Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay is really Bali’s doyen of resorts but it belies its 1993-heritage. The 147 villas, all within individual surrounding stone walls, seem, like mediaeval village houses, to have been there forever but, with new Jaya Ibrahim interiors, and 20-foot private pools they are absolutely up-to-date – see a video, below. On arrival, you look through across the marbled open-sided lobby and down to gorgeous gardens and the ocean (see above). The gal was greeted by her long-time friend Uday Rao, who runs both the Four Seasons resorts on Bali. How should the time here best be filled? There was obviously much to see.
First came the spa, now more of a healing village approached via one of the thousands of bedecked temples that dot the 35 acres of land. To show how up to date it is, the spa offers a range of TDA transdermal applications, serums that get right into the skin to help with elasticity, youthfulness and much more. This is the centre for youthfulness, Uday Rao later explained over dinner at Sundara, the elaborate beach club and eatertainment centre that has been such a run-away success since it opened, at a construction cost of $8 million, in 2013. Beach culture has since become the must for expats, especially young-at-heart Australians and Americans: they head here to swim in Sundara’s own lap pool, or to rent a beach chair or cabana (the cost of daily rentals is redeemable against food and drink purchases).
There are also over 900 members of the hotel’s club, lucky people who, for an annual fee, can use the gym (excellent – the Technogym joggers even have games, including sudoku) and get discounts on spa and food. Ah, the food. There are two salient points here. First, the SPIN-designed Sundara, which has two floors, had indoor and outdoor areas, with evening fire pits and live entertainment changing daily. I loved the presentation of our flatbread, held with hairpins on to a standing C-shape holder. Dishes, wherever you eat them, are available in three sizes: small size plates are just right for one, medium sized are intended for two diners, and big sizes are for family sharing. I think this may be unique; it is certainly clever.
Another worthwhile point on the excellent food at this lovely luxury hotel is villa dining, or eat-where-you-want. There are several gazebos that seem to be taken every night for romantic dinners. In my own villa, I was intrigued by the room service menu, which has 20-minute Angus steaks through to make your own grill combination, protein plus three sides, and create your own salad. This is what I did for lunch, sitting outside on the deck of my sala, on comfy blue and white batik cushions and looking across my pool at the ocean beyond. Uday Rao says his goal is simply to make all his guests happy, and in my case he certainly succeeded – though I am sorry I was not there to experience Sundara’s Sunday brunch, which apparently goes on for six hours. NOW TOUR VILLA 201