Think Big. Think breathtaking. Now think luxury villas set atop ancient vertical limestone cliffs that rise from the Indian Ocean in an imposing fashion.
By Gary Allen | Published #62, Autumn 2015
The Bulgari Resort Bali in Uluwatu is in a league of its own. As one of only four establishments worldwide by the legendary Italian brand, you can only imagine that the setting needs to be spectacular to maintain Bulgari’s premium image.
As I take the first steps up into the vast, open-air lobby I am instantly drawn to the perfect balance of contemporary meets traditional Balinese, a refreshing reminder that I am still in Bali. Perched at the highest point of the resort property, the lobby has a captivating panoramic vista of the island’s southernmost point.
The resort has 59 villas, ranging from one to two bedrooms as well as five exclusive mansion residences with either three or five bedrooms, each with their own private balconies and plunge pools. Pushing through the towering Indonesian hardwood double doors, you are instantly met with the feeling of seclusion and serenity. The villas are elegant and spacious, designed to bring the outdoors in with glass panelling that runs floor-to-ceiling, allowing for natural light to flow in and an ever-present view of the lush surroundings, making you feel like you may just have this beautiful peninsula all to yourself.
The expansive property means that guests are offered the luxury of being whisked around on golf buggies by hotel staff if they do not wish to walk. We found ourselves thoroughly enjoying making our way around by foot on the cobblestone pathways checking out the lush surroundings, and of course, the views of the ocean from almost anywhere we walked.
One thing that all guests should definitely take advantage of while staying at the resort is access to the exclusive, guest-only beach club, located on a private 1.5-kilometre stretch of white sandy beach scattered with cave-like structures. With the ever-expanding influx of tourists, this is a rare opportunity while visiting Bali.
The journey down to the water is guaranteed to make your heart skip a beat. Transport to the beach is via a glasshouse inclinator, which descends down the steep slope of the rugged cliff face where you can have a birds-eye view of the beach below, and if you’re lucky like us, maybe even spot a pod of dugongs frolicking on the shallow reefs offshore. Stepping off at the bottom, you have a few options.
The beach club at the shorefront offers a number of lounge chairs and umbrellas set up for a day of sun and relaxation to the sound of the sea. Keeping true to the Bulgari quality of service, you will be tended to and offered cool refreshments, towels and sunscreen. Coming from Australia, we love to get into the ocean at every chance, so we made regular trips down here during our stay. As the beach is situated on a reef, it’s important to discuss with the beach attendant the best places to take a dip, depending on the tide and ocean conditions. Once you work up an appetite, lunch at the La Spiaggia is a must. A private, but casual, dining experience under the cliff, this is a great spot to sample some of the local seafood and signature cocktails.
If of course the beach is not your style, the pool is also very tempting. My kids were more than happy to enjoy a day around the infinity-edge pool, where you feel almost as close to the ocean as you do down at the beach. The staff are quick to take care of your every desire, with an array of magazines and a set of Bulgari sunscreens and spritzers at each lounge chair for your use.
During our stay we were able to enjoy a dining experience at each of the restaurants at the resort, and this is something I would definitely recommend as each has its own touches. The signature restaurant, Sangkar, meaning “birdcage”, is where the breakfast buffet is held each morning and is open for dining all day. Its menu is an innovative blend of Balinese and modern cuisine, where you can order anything from a Wagyu beef burger to an extravagant sushi and sashimi platter. For a finer dining experience there’s the Il Ristorante. Open for dinner only and offering a modern twist on classic Italian dishes, we were more than impressed with the exceptional service and creativity of the meals. The Jamon Iberico is a must try, and we also enjoyed the mushroom risotto and asparagus sautéed with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano. Finish it off with a scoop of gelato or a classic tiramisu and you will leave a full and happy guest.
It would be hard to imagine that you wouldn’t feel completely relaxed during your stay at the Bulgari, as it seems as though every want and need is catered for without you lifting a finger, but of course, if you are looking to go into a deeper state of relaxation then the spa might coax you away from your beach towel. It is available for a range of different treatments to suit your taste taking place in an antique native timber Javanese Joglo house, which was carefully dismantled in Java and reassembled on site. This traditional spa feels private and quiet. I enjoyed a facial and a lulur body scrub and then had a moment to myself at the private spa pool and lounge area. The Lulur scrub, also known as the “royal families ritual” is a traditional treatment that is comprised of a cleansing body scrub made of rice powder, turmeric sandalwood and fresh yogurt – I certainly felt like royalty here at the spa.
With its idyllic location, Bulgari Resort Bali is becoming an increasingly popular choice of location for weddings, with the first Bulgari chapel currently under construction.
I was thoroughly impressed with the exceptional quality of service and attention to detail at this luxury resort property. After a few days stay at the Bulgari, it certainly left me and my family with fond memories – and it truly delivered on its reputation as a luxury brand.
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The Indonesian island of Bali offers an abundance of luxury resorts to travellers seeking health and wellness experiences, five-star ocean front resorts and heli-surfing adventures. To ensure you experience the very best on offer on your visit to Bali, the writers at Luxury Travel magazine have compiled their independent list of the best places to stay in Bali for luxury travellers from all over the world. See the list here