Author: Kendall Hill
Photography: Julian Kingma, Luna2
W Retreat & Spa Bali
The tone of the Seminyak seafront, once defined by the old-school glamour of The Legian and Oberoi hotels, changed forever with the recent arrival of fashionably minded hotel brand W. This sprawling resort's DayGlo décor and upbeat attitude have made the southern Bali beach scene a magnet for well-heeled hedonists. Jl. Petitenget.
In the same vein as W comes Luna2 Studios, the latest lodgings from hip hotelier Melanie Hall. The exacting owner-designer behind Luna2 Private Hotel (actually, a five-bedroom villa), has just launched a bijou block of just 14 studios that can be described as garish or groovy, depending on your taste. Ground-floor studios have direct access to the 27-metre pool and all feature iPads, a maxi bar stocked with everything from Champagne to Chupa Chups, and a butler. Jalan Sarinande 20.
The Seminyak strip is a happy hunting ground for designer homewares, gifts and resort-friendly threads. There are always new discoveries to be made along Jalan Laksmana (aka Oberoi Street) and Jalan Raya Seminyak, but here's a few tips to get started. Enfants Paradis Botanical Skincare, by Australian designer Kirsty Ludbrook, has a devoted local following, especially for its detox bath salts loaded with volcanic minerals and salt crystals (Jl Basangkasa 56).
Nico Perez channels old Havana (or new Portofino) with classic linen pieces for men and women (Jalan Laksmana 79). Venture down Petitenget to Kerobokan for Carga, a homewares and gift store. Pick up pretty pressed-tin containers, ikat cushions and smart batik playsuits for infants by local label Coco & Ginger (Jl Petitenget 886). And at SKS, Alessi and Vivienne Westwood rub shoulders with leading Indonesian designers to create an eclectic design store for clothing, books, electronics and accessories (Jalan Kayu Aya 40).
While crowds flock to the dramatic Rock Bar at Ayana Resort and Spa, the Seminyak cool crowd has discovered Sundara: quite possibly the poshest beach club in town. The mood is upscale Survivor-chic with blazing braziers, padded teak armchairs and sofas perched above Jimbaran Bay. What it lacks in direct sunset views it makes up for with an innovative drinks list curated by Catalan cocktail maestro Javier de las Muelas, the brilliant standalone bistro (check the charcuterie counter) and Olympic-sized infinity-edge pool. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay.
This shophouse-style space featuring a stunning mural is where you'll find chef Will Meyrick's terrific pan-Asian menu with everything from Indian thali to Singapore chicken. Retire to the upstairs bar for after-dinner cocktails - the coconut mojito is outstanding. Jalan Raya Kerobokan 135.
From the first mouthful of creamy cassava blackened with Japanese bamboo, you know you've found a diamond in the rough at Teatro. Behind this modest shopfront is an intimate 26-seat restaurant where every plate is a delicious surprise. Jalan Kayu Aya Block C, No 1-2.
Fire at W
Ignore the overdone interiors and focus on the progressive menu by Australian executive chef Richard Millar. The bluefin tuna belly raises expectations, but his chawanmushi - Japanese savoury custard rendered with foie gras, crab and chicken - will exceed them. Jalan Petitenget, Kerobokan.
Take a daytrip to the car-free paradise of Nusa Lembongan. Boutique hotels, good restaurants (The Beach Club; Indiana Kenanga) and waterfront bars await. Take a taxi to Sanur, then a 25-minute fast boat to Lembongan.
Stay tuned for...
The opening of Alila Seminyak, sister property to the fabulous Alila Villas Uluwatu. It's slated for a 2014 reveal, with 240 guest rooms on the beach beside Potato Head Beach Club.