Bali’s Newest Beach Resort Makes You Feel Like Royalty — and Each Villa Comes With a Private Pool – Travel + Leisure

Before even exiting our car at Jumeirah Bali, the newest beach resort on Indonesia’s famed Island of Gods, I felt special. The welcome party waiting at the end of a promenade of endless arches, columns, and flowing water — not to mention the chilled passion fruits atop crushed ice in gilded bowls — seemed poised for the arrival of royalty. And that, as I discovered over a weekend visit, is precisely the point.

The lavish Dubai-based hotel brand seems to have spared no expense in creating a thoroughly modern five-star, all-villa resort with robust ties to an opulent part of Bali’s ancient past. Through design, cuisine, ceremonies, and spa services, the resort brings to life the decadence and romance of the Majapahit Empire, whose power peaked in the mid-14th century.

Courtesy of Jumeriah Bali

We heard about this illustrious era from servers and our butler, all eager to tell stories of the royal age. This frangipani-scented resort that opened in late April 2022 is full of Instagrammable moments and high design but is also rooted in authentic cultural connections that make it feel grounded.

In Bali, water is associated with purification. Sitting on the Indian Ocean, it acts like one big water temple, with three infinity-edge, ocean-view swimming pools named for famous Majapahit reservoirs: Kolam Segaran, Balong Dowo, and Balong Bunder. They hover above a popular surf break I know as Dreamland, but, as we learned from a hand-written note left by our villa attendants, its proper name is Cimongka.

Courtesy of Jumeriah Bali

The villas are palatial but somehow also charming. There are 123 — each with a private pool — filled with a gorgeous white and blue palette that feels very Dutch, another reference from Indonesia‘s history. Exquisite is the best word for the interiors, from the intricate trim wrapping the rooms beneath lofty exposed ceilings to stone walls and painted wooden pillars hand-carved by Balinese craftsmen plus artisanal ceramics.

The tactile Javanese and Hindu-influenced design is a collaboration between Grounds Kent Architects’ Martin Grounds and Denniston‘s Jean-Michel Gathy. They’ve ensured beds are supremely dreamy, as are the massive free-standing bathtubs. Chic arrangements of tuberose filled our room with a divine scent and enhanced the already sedative vibe of the entire elegant suite.

As the perfect touch, we could peek at the ocean from our private pool, complete with a gargoyle-like Balinese statue spouting water and not one but two outdoor showers.

Courtesy of Jumeriah Bali

The resort is full of lovely little links to the past, such as the jamu kunyit asam, a drink thought to reach back to the 13th century in Java. The cuisine was equally thoughtful and outrageously tasty, starting at Segaran Dining Terrace with a five-course chef’s table journey. It included richly spiced and scented dishes like velvety buntut oxtail soup and barramundi steamed in banana leaf, which we enjoyed as waves crashed just meters away.

Everything had a story, and almost all the ingredients were locally sourced. The food was a true celebration of Bali and wildly creative: see the red-and-white Red Dragon cocktail of Bedugul strawberry with dragonfruit, Champagne emulsion, and Bali vodka made from sugarcane, representing the colors of the Majapahit.

Courtesy of Jumeriah Bali

On our second evening, we experienced the romantic dinner to end all, with thousands of flowers and dozens of candles arranged by the pool outside our villa. I half expected my husband to propose again. It was a wine-paired, around-the-world meal of king crab served with dots of technicolor sauces so cheery they put a smile on my face; tender, juicy duck; and a flaky sea bass with lemon risotto. Our five-course extravaganza finished with a bartender appearing poolside to shake us up espresso martinis using Bali coffee and local seagrass jelly.

The following morning the petals were still fresh when we slipped into bathing suits for a floating breakfast. Imagine savoring coconuts, avocado toast, chia pudding, fruit-and-cheese plates, Indonesian breakfasts, and cappuccinos from a giant basket while relaxing in your infinity pool.

Courtesy of Jumeriah Bali

But the food isn’t the only indulgence.

The resort’s Talise Spa is home to an authentic Turkish hammam, another reference to the royal vibe of the Majapahit and the famed Princess Campa. They introduced the local Balinese elite to Ottoman bathhouse culture in the 14th century.

There are also five rooms for customized treatments inspired by the ruling empire and incorporating Balinese, Arabic, and European knowledge in pursuit of balance and harmony. I tried a Divine Therapy, which began by tapping into ancient Balinese numerology using my birthdate to determine — quite accurately — which of my seven chakras is dominant and thus needs balancing. For my throat chakra, the source of communication, I was prescribed a grounding, deep, muscular massage focused on my lower back, using lavender, rosemary, vetiver, sandalwood oil, and bergamot.

On another occasion, I felt sensations swirl through my body during a sound healing meditation with metal singing bowls to align my chakras before we dressed up in Balinese kebaya and kamen for a sunrise water purification ritual called melukat. As a priest, known as pak mangku, chanted quietly to a ringing bell, sprinkling and dousing us with holy seawater, flower water, and fresh coconut water, two young women in vivid red attire held matching fringed umbrellas behind us, like we were royalty.

Courtesy of Jumeriah Bali

We tucked flowers behind our ears and pressed rice into our third eye while praying for positivity for our spirits and thanking the gods for all the goodness in our lives.

Aquamarine waves struck the sand below as we contemplated it all, occasionally spraying a fine salt mist. I realized then that while some resorts on the island offer a watered-down version of Balinese culture, Jumeirah’s dedication to it is absolute. For me, this authentically elaborate and multi-sensory ceremony was the culmination of it all.

Learn more about Jumeirah Bali and book a stay here.

Source: travelandleisure.com

Leave A Reply