From the imperious main building – all blonde stone, Corinthian columns and puffs of pink bougainvillea – to its shimmering black-sand beach complete with linen-clad attendants, to the gracious guest villas, Amankila – Bali, Indonesia exudes a refined Balinese charm. The views across the Lombok Strait, one of the hotel’s main selling points, is somewhat marred, however, by the convoys of giant oil-belching cargo ships that criss-cross the channel, meaning you never quite feel like you’ve escaped the grasp of modern life.

Taking centre stage is a spectacular three-tiered swimming pool, which steps down the hillside echoing Bali’s cascading rice fields. Wind your way downhill from here and you’ll find a fourth fabulous pool at ground level, as well as a stunning sweep of volcanic beach.

ACCOMMODATION

Elevated to maximise sea views and joined by meandering walkways, Amankila’s Suites appear to float amidst frangipani and bougainvillea trees. With lines that reflect their east Bali surroundings, the architecture is inspired by the royal water palace of Ujung near Amlapura. Several Suites feature private pools.

All the villas are designed in the style of Balinese beach huts. With ample space – 6.3 hectares in total is allotted to around 60 guests – the villas feel more like luxurious private homes than hotel rooms. Décor has been kept simple but stylish with swathes of cream travertine, warm woods and delicate local artworks.

DINING

Amankila’s ocean-view Restaurant focuses on locally sourced ingredients. Traditional local techniques are combined with contemporary cooking styles for revitalising cuisine. Ducks are raised at the resort’s free-range farm in Jasri village; herbs are grown in Amankila’s garden; and cold smoking is done in the smokehouse. Vegetables and exotic fruits are the result of the rich volcanic soil spread beneath Mt Agung.

Breakfast is à la carte so you might as well enjoy it on your own terrace, listening to birdsong in your bathrobe while you feast on mountains of tropical fruit, fluffy eggs and baskets of pastries. The sole restaurant, located on a gorgeous open-air terrace, serves international and Indonesian dishes throughout the day. Guests can also order food and drinks by the pool and at the beach club.

WELLNESS & SPA

Drawing on the energy of east Bali, the Spa’s therapies aim for complete relaxation and presence in the moment. Natural ingredients are used in traditional Balinese baths, scrubs and wraps – available in the privacy of guest Suites, the massage pavilion, a beach bale or secluded open-air spot with tropical canopy.

ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES AND LUXURY CRUISES

The panoramic views from Amankila, perched on a hillside above the Lombok Strait, are the first step to discovering east Bali’s mix of spiritual and regal heritage. Sacred mountains tower over villages tucked between emerald-green rice paddies, where life has changed little over the centuries. Watersports such as scuba diving, sailing and paddle boarding can be enjoyed in the pristine water.

The waters of Amankila are teeming with options for discovery: regular cruises on the resort’s two boats, available for private charters, leave twice daily. Indonesia has the largest number of fish and coral species in the world, meaning virtually every stop in the shallow, pristine waters offers a new encounter.

BALI, INDONESIA

The rich and diverse culture of Bali plays out at all levels of life, from the exquisite flower-petal offerings placed everywhere, to the processions of joyfully garbed locals, shutting down major roads as they march to one of the myriad temple ceremonies, to the otherworldly traditional music and dance performed island-wide. Almost everything has spiritual meaning. The middle of Bali is dominated by the dramatic volcanoes of the central mountains and hillside temples such as Pura Luhur Batukau (one of the island’s estimated 10,000 temples), while the tallest peak, Gunung Agung, is the island’s spiritual centre.

One Island, Many Destinations

On Bali you can lose yourself in the chaos of Kuta or the sybaritic pleasures of Seminyak and Kerobokan, surf wild beaches in the south or just hang out on Nusa Lembongan. You can go family-friendly in Sanur or savour a lavish getaway on the Bukit Peninsula. Ubud is the heart of Bali, a place where the culture of the island is most accessible, and it shares the island’s most beautiful rice fields and ancient monuments with east and west Bali. North and west Bali are thinly populated but have the kind of diving and surfing that make any journey worthwhile.

Bali’s Essence

Yes, Bali has beaches, surfing, diving, and resorts great and small, but it’s the essence of Bali – and the Balinese – that makes it so much more than just a fun-in-the-sun retreat. It is possible to take the cliché of the smiling Balinese too far, but in reality, the inhabitants of this small island are indeed a generous, genuinely warm people. There’s also a fun, sly sense of humour. Upon seeing a bald tourist, many locals exclaim ‘bung ujan’, which means today’s rain is cancelled – it’s their way of saying that the hairless head is like a clear sky.

Bali’s Fun

At the end of the day (which is the start of the day for some visitors), Bali’s rich culture, many amazing sights and truly lovely people are what takes Bali’s sheer delight to another level. Because Bali is fun, no matter what you want or who you are. Seminyak has shops and designers, Kerobokan has luxe beachside resorts and superb eating, Kuta and Legian have the nightlife, and Canggu wraps it all into one irresistible package. Plunge deep into Bali’s spirit while renewing your own in Ubud or catching the perfect wave in Bingin. You name it, it’s here.


INDONESIA

Indonesia’s numbers astound: more than 17,000 islands, of which 8000 are inhabited, and over 300 languages spoken across them. It’s a beguiling country offering myriad adventures.

Rich Diversity

The world’s fourth most populous country is a sultry kaleidoscope draped along the equator for 5000km. From Sumatra’s western tip to Papua’s eastern edge, Indonesia defies homogenisation. It’s a land of so many cultures, peoples, animals, customs, plants, sights, artworks and foods that it’s like 100 countries melded into one.The people are as radically different from each other as if they came from different continents, with every island a unique blend of the people who live there. Over time, deep and rich cultures have evolved, from the mysteries of the spiritual Balinese to the utterly non-Western belief system of the Asmat people of Papua. 

Beaches & Volcanoes

Venturing across Indonesia you’ll see a dramatic landscape, as diverse as those living upon it. Sulawesi’s wildly multilimbed coastline embraces white-sand beaches and diving haunts, while Sumatra is contoured by a legion of nearly 100 volcanoes marching off into the distance, several capable of erupting at any time. 

Amazing Spectacle

Dramatic sights are the norm. There’s the sublime: an orangutan lounging in a tree. The artful: a Balinese dancer executing precise moves that would make a robot seem loose-limbed. The idyllic: a deserted stretch of blinding white sand on Sumbawa contrasting with azure surf breaks. The astonishing: Sunday mobs in a cool, glitzy Jakarta mall. The intriguing: the too-amazing-for-fiction tales of the beautiful Banda Islands’ twisted history. The heart-stopping: the ominous menace of a Komodo dragon. The humbling: a woman bent double with a load of firewood on Sumatra. The delicious: a south Bali restaurant. The shocking: the funeral ceremonies of Tana Toraja. The solemn: Borobudur’s serene magnificence.

Great Adventure

This ever-intriguing, ever-intoxicating land offers some of the last great adventures on earth. Sitting in the open door of a train whizzing across Java, idling away time on a ferry bound for Kalimantan, hanging on to the back of a scooter on Flores, rounding the mystifying corner of an ancient West Timor village or simply trekking through wilderness you’re sure no one has seen before – you’ll enjoy endless exploration of the infinite diversity of Indonesia.

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