Bali's funkiest address, a sprawling, buzzing enclave between Legian and Batu Belig, is home to the island's coolest boutiques, high end restaurants, funky cafes and more. It's main strip, Jalan Oberoi or Eat Street (named after the iconic Oberoi Bali), which morphs into Jalan Laksmana, is a vibrant mix of retail therapy, hip bars and eateries. Sadly there are no rice fields left in this bohemian enclave with every available spare inch now a commercial venture of some sort. However, remnants of Balinese culture remain if you keep your eyes peeled.
Start on Jalan Oberoi near Seminyak Square (pay the time share touts no mind), and explore the funky boutiques of Press Ban, Kids a Go Go and Home Store. Every Balinese man you pass will offer you transport. Seek respite from Bali's hot and humid weather at Revolver Espresso (revolverespresso.com), tucked off the main drag (look out for their sign featuring two pistols) where a warm welcome by the Balinese staff and great coffee is guaranteed. Recharged, tackle the next strip of shops along Jalan Laksmana where you'll find Brazilian brand Uma and Leopold and Wanderlust for cool bikinis and one-piece swim suits.
It's almost worth holidaying in Seminyak for the food alone, at around half the price you'd pay back home. A must is Mama San (www.mamasanbali.com) by chef Will Meyrick, formerly of Longrain and Jimmy Liks in Sydney, where dishes like roasted Peking duck with steamed choy sum and red bean sauce and the moreish chatuchak crispy pork ribs with green mango peanuts and Nam Yam dressing vie for your affection. Tiger Palm (twww.igerpalmbali.com), Meyrick's fourth and most recent Bali venture, is also a knockout. Order a coconut mojito to go with your finger lickin' crispy lamb ribs with black vinegar chili hot bean paste and the delectable steamed whole fish with pickle lime garlic and green chili padi. Colourful Motel Mexicola (www.motelmexicolabali.com) is fun for tacos, tortillas and frozen margaritas while Italian stalwart, La Lucciola (Kaya Aya Beach/Temple Petitenget), affectionately known as 'La Looch', is the quintessential brunch spot.
Park yourself for the day on a sun bed at hip beach club, Ku De Ta (www.kudeta.net) or rival Potato Head (www.ptthead.com) – Seminyak's best haunts for people watching. Be sure to arrive well before the crowds for prime sunset viewing to the soundtrack of cool tunes and even cooler cocktails. If crowds aren't your style, the new Alila Seminyak's (www.alilahotels.com/seminyak) chic Beach Bar offers a sophisticated spot for sundowners. Order a spicy cha margarita while gypsy songstress Lydia Rose from Melbourne serenades you with her sultry tones.
Seek respite from the heat in the communal loft space of Spring Day Spa (www.springspa.com; in Seminyak Village and Petitenget), by New Zealander Ina Bajaj, founder of the well-known East Day Spa, and Derek Lockwood, worldwide design director for Saatchi and Saatchi. In the afternoon treatments are delivered to the chilled sounds of a resident DJ. Take a yoga class at the gaudy looking Prana Spa (www.pranaspabali.com), which also delivers fabulous Ayurvedic treatments, and be sure and take a stroll barefoot along the long stretch of Seminyak beach.
The new highly anticipated Alila Seminyak (www.alilahotels.com/seminyak) enjoys a prime beachfront location at the southern end of Seminyak with 240 minimalist rooms, suites, and a single penthouse, four pools, a fab onsite restaurant and spa. The Oberoi Bali (www.oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-bali), designed by Australian architect Peter Muller, an iconic property set in six hectares of landscaped gardens with swathes of lush lawn, feels like the Bali of old. Past guests include Mick Jagger and the late David Bowie.
Mama San is booked out even in low season so reserve a table way in advance. Early evening is the ideal time to hit the shops, when there are smaller crowds and it's decidedly cooler.
Sheriden Rhodes was a guest of Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and Alila Seminyak.