When I arrived at the Bulgari Resort Bali, I was immediately greeted by a vista which took my breath away. Located on the southern Uluwatu cliffs, the resort offers dramatic unbroken views of the Indian Ocean. A refreshing crushed basil, mint and honey drink magically appeared. I reclined on a comfortable couch, allowing the balmy Bali breezes to drift through my consciousness.
The Bulgari Resort Bali has 59 one- to two-bedroom private villas, and five three- to five-bedroom mansions on an adjoining property with a separate entrance. All have ocean views and their own private pools. The entire resort is spread across 8.4 hectares, allowing for beautiful tropical landscaping and maximum privacy.
All villas and mansions come with a butler service. My butler was an excellent source of information. I found out, for example, that the bedspreads in my villa took three months to make. “They are hand-woven silk, and are in every bedroom”, he told me. When I admired the cutlery, he explained that it was custom-made. Detail is everywhere, right down to the ashtray, which he said had to be photographed and sent off to Bulgari head office for approval. Everything at the Bulgari Resort is imbued with class.
It did not take long to feel at home in my gorgeous villa surroundings. I loved the unique blend of understated Bulgari style with Balinese artistry. Needless to say, there was a mini espresso machine with Italian coffee in my villa, along with some excellent Italian wines.
My first stop was the spa. The spa reception is located in a magnificent 14th-century joglo house brought there piece by piece from Central Java and reconstructed on the site. Passing through its ornate doorway, I immediately sensed the romance of old Java amid the scent of frangipani and jasmine and the impressive collection of Javanese, Chinese and Arabic carvings. What a place to settle in and select a fabulous treatment from the spa menu.
The spa provides European, Balinese and Asian body wraps, massage therapies and water healing treatments. The beauty salon menu includes intensive facial treatments and ayurvedic rituals. If you are in doubt about what to choose, I recommend the Bulgari Signature Ritual. This is a two- to three-hour Royal Lulur treatment, using a massage and therapy technique dating back to the 17th-century palaces of Central Java.
There are six treatment rooms in the spa. These include two Royal Pavilions, perfect for couples. The Pavilions feature an outdoor garden, outdoor rain shower and a plunge pool.
I was pleased to have time after my treatment to soak in the atmosphere of the wonderful open-air relaxation lounge. The designers, Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners, have employed a timeless flowing style. As I stepped through billowy white curtains, I encountered yet another unbroken view of the blue horizon. My host prepared a recliner and encouraged me to stay for as long as I wished. The surroundings were nothing short of spectacular.
Next, I felt some retail therapy was in order. It was a delight to peruse what’s on offer from one of the world’s most prestigious designers. I took my time drifting through the racks of soft flowing dresses and cutting-edge men’s shirts for both casual and formal occasions. There’s also a fabulous range of Bulgari accessories including shoes, handbags, watches and sunglasses, plus a selection of seductive Bulgari perfumes and beautiful Indonesian handicrafts. Very few, if any, other luxury resorts can match the opulence of the Bulgari selection.
The resort has a number of tempting choices for dinner. Il Ristorante – Luca Fantin is a fine dining restaurant. It specialises in Italian cuisine, including such delicacies as squid ink gnocchi. There is also the less formal but equally stylish Sangkar Restaurant, which offers a choice of Balinese, modern Asian and traditional Indonesian delights as well as a fine international menu. Dishes include, for example, whole lobster in a balinese spice marinade.
I was feeling like something light, and so my choice for the evening was The Bar, a sophisticated but relaxed place to take in the sunset. It has an impressive beverage and snack menu. I finally went for a crisp white wine with canapés, and lingered well after the sun went down. A fabulous way to wrap up my day.
The next day I decided to head for the beach for lunch. This entails taking the resort’s glass front inclinator down the cliff face to the Bulgari’s private beach. There are two dining options at the end of this cliff-hugging descent. La Spiaggia specialises in barbequed seafood and organic salads. The Beach is a very casual open-air café, located close to shoreline. You can lunch barefoot if you wish, and enjoy your beach experience with butler service and your constant companion, the ocean.
If you are into health and fitness, check out the fabulous fitness centre or try the gentle flow yoga class. This class is a beautiful way of attaining mind, body and spirit connection, and is led by a Balinese yoga master. I took in an early morning session on the resort’s cliff edge yoga platform, which is beautifully decorated with purple cushions and sheer white curtains.
For those who like to explore their surroundings, I can highly recommend the village walk, which takes in two small temples and allows you to see how people live in the local village. If you wish to go further afield, the resort has a number of carefully selected offerings, from museum visits to helicopter rides. It’s worth finding time to visit the famous Uluwatu Temple, only 10 minutes away. A trip to Bali is not complete without exploring Bali’s rich culture and heritage, and Uluwatu Temple is one of Bali’s revered sea temples, set in a stunning location.
The Bulgari Resort Bali delivers an exquisite experience, with the highest level of personalised service that reflects the warm Balinese spirit. If you are a first time visitor to Bali or a returning visitor, put Bulgari on the top of your list for a memorable stay in the famed “Island of the Gods.”
Story by Stephanie Brookes
Stephanie Brookes is a travel writer and blogger with tales from Indonesia and beyond. Please see www.travelwriter.ws
Bulgari Resort Bali – Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
These one- and two-bedroom villas feature a lounge area, central indoor living room, a studio, a garden with a plunge pool and outdoor shower and ocean views. The interiors are decorated with antique Balinese art and equipped with a Bang & Olufsen audio/video system.
There are five mansions in total. The three- and five-bedroom mansions feature private pool and garden with Indian Ocean view, terrace, open-air living room pavilion, Bang & Olufsen video & audio, Miele kitchen appliances and private elevator. Every mansion has its own garden and a swimming pool ranging from 14 to 23 metres, surrounded by sun decks and a gazebo.
Facilities: Bars & Restaurant, Spa, Fitness, Yoga, Private Beach, Bulgari Boutique and Gift Store