BALINESE DREAM

NEXT|January 2020

BALINESE DREAM
This Indonesian tropical paradise is known as the land of sunsets, scooters and smoothie bowls. And it can be the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation, as Monique McKenzie discovers on a romantic getaway
Setting foot in La Brisa Bali, a shipwreck-themed beach club built entirely using reclaimed wood from over 500 fisherman boats, is like being transported to a modern-day Robinson Crusoe story. Translating to ‘sea breeze’ in Spanish, rattan beanbags dot the floorboards wherever coconut trees aren’t popping through and daybeds overlook the ocean at Echo Beach, Canggu, where tourists soak up the magic of golden hour. All of the fish on the sustainable menu are line-caught daily by Balinese fisherman, chunky ropes line the paths and fishing nets are slung between palm trees. It’s an idyllic spot to park up for the evening and sip cocktails while reclining beneath a canopy of fairy lights. Just one of the many trendy beach clubs Bali has to offer, La Brisa is also possibly the newest, having only opened two years ago. Unlike some of the dated and overcrowded ones you might find in tourist spots around the world, the beach clubs in Bali are sophisticated, yet laidback and family-friendly.

But if lazing by the ocean all day doesn’t pique your interest and you’re more of an adventurous traveller, you’ll still be spoilt for choice in Bali, whether that’s exploring terraced rice fields, visiting exotic temples, or witnessing a traditional Balinese dance. Having long been on our bucket list, my partner and I booked a 12-day getaway to the land of sunsets, scooters and smoothie bowls, which turned out to be the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation.

Sand and sunsets

Getting amongst the hustle and bustle of Seminyak was how we spent the majority of our time. Located just 30 minutes from Denpasar International Airport, we stayed six nights at the Four Points by Sheraton Bali. It was an ideal spot as we were close to both the beach and Seminyak Square. Nearby Woo Bar, part of the W Bali – Seminyak resort, was our preferred sunset-watching spot. With lanterns hanging from palm trees, this chic establishment provides a laidback atmosphere to enjoy a cold Bintang beer with a prime view of the surf rolling in.

The first beach club we went to was Desa Potato Head, which you can wander straight up to from the sand. With its huge pool and swim-up bar, it’s worth a visit but be warned it does get packed quickly. You’ll be impressed by Ijen restaurant’s conscious approach to sustainability and zero waste, and the menu made from organic local produce that highlights seafood, as well as plant-based dishes.

Another of our favourite dinners in Seminyak was at Bikini Restaurant. With its impeccable service and sleek, luxe décor – think intimate booths and marble tables – Bikini is a must for a romantic evening out, but it does come at a higher price point. My partner and I shared a kingfish dish and ‘Kaluga Imperial caviar and smoked fish cigar with seaweed ash’, which looked and tasted as fancy as it sounds.

At the beginning of the day, we enjoyed fresh dragon fruit poolside at the Four Points, but our goto breakfast spot was Kynd Community, just a short distance away. The café serves lychee juice in glass jars and açaí in wooden bowls with little gold spoons. It’s not just pretty food either – those smoothie bowls were hands down the best we had on the whole trip, and the perfect way to cool down on a hot day.

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January 2020