Hubert Burda Media

Luxury’s IG the Details

From Day One, BVLGARI BALI has set a high bar where luxury beach resorts are concerned, making one feel divine in its dreamy surrounds.

It is oft said that Bali is the home of the gods and nowhere is this clearer to me as I gaze out into the Indian Ocean.
In the morning light, the sea is smooth as a mirror and the same blue as the early skies. Cloud and foamy waves mirror each other; there are no boundaries and the space ahead stretches out endlessly. Is this what infinity looks like as a godling peers from his perch on the celestine firmament?
The “perch” is actually from my breakfast table at Sangkar Restaurant, willed into existence by ingenious architects some 150m above sea level.
That it is within reach of the ancient Pura Luhur Temple in Uluwatu, where the sacred kecak dance is performed every sunset, only adds on to this ethereal realisation.
I am, of course, at Bulgari Hotel Bali, a resort by the same luxury house, famed for its cabochon-cut jewels, the Serpenti and the Octo. While the Italian house has imbued the resort grounds with its signature touches of luxury, its prime coup for this property is really in securing an estate with unparalleled views of the ocean.
A 59-villa resort, the Bulgari Bali is a hospitality jewel. It says it is a five-star accomodation but in reality, it over-delivers what it promises. And they’re all in the details.
At its Il Ristorante restaurant — and do read about my enjoyable dining experience earlier this year (Fashion Comes Of Age, March 2013) — chef Maurizio Bombini personally takes you through the menu.
The attention to details does not end there. I return to my villa to find a flask of star anise tea, infused with palm sugar, standing on my bedside table. “After dinner infusion,” it says on the greeting card. “Beneficial to soothe digestion and natural respiratory aid.” The tea flavours changes each night.
The cliff-top property also overlaps with a habitat of mountain monkeys, whose calls and cries sometimes echo throughout the space. I wake up one morning to witness a whole family of them, parading their way from one end of the forest canopy —skipping over some villa roofs in the process — to the other. Nature’s marvels, it seems, claim both the flora and the fauna.
While it has its roots in Italian luxury, the resort pays homage to Indonesian history and culture. The oceanfront Spa, for instance, is a Kudu building affixed with wooden panels, carved with curvilinear designs, from an 18th-century Joglo-style Javanese house. This is an extremely rare find, not to mention in such superior condition, in modern-day Indonesia. Elsewhere, volcanic monoliths and huge totems of lava and palimanan stones either form part of the resort’s anatomy (walls, pathways or steps) or merely function as naturalistic, in situ decor.
The following day, I take a languid tour around the resort grounds. As I venture along the far perimeters, I approach what my guide told me was the resort’s temple. Structured with the distinctive Balinese geometric lines, there are various chambers, altar tableau, a reverent Ganesha statue and a smallish quadrangle, likely for ceremonial offerings and mass observances.
In the tranquil surrounds, I spy a temple cat steathily traisping up the altar steps towards the food offerings. Gingerly, it turns to see if I could be watching. After reassuring itself that I pose no threat, it continues its ascent and paws at the prize.
Steadying myself, I reach for my Samsung Galaxy S4, switch to Instagram mode, catch the details on camera and select a morning sun-washed filter “Rise” for the photo before posting it on the @PrestigeSG account.
That evening, I decide to Instagram more with a visit to the resort’s private beach, all one-and-a-half kilometres of pristine strip filled with sugar-fine sands. It is said that the ethereal sight of dolphins is commonplace as the beach, invisible from the air, inaccessible from land (it’s under the cliff) and unapproachable from sea (because of an outlying reef) makes it impossible for mankind to visit it without proper technology, ie a lift.
Alas, the inclined elevator that gently lowers guests from the cliff-top property to the sea-level below is now undergoing maintenance. Perhaps calmed by the ambient mood that pervades the entire estate, I simply paid no mind.
After all, gods need not descend.
For captions on the Instagram photos on the overleaf, check out Prestige Singapore’s Instagram @PrestigeSG, or search for the hashtag #PrestigeVisits_Bali
Back to A Place Called KOKOMO…