Bali is a magical place. This tiny Indonesian island in the middle of the Indian Ocean has been drawing tourists, particularly Australians for many years. I first visited in 1988 for my ‘schoolies’ trip with four of my girlfriends right after we finished year 12. My love affair with Bali was reignited three years ago and I have visited with The Hubs every year since. We now visit twice a year and never run out of amazing things to do in Bali. One of the things that always intrigues me when I visit is the unique Bali style. The Balinese are masters at blurring the lines between inside and out, so much so that the transition is often virtually seamless. Read on for all the details …
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Characteristics of Bali Style
Unlike when I visited in 1988, you can see that the locals are now thoughtfully considering the spaces they create and the people that might use them. More modern influences are appearing without compromising tradition and touches of luxury are creeping in. Of late there is less distinction between inside and out, which works perfectly with their spectacular climate. Think dining with sand beneath your feet, pools that lap your hotel balcony, lush internal plantings and delightful water features. I’ve discovered four particularly strong examples where inside and out fuses perfectly.
1. Azul Bali
A new comer to the Legian beach strip, Azul has not officially opened yet but it’s hard to miss with it’s distinctive exterior (title image) and I was itching to get inside to explore. Azul feels a bit like Morocco meets Treasure Island. The bar stools sit on soft white sand in front an expansive rustic timber bar which you could almost believe grew there. The other side of the bar is flanked with generously proportioned day beds that are just perfect for relaxing on with a cocktail in hand. Bamboo dominates including in the staircase that winds its way to the second floor. Further inside the concrete floors are emerald green and the relaxed seating entices weary beach goers. Moroccan inspired intricate lamps draw the eye upwards towards ceilings scrawled in writing that you can’t help but try to read. The kitchen serving window is surround by hundreds of tiles embedded with shells and glass beads. Azul has so many delights you are likely to forget you came here to eat!
Bambu is an award winning restaurant in Seminyak serving traditional Indonesian cuisine with a modern twist. The minute you wander through the stack stone entry from busy Petitenget Rd you are transported from the chaos into a serene oasis, that is reminiscent of Bali style of old. Cement flags provide easy access across the waterways which meander through the entire downstairs area. Lush plantings let you know you are in a tropical paradise and the pitched central pagoda with it’s traditional floor tiling gently reminds you that you are indeed in Indonesia. Subtle focus lighting throughout comes to life as the sun sets and provides a truly romantic setting to share a special meal with a loved one. Read more about my favourite restaurants in Bali here and here.
3. Maya Hotel Sanur
The newest kid on the block in the main strip of Sanur is certainly keeping up with, if not bypassing ‘the Jones’. Currently in ‘soft opening’ stage, with only a handful of guests in residence, Maya feels like a beautifully made up lady waiting for her date. Wandering around the grounds it’s not hard to tell you are in a luxury hotel, even the bathrooms are a bit posh! Every aspect of this hotel has been carefully thought out including the lush greenery which provides privacy to the day beds of the poolside rooms, the central open atrium in the Spa featuring a glass water feature and the poolside cabanas that form part of the beach side restaurant that could have you thinking you were dining on your own private island. There’s a lot to love here.
4. BlueGlue Bikinis
The Blueglue Bikinis boutique in Seminyak screams beach chic which is perfectly matched to its merchandise. As far as Bali style goes this is near perfect. The concrete floors are stamped with images of foliage and broken up by winding streams and rustic decking. Merchandising displays are minimal, colour grouped and spliced with interesting artifacts that display the products in their very best light. Right down to the white washed shell like sales counter, every single item in Blueglue works. Fancy a spot of Bali shopping? Check out my other posts here and here.
If you have been to Bali (or are just dreaming about it) let me know what you love about it in the comments below.
Until Next Time …