In each post thus far I’ve shared with you the local and cheap side of Bali because that is what my bank account affords me at the moment. However, Bali is also a world class destination for the rich and famous, and though I have not fully experienced the elite and glamorous side of this island, I’ve had a few lucky sneak peeks that I’d like to share in case you want to go BIG for your next trip to Bali:
This is where my sister had her first wedding (the lucky girl had two equally incredibly weddings—the other in Christchurch, New Zealand!). There are four Alila establishments in Bali and eight in total, scattered throughout Indonesia and India. I’ve never been to any other Alila except for this one in Uluwatu, but I don’t doubt that every single Alila is spectacular in its unique context. The one in Uluwatu is elegant, humble, and dignified in its design, hospitality, and taste. Though I didn’t spend the night here, my sister did following her stunning wedding. Just to give you an idea of how spacious this resort is, we had to take a seven-minute golf-cart ride from the lobby to her villa. Once I saw her villa’s interior, I was mesmerized. Everything looked modernly amazing and perfectly balanced, much like everything else in the resort. Alila Uluwatu is now in Conde Nast Traveller’s “The Gold List 2012”, and you can read this fun review on Smith to understand why.
If it weren’t for my boyfriend’s baller friend, I would have never known the existence of Karma Resorts. He and his girlfriend booked a pool villa here for one night and invited us to take one of the three rooms available, and I felt like Cinderella stepping into a pair of glass heels. The villa was sophisticated without being overly indulgent, and I probably had the best sleep of my life on their extremely comfortable beds. We had less than 24 hours to absorb everything that the place had to offer, so we did that by indulging twice at the resort’s di Mare Restaurant. Let’s just say I had never thought of the word “divine” while dining until I had dinner and breakfast there. Then before we checked out, we luxuriated in a tanning and lounging session at Nammos Beach Club, the resort’s private beach, which you access via a cable car down the rock face of a spectacularly steep cliff to get to. When I was back at my house, I understood how Cinderella felt as she watched her golden carriage revert back to the pumpkin that it once was.
Rock Bar at Ayana Resort
This cocktail bar is probably one of Bali’s best known and must-visit places by now, and it fully deserves all the hype that surrounds it. To get to the bar, you have to venture through the entire span of Ayana Resort and ride a cable car down the rock face of a steep cliff (quickly becoming Bali’s favorite transportation?). Though I can’t say I agree with my cousin’s statement about Rock Bar—“You haven’t visited Bali if you’ve never been to here”—I do consider it to be worth the money and queuing time to catch a sunset here. Yes, unfortunately there is almost always a line to get in, and the last two times I came here before opening time at 5 PM, the queue was at least 30 minutes long. Besides that though, there are not many places on Earth that can offer you scrumptious cocktails in a location as gorgeous as this, so I happily accept its minor imperfections.
Before these three recent lucky encounters with the high life in Bali, I had only one: a night at the Bali Padma when I was about four because my parents got lucky thanks to their friend (I take after them, apparently), of which I have no recollections but there is a framed picture to prove it (as if it was a significant event in my life—thanks, Mom and Dad). I’m very grateful to have experienced this small taste of the wealthy lifestyle, but I also find it a little extravagant and unnecessary if this is all that you get out of Bali. So if you have the money to splurge at these places, congratulations. But I would also advice you to get out and experience the things money can’t buy (damn you Mastercard for forever branding that phrase), because that’s exactly where you will discover the real magic of Bali.