Bali

March 13, 2007

(February, 2007) Amankila. It just doesn’t get any better than this. amankila_4420.JPGThe hotel is absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful. The service is friendly and there is not a wrong note anywhere. The main buildings are covered, but don’t have four walls, leaving one side open to the views down to the pool and then the sea. 

Because Amankila is built into a hill, only the reception area is at entry level. Down one long level is the breakfast/dinner room and across the way the bar. Straight ahead is one level of a three-level infinity pool. Down another level is the lunch dining room, the library and the shop, and the second level of the pool. A short jeep ride down the hill is a completely different pool, with a dining room for lunch, and then the beach.The villas climb up the hill from the reception area, linked by boardwalks.

All suites (there are no “rooms”) are free standing units, totally separated from the others. Some have private pools, but ours didn’t. We entered through an outdoor living room into a large bedroom. Behind it was a large dressing room, shower and other necessities. On every surface, each towel, each pillow, was a fragrant tuberose, and there was a large bouquet of them at the entrance.The food was as over-the-top as the hotel itself.

amankila_4387.JPGEach meal there was a printed menu, with both Western and Indonesian choices. Each day’s dinner menu was placed on the bed during the afternoon room servicing so you could think about your choices before heading down to the restaurant. There was usually one Westamankila_4448.JPGern and one Indonesian entrée and one Western and one Indonesian main course at dinner, with a la carte prices ranging from about $13 to $25. We always ate Indonesian, except at breakfast and just loved the food.

We drove to places like Ubud, an artisan’s village, with some talented painters and wood carvers. We snorkeled from their outrigger where they even served us tea and cakes on board. Varian got up one morning before 6:00 to meet the sous chef for a trip to a nearby market, a visit to a palm sugar maker and a salt farm, all leading up to the morning cooking class in the restaurant kitchen.

Gary found his way to the kitchen thus explaining the accompanying pictures of Varian in class. The two of us then ate for lunch what she had labored over all morning. It was served in a private dining room that we had never seen, on the far side of the main dining room.

amankila_4334.JPGOne night we were driven to a mountain top for sunset canapés. Another night we watched a Legong Dance before dinner. One day, they packed a lunch for us and drove us up to a site in the mountains for a lovely Indonesian picnic. 

(February, 2007) Amanusa. After breakfast at Amankila, a driver took us to Amanusa, about an hour and half away. This resort was spread over one main level, with the pool and an Italian restaurant at a lower level. The entrance to the facility is through a golf course, frequented by mainly Japanese travelers who own or rent the villas surrounding it.Our room here was also a free standing, completely-walled villa, with a courtyard in the front and one in the back. amanusa_0360.JPGThe room had much the same set-up of dressing room and bathrooms since this and virtually all the Aman Resorts are designed by Ed Tuttle, and he has found an aesthetic and functional formula for the rooms that is suberb. The main restaurant is Indonesian/Thai at dinner so those who want Western food must go to the Italian one downstairs. Otherwise it offers both Western and Asian food at breakfast and lunch. Here we ate mainly Thai since the dishes sounded more interesting and were definitely to our taste.With only two nights here, we never got to the beach, which is a 5-minute drive down to the Aman club. amankila_4483.JPGWe did take an excursion to a traditional home, which is still occupied; a traditional style village, Penglipuran, set up by the government in 1975 to preserve and illustrate the old way of life, and enjoyed a nice, light lunch at another Aman, in Ubud, Amandari.

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