The Intercontinental Bali occupies a premier location on Jimbaran Bay and enables guests to experience the culture of Bali, or relax in its exclusive club.
Bali is an island blessed with an abundance of fabulous beach towns. Seminyak, Nusa Dua, Jimbaran Bay, Amed – these are just some of the most highly regarded places in South East Asia for getting your fix of sea and sand. Because of their natural beauty, they are home to some of the most famous names in the world of luxury hotels. So when we saw the Intercontinental Bali at Jimbaran Bay was right on the beach with some seriously impressive scenery, we were sold!
Jimbaran is perhaps the pinnacle of Bali’s luxury beach scene, and its coastline is studded with brilliant resorts. There is a reason it has been nicknamed ‘the Beverly Hills of Bali’. Built around a bay in the south of the island, thanks to its origins as a sleepy fishing village it still retains elements of its relaxed local atmosphere while also embracing luxury tourism. Plus at sunset part of the bay turns into a seafood (and grilled corn) lovers paradise. With many little restaurants, setting up on the beach and grilling the daily catch...Definitely not to be missed, if fresh, grilled seafood is your thing!
We were picked up from our previous hotel by one of Intercontinental’s drivers and the drive was just a glimpse of what was to come. We were in a private black van, stocked with snacks and refreshments, and we even had Ipads to use. Halfway through our ride, we got a phone call (via our iPads), from the concierge welcoming us and letting us know that they were all prepared for our arrival. Talk about going the extra step and making us feel special.
Since we were club members we were guided through the main lobby and into the Club Lounge, where we had a private quick check-in. After being shown to our room, we got a chance to have a look at the hotel. The first thing we couldn’t help but notice is that Intercontinental is massive. It sprawls across a large estate of landscaped gardens inspired by Indonesian traditions and filled with ponds, statues and palm trees. Occupying the center of the property are the swimming pools, which lead down to famous Jimbaran beach.
The check-in gave us a taste of the privileges we would experience as club members. The lounge was one of the most beautiful we’ve come across. The vibe was elegant and luxurious, it felt very exclusive, and the decoration was a mix of colonial and local Balinese elements. Membership also got us access to a number of other benefits including complimentary breakfast, drinks and canapes, as well as the beautiful private members pool.
Another bonus of being club members was that we were given a suite in one of the Intercontinental’s private wings. Ours was the Bukit suite – one of the nicest in the hotel. The space was incredible and absolutely huge. We had a large living room, a dining room, a bedroom, a seating area and a kitchen. I have seen apartments with less space! Overlooking the hotel gardens and with a great view of the main pool, our balcony ran the whole length of the suite, and we probably spent a little too much time relaxing out there.
There is an abundance of dining options in the hotel so you can easily stay a while and not run out of things to try. Options range from Italian to Japanese via seafood and local specialties. There are also private beachfront pavilions which can be booked along with a personal chef for romantic meals for two.
When we weren’t having bites at the Lounge, we were usually at the Sunset Beach Bar and Grill. Because we were part of the “club”, we could have cocktails here complimentary around sunset. Like clockwork we would wander down to the beach, grab a table and have our cocktails as we took in the sunset with our toes buried in the sand. They also have an awesome gelato stand - perfect for afternoon stops after being on the beach or the pool!
One of our favorite dining moments was the Archipelago dinner and Kecak dance. This was a themed night – something which we usually try to avoid - but we were both so happy we went. Not only was the buffet a beautiful array of various Indonesian delicacies, but the dancing (which happened right in front of us) was incredible! The main event was the Kecak Dance, which is a choreographed performance that involves 50 - 70 men. The Joged dance (which is another style from Bali) was also mesmerizing. I’m pretty sure we sat in awe for a few hours as we watched. Between dances, we would help ourselves to the buffet where we sampled countless incredible courses. There were grilled meats, sates and intensely flavored vegetable dishes.
The Intercontinental is also well equipped when it comes to amenities and organized activities. Besides walking through the peaceful gardens and relaxing on the beach, there are enough things to keep you occupied for weeks. There are no fewer than six swimming pools (including two for the kids and the one in the private club), as well as tennis courts and a gym. Those who like to try new things are well catered for thanks to the wide variety of classes on offer. These range from yoga and Balinese flower arranging, to surfing and stand up paddle boarding.
As if that was not enough to keep you busy, there are not one but two spas on site! You have a choice between Spa Uluwatu, and the Villa Retreats. We decided to check out the Villa Retreats, because it seemed very serene and more like a “destination style” spa. It is towards the end of the property, tucked away from the main areas of the hotel. On one side was the beach, and all in all it felt like a totally private sanctuary. It is housed inside a series of villas, and once we arrived we were shown to our private retreat. Here we relaxed and got ready for our couples massage. The villas are interspersed with little pools and places to relax. You could easily spend a few hours just dipping in and out of the pools in between treatments.
There is plenty to do in the area, but in the spirit of honesty I have to admit that we ignored our own advice and hardly left the hotel! It was just so relaxing there. Between the long stretch of beach we had, the incredible spa and the facility itself, we didn't feel like we were missing out on anything. If you do want to get out, you are well positioned to do so. The dramatic beaches of Uluwatu are just to the south and the spectacular clifftop Single Fin bar is a must visit. A short trip north will bring you into the hustle and bustle of Kuta, and from there Seminyak, Ubud and the rest of the island’s attractions are easily accessible.
We can give you one great recommendation from personal experience however. Stroll down to Jimbaran Bay and enjoy the sunset there. The entire bay turns into an outdoor BBQ fest, with countless vendors and restaurants selling incredible grilled seafood – all of which has been locally caught. Alternatively, you can also run over every night (like me) and find one of the grilled corn sellers. It made for a delicious and easy snack and I would run over, grab some and come back to the hotel. Once back I would relax with a cocktail and take in the sunset, away from the crowds and the smokey haze.
Skipping Jimbaran and the Intercontinental would have been a mistake. It gave us the perfect tropical getaway surrounded by beautiful beaches, delicious food and great service. In Bali the Intercontinental truly lives up to its famous name, and Jimbaran deserves its status as one of the island’s most luxurious beach destinations.
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