At Jumeirah Bali, There’s A Palpable Sense Of Well-Being Crafted By Nature And Time

The way to the recently opened Jumeirah Bali takes the form of a meandering road towards the world-famous Uluwatu cliffs. You arrive to find the resort sprawled over 30 acres, on the Bukit Peninsula of Bali’s south-western shoreline, and lushly landscaped by foliage cultivated a full two years before the resort even opened.

Arriving at the lobby, you are greeted by a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean, and of the villas below. This all-villa resort boasts 123 units of luxurious accommodations – including a four-bedroom Royal Water Palace with 4,500 sq ft of living space. Its distinctive architecture and landscapes is the confluence of two key names: Made Wijaya, the late tropical garden designer, and Martin Grounds of Grounds Kent Architects, both Australians who have latterly made Bali their home. Together, they have melded their vision on a contemporary Balinese resort, one that is best described as a tranquil Javanese-Hindu water palace.

This property, being Jumeirah’s first in Indonesia, also calls on the style of visionary hotel designer Jean-Michel Gathy, who describes the interiors as: “a mix between Indonesian royalty and Dutch colonial, which you won’t typically find in Bali; classy, proud and a little bit formal”. In certain areas of the property, you find colonial Indonesian photos and other nods to Javanese royalty.

Clearly, it all worked out – the careful orchestration of colours and style bestows the Jumeirah Bali with its grand sense of pomp, and manifests into a vision of the ancient Majapahit Kingdom brought into the present day. Pick a spot and you will almost feel like you could be swept into a gilded past. The resort’s sculptural stone walls – meant to recall the Majapahit empire – and tropical modernism are augmented by century-old frangipani tree, with trunks as thick as Roman columns, while exotic trees like Baobab and Banyan are also carefully transplanted on the grounds, adding to the flourishing vista before your eyes.

Upon checking in, you discover that Jumeirah touch, one which sees their 24-strong hospitality portfolio in the Middle East, Europe and Asia being the reference of luxury’s pinnacle, starting with their flagship Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Check-ins are done while you lounge in outdoor chairs, with a welcome drink of Kunyit Assam – a local concoction of turmeric, ginger and honey. Here, each member of staff is quick to greet you, introducing themselves by name. The pleasant attentions extend to someone waiting to greet you at the restaurant as you alight from your buggy. The butler is attentive and yet unobtrusive, with needs taken care of through just a text message.

And because the resort boasts palatial grounds, it’s unlikely that you will bump into other guests, except at meal times occasionally. The pool, a cascading beauty with a three-tiered waterfall, is often yours alone, with perhaps only a bartender, butler and lifeguard as company. To catch another slice of the famed Uluwatu scene, you could just stroll down to the famed Dreamland Beach where you will find a tapestry of the local community – surfers and sun bathers. The resort’s General Manager Ram Hiralal, who hails from Penang, is in the midst of establishing a surfing programme with a prominent local surf school as well, for guests who wish to ride the waves.

Back at Jumeirah Bali, the default setting is relaxation and, without a doubt, mindfulness. Across the many areas of the resort, you can’t help but pause and reflect on nature’s beauty, amplified by the manicured landscape by its phalanx of hardworking landscape artists. At your villa, your private pool overlooks a natural lake of water lilies and occasional ducks. The well-appointed accommodations offer all the comforts of 21st-century hospitality, such as Bluetooth speakers, high-speed Wi-Fi and mood lighting.

Head on to Talise Spa, where therapists align your meridians through centuries-old Javanese practices. A personal chakra reading by your therapist identifies your maladies, and the prescription may include deliciously creamy and aromatic orange oil, singing bowls, heated volcanic reboots, and even a lucky charm at the end to ward off bad juju.

Gastronomes will enjoy the three restaurants and bars, all of which open into ocean panoramas. The all-day Segaran Dining Terrace serves up farm-to-table Balinese and South-east Asian cuisine with sustainably sourced organic ingredients. At Maja Sunset Lounge, take in lazy weekend brunches by the infinity pool. Akasa, the wood-fired dining concept, samples Thai, Japanese and Korean cuisine and combines them with the rich, smoky flavours of Bali. The result is a lush epicurean journey that could start with grilled Jimbaran prawns, fresh oysters, and a charcoal Wagyu beef salad, seguing into a chicken dish with fiery panca paste and burnt cumin, seared teriyaki lamb, and then the standout dish: giant blue river prawns with mango and passion fruit, as well as a fresh seabass cooked in a banana leaf and garnished with freshly grated coconut, turmeric, mustard seeds and lemongrass. To fully realise Akasa’s depth in grilled meats, your order of wagyu tenderloin MB 8/9 comes with a choice of peppercorn sauce ranging from the citrusy Lampung pepper of Indonesia, Vietnam’s Phu Quoc peppercorns, Timut variety from Nepal, and others. A glass elevator takes you into Akasa’s underground wine cellar where you can select your drink for the evening, while a musicologist ensures that the beats carry on long after dinner, as you luxuriate with your choice of vintage under the twinkling night sky.

Jumeirah Bali

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