Hotel and Accommodation - Bali Boutique Hotel
In recent years the island of the Gods has become the site for many of the world's best boutique hotel and resorts with more to come.
Certainly the beginning of the new super luxury trend began at the end of the 1980s with the opening of the Amandari, perched on the edge of Ubud's Sayan Gorge. The concept did not exactly spring up spontaneously if one remembers that many of those that would be later associated with boutique hotel including Australian architect Peter Muller and Adrian Zecher, the genius behind the Aman resorts, had close ties with the Tanjung Sari crowd of expatriates.
Muller, who was the architect for today's Bali Oberoi in the 70s when it was still known as Kayu Ayu, perfected his vision of melding traditional Balinese architecture with a modern luxury resort without losing the integrity of either in the Amandari which remains one of Bali's Premier luxury hotel. Amandari was later joined by the Amanusa in Nusa Dua catering to golfers and the Amankila beach resort near Candi Dasa in East Bali.
Certainly the biggest Competitor of the Aman group is the Four Seasons Resort Bali which has been named by numerous magazines as the best resort in the world. Here the Australian architects were clearly influenced by Muller's vision, which they expanded to a resort of nearly 150 individual villas each with its own pool. Despite its relative large size for a boutique hotel, the large grounds and the layout of the Four Seasons always gives the impression that you have the entire resort and a private view of the entire island alone.
Not satisfied with one property, Four Seasons will soon open its own resort in the Sayan Gorge not far from the Amandari. This hotel of fifty rooms will be strikingly modem in design in contrast to most. One assumes that the Four Season, as always, will make sure that it is impeccable.
For those truly looking for local character several new luxuries resorts often run by traditional princes have sprung up closer to Ubud in recent years. In particular one should take note of lbah and the Pita Maha both, which overlook the Campuhan River. They are reminiscent of the Amandari but on a much smaller scale.
The royal family of Ubud has been hosting guests since early this century and one can feel this in the ambience and service. This combined with a host nearby temples and activities such as dance and drama available to visitors in Bali's self declared artist's village Ubud, offer a wonderful experience in the lap of luxury.
Ubud also boasts several other world class hotel and resorts including spas such as the Tjampuhan Resort and Spa, Kamandalu Resort & Spa, the Waka di Ume and the Chedi further up the Sayan Gorge with a spectacular view and great restaurants architecture unlike the others mentioned is far more modem and less.
The resort is perched above the Ayung River, which is not only the largest but also the longest river in Bali, almost cutting the island in two. The resort was name Kupu Kupu Barong. because of the many beautiful butterflies seen fluttering from one plan to another around the resort. "Kupu Kupu" means butterfly and "Barong" means giant, hence the name "Giant Butterfly" or in Indonesian Kupu Kupu Barong.
For those in search o also a number boutique resort there are of excellent choices. Out in East Bali' is Amankila high up on the cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean and with a private beach club shared by the lesser priced Serai Hotel.
Travel an hour further east and then north along the coast and you will arrive in the well-known diving spot Tulamben. Where one once only met bamboo huts now stands the simple but tastefully done Mimpi Resort. While certainly not as luxurious as the other boutique hotel, it's still worthwhile visiting especially if you are a diver.
Lorin, a new chain of luxury hotel, has also taken over management of the Saba Bai Resort just east of Batubulan on the coast. Here you are in the real Bali totally surrounded by rice fields, coconut trees, Balinese villages and the great waves crashing on the beach. It is rare to find this sort of isolation.
Another tiny beach resort is the Tugu in the surfing beach Canggu north of Kuta and Legian. Here the owner has put on display his own collection of art thereby creating a special ambience.
Just as many places in the world, the spiraling value of land in Bali is pushing many to go up market. The result has been better and better hotel and resorts.
Canyon Ranch of Arizona, for example, has an ambitious new property in the planning on a huge piece of property in Antap, along the coast in West Bali. We will see more and more of these type of developments in the future. Some like Pecatu Indah on the Bukit will be mega with thousands of buildings planned.
The boutique hotel is another concept. By it very definition they must be small and limited. Above all very to have there own recognizable flavor and character they need. The only similarity between many of them is luxury and excellence. One hope that their growth, presenting pleasant alternative to large hotel, will continue grows.
It is not simply how many hotel rooms you have but how wonderful they are. Luxury, too, is not only determined by expensive materials for many of these resort often use the simplest of local materials such as Amandaris mud like paras Taro that had major effect of buildings materials on the island as the Balinese realized that marble wasn't everything.
If you have the money and want to really relax and enjoy yourself while visiting Bali, make sure that you reward yourself by staying in one or more of the worlds best resort.
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