position at our favorite roof-top hangout. This snap from the tropical island has us hoping the the mercury rises quickly because we might need a healthy does of vitamin D.
[Photo: W Hotels Instagram Profile]
It looks like on June 1st, Regent Hotels will be making good on its promise to add a new resort in Sanur, on the south eastern coast of Bali; a welcome encore from its first opening in years in Phuket last December. And there’s no lack of ambition, with the hotel’s General Manager going on record to say that his ultimate goal is to make it “the number one resort in Bali”.
That will be a tall order on an island packed with noteworthy competition, including Four Seasons (times two), no less than three Aman Resorts, a St. Regis, and many others. So what kind of amazingness can we expect?