The Incredible Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort!

The Incredible Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort!

When Charlie Chandra and Peter Bloomfield announced me as the winner of the Paradises Maldives competition last year I could hardly believe that it was my name written on the screen in front of me! But I REALLY could not prepare myself for just how incredibly lucky I was to be to be able to visit the Maldives for the first time in my life and stay at the incredible Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort!

We flew from Australia to Malé (the capital city and most populous island in the Maldives) with Singapore Airlines. At Malé’s Velana International Airport, we were met by Outrigger Konotta staff who took care of everything while we waited in the guest lounge, and after an hour long domestic flight and 25 minute speedboat, we’d arrived in paradise.

First impressions: “Wow”! We were speechless. Words cannot describe just how magnificent the island is, but hopefully these photos will give you some idea of the true beauty of this incredible place!

Days on Konotta started with beach yoga, sunrise fishing (where one morning we caught two spectacular red grouper fish which were later cooked to our liking and served for dinner), or our favourite activity – walking the few footsteps from our villa across the cool white sand to welcome the huge tangerine sun rising over the Indian Ocean. Absolutely breathtaking! What a treat it was to be so close to the action, yet feel completely ‘away from it all’ at the same time. It certainly doesn’t take long to convert to ‘island time’ on Konotta and have the delightful pleasure of switching off, forgetting what time it is, what day it is, and abandoning your whole busy life back home.

A short walk to breakfast and we’re greeted by Chandana, our cheery, hardworking breakfast host with a wide smile and sparkling eyes who offered us fresh pastries, tropical fruits, freshly-squeezed juices (or perhaps a cheeky champagne or Bloody Mary), yoghurts, cheeses and cold meats from the buffet, followed by an a la carte breakfast served at Blue Salt overlooking the emerald lagoon. Every morning, he placed a plate of smoked salmon, dill and capers alongside my hot meal (he’d heard it’s my favourite accompaniment) along with a generous serving of smoked mango which we couldn’t get enough of!

Sunshine hours were filled with as much or as little as you feel like. Sit in your own cabana lounge by the pool and enjoy a signature Konotta ginger iced tea (which we quickly become addicted to!), or spend some time in the complimentary hydro spa, take a dip in your own private plunge pool, enjoy a peaceful paddle board or kayak around the island, or collect shells on the beach – all whilst marvelling at the great beauty of this magical island. We took a JetSki with a guide from Best Dives Konotta (the resort’s activities operator) to visit the biggest pod of dolphins I’ve ever seen in my life – hundreds of spinner dolphins swimming right up and alongside the JetSki, jumping meters into the air with acrobatic prowess. An unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience I know we’ll cherish forever. We also boarded a traditional dhoni boat to spend a morning on a remote uninhabited island for the ultimate castaway experience. Our very own slice of paradise. There’s so many activities to choose from – paragliding, sunset cruising, learning to dive – the list is endless.

But it was in the impossibly clear sea which glowed iridescent turquoise straight in front of our villa, and the pristine reefs that surrounded the island, and the relaxed island lifestyle that I found the very reason everyone dreams of visiting the Maldives one day. The surrounding Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll is home to what is considered some of the best hard coral fields in the world and it was unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere in all my travels. For me, the greatest pleasures came in being able to slip off the edge of the jetty and swim with reef sharks, clown fish and rays on a whim. To take a leisurely snorkel around the island and find yourself swimming alongside a graceful sea turtle. To witness the most colourful corals and diverse marine life I could possibly ever imagine. To see for myself all the beautiful shades of blue and green and to feel the warm Maldivian sunshine on my back. To have the feeling that I’ve stepped into a postcard – and realising that in fact that postcard had not been photo edited – that the scenery really is almost too perfect to believe. To have time to just be happy. On a remote island. In the middle of the spellbinding Indian Ocean.

Arriving back at the villa – which, by the way, was exquisite (and expansive) – there’s the choice to sit back in the spacious lounge area and enjoy the complimentary cheese and wine platter, or take a bubble bath in the luxurious bathroom, or (my personal favourite) climb the stairs to the top deck, hidden amongst the thick foliage of several coconut palms, and lay comatose on a sun lounger before spending some time in our own rooftop spa pool. Total barefoot luxury.

And every afternoon we wandered around the island just before sunset, gin and tonic and camera in hand, capturing moments that we’ll cherish forever and feeling like we had the entire island to ourselves. Despite it being Christmas time and all the rooms being full, the island felt far from crowded and we could always find a quiet spot with no one else in sight.

Dinners are served under a sky full of stars, and the food is utterly sublime. Being so close to India and Sri Lanka, the cuisine certainly has been influenced by regional flavours – the fresh seafood combined with spicy coconut curries are a delight for the senses. The perfect end to another perfect day.

After dinner, there’s a chance to mingle with the other guests and staff on the sand and enjoy a complimentary wine tasting. It was so lovely to spend time listening to fellow Aussie Amanda (the resort’s Spa Manager) talk about her extensive travels around the world, and chat to Executive Chef Chris about the flailing English cricket side, and get to know Guillaume – the attentive Resort Manger who generously went out of his way to ensure that we had the most wonderful time and that our every need was catered for. And of course, Kim, our host for the duration of the stay. Throughout our entire Konotta experience, we were very well taken care of in the gentle hands and beaming smile of Kim. It doesn’t take long to realise this island is a very special place made extra special by the people living and working there. They all had an uncanny ability to make us feel right at home, and in the same breath feel like royalty.

It’s the small details and personal touches that sets Konotta apart – the complimentary sweet treats delivered to our door every afternoon, the offer to borrow a pair of sunglasses when mine went missing, the spontaneous invitation for a quick night cap with the staff in the evening – it just goes to show how much they value their guests. Considerate is the best word to describe it. It was so refreshing to encounter people who actually listened to us and took a genuine interest in us as people, and we would now consider them friends. There’s no doubt we have experienced the Outrigger Resorts spirit of warmth, generosity and kindness.

It goes without saying that we had a truly unforgettable stay. There are few places in the world we have visited that are as impressive as Outrigger Konotta and we feel extremely grateful and lucky to have had the pleasure of experiencing all the facets of this wonderful place. A visit to the Maldives really is one of the most amazing and unique life experiences that everyone should add to their bucket list, and I can’t thank Charlie Chandra, Peter Bloomfield and the entire Paradises community enough for making my Maldives dream a reality!

2018 At The Edge Of The World!

2018 AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD!
WINNERS BEST VILLA IN THE 2017 YAK AWARDS!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTE!


ESCAPE!

Take a look at our article in Australia’s biggest weekend travel magazine.


Sky Pool

See why our new clifftop oneeighty° and its sky pool are taking Bali by storm!


The Breeze

Our newest villa The Breeze is now online! Book now for amazing opening specials!


With direct access to an expansive lawn/deck area, The breeze 1-bedroom villa is the perfect base for a special event, or private getaway. The breeze comes complete with a large bedroom and living area as well as custom kitchen, natural stone pool and outdoor bale.


Read All About It

Take a peek at our fabulous article on P131 of this months edition of Yak Magazine!


Two For One!

Receive any 2 treatments for the price of one this January. Places filling fast!


Clinging to the rock face of a stunning sea cliff, The Spa defies both convention and gravity. Designed to fuse with its surroundings, The Spa seemingly skims above the blue sea, all the way to the horizon. With liquid floors, wall-less rooms, and sensuous curves, its lightness of being seduces and liberates the senses.

The spa’s innovative design may break new ground, but the soul of The Spa is as old as Bali itself. The Spa offers a quintessential Balinese spa experiences inspired by the four basic elements of the daily Balinese temple offering; sincere devotion, sacred flowers, holy water and life-sustaining rice.

The Spa features wet and dry treatment areas, private steam coves and unobstructed views of the Indian Ocean. A selection of in-villa baths and treatments can also be arranged.

Awarded by Asia Spa Magazine as 2010’s Most Innovative Spa of the Year.


Wedding Packages

Planning your fairytale wedding? Our 2018 all-inclusive packages are online now!


With breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean at the pinnacle of the Uluwatu clifftops, The edge provides an exceptional venue for any celebration. Our professional in-house team will ensure that every detail is taken care of and your special celebration will be one to remember.

 


Coming Soon At The Edge


Coming Soon – Atas Restaurant

Overlooking the uplit oasis of oneeighty° and the Indian Ocean beyond, atas is the showcase of acclaimed Balinese Chef Nyoman Suasa, long at the vanguard of ‘New Indonesian’ cuisine and the culinary mind behind the opening of Seminyak’ s renowned Bambu Restaurant. His menu takes you on a whistle-stop tour of the archipelago, with clever presentation and masterful technique.

Wine connoisseurs will love the award-winning wine list, presented by The edge’s Food & Beverage Manager and 2016 Best Sommelier Bali, Nyoman Suwinda Yasa. The collection is housed across two purpose-built cellars with a total capacity of over 2,000 bottles, and pays homage to the big names of France & Italy, as well as giving a voice to some lesser known labels from the new world.


Coming Soon – The Ocean 2 Bedroom Villa

The ocean is a beautiful two level, 2-bedroom villa with stunning views of the Indian Ocean. This villa is fully equipped with large bedroom and living area, custom kitchen, large natural stone pool and outdoor bale.


Coming Soon – The Ridge 3 Bedroom Villa

A luxurious and expansive 3-bedroom villa overlooking the entire estate, The ridge features expansive living areas, a huge natural stone swimming pool, magnificent outdoor pond area, large lawn area & large outdoor bale. A private salon, maid’s quarters, recreation room, custom kitchen and bar are all at your disposal.


Coming 2018 – The Cave


STAY TUNED FOR NEWS OF ‘THE CLUB’

Featuring two ten-pin bowling lanes, cinema/karaoke room, private cellar and dining room, DJ booth and dance floor, private bar & VIP room, plus rooftop tennis court!

OPENING IN MID 2018

Email to [email protected] for information

Let Finns Take The Tension Out of Planning Your Next Party

Does the thought of planning a kids’ party put you into a cold sweat?

Don’t be deterred from organising an awesome day for your favourite family member just because you think you have to put together the event yourself. Finns Recreation Club is the perfect place to host your next family celebration. With all of the entertainment options you’ll ever need to keep everyone happy, excited and entertained Finns is a one stop shop for birthdays, end of term celebrations or graduation parties.



Where else would you be able to find a safe and secure venue with such a variety of activities to suit every age group?

Long gone are those grim days where party games to engage your guests were limited to pass the parcel and pin the tail on the donkey! At Finns, the only limit to your party program is your imagination!

Plan your next party around activities to really get your guests involved and active.

You can choose an entertainment package that focuses on one or two venues or include them all and with trampolining, ten pin bowling, water slides and a kids only club to consider, the options are exciting!

In this digital age, kids spend enough time glued to a small screen so any opportunity for some activity is always welcomed and what kid wouldn’t want to spend their birthday at a water park with their mates! Splash Water Park offers a great variety of slides and rides to engage partygoers in a day filled with thrill seeking and aquatic fun yet intimate enough to keep a close eye on your crew. Lifeguards on duty ensure that guests are safe and under care and attention at all times. There are ample undercover areas for groups to gather for private functions and Splash can fashion a food and beverage package to suit your group.

If you want to ensure wet weather doesn’t threaten to dampen the party mood, choose Bounce Trampoline Centre for the kids’ next birthday bash. The tramp team can put together a line up of party games like dodgeball, your very own disco or simply a few hours of free bouncing! You could also create a combo and include a few games of ten pin on the lanes at Strike Indoor Bowling adjacent to Bounce and Strike Cafe provides the perfect place for party groups to enjoy birthday cake with a view over the Bounce Arena.

Birthday guests a little too tiny for bowling or bouncing? Cubby House Kids Club is king when it comes to planning parties for pint sized peeps! As well as providing a fully supervised and secure area for the kids to run and play, Cubby House also has designated party rooms where the birthday crowd can celebrate in private. The party planners at Cubby House can create a themed party complete with drinks and snacks to satisfy your hungry crowd.

Adios any trauma and tears associated with party planning and contact the experts at Finns Recreation Club to help you put together the perfect birthday celebration for your cherub’s next milestone.
Email them on: [email protected] for an event free of headaches and hassles allowing you to be a part of the fun too!


Finns Recreation Club
Raya Pantai Berawa, Canggu – Bali
Phone : +62 (361) 848 3939
Email : [email protected]
www.finnsrecclub.com

Marketing links & contact:
Email : [email protected]
Facebook : FinnsBali
Twitter : FinnsBali
Instagram : FinnsBali
Website : www.finnsrecclub.com

How to dress when the temperature is soaring…!

Hi to all my paradises.com regulars and guests.

Planning your outfit every morning is hard enough on a normal day, however when the temperature is soaring and you are expecting to turn into a frizzed, bloated, sweaty mess in the midst of the day, the job becomes 100% harder.

The idea is to gain the maximum amount of “breeziness” in your outfit, starting with your shoes. Opt for a comfortable and chic open toed sandal but make sure they are broken-in and don’t pinch, blisters are not conducive to an effortless look.

The most important rule for that blistering heat and one that is often dismissed is, bigger is better. Try a loose kaftan or shirt as pictured (our Lisa Maree Symbol of Simplicity cotton Kaftan in black), this will allow the air to circulate, a tight crop or shorts tend to add to the sweat factor.

Sweat stains, the elephant in the room. Avoid sweat stains by wearing a mesh cotton or a style with low scoop arms, like our “Escape the Truth” crochet one piece swimsuit under a pair of pants or shorts. The knit won’t show any sweat and the open back will give you an overall coolness from the top down. Always opt for darker colours, to hide the shvitz!

Layering. It may seem like a winter option, however layering in summer is actually key. We’ve done so in the below image in all white using our ‘Escape the Truth’ crochet one piece. Layering allows movement, in summer your’ll find one piece will stick and tug and you’ll be constantly counter-tugging and adjusting your outfit. Layering allows movement and also the option of removing layers if need be.

Natural Fibres! Anything synthetic will start the sweat. Stick to cotton and natural fibres that are on the loose side to allow your body to breathe and add movement.

Swim tops are made to keep you cool! When the thermometer is rising use a swim top as a bustier or crop paired back with a high waist skirt or pants. It’s not work appropriate but on a casual date night or a weekend hang, this can be an incredibly smart option!

Lisa Maree
xxxx

CEO & Founder
LISA MAREE GROUP
escape

13533232_10154124163391578_7570330780967534723_n-2

escapethetruth2s33003top

BALI FOR FIRSTIME VISITORS

The myriad of tourist attractions in Bali can easily overwhelm first-time visitors. But, here are five things on the island that any newcomers shouldn’t miss Words:

 

Close up of a traditional Balinese God statue in Bali temple

#1. Kecak dance

Kecak Dance is the most dramatic and unique Balinese dance, and a trip to Bali will be less than ideal without experiencing this grand and mystical performance first-hand. In a nutshell, Kecak Dance is typically performed by no less than 150 people. It is a combination of drama and dance, adopting the epic Ramayana. The dance is always performed just before sunset for a good reason—the ruby-red splendor of the setting sun to visually serenade the dance. And as the story unfolds, the lights from torches add magic to the chants and the delicate limbs of the dancers. Garuda Wisnu Kencana in South Kuta is one of the best places to enjoy Kecak dance. There are Aston Ungasan Hotel & Convention Center, The Beverly Hills Bali and Harris Hotel Bukit Jimbaran for some of the accommodations near the location.

See Also

What To Do & Where to Stay in Sanur, Bali

#2. The Ultimate Splash

For a fun splash-filled day and adrenaline-pumping slides, you can do no wrong for opting for Waterbom Park. Located in Jalan Tuban in Kuta, Waterbom Bali offers nine extraordinary rides. They are truly challenging and are sure to be unforgettable. Waterbom Bali is home to Constrictor, the longest tube-shaped slide in the world. There are also extreme slides, like Boomerang and Climax. No wonder Waterbom Bali is dubbed The Best Waterpark in Asia. Garden Beach Resort and Adhi Jaya Hotel are two of the hotels located near the waterpark.

Asia Bali Indonesia Ubud elephantsafaripark 002

#3. On the Back of a Gentle Giant

Soaking in the soothing greenery while sitting atop a friendly elephant should be in your agenda before and after frolicking at the beach. At Elephant
Safari Park in Ubud, managed Bali Adventure Parks, the smart and gentle elephants are unlike any other—they can even paint! The park also has lodges where you can crash in and be greeted by a giant funny face of an elephant appearing at your window in the morning.

 

#4. Under the Sea Moment

Bali offers some of the best locations for snorkeling and diving, either for a family or for more experienced divers. Sanur Beach is one of the best places for snorkeling due to its gentle waves and clear water. It is an ideal starting point for going to Nusa Penida Island or Lembongan Island. You can easily find snorkeling instructors in Bali with varied rates. Sanur Beach Hotel is an affordable hotel to stay in, as well as Puri Sading and Puri Santrian. Another location to visit is Tulamben in the northeast of the island. The place is the best place for snorkeling in Bali with its black-sand seabed and hundreds of schools of beautiful fish, including lion fish, scorpion and blue-spotted stingray. Matahari Resort and Blue Hill Resort are some nearby accommodations.
Asia Indonesia Bali Uluwatu semarauluwatu 011

#5. Surfs Up!

Bali and surfing are a match made in heaven. For first time visitors to the island, you can take on a surfing lesson at Balangan Wave Surf School in Uluwatu and revel in a captivating day riding the waves. You can spend the nights at either Balangan Paradise or Aman Gati Hotel during the holiday.
Alternatively, Dreamland Beach is a 100-meter stretch of white sandy beach leaning on a white stone cliff. You can take on a surfing lesson from Padang Padang Surf Camp, and stay at one of the many hotels in the area.

Where to stay:

 

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN UBUD, BALI

Ubud, the cultural sanctuary located surrounding heavenly temples and picturesque paddy fields, is where local and international artists called it home.

Tourists coming to Bali aregreeted with the island’s local charm and pampered with anendless variety of attractions –all guaranteed to make the most of your stay here on the Island of Gods, from beach strolling fun and great shopping bargain to cultural excitement. And Ubud is where you should visit to get the island’s spiritual vibe. Contrary to the always busy Kuta and Denpasar, it boasts unspoiled country side with the hoopla as created by the bestselling Eat, Pray, Love. Don’t miss cultural performances and attractions, usually held in beautiful temples, art centers and local theaters. Aside from the presence of art galleries, you will also find an interesting array of restaurants, bars and cafes and streets of shops selling goods from local artisans. All in all, Ubud is where it preserves local culture while opening its doors to foreign visitors.

Where is Ubud?

Ubud’s central location is quite convenient for tourists to go visit the mountainsand other places of interest on the island, such as beaches and shopping and entertainment centers. Dubbed the cultural capital of Bali, Ubud is home to local galleries, art museums and luxury accommodations.

How to get there?

Ubud is a 60-minutedrive from NgurahRai International Airport, located on the slopes of Bali’s central mountainous region.

What to find in Ubud?

Ubud is a highly recommended destination for art enthusiasts. Endless galleries are stretching from east to west, running from Peliatan cross roads all the way to Sayan. This is where you can expect to find unusual facades as well as Balinese fabrics, carvings, jewellery and paintings.

Art museums are also among most popular destinations here. Museum PuriLukisan, Antonio Blanco Museum, Neka Art Museum are just to name a few of art museums you can explore in Ubud – exhibiting rich varieties of artworks, from paintings to sculptures and other worth seeing masterpieces.
Saraswati temple is one must-visit site. This artistically magnificenttemple is dedicated to honor the Hindu Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning, literature and art. Entering inside the temple, your eyes will be feasted on the beautiful water garden with lotus pond at the center.

Other tourist attractions are Monkey Forest Sanctuary and PuraDalemAgung(Great Temple of the Death). The former is the home to dozens of macaque monkeys. Some are mischievous, but they are actually funny and entertaining. Just explore the forest and befriend them. There are several sacred sites in the forest related to the Balinese Hindu belief. Pura Dalem Agung is one of them. Literally meaning Great Temple of the Death, the temple is dedicated to the goddess of death, Durga.

As Ubud is also known for its peaceful mood, therefore holiday in Bali should also include staying in one of the available luxury hotels which offer spa treatments and healthy retreats with stunning view. Indeed, Ubud is known for its plethora of spas offering varieties of modern and traditional spa treatments. Karma Spa, Lembah Spa, Reflexology Bali are some of the popular spa venues. Try any of the traditional treatments on the menu from any of these venues. They are really good and complement your holiday on the island.

Where to Stay?

Royal Pita Maha Hotel was built using the traditional Balinese design methods, meaning the resort is fully integrated to its surrounding. Overlooking the Ayung River, the accommodation was built and is managed by Ubud’s royal family. If art is the reason of you staying in Ubud, this hotel regularly invites local artists and dancers to perform on its open-air stage and at in-house art gallery. FuramaXclusive Villas and Spa Ubud is another nice alternative. A 30-minute-drive from Denpasar, FuramaXclusive Villas and Spa is located in BanjarBindu. This place is fit for those seeking to stay within the tranquil area, but requiring an instant access to the city. But if you’re in the town for yoga, spa and romantic dining, you may want to consider Viceroy Bali.The place offers such facilities, and is also conveniently situated within minutes from the town center.

When to Visit?

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is one annual event held in Ubud, usually taking place in October. The event gathers writers around the world with such activities as book launches, cultural programs and others related to the festival. Ubud can be crowded when international festivals are held or during holiday seasons. Regardless of the month you visit, Ubud never lost touch with the spirit of a close and pleasant rural community. If you miss the beach, Nusa Dua or Sanur can be easily reached within an hour or so.

Where to stay:

SOMEWHERE IN SEMINYAK

Seminyak is Bali’s most sophisticated playground where hip restaurants and clubs stay next door to fancy shopping boutiques and modern beach resorts.

Having lived in Bali for two years has given me a great opportunity to know and see the island through and through. Having lived in Seminyak, to be precise, for most of my time on the island has been remarkably enjoyable. For one, it’s presumably the island’s downtown, the place to see and be seen. And secondly, it remains right at the heart of everything—a beautiful beach for sunsets, fabulous retail counters, fine eateries, eclectic clubs and fantastic accommodations.

Where is Seminyak?

Seminyak is ten minutes away from Kuta, where the international Ngurah Rai airport is also located. It stretches along the Seminyak Beach, which actually remains part of the long strip of the west coast of Bali. Seminyak can also be a great spot for you to take a break before continuing your journey to Canggu or Ubud or even Menjangan at the west end of Bali.

How to get there?

Bali can be a little bit trying when it comes to transportation. From the airport, you can get a taxi to drive you there, although an island’s insider would advise you against getting on any taxis other than BlueBird taxis. The typical scene is that as you arrive at the airport, a pack of taxi drivers will approach and even come to the point of hustling you. Simply ignore them and walk straight through to the taxi stand. There’s a booth there showing the flat rates according to the destination you’re going. The BlueBird taxis I mentioned earlier may sometimes pass by the taxi stops, but if not, you can fetch one outside the airport, that is five to ten minutes walk. They all use taxi meters and normally the cost is comparably cheaper. Mind you, there are other taxies copying the BlueBird logo and color, though. So make sure you pick the right one. You can, otherwise, have the hotel’s driver pick you up at the airport. If you’re in for an adventure, go out to the motor parking area to find “ojek,” motor taxis, that will take you to Seminyak for a bargain.

Taxi ride from Bali airport to Seminyak is a short drive, the airport taxi fare is Rp60,000 or USD$6. If you don’t have a lot of luggage and you don’t mind trying to catch a blue bird taxi outside of the airport it will cost half price.

For more information, check out: Bali Airport Guide (Transportation)

What to find in Seminyak?

On Jalan Seminyak Raya, you’ll see a lot of clothing retails as well as inviting restaurants. A great pit stop would be the Bintang Supermarket, smack bang between Legian and Seminyak. Here you can either stock up on local Bintang beer or purchase exotic items the island has to offer—frangipani massage oil is a must-buy! From there, you can saunter at ease and head north to discover so much more.

The Bar Street :

At the crossroad of Jalan Camplung Tanduk (also known as Jalan Dhyana Pura), you’ll see Warung Ocha that’s usually packed with surfers and flip-flopped ladies sampling Balinese and international meals. Jalan Camplung Tanduk is infamously known by the islanders as the bar street, where round-the-clock diners and a bevy of bars crowd together on one long lane leading to a stunning beach. Before the coastline though, there is a string of four gay bars that will give French cabarets a run for their money with drag shows and sometimes a pole dance. Some nearby accommodations vary from reliable three-starred lodgings such as FaveHotel Seminyak, to upscale hotels like Courtyard Seminyak by Marriot Hotel, The Breezes Bali and Anantara Seminyak.

The Eat Street :

Further down north, you’ll hit an intersection where the Shampoo Lounge—a hair salon attached to a bar—resides on the right-hand side. Take the left road and you’re bound to meet another intersection where Will Meyrick’s super-delicious MamaSan Restaurant is snugly nestled on the right turn. But take the left turn instead and get ready for a culinary adventure through Jalan Laksmana or Oberoi (the frequent changes of the roads end up in road-name confusion). It’s not much of Balinese cuisine, but Italian, Greek and Japanese fares are running this traffic-laden lane. Strolling on your feet is much more advised, as there’s tons of awesome shopping outlets you don’t want to miss. By the way, the Eat Street is also packed with wonderful hotels: The Ize Hotel, U Pasha Hotel, The Legian, The Seminyak and The Sentosa Seminyak. All these are within walking distance from the must-visit Ku De Ta beach restaurant and bar.

The Petitenget Street :

It’s not Seminyak yet if you haven’t been on one of the island’s best kept secrets: The Petitenget Street. Literally meaning “Sacred Chest,” Petitenget is marked with a stunning, incredible landmark that is Petitenget Temple. It is glorious in stone carving and located a stone’s throw away from the beach. You can dine at Petitenget Bistro next it to while admiring the temple’s magnificent presence. But Petitenget’s claims to fame are these three must-visit venues: Hu’u Bar, Potato Head Beach Club and W Resort Bali-Seminyak. But as you trot along the winding road of Petitenget, you’ll discover many hole-in-the-wall eateries and boutique accommodations, such as Alila Seminyak, Hu’u Villas, The Samaya and The L Hotel.

Where to Eat?

Although Seminyak is practically restaurants galore, my three favorites would start with Revolver Coffeehouse that’s located hidden behind a fancy boutique called This Is A Love Song. Revolver is run by an Australian surfer girl who embodies a modern hippie lifestyle. She has a Melbourne-esque coffee recipe that definitely is at par, if not better, with that of Starbucks and the like. And, oh, the sandwiches are to die for; order Holster or Double Barrel that will make one breakfast to remember.

Mexican foods are not scarce in Petitenget. While you can find the uber-artistic Motel Mexicola on Jalan Kayu Jati—an architectural landmark on its own—my choice of Mexican eatery is Taco Casa, five minutes passing W Resort Bali-Seminyak to Canggu. It serves a spicy enchiladas and hefty tacos although it tends to get pretty busy in the evening. But for a South American-styled bar, go back to Jalan Laksmana and ask around for La Favela bar. It’s tucked away across the Coco Mart next to the Champagne Lounge, and it’s actually a spacious bar bedecked with creepy-and-quirky ornaments, drawing inspiration from Brazilian shantytowns. The place’s normally packed at midnight.

For a little bit of splurging, both W Resort Bali-Seminyak and Potato Head Beach Club have troves of culinary treasures to uncover. FIRE at W Resort Bali-Seminyak rolls out mouth-watering steaks and has wicked cocktails to sample—ask for the secret cocktail topped with cotton candy, which has won a number of bartending recognitions. Meanwhile, Tapping Shoes at the second floor of Potato Head Beach Club is totally unique. It brought in Osaka-born chef Take who presents a mind-blowing fusion of classic French and innovative Japanese culinary offerings. Slurp in some avant-garde foie gras while soaking up the breathtaking views of Petitenget Beach; life simply cannot get any better than this. Potato Head Beach Club will have a hotel on its own soon, called La Katamama.

When to Visit?

There’s no actual timing as when to visit Bali or Seminyak best, since it’s summer all year round there. But spending a year-end in Bali is simply unforgettable. You can catch a fantastic firework show at Potato Head Beach Club during the countdown to the New Year or enjoy a string of DJs pumping the W Retreat Bali-Seminyak’s floor. Seminyak also throws a great deal of parties during mid-year, such as Ku De Ta’s white party and Potato Head Beach Club’s summer party—where global entertainers including Ellie Goulding, Fat Boy Slim, Snoop Dog and more have performed here. However, like most beautiful places in the world, the sooner to visit is always the better.

Where to Stay?

Although Seminyak is never short of great accommodations, those who want to make the most of their first time visit to the island could perhaps use some of the recommended places here.

For starters, single or couple travelers who want to soak up the real vibe of Seminyak should definitely check out W Retreat Bali-Seminyak. The Spectacular Ocean-Facing Retreat rooms couldn’t get more spectacular. Perched on the top floor—in Bali, buildings may only be six floors high maximum—the rooms offer a sprawling view of the beach, which at night send gentle white noise to your sleep. The bathtub is even more spectacular with an optional “open” rooftop that looks at the beautiful Bali moon at night.

If you’re traveling with the family, The Legian is hard to beat. Not only was the hotel previously booked by international celebrities including Tyra Banks and British singer M.I.A., The Legian has rooms, suites, villas, gardens, swimming pools and, best of all, direct access to the beach. And for some unknown reason, I personally think that the sunset here is among the best out of the Seminyak stretch (you can walk down from here to Ku De Ta and complete the experience with a glass of cool mojito!). The neighboring resort, The Seminyak, is also recommended and comprises relatively similar facilities.

For a selfishly satisfying stay, hotels standing right on the Jalan Laksmana or Oberoi Road are excellent picks. The Ize and the U Pasha are surrounded by great restaurants and bars and shops. You can simply laze around for a few days, whiling the days with venturing into nice clothing boutiques, such as Somewhere, Uluwatu Lace, Bamboo Blonde and Body & Soul, and letting the nights go by peacefully as you down Bali’s signature Bintang Beer. You can alternatively walk through a small alley beside the Ultimo Restaurant and find beautiful Bali-styled villas. There’s B Villas, K Villas and the sophisticated I/II (called One Eleven).

A list of our recommended hotels in Seminyak:

 

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN SANUR, BALI

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN SANUR, BALI

Bali – Indonesia

Written by Chris Andre

Sanur is a quaint and serene retreat that gives off a neighborhood feel to a family holiday or an intimate honeymoon.

Long before Kuta’s rise to fame back in the 1970s, it was Sanur that first drew the attention of foreign visitors. The long stretch of Sanur beach with relatively low swells was enlivened with the humble locals selling traditional culinary along the coastline. That has much changed in terms of physicality now that expansive hotels are staking their claim along the coast, but Sanur has unpredictably managed to retain that je-ne-sais-quoi, sort of a genuine neighborhood feel, which is honestly charming and is what all other islands around the world try to replicate.

Where is Sanur and how to get there?
Sanur is not far from the airport, relatively 15 minutes by car. It is located in the north of Kuta and, thanks to the new shortcut road, Sanur is accessible through Jimbaran and Nusa Dua. While travelers on a shoestring budget can save much money by taking a Transarbagita shuttle bus from Kuta—where the airport is—to Sanur, a taxi ride could really save much time and the hassle of you carrying the luggage on your own. If you intend to go to Ubud, Sanur can also be a convenient pit stop for dining or shopping.

What to find in Sanur?
From restaurants to spas to retail centers, everything is at your fingertips in Sanur. The most famous Danau Tamblingan Street is packed with all those options, each place adorned in beautiful hues and quirky exteriors. A ten-minute walk from that street is Sanur Beach, which is relatively safe for children, although there are fishermen on certain sites casting their nets and simply making their daily grind. There’s an inspiring yoga hut at the back of Mercure Resort Sanur at Mertasari Street right before the beach that is run by an Australian retiree. Stretching your muscles and limbs while enjoying tropical ocean breezes, what could simply beat that?

Sanur Beach is also slightly different from Kuta and Seminyak Beach, in which Sanur Beach has a nice pathway along the coast. It’s not rare to see tourists ride their bikes and just follow wherever the path goes. This actually allows you to explore the unexplored gems, such as discovering some local foods that are not sold in restaurants or finding some breathtaking spots for sunset viewing. You can rent and ride a bike from Sindhu Beach at the northern part of Sanur to the Mercure Resort Sanur.

Sanur is also great if you’re on the lookout for Balinese paintings or interiors. There’s a high-end Italian interior store called Carlo close to Mercure Resort Sanur along with other affordable furniture pieces sold in the area. Meanwhile, Sudamala Suites & Spa located at Sudamala Street has a nice gallery displaying the works of artists from and outside Bali. The hotel is also beautiful in architecture, with a modern interpretation of Balinese homes.

Sanur is not far from Ubud, one of the most famous destinations mentioned in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love,” and Gianyar, where Bali Safari & Marine Park is. You can ride a taxi from Sanur to those two destinations at any time, since taxi in Bali is available round-the-clock and with no surcharge for different hours of the day.

Where to eat in Sanur?
There’s a few Balinese restaurants in Sanur that offer unique local tastes. But two of the most sought-after by the locals are Warung Mak Beng at Ngurah Rai Bypass Road and Warung Nasi Ayam Bu Weti at Segara Ayu Street. The first sells spicy seafood soups that give Thai cuisine a run for their money. The latter is a pretty spectacular food stall by the beach, actually. It’s open around 6AM and sells only spicy Balinese chicken rice, but often the queue is so long that the chicken rice is already sold out by 9AM.

For non-spicy options, Italian restaurant Massimo at Danau Tamblingan Road is a great value for money and taste. Booking is requisite here, as you might have to wait for half an hour when showing up unplanned. It’s got nice spaghettis, clams and even a decent selection of Indonesian meals. Don’t miss out on the Italian gelato as well.

Where to stay in Sanur?
Sanur has many of “institution” resorts. Bali Hyatt has been an institution for around three decades and has undergone a complete interior overhaul. The new Fairmont Bali is expansive and rather traditional in the interiors. For the tallest hotel in the area, there is Sanur Beach Hotel, elegantly located close to a golf course. The Santrian hotel chain, including Puri Santrian and Griya Santrian, is owned by the members of Sanur’s royal family. This ensures that you get the best of the real Sanur hospitality. There’s also Keora Suites and Prama Sanur Beach worth mentioning as some strategically located hotels in the area.

HOW TO BOOK:

Bali – Indonesia

bali beach resort

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN JIMBARAN AND ULUWATU, BALI

WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN JIMBARAN AND ULUWATU, BALI

Bali – Indonesia

Written by Chris Andre

Jimbaran and Uluwatu are the quiet yet entrancing southwest districts of Bali, popular with honeymooners and discerning travelers looking for exclusive hideaways.

For years and years, Jimbaran has long been known for the seafood barbecue by the beach. The fresh offerings from the ocean draw in both domestic and foreign tourists who want to end the night on a high note. Not far from Jimbaran is Uluwatu, a rather barren hill that has evolved into a splendid getaway location suitable for a peaceful holiday on the island. While to some these destinations play a second fiddle to Kuta and Seminyak, those who have basked in the serenity of the breathtaking natural landscape and pristine beaches there know how spellbinding Jimbaran and Uluwatu can be.

Where are and how to get to Jimbaran and Uluwatu?
Jimbaran is 15 minutes away from the airport. It’s on the southern part of the island, and you can go there by taxi or “ojek” (motor taxi) or the shuttle bus transarbagita. Walking is another option, although there is not a really convenient sidewalk from the airport to the Jimbaran area. Meanwhile, if you go further southwest from Jimbaran, you will climb uphill to Uluwatu Hill.

What to find in Jimbaran?
Jimbaran is a must-visit for seafood lovers. A lot of top-class chefs residing on the island would recommend you to go to the Kedonganan fish market—next to Jimbaran—to get the best catch of the day. The same market usually provides plenty of fine hotels in Bali with the freshest catch of the day. Take Koh at InterContinental Bali Resort, for instance. Being arguably the finest Japanese restaurant in Bali, Koh offers beautiful seafood dishes that some are also coming from the Jimbaran area and vicinity. For candlelight dinners by the beach, next to Le Meridien Jimbaran is an extended strip of beachside seafood restaurants worth visiting.

But if you want a five-star quality table that summons world-class chefs, fret not; Jimbaran has Sundara by Four Season Resort Jimbaran. This luxe culinary destination boasts a gorgeous beachfront setting and a plethora of mouth-watering meals and knock-out cocktails. Alternatively, Karma Jimbaran has a rather intimate pool-side dining venue with an acoustic singing performance every week. Or else, head down to boutique restaurant Balique that sits across the InterContinental Bali Resort. Owned and styled by international interior designer Zohra Boukhari, Balique is an oasis of artistic interior design as well as a great place for honeymooners to dine off their hotels.

Art is another factor that makes Jimbaran unforgettable. Jenggala Ceramics at Jalan Uluwatu II (still at the foothill of Uluwatu) is simply one of a kind. It creates phenomenal ceramics, which are at par with renowned designs in Europe. The handbag-shaped tea pot is so unique, and the leaf-fold-patterned plates are inspired by the local culture. It is five minutes away from Kupu-Kupu Jimbaran Resort & Spa—which has a must-visit spa run by French beauty brand L’Occitane (try the bamboo massage here!).

What to find in Uluwatu?
A must-do for every newcomer to Bali is to watch Kecak Dance (aka Fire Dance) at Uluwatu Temple. Located at the south-end of the island, the temple offers a stunning cliff-top view. The Kecak Dance is typically performed when the sunset is high. You can stay at the nearby Anantara Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa and enjoy more than just an amazing sunset but also sunrises. Another spot famed for the sky and ocean view is Bulgari Resort Bali—the only resort by Bulgari in the world at the moment.
Some distance away from that temple lies the Blue Point Beach, which is basically a cliff edge that’s carved into a surfing village. It’s got the well-known Blue Fin surf’s bar and there’s more than a bunch of surfing equipment shops and massage counters along the descending path from the cliff top to the beach below.
Another equally mesmerizing cliff top is the Karma Kandara cliff. Marked by the Karma Kandara Resort, the cliff here also features another topflight accommodation called Semara Luxury Villas Uluwatu. Both places have a gondola that will take visitors to Nammos beach—inspired after a beach in Greece. On some occasions, Karma Kandara throws a beach party that lasts until dawn, despite the cool sea breeze.

One more hideaway to reveal in Uluwatu is El Kabron, a cliff top restaurant tucked in the off-the-beaten path. The combination of Mexican cuisine and modern hippie lifestyle seems to be the right recipe that lures surfers from different parts of the world to gather, kick back, and relax. For most, learning to be idle for a day is one of the best things they could ever get from a trip to Uluwatu. And this is what makes Uluwatu Uluwatu—a peaceful hill at the south of Bali.

HOW TO BOOK:

Bali – Indonesia

ORCHARD ROAD, SINGAPORE

ORCHARD ROAD, SINGAPORE

Written by Chris Andre

What to Do and Where to Stay in Orchard Road, Singapore
Orchard Road is a shopper’s haven in Singapore with countless retail counters touting the latest bags, shoes, watches and more than you can ever think of Sovereign city-state Singapore is a nation with many titles. It is recognized as one of four Asian Tigers, along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan; all of which boast exponential economic growths annually. Singapore is also recorded as the most “liveable” city in Southeast Asia. And if you want to see the tip of the iceberg of that, nowhere else is any better than the Orchard Road.

Where is Orchard Road and how to get there?
Orchard Road is right at the heart of the city and is actually a long thoroughfare lined with high-rise buildings and shopping malls. From the airport, you can go straight to Orchard Road using the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit system or subway) that would cost you for about S$2. Taxis are aplenty in Singapore but not so nice sometimes, partially due to the “Singlish” (Singapore English) dialect of most drivers. A taxi ride, though, could cost you way much more expensive, but no need to walk to your specific destination. The taxis in Singapore are not allowed to pull over randomly to pick up passengers; each road has a designated area for the taxis to stop and the passengers to queue to get into the taxies. Public buses in Singapore are amazing, thanks to the very detailed routes, which actually cover all areas of the city. However, they are often jam-packed with passengers during rush hours. By the way, renting a car is mind-bogglingly expensive in Singapore—which is also one of the most expensive cities to own a vehicle in the world.

What to find in Orchard Road?
Orchard Road is known for three things: shopping, shopping, shopping. It’s worth repeating since you can literally shop the whole day and would not have covered even half of the retail centers on that road alone. At one corner is ION Orchard, a sleek commercial center carrying high-end brands and fine-dining restaurants, sitting opposite to Lucky Plaza and Wheelock Place. All these big shopping malls are wonderfully connected through a maze of tunnels that are safe and clean—unlike the tunnels you’d find in some European capitals.

Another thing most people do when going down to Orchard Road is a hospital visit. There is Mount Elizabeth Hospital that’s usually where Indonesians, Singaporeans and Malaysians go to when consulting on internal-organ problems. Gleneagles clinics and hospital are spread throughout the Orchard Road and vicinity, and they handle health problems related to eyes, dentals, etc. Mind you, these hospitals and clinics in Singapore are not cheap, and they are often busy with incoming patients from Singapore and beyond.

Last but not least is good food. Almost 70 percent of Singapore’s population is Chinese, and good food is therefore always a relevant topic to talk about whenever, wherever. On top of the ION Orchard is Australian celebrity chef Luka Mangan’s Salt Grill, a wonderful fine-dining restaurant that offers succulent steaks and beefy meals. For premium high teas, the first and the second floors of the ION Orchard have the TWG cafes—a fine tea brand from Singapore that now has excellent cafes selling heavy and light meals. For something lighter but of premium qualities, you can enjoy nibbles of French macaron Ladurée or Chicago Garrett Popcorn in The Nge Ann City, just next door to the ION Orchard.

The Orchard Road is also not short of cheap Chinese eateries and street foods. The Lucky Plaza is one great option to discover old Chinese favorites, especially Singaporean delicacies including Nasi Hainam (Rice with Chicken Soup). But for kebab lovers, don’t miss a kebab stall in front of the Nge Ann City that is open in the evenings. The long queue is worth it!

Where to stay in Orchard Road?
Orchard Road is flocked with both opulent and budget hotels. On the top tier of hotels, both Four Seasons Singapore and Grand Hyatt Singapore (at Scotts Road) are not just exquisite hotels to stay in, but they also have a beautiful shopping arcade/mall on their own. If you love high-end brands such as Balmain and Comme des Garҫons, the one at the Four Seasons should not be missed. St. Regis Singapore is within walking distance from Orchard Road and has great Sunday brunches. Yet, since Singapore is a city that’s wonderfully connected, there would be no problem should you decide to stay a little bit far from the Orchard Road such as in the iconic Marina Bay Sands or even at the hotels in the Resorts World Sentosa. Or else, there’s a lot of apartments for rent or budget hotels along the Orchard Road.

HOW TO BOOK:

Singapore