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  • Writer's pictureEva Piskadlo

Raffles Bali | Hotel Review

BALI


This property stands as an unrivaled sanctuary for discerning luxury travellers eager to bid adieu to stress and embrace the journey of spiritual growth.


Image courtesy of Raffles Bali

Raffles, the embodiment of colonial elegance renowned for its iconic Singapore Sling cocktails and opulent hospitality, remains an enduring icon in contemporary times. Transcending its storied legacy, this prestigious brand's unwavering commitment to exceptional quality and flawless service found a new home in Bali, thanks to visionary private owners who acquired the land four decades ago and inaugurated the property in late 2021. Having cherished fond memories of Raffles from my childhood in Singapore, the delight of indulging in the Raffles experience in Bali was truly a nostalgic little treat, and a much-needed escape from the English winter.



Yet, while the echoes of Raffles' heritage persist, the ambiance of the resort leans more towards the intimate charm of a Balinese villa rather than the formality of high teas and uniformed doormen. Raffles Bali seamlessly blends timeless sophistication with the laid-back allure of the island, crafting a distinctive and captivating retreat for the discerning traveller.



Spanning 57 acres, the resort boasts 32 contemporary Balinese-style pool villas, each an epitome of luxury. Nestled on the enchanting Bukit Peninsula, the property commands breathtaking views of both Jimbaran Bay and the picturesque southern landscapes of the island. Embraced by a lush, verdant valley on one side, its steep, densely vegetated slopes enhance the aura of seclusion and tranquility, creating a haven of privacy. The setup lets the property breathe; you never feel like you're sharing space with many others, even when the resort is full. And the glittering sea is visible from everywhere. Conveniently located just a 20-minute drive from the airport, this gem also has access to a secluded beach, ticking off land, sea and forest. From the drive-up alone through the driveway, you know this place is special.


Whilst attention to detail defines the architecture, it gracefully takes a back seat, allowing guests to fully engage with the natural surroundings rather than it being just a backdrop. Throughout the property, discover a curated collection of South-East Asian artifacts, complemented by captivating paintings from the renowned Walter Spies. Raffles Bali invites you to immerse yourself in a world where lavish tranquility and cultural richness converge.


Image courtesy of Raffles Bali

The Villas


Within the expansive embrace of ocean-facing villas, each boasting one or two bedrooms, beckons guests into private sanctuaries adorned with the rich tapestry of batik fabrics, complemented by rattan furniture and Indonesian hardwood floors. Nestled within landscaped gardens, these retreats open gracefully onto al-fresco dining areas and infinity pools, with sun decks on one side and opulent, plush-cushioned gazebos on the other. All villas are designed with privacy in mind, and we were very generously given two one-bedroom villas to enjoy for myself and my family.


Never underestimate the power of a private infinity pool. Our villa came fitted with one of these overlooking the glittering sea below, with sun loungers and a dining table - great for those evening sundowners and pool-side breakfasts.


Each villa has a walk-through dressing area, a thoughtfully appointed work desk, and a spacious bathroom featuring both indoor and outdoor showers, alongside a free-standing large bathtub.


The minibar, curated with imported spirits, stands ready to indulge, while an espresso machine adds a touch of refinement to every stay. These ocean-facing abodes promise a seamless blend of elegance and comfort, where the underlying colonial touches that the Raffles brand is renowned for are skillfully woven into the classic Balinese interiors, creating an enchanting fusion of timeless sophistication and cultural richness.


Image courtesy of Raffles Bali

Sustainability


The essence of eco-friendliness is embedded in the very fabric of the Raffles brand from top to toe. The hotel’s commitment to sustainability is evident in every detail, from the walls and furnishings adorned with Propan's eco-friendly paint to the exclusive use of clean energy to power our electric buggies. Not only do these choices prioritise the well-being of our guests, but they also contribute significantly to minimizing our environmental impact. This dedication extends to the villa bathrooms and on-site toilets, where reusable soap dispensers promote sustainability, complemented by energy-efficient lighting that automatically switches off when the room is unoccupied.


Facilities


The vast array of facilities at the Raffles Bali includes two restaurants, the iconic Writers' Bar and library, an indulgent spa, a serene meditation terrace, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a dedicated yoga space, a captivating gift store, and two tennis courts.


Adding to the property's allure is a unique feature—an intimate limestone cave—serving as a tranquil sanctuary for meditation sessions and exclusive private dinners. Should the private infinity pool within your villa fail to meet your desire for space, indulge in the expansive beachfront infinity pool open to all hotel guests.



The Spa


At the Raffles Sanctuary, the conviction that emotional and physical wellbeing is essential resonated with me from the very moment I stepped into their inviting treatment suites. As time seemed to slow, enveloped in an aura of tranquility, the gentle sounds of the lush garden permeated through sliding doors, inducing a Zen-like serenity. The adept therapists skillfully worked to ease tension from my muscles and rejuvenate my skin, creating a holistic and rejuvenating experience. Drawing inspiration from Bali's rich heritage, many of the treatments incorporated local ingredients and healing practices, adding a cultural dimension to my spa journey.


One highlight of my stay was the Signature Meditation Terrace, which involved mindfulness classes spanning yoga, meditation and fire healing. For an unparalleled experience, I booked a session at The Sanctuary, a bespoke treatment suite nestled high on the hillside. Here, nature's symphony of bird calls and the sea breeze through the trees provided the soundtrack to my treatment. The Sanctuary transported me to a jungle idyll, the silence broken only by the sounds of the undergrowth—an unforgettable and exclusive retreat that encapsulates the essence of Raffles' commitment to holistic wellbeing.



Dining


The culinary excellence of Indonesia, frequently underestimated on the world stage, discovers an ardent champion in recent additions such as Rumari, the resort's distinctive restaurant poised on a terrace that offers a breathtaking vista of the ocean. Under the culinary mastery of Chef Gaetan Biesuz, a gastronomic odyssey through Bali's diverse regions unfolds in the form of an exquisite degustation menu. The culinary journey is nothing short of exceptional.


For those seeking a more relaxed dining experience, Loloan Beach Bar and Grill, an exclusive beachfront spot with views of a sprawling 25-meter pool, offers delights such as grilled seafood and fresh rice paper rolls.


Indulging in brunch poolside is a delightful experience, but the allure extends to breakfast on the terrace of Rumari as well. Here, the menu offers an array of Indonesian and international delights. The efficiency and generosity of the service make it all too easy to overindulge - but that’s really why you’re here. Rumari and Loloan Beach Bar and Grill showcase the resort's commitment to culinary excellence, inviting guests on a flavorful journey that seamlessly marries regional authenticity with a touch of luxury.


From the refined elegance of the colonial-inspired suites to the vibrant culinary odyssey at Rumari, the resort effortlessly balances opulence with a genuine sense of Balinese warmth. The Raffles Bali, with its fusion of timeless sophistication and island allure, truly stands as a beacon of hospitality, leaving an indelible mark on my memory.


All images courtesy of Eva Piskadlo, unless stated otherwise.


Address: Jl. Karang Mas Sejahtera No.1A, Jimbaran, Kec. Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia


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