Bali on a 'Queens' budget

by Joshua Heath


Forget backpacking and ten dollar massages, welcome to the opulent world of the Four Seasons Bali.

 

Like most Aussies I visited Bali in my early 20's on a shoe string budget and loved every minute, racing through the streets on a scooter, daily massage and the crazy night life, oh the night life. Now I'm much older and wiser I've developed a taste for the finer things in life, including how I like to holiday. I've never thought of Bali as an opulent holiday destination, normally I head for the sun soaked beached of Saint Tropez and Mykonos....That was until I discovered the Four Seasons Resort Bali in Jimbaran Bay and Syana.

Stay

Jimbaran Bay

 One bedroom ocean view villa. Jimbaran Bay

One bedroom ocean view villa. Jimbaran Bay

 One bedroom, ocean view villa. Jimbaran Bay

One bedroom, ocean view villa. Jimbaran Bay

This luxurious oceanfront all-villa resort extends across 35 acres (14 hectares), giving you direct access to the beach right from your villa. Each opulent villa is surrounded by a private tropical garden and offers 200 square metres of indoor and outdoor space. The open-air sitting and dining areas overlook your private plunge pool, where you can enjoy an ocean view from the comfort of your own sun lounge. The well appointed bathroom is equipped with a double vanity, oversized bathtub, and flows through to an outdoor garden shower.  

STAY

Sayan

 One Bedroom Villa, Sayan

One Bedroom Villa, Sayan

Surrounded by lush tropical forest beside the Ayung River, it's easy to see why The Four Seasons Resort Sayan has been recognised as one of the worlds best resorts. 

The Resort sports 18 spacious suites and 42 private villas - each embracing the island’s natural beauty. The accommodations blend contemporary and Balinese décor styles, incorporating traditional teak furniture and plush hand-loomed fabrics. 

The One-Bedroom Villas are designed to harmonize with the exotic surroundings, offering spectacular views of the rice terraces, resort landscape and tropical forest. Your own lily pond and meditation area invite you downstairs into the villa where you enter the outdoor living/dining area with infinity edge plunge pool. The opulent living spaces are nicely accompanied by a spacious bedroom with large walk-in closet and generous bathrooms featuring gorgeous terrazzo tiles, double vanities, deep soaking tubs and separate indoor and outdoor showers.

EAT

 Sundara Restaurant

Sundara Restaurant

Sundara offers the perfect mix of five-star flair and relaxed beach-club vibe. The expansive indoor-outdoor design combines a restaurant, air-conditioned bar, open-air terrace and beach-front daybeds for lounging by the 57-metre long Infinity Edge Pool. With stunning views from every seat, I highly recommend a cocktail or two and take it all in.

 Sundara Restaurant. Jimbaran Bay

Sundara Restaurant. Jimbaran Bay

Sundara proudly presents cocktails mixed by one of the world’s leading cocktail authorities, mixologist Javier de las Muelas, who also owns Barcelona’s Dry Martini, one of world’s most eminent bars. Sundara signature drink : Jim-Let Fox-Trot, a heady mix of Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic that will blow your taste buds and your mind. Important note : pace yourself, the Balinese make 'em strong. 

  Sundara Restaurant. Jimbaran Bay

Sundara Restaurant. Jimbaran Bay

The open plan kitchen serves top quality steak and seafood melding western and Balinese cooking influences that leave you wanting to try everything on the menu. This is five-star dinning at its best and sets a very high standard for the area. The stunning restaurant also boasts floor to ceiling windows offering breathtaking views across the bay from every table. 

Relax

 Karmic Cleansing Ritual. Jimbaran Bay. 

Karmic Cleansing Ritual. Jimbaran Bay. 

The Karmic Cleansing Ritual is a must-do on your first day at Jimbaran Bay, I felt like I was floating for an entire week after it. 

Your journey of self-renewal begins with a traditional “sound bath”: using Balinese gongs, expert healers soothe your nervous system inducing a state of inner tranquillity. Balinese massage follows, using long strokes, gentle skin rolling and deep kneading techniques. Next, a spiritual yoga master leads you through a relaxing yoga practice, with chanting and meditation. The resident Balinese priest completes your enlightening experience with a karmic cleansing ritual using age-old rites, incense, flowers and Hindu holy water. You’ll emerge renewed and revitalised.

 My Private mediation session on the banks of Bali's sacred Ayung river. Sayan

My Private mediation session on the banks of Bali's sacred Ayung river. Sayan

I've always wanted to learn to meditate, to ease my mind from hectic pace of city life. I may not be a master meditator yet, but I have mastered the basics so when my week starts to snowball and my mind races, I breathe, think of my time on the Ayung river and …………. Namaste. 

PLAY

  The Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy. Jimbaran Bay. 

The Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy. Jimbaran Bay. 

  The Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy. Jimbaran Bay. 

The Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy. Jimbaran Bay. 

Book in! This wonderful cooking experience gives you a hands-on opportunity to learn the secret techniques and distinctive ingredients  that inform Indonesian cuisine. We started with a private tour of the local Jimbaran Fish Market (optional, wear covered shoes) then a tour of the extensive resort gardens to pick key ingredients. The kitchen is air-conditioned, equipped with gleaming state-of-the-art appliances, black granite bench tops and those fancy induction hot plates. Obviously, your cooking experience finishes when you devour your creations at the communal dining table or outdoors in the shaded courtyard. This is a fun 5 star experience that I 1000% recommend.

 A Day in the life of a Balinese farmer. Sayan 

A Day in the life of a Balinese farmer. Sayan 

Growing up on a cattle farm I couldn't turn this opportunity down. 

Start your day journey with a private guided walk through rice fields and jungle paths leading to the banks of the fast-flowing Ayung River. Stop for a picnic breakfast in a rice field pavilion (bale), surrounded by lush greenery and shimmering rice terraces. After breakfast to build up your energy, you'll help local farmers plant rice, then savour the water from a fresh coconut picked and cut just for you. To reward your aching body and wash away the mud you’ll venture to the spa villa close to the banks of the river, where your therapist will guide you through a traditional bathing ritual. During this one-of-a-kind treatment, you’ll experience the river’s cleansing properties with an invigorating river-stone scrub followed by a soothing Balinese massage. Linger by the river for an authentic farmer’s lunch of nasi campur. This is a true Balinese experience you’ll remember for a lifetime. 

 

After planting rice and playing in the mud, chilling out in the incredible Sayan Spa Villa was the 'cherry on top'. 

 Sayan Spa Villa 

Sayan Spa Villa 

While I adore the sun soaked beaches of Europe, when I’m looking for something a little closer to home, the Four Seasons Resorts Bali is my new go-to destination for 5 star Eat, Stay, Relax and Play.