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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.
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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.
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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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It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local" bar. So all this week, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our first-ever Hotel Cocktail Week. All this week, we'll be posting specialty drinks, booze trends, mixology tips and most importantly, drinks recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. Everyone will be getting tipsy this week! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
Raffles Singapore, the place where the famed Singapore Sling was created, has launched a cocktail menu designed to take you around the world while you still remain seated and sipping in their Long Bar, god bless ‘em.
Resident mixologist, Randolph Velasco, has come up with eight spiritus drinks inspired by a Raffles hotel destination, so come join us as we embark on our virtual journey through time and space. First stop? Seychelles.
The Seychelles conjures images of an island paradise with deep blue skies, sultry breezes and emerald seas. No surprise, then, that the Raffles Seychelles cocktail is an emerald green beauty created by combining Smirnoff Vodka with melon-flavored Midori and tangy Apple Sourz, then topped off with apple juice. Garnished with slices of star fruit and a lemon wedge, this is a sipper meant to be sipped in a rattan chair with one of those tropical ceiling fans swooshing slowly overhead.
Next, we go to Raffles Cambodia –- specifically, Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor. Using the Kingdom’s national fruit, the five finger banana (who knew?), this golden concoction consists of rum, banana and pineapple juice, but it’s the finishing touch of zesty kaffir and fresh, green pandan leaves (a herbaceous tropical plant) that gives this drink its aromatic and mysterious character.
The Raffles Philippines takes you to the newly-opened Raffles Makati in the heart of Manila’s financial district. A mix of Bacardi rum, juicy mango and pineapple are enhanced by a mere suggestion of basil and the tart, citrus flavor of calamansi, a wee fruit that bears a resemblance to a lime but is about the size of a kumquat. Calamansi is supposed to have some health benefits, so drink up.
Raffles Istanbul anticipates the opening of Raffles Istanbul Zorlu Center in late 2013 (no date as of yet) with a cocktail that evokes the complex flavors of Turkish coffee. Rich Kahlua is layered with potent Pisco, fresh lime juice and anise to create a boozy drink not quite appropriate for the morning but it does kinda taste like coffee, so we’ll leave it up to you. (Recipe below!)
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 tiny Indonesian island of Bali sure does turn out the best of the best when it comes to super luxurious properties for travelers looking for the ultimate tropical retreat. The elegant Sofitel will once again grace its shores with a new hotel on the horizon.
Scheduled to open in September of 2013, the luxury resort will be on the shores of one of Bali's most affluent areas Nusa Dua, is home to one five-star resort after another. The Sofitel will join the likes of Westin, Hyatt and Hilton.
Boasting a considerable 398 rooms and 17 private villas, this property won't be 'small chips'. Built around a series of infinity pools (that's what Bali is about, right?), the entire hotel will be just steps away from the sandy beaches of the Bali Sea, yet far enough away from the busy entertainment districts of Kuta and Seminyak. The private villas will all feature sea-views--great to capture sunsets like the one above.
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With big things happening for Tune Hotels in the UK and Australia, it kind of makes sense that the expansion waves would also carry over to Asia, where the chain is actually based.
This September, Tune will open its third Thailand hotel, a 130-room outpost on Bangkok's Sukhumvit Soi 14, a few blocks away from Lumphini Park, and encircled by pricier hotel choices like Westin Grand Sukhumvit, Grand Millennium Sukhumvit and Sheraton Grand Sukhumvit.
But while basic rooms at those places generally go for around $150-$220 USD, Tune will be swinging into town with rates of just $15 USD/night.
Have you ever been to the Four Seasons Bali Jimbaran? If yes, then you're likely smirking at the memory of an over-the-top stay at one of the best hotels in the world. If no, add it to your hotel bucket list tout de suite. Or don't…since right across the street there's a new construction site which, in October of this year (yeah we'll see about that), will become the new Le Méridien Jimbaran Bay.
We did a little spying on the property recently while on our way to the excellent fresh seafood warungs (casual beachside eateries) of this south end of Jimbaran Beach, and though the hotel's newest, largest buildings are still very much in the concrete-and-rebar stage, it's quite obvious that the resort's proximity to these restaurants and the wide, calm beach itself will be the top selling point.
In total, the property should total 139 suites in the renovated Ristia Resort. There's not much other information available, not even photos on the official Starwood site, but we do know that the property will feature a lagoon-style pool and a 3-story restaurant and bar with a top terrace specifically designed for taking in the famous Bali sunsets.
We like to keep it fun but informative here at HotelChatter so our newest series, What is This? is devoted to odd-looking items in hotel rooms that upon first glance look as if they serve only a decorative purpose. But everything happens for a reason, right? And we're here to tell you what these things really do.
So there's this bar, right? And it's down at the bottom of some cliffs, and it's in Bali. And from this bar, drinkers can have one of the coolest views of the legendary Bali sunset. The only downside is that you've got to get down...that...side.
The cliff drop-off between The Ayana Resort and the resort's Rock Bar is actually not an issue after all, since there's a mini funicular that takes load of about 5 people at a time down to imbibe only a few feet above the waves. That's what this white-roofed box is: the funicular at The Ayana.
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There's travel talk everywhere about how expensive it'll be to fly and drive this summer, so there has to be some savings somewhere, yes? The most obvious place will be in hotel rates, and so our gift to you this week will be one hotel a day that comes in under $100 a night.
Now, we're not saying every place will be of Ritz quality, because then it would be...well, the bloody Ritz. But the places will be nice enough for you to sleep at night.
Our Pick: Best Western Kuta Beach, Bali
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As if you needed any more reason to think about beaches and long walks on them after this last Memorial Day weekend, you need to see this sunset view at the The Anantara Resort in Seminyak, Bali. We may have give you the full tour of the property last week, but the crowning highlight is literally the tippy-top of the hotel: their half-indoor, half-outdoor restaurant SOS Supper Club.
Really, there's no need to "save our ship" as the SOS acronym means, but rather it's just a cute name for a ridiculously well located dinner spot. The Anantara sits right on Seminyak Beach, right in the key zone called the "sunset coast."