Bali, also known as the “Land of the Gods,” is a place that exudes colour and spirituality, and although it is a busy holiday resort, there is still much to see and do in this ancient and holy place.
It is not surprising then, that Bali has all the ingredients for travellers on their honeymoon wanting a luxury resort with exotic culture, majestic beaches, sports activities, excellent food, buzzing nightlife and of course, exceptional service.
For over 20 years, The Four Seasons Jimbaran Resort has secured its position as one of the top luxury resorts in Asia. With a reputation for high quality service and style, I was looking forward to staying overnight and sampling some of the newly-introduced experiences.
The gateway into Bali is by Ngurah Rai International Airport, which can be extremely busy, particularly as this small island now attracts over 5 million tourists a year. However, only 15 minutes away from the airport by car, Four Seasons Jimbaran feels as though you have been flung into an oasis away from the well-developed hustle bustle of Bali’s main town of Denpasar. Smiling staff, walkways of bougainvillea, koi fish ponds and a view out across Jimbaran Bay are very welcoming, especially after a long flight from Europe.
Thirty-five acres of tropical gardens are interwoven among a collection of 147 thatched-roof villas that blend into a hill. Being one of the first resorts on the island, Four Seasons Jimbarah was able to secure the best location with a combination of both cliff and beachfront land, and views across Jimbaran Bay’s fishing village.
The Resort’s most palatial villas have recently been rebuilt after a two-year renovation based on designs by the late Jaya Ibrahim. I stayed in one of the recently renovated Premier Ocean Villas, with its own private pool and an impressive view across the bay.
The villa had a very contemporary take on Balinese design with marble flooring, timber ceilings, new artworks and gorgeous fabrics. I liked the clean lines of the furnishings in mostly neutral tones, which were refreshingly elegant, modern and light. Of course, the full force of an outside shower amongst the bougainvillea and a large luxurious bed with honeymoon flowers, set the tone for a great start to my stay!
I started the evening at cocktail hour at the resort’s Sundara Beach Club Restaurant, an all-day dining and lifestyle destination on the wide curve of Jimbaran, where I enjoyed cocktails and a little soul searching with a James Brown tribute band by the ocean. There was a great vibe with a mix of ages clearly enjoying themselves. The restaurant has a series of food stations, covering Italian, Japanese, Korean and Balinese cuisine. I thoroughly recommend the sushi tuna as a starter and I’m told that the Sunday lunch buffet is a must!
After cocktails, I had dinner at Taman Wantilan restaurant, which is a new interactive dining concept where you create your own culinary journey as a host of specialty chefs cook an extensive variety of Asian and Western cuisine in open show kitchens. It was a difficult choice to know which station to choose, with the sashimi and seafood bar where you can choose a selection from the famous Jimbaran Fish Market, to the station cooking up home-style curries, or the Italian station with an array of pasta dishes or the station serving slow-roasted macadamia-crusted prime ribeye and lamb racks and hamburgers. In the end, I chose the Singaporean chilli crab with a light salad from the wellness station, which was delicious and just light enough if you are planning a day in a bikini by the beach!
The resort prides itself on a host of new destination-inspired experiences and activities to celebrate all that Bali offers, from art and culture to natural landscapes, traditional healing, beauty treatments and adventure sports. You can also sign up for dance classes, heli-surfing, paddle-boarding and water biking adventures.
Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay also has a special programme for guests who want to learn traditional Balinese dancing in a very unique way. The hotel will organise groups to visit the School for the Hearing Impaired, and using sign language, they will learn the art of this style of dancing (the resort sponsors the school). Since the students here cannot hear the music, the dancers follow sign language given by a choreographer to match their movements to the music. Just incredible to watch. Balinese dance is so intricate and skilled, but guests are nevertheless invited to get up and learn some of the moves with the dancers. The performance can also be arranged at the resort as part of a welcome dinner or gala event.
I then chose to do a totally new experience – an Anti-Gravity Yoga lesson, which involves a ground-breaking “flying” technique, using hammocks to support your weight. Hanging upside down in a cocoon of silk in various positions can only be described as “bat-like” yoga! I was told by my instructor, Gunta, that the enhanced and inverted postures relieve stress, encourage healthy blood circulation, and do great things for your health and fitness. I certainly felt stretched and reinvigorated. It was fun – particularly seeing the beach from a different perspective from my anti-gravity position upside down. An experience not to be missed!
The following day, I managed to grab the last few hours before departure on a sun lounger at the Beach Club and took a dip in the infinity pool, which feels as though you are part of the sea, with the scent of frangipani flowers drifting across the pool. A spot I simply didn’t want to leave.
Clearly, time and reputation at Jimbaran have only added to the ultimate client satisfaction. I can see why Four Seasons Jimbaran’s extended family of guests will keep returning. The villa had all the comforts that you would hope for in a top resort, but it also has style and understated luxury which is difficult to get right.
One thing that hasn’t changed here, however, is the legendary Four Seasons service. The staff are very much a part of the experience here, as they were all so delightful and helpful wherever I went. Nothing was too difficult or too much trouble. They were always smiling, which really makes a difference when you are looking for a seamless stay on a honeymoon retreat.
Four Seasons may not be the only luxury hotel brand nor the only one with remarkable service, but Four Seasons’ consistency is what gives it an edge. Despite the brand’s rapid expansion and far-flung presence, there is no such thing as an underwhelming experience at a Four Seasons Hotel. Four Seasons at Jimbaran is indeed a very special place, and I am looking forward to coming back one day!
Tie in a trip to the Four Seasons Sayan, where the Obamas stayed last summer, up in the cool rice valleys of Ubud for a totally different experience – the two make a great combination.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
For resort reservations, call +62 (361) 701010 or contact via the website here.