MGallery Amarterra Villas, Bali
Amarterra Villas are in Nusa Dua, on the southern tip of Bali. The area is something of a gated community – a region separated from the rest of the island consisting almost entirely of resorts. As such, it's not somewhere to head for a cultural experience, but rather a place for a private escape. There is a small shopping centre nearby but most of the restaurants here are expensive by Balinese standards (though still cheap by Australian standards). Although it's gated, it's not all that gated – if you leave your resort by foot you'll still be approached by the ubiquitous drivers you find all over the island spruiking tours and transport, though they're not as prevalent as other parts.
Coming through the gates of the Amarterra Villas we're greeted by a gorgeous water feature, with a pathway sinking between two waterfalls before a set of steps lead into the area where 39 villas, each with a private pool, await. The lobby is an open-air space off to the left while a small boutique store is across the water. Further into the property there is a large pool adjacent to the resort restaurant, as well as enclosed wicker lounges perfect for relaxation. The nearby spa, traditionally Balinese of course, offers a range of treatments – a gentle massage works out the stresses and muscular pains of office life. While the property is not on the beach, it is just a short walk away and the Amarterra has its own beach club with staff on hand to arrange drinks and meals from the beachfront restaurants.
As the name suggests, Amarterra Villas offers all-villa accommodation. Our one-bedroom villa offers a large courtyard that also features the open air living area, with a couch, dining table and kitchenette, television and stereo. There's a daybed and deck chairs, with three frangipanis along the middle of the space, dropping their beautiful flowers occasionally. The highlight though, in the extreme Balinese heat, is without doubt the villa's private plunge pool. In fact, "plunge" pool probably doesn't do it justice, given its size – at 1.5 metres deep and 10 metres long, it's big enough to do laps in (the villas with multiple bedrooms have even bigger pools). The indoor space offers a large bedroom with the high, thatched roof of a traditional Balinese dwelling, a separate desk space and walk in robe, and a large bathroom with a bath at the window overlooking the courtyard (along with a TV at one end) and two showers – one outdoors. There is a strange design element (increasingly common in luxury hotels, I note) where the toilet only has some parts of the glass frosted, meaning you'd best leave the room if your partner is using the facilities.
The mini bar, with the exception of alcohol, is included, with a variety of soft drinks, tea, coffee and various snacks on offer.
Staff service is excellent – the kitchen will meet any room service request from the menu, whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner. On one occasion we forget to lock the room safe and immediately upon return the phone rings to tell us that the cleaners locked it for us and we're given the new combination. The nightly turndown service comes not with chocolates on the pillow, but traditional Balinese sweets, each with a card explaining the dish.
While the nearby shopping centre, Bali Collection, offers a range of restaurants of varying cuisines, the resort's own restaurant offers an excellent mix of both Western and Balinese dishes. I opt for a duck leg with ginger sauce though the barramundi is also excellent. The breakfast menu is extensive but it's hard to go past the signature Amarterra breakfast that, along with cereal, pastries and fruits, features a centrepiece of eggs florentine with a lobster ragout served in the shell. Alternatively, a short taxi ride north will get you to Bumbu Bali 1 (or, if that's full, Bumbu Bali 2 nearby) which offers excellent traditional Balinese fare, along with music and dancing. See balifoods.com
Aside from the beach, Nusa Dua has little to offer beyond the boundaries of the resorts. However, the spectacular clifftop Uluwatu Temple is worth taking an evening trip to and it's easier to access from Nusa Dua than Kuta. Though you're likely to be surrounded by hordes of tourists, it's still a beautiful spot to watch the sunset and there is a nightly cultural show in an amphitheatre near the temple that's worth seeing for the price (about $10).
Amarterra Villas offers top-notch luxury and service for those looking for a private escape in Bali. Indeed, it's hard to drag yourself away from the villa when you can spend the day lazing by the pool.
Jetstar flights to Bali 10 times a week from Melbourne, seven from Sydney, four from Brisbane and three times a day from Perth.
A villa at Amarterra Villas starts from IDR 3,740,000 ($380) per night. See amarterravilla.com
The private pool gets plenty of use as a relief from the heat between sessions lying around on the daybed.
The outdoor living area is great, but it does mean if your neighbour over the wall decides to watch TV or listen to music, the sound carries.
Craig Platt stayed with assistance from Accor Hotels and Jetstar.