The last in her series on sweet, sweet Asia, Sarah Ivens, Jaunt Magazine Contributor and Founding Editor of the US-version of OK! Magazine, tells us a bit about her out of body, mind, and soul experience in Bali.
Bali Luxury Hotels - Amanusa
By Sarah Ivens
The tiny green Hindu Island of Bali has been a Mecca for those seeking enlightenment and rest since the 1970s. The hippy centre of Indonesia welcomes healers and artists, writers and doctors to witness its natural beauty and its spiritual traditions and customs.
It’s a place where Ganesh the holy elephant nestles next to statues of Buddha, while ancestors are worshiped and revered and Mother Nature is thanked. You can’t help but leave with your eyes opened and your forehead relaxed. To experience each element of the unique landscape and culture, I travelled the island, staying at three different resorts within the Aman resort group. The five star service and luxurious suites were uniform between all three places but the flavor was spiced up between them, depending on the location and the desires of the 95% local teams running them. By combining the three places, even the short term visitor can get a real sense of Bali and the beliefs of its wonderful, smiling people.
For the mind…
Amandari will challenge your brain in the most soothing way possible. An oasis of green paddy fields, built high above the artistic center of Ubud and designed to look like a traditional Balinese village, this tiny, eco-friendly resort inspires its visitors to seek out their inner creativity. You are encouraged to learn about local music, paintings and poetry while feasting on food you’ve witnessed being harvested at sunrise.
Ubud is perhaps most famous for its medicine men – a gaggle of gurus who guide the locals between right and wrong and who offer sage advice for locals looking for spiritual advice on the fly. The friendly local staff at Amandari can find you an enlightened expert to suit your needs – and even ship you there free of charge in the resort’s air-conditioned fleet of vehicles. If that seems too Western, they can arrange for you to borrow a bicycle. Recover from such prophecies by unwinding in the resort’s extensive library, or take a cocktail into the main courtyard and observe the local art on display. There are only 30 thatched-roof suites so you’ll be free to muse the days away without fear of obnoxious interruption.
For the body…
A Guru Near Amanusa
Amanusa allows the lazy to lounge (if they must) but they prefer the get up and goers, who burst into life at the breaking of dawn and don’t stop until the sun goes down. One of Indonesia’s best golf courses, The Bali Golf and Country Club, sits adjacent to the tree-lined hideaway and proves irresistable for anyone with a decent swing. If hitting the green isn’t your thing, Amanusa also has a 30 metre pool (plus eight of the 35 suites have their own swimming pool), two tennis courts and a private beach club which allows for every kind of water sport you can imagine. Healthy smoothies and fresh fruit cocktails are abundant – the butlers constantly lap the public areas with tray of delicious yet healthy snacks – and you don’t need to worry about one evening in the restaurant undoing all your hard work. Protein-rich, low-fat barbecues are offered by candlelight, and the locally caught fresh fish won’t make anyone fat! You can indulge without the bulge quite easily here.
For the soul…
Bali Holistic Hotels - Amankila
Amankila means ‘peaceful hill’ in Balinese and it’s true, this Cliffside resort tumbles elegantly into the sea with a gentle grace that allows your mind and body to unfurl from any taxing times its recently encountered. Overlooking the Lombok strait, each villa is elevated to make the most of the sweeping ocean views (and the soothing breeze), while above your head is nothing but dazzling stars. Indeed, the most taxing evening activity here is having the butlers set up your bed on an outdoor day lounger so you can fall asleep with a flashlight in one hand and an astrology guidebook in the other. To doze off under a mosquito net with the sweet scent of coconut and frangipani caressing your nostrils is to have died and gone to heaven. Your soul will thank you for it. And it will really celebrate when you book in for a traditional Balinese massage, outdoors on the beach, with nothing to worry about except how you’re going to remember this state of pure bliss once your back at work and in the real world.