Balinese Beauty at The Bulgari Resort, Uluwatu, Bali
Our Bulgari experience in Bali begins before we even realise. We were met airside by the fast-track airport team as soon as we stepped off our 18 hour flight from San Francisco. Our rockstar experience begins by being whisked through passport control, we are swiftly escorted to collect our bags and within no time we’re being ushered through the airport into a chauffeur driven 4×4 along the chaotic roads heading for Uluwatu.
The 45 minute drive passes through various colourful local towns, we passed a wedding which flooded the streets with laughter, dancing and vibrant floral offerings. As we continued south, the roads began to narrow, and we could tell we were getting closer. We made it to our haven, our oasis, our retreat for the week, The Bulgari Resort Bali.
Perched on the tip of a cliff 150m above the beach on the remote Southern tip of the island. You choose the Bulgari Resort Bali for rest and seclusion. Ubud is nearly 3 hours away (with the traffic) and Seminyak at least 2 hours by car, so come to Uluwatu to break away from the chaos.
It was mid-morning when we arrived, in no time we were whisked by golf buggy to our Premier Ocean View Villa. Completely secluded each villa is positioned for ultimate privacy. Ours was at a higher elevation than others, offering an all encompassing view over the Indian Ocean. Elegant lanterns light the way through the traditional Balinese front doors, step through the garden towards your infinity pool, terrace and luxury villa.
Thatched roofs of other sea view villas span the horizon. I dart from our villa to our outdoor living and dining room, our day bed is calling me for a siesta already, Etienne has already plunged himself into our pool.
Designed by Italians Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel & Partners, the resorts layout and overall design incorporates the culture and natural elements of the area. Built using hand-cut volcanic stones, rich exotic woods and refined fabrics in the villas and restaurants. Natural lava and palimanan stone are used in our garden and interior walls, local hardwood and sukabumi stones clad the outdoor showers, plunge pools and swimming pools at the resort.
Local antiques fill the villas, restaurants and spa. The furniture and decorative tableware, ceramics and woven fabrics are locally made, we visited local weavers, and also took an afternoon trip to ceramic brand Gaya to see for ourselves how the hotel commissions local artisans (a separate post coming soon on Gaya).
We unpacked, and went to explore the hotel before lunch by the beach.
La Spiaggia, the restaurant under the cliff face can only be accessed by funicular, so hold on, deep breath, it’s a fairly steep decent.
Beware of the naughty monkeys now, and remember they were here before the hotel. Keep an eye on your lunch at all times, and don’t be afraid to tell them to be on their way. We enjoyed lunch here on two different occasions and shared a table with fellow hotel guests from Brazil, Italy and the USA. The monkeys were eager to join in, but they know their limits and are fed daily by the hotel to try and keep them at bay.
Grilled lobster, fresh salads, giant prawns, local fish and rice dishes were our daily staple, with the best fruit salads I still dream of waking up to. The sea breeze will keep you cool, and the views are breathtaking.
The hot and cold plunge pools by the hotel swimming pool…
Above, the hotel arrival villa at sunset
For our first evening we chose to have dinner at Il Ristorante, an open air Bali style structure, set next to an ornamental water feature style lake. The menu pays homage to the Bulgari heritage serving a Italian fine dining experience. Think seared yellow fin tuna, grilled octopus, paccheri pasta, lamb ragu and wagyu beef followed by Amaretto soufflé with sour cherry sorbet. All paired with Italian wines of course.
That’s enough to set anyone up for a much needed long sleep in your Balinese thatched villa. Just hope you remembered to close your villa shutters before you left for dinner. The monkeys have a habit of having a snoop around your room in search of edible treats so be warned!
We had the hotel create us an itinerary for the week. We wanted fitness, relaxation, good food and some daily culture. Every morning before breakfast we would have a personal training class with Workshop Gymnasium. This fitness brand, developed in London by Lee Mullins, runs the fitness centres at the Bulgari hotels in Milan and London.
Lee was in Bali during our stay so we were thrilled to take advantage of his training methods. A one-to-one induction process on our first session assesses your ‘frame’, before Lee creates a training regime for just a one-off class, or a plan for you to work to for the week. The workouts are created to remove any imbalances, and through a natural movement based system, incorporate patterns of exercise that can be easily remembered to take home with you. We also incorporated yoga, swimming and daily massages to get our bodies up and running again.
We’re both practicing our programme 6 weeks since our return.
Breakfast always felt a little more deserved after our classes. Always my favourite meal of the day (until lunchtime arrived and i’d be seduced all over again) Sangkar restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Perched on the cliff top with jaw dropping views, this informal restaurant has a magnificent terrace, we’d sit as close to the edge as possible. I’d start my day with fresh vegetable juices, hot tea and a small bowl of hot noodles.
The hotel always felt busiest at breakfast. The hotel staff will always enquire if you slept well. They will offer suggestions of herbal teas to be delivered to your room with your turndown service, and will offer to draw you a bath with a mix of essential oils to ensure your utmost comfort at night.
Today we had plans at the Spa, but first we were invited to view one of the Bulgari Mansions. Completely private and perfect for a family holiday. Escape here for the entire holiday, or just use as a base in-between heading to the beach, pool and spa. Golf buggies will transport you around the resort as you wish. This is the ultimate rockstar retreat.
Equipped with every imaginable comfort, theses Mansions have a permanent staff whilst you’re staying, breakfast lunch and dinner can be served from the properties kitchen to your indoor or outdoor dining rooms. The pool stretches the entire width of the house, so frankly why would you want to leave?
Now lets get serious about The Spa. Traditional Balinese culture and the elegance of Italian contemporary style are reflected in the design of the spa. Frankly you could arrive after breakfast and not leave until sunset.
Begin with a cold infusion as you change into your Bulgari robe. Enjoy the steam rooms before your treatment or just settle into the relaxation pavilion overlooking the Indian Ocean. Indulge in a detoxifying cleansing ritual for 3 hours. Salt scrubs, a facial and a deep tissue massage? Yep, you’re in heaven.
A hot stone massage and body wrap sees you cocooned in a mud mask and linen cloths, before warm oils are poured onto your body, and hot stones are used to massage you into a state complete relaxation. Have you ever tried a Balinese four hand massage? This is the place, unforgettable.
As the sunset every evening, what could be more spectacular than indulging in the most celebrated of Italian traditions (aperitivo o’clock of course) than on a sunset drenched cliff top over looking the Indian Ocean.
Il Bar is a thatched bar at the centre of the resort. This was our communal spot every early evening before deciding which restaurant to choose for supper. Most evenings we were happiest with the bar menu at Il Bar.
During our final night at the hotel, we witnessed a Balinese musical dance local to the area, The Kecak Dance. Developed in the 1830s this mischievous monkey plays part in the plot to save a woman who is taken from her husband by a demon. 30 bare chested men descended on the hotel chanting and thumping their chests and fists together in rhythmic formation. Quite an incredible performance to witness, and quite the shock when you’re not expecting it!
A final night, a final feast at Il Bar. Our favourite Gai haw bai toey (chicken in a pandan leaf), iga babi, and the ultimage nasi goreng with lobster tail and Wagyu beef satay were all we needed to honour our last evening in Bali. We’d had 5 nights of utter bliss, and I definitely did not want to leave…
For your own tailor made experience at the Bulgari Resort & Hotel Bali, click here to begin your enquiry.
Bulgari Resort Bali, Jalan Goa Lempeh, Banjar Dinas Kangin Uluwatu, Bali 80364
With the most heartfelt thanks to Bulgari for such a wonderful experience. LWSY was a guest in August 2016.