The Anantara Uluwatu in Bali… you know which hotel I’m talking about, chances are you’ve seen the architecturally designed glass-fronted chapel featured in countless Bali #inspo posts on Instagram. The resort, hugging south Bali’s rugged limestone cliffs and providing uninterrupted views of the awe-inspiring surf and sunsets across the Indian Ocean, is inspirational indeed.
But what makes the luxurious Anantara Uluwatu stand out from the other five-star resorts of this ilk that dot the Balinese coastline is not the endless in-suite infinity pools and spa baths that seem to melt into the glistening ocean (although they are epic), or the convenient location close to world famous Padang Padang beach (yet far enough away to relish in some peace and quiet). The very thing that makes this resort so special is its most unpublished, most unassuming, most rustic asset: the little slice of wooden-and-bean-bag paradise that is the ‘Surfari Surfdeck’, jutting out from the cliffs like an extra limb over the crystal clear sea below. Accessed by a travelator from The Anantara Uluwatu pool, this private deck is just about the coolest place in Southern Bali. You can chill-out and read a book while working on your tan, watch the surfers catch the big waves of the Impossibles surf break right in front of your eyes or sip on a Bintang and munch on some spring rolls from the restaurant above (they have butlers who come to you so you won’t need to worry about hauling-ass up and down that vertical lift like a yo-yo just to get served)! It’s also the best place to go to witness absolute unrivalled sunset perfection. I’m talking magical fairytale sunsets that might incite a ‘happily-ever after’ proposal of sorts if you happen to be there with your significant other…don’t say I didn’t warn you!
If you’re feeling a little more reclusive and want to spend the morning on your balcony with some breakfast and a newspaper then no problems – each suite (note: they don’t actually have normal sized ‘rooms’ at the Anantara Uluwatu) affords head-on collision-worthy views of the ocean as well – you’re just not going to be able to dip your toes in the sea like you could on the Surfari Sundeck. But the gigantic hot tub on the balcony provides the perfect setting for pure unadulterated relaxation and more than makes up for missing-out on that tangible and refreshing feeling of salty water on your skin. It’s just you, some sumptuous bath salts and the view in the privacy of your room.
In fact it’s almost impossible to go anywhere within the resort’s bounds without being blindsided by the magnificent views. Like a shadow standing in the sun, you can never fully escape it. 360 degrees, the more upscale of the two on-site restaurants, is perched high on the top floor of the main building with an outlook-factor that definitely lives up to its name. Coincidentally, 360 degrees is also the place to find the word’s most comprehensive buffet breakfast, complete with fresh coconut water straight from the coconut, cold-pressed juice, Asian and American-style eggs and if you’re feeling particularly hedonistic, the crunchiest bacon ever (ah, I’m a sucker for it).
Also on the top floor is a little room pimped out with the latest cooking apparatus for the private ‘Spice Spoons Culinary Journey’ cooking classes the hotel offers on a ‘by request’ basis. I decided I wanted to pretend I was a contestant on Indonesian Masterchef so I opted in to become the apprentice of one of the hotel’s award-winning chef’s for a few hours. I followed the chef around the local markets like a straight A student, learning about the vibrant and enticing produce the Balinese people cook with everyday. Back in the cookin room, I cooked a myriad of ethnic dishes (with Cheffy’s help of course) including Gado Gado, Nasi Goreng and fragrant whole Indonesian Red Snapper, and even honed by knife-skills while I was at it. The cooking class was definitely an experience, made even better because I got to eat everything I cooked! Needless to say I was rolling out the door by the end of the class! Good food and good views will get me every time.
The Anantara Uluwatu: The Lowdown
The Anantara Uluwatu
Jl. Pemutih – Labuan Sait, Kuta Sel., Bali 80364, Indonesia
+62 361 8957555
Visit the website here.
Stefanie stayed courtesy of The Anantara Uluwatu in April, 2015. All opinions are her own.