The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts brand is well known for its superior luxury and worldly sophistication, but when someone mentions “gourmet food experience”, this global hotel chain is not always the first thing that comes to mind. The Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran Bay, however, is leading the way for the brand.
Situated along the tree-lined curve of one of Bali’s most pristine beaches, this Four Seasons resort serves as a tropical oasis, hidden away from the humidity and fast-paced activity of the local town. Surrounded by views of the Indian Ocean, the resort’s luxurious villas and residences sit nestled upon the hillside, connected by paths that lead directly to the private beach. The intimate but oversized terraces, opulent indoor and outdoor living areas, secluded pools and lush gardens are great for a romantic holiday, but work well for families also.
But this luxurious retreat offers more than just an idyllic beach escape. Guests travel to sample the edible experiences the Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay has to offer. Begin with what the resort proudly touts as a ‘Culinary Tour de Force’; a journey of four courses, each taking guests to a different, picturesque location. The dining experience begins at sunset, at a private table-for-two by the foreshore. Absorb the view of the traditional Jukung fishing boats dotting the calm waters of the bay while sampling the exotic flavours of Indonesian-style tapas. The second course, an entree, brings local seafood specialties into the spotlight. Savour this underneath the open-air, thatched-roof pavilion of the resort’s Taman Wantilan restaurant, while basking in the gentle sea breeze. The third course, Asian-inspired contemporary cuisine, is served at the oceanfront restaurant Sundara, which is named after the Sanskrit word for ‘beautiful’. Finally, dessert is served in the garden of a private, candlelit villa.
For those after a more interactive food experience, Sundara bar staff, who have been trained by renowned Spanish mixologist, Javier De Las Muelas, are available to pass on valuable skills in cocktail mixing. Alternatively, take one of the daily cooking classes at the Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy, led by head chef and Balinese native Anak Agung Kristya Yudha (also known as Kris), who has been cooking with the Four Seasons for more than 20 years. Begin at 9am with an optional tour of the Jimbaran Fish Market, where chef Kris explains how locals shop for fresh produce, and details the history of the traditional seaside village. Upon returning to the resort, pick ingredients (such as Thai lemon basil, tamarind and pandan leaf) from the Academy’s own herb garden before gathering in the state-of-the-art kitchen to cook a five-course meal. All recipes are created by Four Seasons chefs, and use organic Indonesian ingredients. Traditional menus rotate daily and specialise in cuisines from regions across Indonesia, such as Java, Nusa Tenggara, Sumatra, and of course, Bali. Finish with a sampling of the day’s culinary creations around the communal dining table or outside in the stone-paved courtyard, and take home a certificate of achievement and a hand-drawn menu. The classes are suitable for food-lovers of all ages and skill levels and are limited to eight participants per session, in order to ensure a more personal experience. Classes for children also run once a week, with a focus on Indonesian pastries and desserts.
The gourmet experiences don’t end there. The resort offers plenty of intimate dining options, including a sunset cruise around Jimbaran Bay – where guests can sit back and watch the sun set over the water while sampling canapés and champagne. If the water isn’t your thing, try one of the many a la carte and set-menu options available – ranging from the Jimbaran Seafood Experience served in the privacy of your own villa, to the Indonesian Indulgence banquet served in a gazebo on the beach.