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Bali isn’t known for just one thing.
Some travelers make pilgrimages to Bali to bask in the sunshine and the scent of plumeria that seems to saturate the air. Others come to learn to surf, and delight in the island’s secluded beaches with world-class breaks. Still others seek peace — through yoga and spiritual union — in Bali’s thousands of temples. Honeymooners dine alfresco and splash in their villa’s private pools, and families unwind over fragrant meals while watching the kids splash on the soft sandy beaches.
Indeed, for such a small island, the offerings are as plentiful as the variety of tropical fruits.
Anantara Hotels & Resorts has an especially strong presence in Southeast Asia, and the company currently operates Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort and Anantara Seminyak Bali Resort on the southern end of the popular Indonesian island of Bali (in addition to Anantara Vacation Club’s apartment suites).
Here’s what you need to know to make the most out of a stay at Anantara Uluwatu or Anantara Seminyak.
Anantara Seminyak Bali ResortIf clients prefer a lively vibe — while still staying beachside — suggest they head to Anantara Seminyak.
The property attracts families, as they can stroll straight from one of the three swimming pools onto the sand and into the waves. The ocean here is deeper and more swimmable than at sister resort Anantara Uluwatu, so children can pass the hours by bodyboarding, learning to surf or letting the waves gently toss them to shore.
I spent nearly the entire day on the beachfront loungers, migrating barefoot from the pool — which has built-in chairs — to the sand, then the sea, then back to the restaurant overlooking the pool. We even indulged in a high tea session, enjoying a selection of sweet and savory treats served with iced or hot tea that was delivered to us in our lounge chairs for a mid-afternoon snack.
Rooms with views of the ocean have wide balconies as well as bathtubs, so clients can rinse off the salt and sand before heading out into the Seminyak area to hit the thriving restaurant and nightlife scene. The easily walkable locale is great for shopping and grabbing ice cream, and nearby beach clubs and restaurants play bouncy music and offer cold drinks.
Note: Anantara Seminyak Bali Resort will be closed for a renovation between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15, 2019.
Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort The region of Uluwatu in Bali is renowned for surfing, and it has become a sleepy surfer’s paradise over the years. The small-town, surf-shack vibe is preserved in part because of Uluwatu’s geography — jutting out to the Indian Ocean, the cliffs and rocky terrain are stunning and make for some of the world’s best waves.
At Anantara Uluwatu, guests are greeted with an open lobby that overlooks the ocean and features the “perfect Bali sunset,” as we were told when we arrived — and it did not disappoint. The 74 suites and pool villas are also great spots to perch for the sunset; the two- and three-room villas are designed with groups of friends and families in mind. We grabbed cocktails and seafood barbecue for dinner and felt time slow down as we watched the surfers below catch their last waves of the day as the sun sank behind them.
The resort is perched on a cliff and features an elevator that conveniently takes guests directly down to the beach below. We found the water stunningly clear and clean, stretching about 100 feet before turning into the waves in which the real surfers play. (This stretch is also home to surf competitions.) The resort’s infinity pool is a perfect lookout point over the ocean to see surfers bob and fly through the waves, but guests may see a different visual feast: Parades of monkeys often strut through the foliage that borders the resort and the cliffs.
However, what may be the best perk of being so far “out to sea” is nearby Uluwatu Temple. Meaning “land’s end” and “rock”, this is one of Bali’s most scenic holy places. The resort can arrange an evening trip to the site — the perfect place to catch the golden hour — which is a shrine to Hanuman, the white monkey god in Hinduism. Pro tip: Around sunset, recommend that clients watch the world-famous Kecak fire dance at the temple.
Anantara Across the BoardAnantara is known for customizable dining and spa options, and these two Bali resorts are no exception. Dining by Design at each property allows clients to choose a menu for the occasion or design a menu with their personal chef. Additionally, the spa at each hotel offers signature treatments with “choose your own adventure”-style options, so spa mavens can select their preferred massage oil and scents; music; and pre- and post-treatment beverage such as spicy ginger tea or a refreshingly cold juice spiced with turmeric.
Both resorts offer an extensive breakfast buffet with ocean views, so enjoy the morning glow over a cup of coffee and a platter of dragon fruit and papaya. No matter which Anantara you choose, my personal recommendation is simple: Try the banana pancakes.
The DetailsAnantara Seminyak Bali Resortwww.anantara.com
Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resortwww.anantara.com