IHG's millennial brand Hotel Indigo managed to snag a rare as hen's teeth beachfront location for its first resort locale. Fronting the sands at the southern end of Seminyak, the year-old resort is a riot of colour and youthful energy with nods to the local Balinese culture and traditions. Sprawling across 4.7 hectares of lush tropical gardens, the resort culminates at the rolling waves of Mesari Beach, where Sugar and Sand, the resort's beach club, opened at the beginning of September.
The immense, and decisively Instagrammable lobby, dubbed the Neighbourhood Gallery, certainly packs serious wow factor. There's a Balinese Subak-inspired wall, leafy foliage, outdoor artworks by local artists, water fountains, brightly coloured wicker chairs and restored vintage bicycles. Tucked off to one side is reception, where guests are served a butterfly pea welcome drink and cold towel on check-in. Beyond lie 270 contemporary rooms and suites, 19 pool villas, five dining and bar options, three sprawling pools (adults only, a shallow kids' pool and lap pool), a fitness centre and spa.
Our 50-square-metre king bed oasis room may be the smallest of the room categories (and a bit of a squeeze for a family with an extra rollaway bed), but it packs a lot in. There's a glamorous bathroom with black and white mosaic tiled shower, and gold washbasin with ladle. I'm told this is how the Balinese typically bathe. Both the bedroom and shower open out onto the balcony, which has a suspended daybed and privacy screens overlooking the adults-only lagoon pool with its lush palms, frangipani trees and cave-like dens with sun lounges.
There's also a ''punch and munch'' bar, a step up from the average mini bar with espresso machine, manual juicer, snacks and local sweets, plus a separate boudoir, with luggage storage and dressing table with make-up mirror.
Competition for the dining dollar is fierce in this neck of the woods yet, come sundown, despite being peak season, there were only a handful of guests dining in-house. This is a pity as all outlets look fabulous. However, the experience sadly didn't live up to the smart surrounds.
Breakfast was a different story and every table was full. There's a good breakfast buffet spread on offer and while staff were clearly doing their best, we waited more than 45 minutes for a fresh juice one day; 40 minutes for eggs the next.
The adjoining Pottery Cafe looks promising, but again the single origin coffee was disappointing. By far our favourite outlet was the Tree Bar, where bar staff (mixologists) went above and beyond to concoct creative cocktails (and mocktails for my 10-year-old daughter), while the complimentary snacks were delicious.
Make a beeline for Revolver Cafe (a 10-minute taxi ride away) for brunch and some of Bali's best coffee. Will Meyrick's sultry Som Chai, meanwhile, is fabulous for pre-dinner cocktails and Thai inspired street food. Start with a ''chaitini'' in the sultry front bar, then tuck into soft shell crab, Penang beef cheek curry with kaffir lime and Thai basil or delectable betel leaf wraps. Better book a table for the following night too.
If your idea of holiday heaven is sunsets, cocktails and cold scented towels by the pool, then Hotel Indigo Seminyak is your Shangri La. It offers a funky design, inviting pools and, best of all, cool bars, fabulous dining and boutique shopping are all a short stroll away.
Jl. Camplung Tanduk No.10, Seminyak. Rooms start from $US237 a night. Phone +62 361 209 9999, see ihg.com/hotelindigo
The funky design, daybed on the balcony, and the wonderful staff.
The food lets the experience down somewhat; however, don't let that put you off. You're surrounded by fantastic bars and eateries.
Sheriden Rhodes was a guest of the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG).