Having just returned from Bali a couple of weeks ago I have had time to really contemplate and think about this latest trip.
Of course as someone who is based in Perth, one of the cheapest and easiest holiday destinations is Bali and so for the past 30 years we have been heading up there fairly regularly when we wanted a few days break, some respite from the hustle and bustle of Perth and some chilled out down time.
On the recommendations of friends (some of whom where with us on parts of this trip) we did things a little differently. Trevor had decided after our last trip that he did not really want to spend time in Seminyak again for a range of reasons that I will talk about later on.
So it was some new parts of Bali that we headed for the first 11 days of our 2 week stay with a final 3 nights in Seminyak for last minute shopping and the chance to re connect with some of our favorite spots.
The first 5 days were spent up in Ubud, a place that we had only every visited for the day and what a purely magical place it was. There was not all the chaotic times on the roads, the pace was more laid back and the foot paths and roads were not filled with people touting and selling. The locals were more respectful and friendly and it really set the scene for 5 magical days of exploring, sitting by the pool and exploring some great new restaurants.
The Komeneka Rasa Sayang
We stayed at the Komeneka Rasa Sayang and were spoil t with a stunning large room with balcony and a bathroom that was perfect – 2 sinks, great tub and a stunning large shower! The pool was a nice size and the staff were professional, courteous and never in your face. It was the perfect way to start the trip.
It was great to wander the streets and never feel hassled. We had some great meals in the local warungs and a stunning meal one night at Bridges where there was a group of 14 of us. The food was sensational and this is really one of the best restaurants in Ubud. The only thing that let it down was the mediocre service. They got a couple of the orders wrong and they never seemed to be around when you wanted to order another drink. But making up for that was the food, which was simply some of the most amazing that we had in Bali.
The other simply breathtaking spot that we went to for dinner was The Chedi Club. A small boutique (and very expensive) place to stay that has an incredible restaurant that serves and exceptional degustation menu with matched wines. It is a fabulous resort and the food, service and night that we had there was truly memorable.
The Chedi Club
After our time in Ubud came to an end we then headed to Sukawati to the Royal Purnama Art Suites and Villas. We found this spot on Luxury Escapes and booked a 7 night stay in an ocean view spa villa.
The Royal Purnama
They picked us up from the Komeneka in a stunning car that had leather reclining seats and had chilled towels to cool ourselves, snacks for the trip from Ubud and bottled water.
This was just the perfect way to start this next part of the trip and 20 minutes later we arrived to be greeted by very welcoming professional staff. This is a real 5 star resort and as it was low season there were not many other guests which made for a truly magical experience as we really wanted to chill, lay by the pool and read a book and just enjoy the down time.
Our villa was simply divine! With a large front balcony with views of the ocean and an on balcony spa the room then opened up the a large king size bed, a sitting area, even a small kitchen and then the largest most luxurious bathroom.
The amazing Villa with gorgeous amenities and views
The deal we had included breakfast every day, afternoon canapes, an afternoon tea by the pool, a seafood dinner for 2, a beach side BBQ for 2 and 2 ninety minute bamboo massages. Each one of these was fabulous and it really was the perfect spot to unwind and really relax.
Fabulous food at the Royal Purnama
They also offer daily trips to Sanur and Ubud if you get a little stir crazy just staying at the resort. We did a couple of trips to Sanur and 1 evening went back to Ubud and found the most wonderful French Bistro.
The food was delightful and they really went to town with breakfast each day. Unlike the big resorts who offer a buffet breakfast this was a more tailored approach that really worked. Firstly we were served coffee and our choice a freshly squeezed juice combinations such as beetroot, apple and ginger. This was followed by fresh cut tropical fruit, freshly baked pastries and then we had the choice to order from the menu our main dish.
A memorable breakfast each day at The Royal Purnama
This was the perfect way to start the day and every meal that we had whilst we were there was delicious and the prices were reasonable.
Then it was time to head to Seminyak for the final 3 nights and a stay in the Villa Mystique with our friends Ken and Karen. The Villa was huge, well appointed, if a little dated but with our own large pool and plenty of space it was a nice haven to get away from the chaos that rains supreme in Seminyak.
As you will know if you have read any of my previous reviews of Bali, I love the restaurants in Seminyak but what I have noticed over the past couple of trips is that the prices have been going up – closer to Perth prices than what you expect from Bali, the roads are always busy and chaotic and it takes much longer to get anywhere than it used to (the roads are simply not made for all of the large people movers that now dominate the roads) and it is just packed everywhere you go.
It seems that it has moved from being a relaxing time away in Seminyak to being a chaotic, full on, pricey spot to stay in. Really it has lost its lustre for me and from now on when we choose to head back to Bali we will be heading straight for Ubud – a true Bali oasis that offers the things that I have come to expect from Bali. Seminyak for me is like Perth in a tropical location now…it does not offer much of that traditional Bali culture and experience. Most of the top restaurants are owned by Aussies, which of course is fine, but they forget they are in Bali and have set Australian prices and over the past couple of trips I have seen the prices go up and as that happens the tourists stay away and so the landscape continues to change and evolve.
They need to be careful because if the prices do continue to rise then people will find that Bali and in particular Seminyak is just too expensive and for the same price you can experience somewhere else such as Singapore or Thailand.
We will be back but Ubud it will be from now on!