Put a cake in front of a little boy and it is irresistible. And as we gals know, little boys still retain that impish reaction to a gateau even when they are big, successful, famous and as global as Ralf Ohletz, President of Regent. He was showing off his newest luxury hotel, The Regent Bali, and the cake came as part of the package.
This is a lemon cake that Jason Dell, the New Zealander who is chef at this lovely new place, had made as the daily special: reckon it would go pretty well with the hotel’s signature cocktail, a Regent martini, gin crème de cassis bleu, fresh pomelo, pink grapefruit juice and lemon.
The Honda people-carrier which took me to Sanur, where The Regent Bali is, had very good and free WiFi. Actually this is coming to be taken for granted in luxury hotels’ cars not only on Bali but elsewhere in Asia these days (when will the Americas and Europe catch up). I arrived at the open-sided, breezy lobby to find a fence with jasmine blossom decoration, so sweet-smelling. It was probably put there the day the hotel opened, just a few weeks ago. No wonder everyone working here is so proud.
It is not completely finished (its signature suite, The Regent Villa, will not be ready until September). This one gives you 9,370 sq ft of private space, with a wall around. You have three bedrooms, and a 65-foot pool. The main rooms, 95 in all, are pretty much of a muchness, 900 sq ft in total of which one-third is your private enclosed balcony. In honesty, the balconies are really only semi-enclosed, with solid end walls and a ceiling. The two long walls are taken up by the sliding glass doors to the main bedroom, and, overlooking lush gardens, a pull-back large-fret wood screen. Out on the terrace (which has green and yellow fabric) you have a television and minibar and lots of daybeds with fibre-optic lights. And you can smoke.
Come back inside, to the no-smoking, air-conditioned part of your private space, and the colouring is blue. The idea is that delicate ladies stay inside while their more-substantial male other-halves love the terrace because they can smoke their Monte Cristos there. Of course there is a big central pool, and a Clarins spa – mainstream Clarins rather than the Clarins MyBlend of Le Royal Monceau Raffles in Paris. Of course there is a fabulous beach, with lots of water sports. There are other noteworthy things too.
Take the washrooms. They have lovely orchids, but I have seen fresh flowers in washrooms before. What I have never seen is the array of toiletries put out, wrapped toothbrushes and new toothpastes, and sewing kits and wrapped emery boards, Anything a gal might need is here.
Another tack. Take that little sign that you put outside your door to request privacy. Here, very simply, it is an oval wood disk, about eight inches tall. Both sides are painted scarlet, as background to a local lad in local gear, his finger up to his mouth as if saying hush, do not come in. No wonder Ralf Ohletz is so pleased with this new luxury hotel. He says it was his idea to put in the terrace screens.
It is his idea to inject several Original Ohletz features into the aforementioned Regent Villa. He showed me around it and though it did require imagination, I could see what a splendid must-stay room, or rather villa, it will be.