I have a confession to make. Despite the thousands of Australians who flock to Bali each year, it has never been high on my travel wish list. Yes I admit it, give me a pair of hiking boots and a tent over a flop and drop resort. That’s my idea of a holiday. However the lure of being one of the first to experience the new six-star Mulia Resort with a front row seat to the white sands of Nusa Dua beach has me packing my bags not my boots.
It’s a short trip, three nights to be exact, but I’m determined to make the most of it. Arriving in what they dub the rainy season, it’s extremely humid though not a drop of rain in sight. Entering the Mulia is a grand affair and as I’m chauffeured to the lobby in air conditioned comfort I start to realise the impressive scale and opulence of this development. I’m staying in a suite at the resort, although guests can also choose from private villas with hydrotherapy pools or stay at The Mulia beachfront suites, both with private butler.
The Mulia’s impressive network of pools spills down to the beachfront
After a quick check-in I’m shown to my suite and I think to myself, I’m going to need a map. I fling back the door wasting no time to head out for a dip. I whip on my bikini without a second thought and high tail it to the pool. Hmm where’s the pool?
The term Bali bliss gets thrown around a lot, but I’m still a sceptic. There are three pools in the resort and, after some wandering, I end up at the ocean pool. I’m in awe at its size, as it must be 100 metres across and smack bang in the middle is the pool bar. It seems a long swim for a mango daiquiri, but I’ve got all afternoon. The frozen cocktail goes down like a dream and as I swim back to my deck chair a strange feeling comes over me. I think I’m starting to relax. As I flop in my chair, the white sand and crystal blue water pales to shades of pink and gold as the sun dips towards the horizon. As my second daiquiri arrives I’m greeted again with a menu, but this one’s not for the bar. I opt for the foot massage and breathing deeply I notice one very important thing: it’s quiet. All I can hear is the soothing, steady pour of water from the statuesque fountains that tower over the pool. As dusk falls and the cool evening sets in, the resort becomes an impressive scene of romantic, glittering lights and contrasting shadows, and I start to feel peckish.
View from room
I dine at the resort’s Cafe, which imparts a global assault on the senses complete with buffet and a la carte style meals cooked as you watch. From a fiery Indian vindaloo, Chinese stir-fry with tasty soft shell crab, Japanese sushi bar, an authentic Thai green curry and spicy Indonesian Gado-gado, I sample them all but I go back for seconds at the Korean BBQ. You could eat here for a week and not get bored, and I haven’t even reached the dessert bar. With more than 20 perfectly crafted masterpieces to choose and a gelato bar, not surprisingly I soon retreat, stuffed, to my over-sized suite and impeccably turned down bed.
Breakfast is served on my private balcony and today’s agenda is a spa session. The Mulia has a state of the art wellness suite which includes a Finnish sauna, Bali’s only sweet ice room and an aroma steam room with emotional shower. I set the program to start with a divine passionfruit flavoured rain shower followed by sweet, aromatherapy steam. As the room heats up my senses are soothed with colour and music therapy. Next I’m sprayed with an absolutely heavenly peppermint mist. I really don’t want to get out. After going through the cycle three times it’s time to brave the ice room. It feels like -20 degrees and as ice pours down from the ceiling I grab handfuls, rubbing it into my skin. While it’s completely invigorating my hands and feet are numb so after five minutes, rather than risk frostbite, I head back to emotional shower. After a quick sauna I’m indulged with a one-hour traditional head to toe massage, then the spa staff bid me farewell as I float out the door.
A one bedroom villa
The blazing sun quickly snaps me back to reality and I’m tempted back to my spot by the pool and the promise of another daiquiri. To be frank, I’m surprised to be looking forward to another day by the pool with my book, but the charm of Bali and the Mulia’s unassuming perfection is taking hold. Later I take a little stroll along the beach, marvelling at the Balinese temple looming on the hillside. I head back early to immerse myself in the huge freestanding bath and top it off with a luxuriating shower. The head is as large as a dinner plate and the massaging jets feel great on my back. The whole experience at the Mulia exudes luxury but it’s not pretentious. From the imported European marble floors to the impeccably dressed and discreet staff, every detail is executed seamlessly.
The ice room in the Mulia Spa