Jimbaran: Luxe

Jimbaran: Luxe

9 September, 2011
Four Seasons nails it
Stately serenity on the sparkling Indian Ocean

Ah, Bali… the land of smiles, where hundreds of thousands visit every year to bathe in its innate sense of peace and tranquillity. On a recent trip to this magical island, we were fortunate to stay at the Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran Bay for several nights, settling easily into the relaxed pace and perfect weather with the help of its immaculate service and soothing atmosphere.
The Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay is set on a steep hill tucked into the south tip of Jimbaran Bay, with commanding views of the gentle rolling waves and long crescent beach below. A venerable establishment and immaculately maintained, the 18-year old property shows its age in only the loveliest of ways – with mossy stones, well-developed gardens and trees, a soothing absence of sharp corners and slick modernity, and a happy staff, many of whom have been with the resort since it opened, there to welcome guests, many of whom return yearly, with broad smiles and well-polished Balinese hospitality.
Our arrival at the resort set into motion a smooth display of Four Seasons service, with cool towels and fruit drinks appearing instantly to refresh us from the short, dusty drive from Denpasar airport. The open-air reception area is a fitting introduction to the rest of the property, with its sweeping staircase descending invitingly into the resort and the path to the beach beyond just visible, and cool natural breezes carrying the faint aroma of tropical flowers throughout the lobby.

Green hearted
There are more than 500 shrines dotting the 33-acre property, reflecting the deeply rooted spirituality of Bali. The beautiful tradition represented by these shrines translates into not only a culture of serene and generous people, but also a respect for nature and the world around us. The Four Seasons has taken this to heart - and not just in recent years with the onslaught of “green” as a trend, but from the very get-go.
Green is more than just the lush mosses and ferns nestled among the villas, and the well-tended local flora around the property. A number of environmentally friendly initiatives are in place that quietly support the Four Seasons commitment to the local environment and community.
The resort has an established Green Volunteer Team, who lead activities such as turtle conservation training and the development of an “Earth Ambassador” program, where individual employees are recognized for taking responsibility for raising awareness among their fellow workers and identifying areas of opportunity for their department to make improvements. Also behind the scenes, the resort is committed to buying its fish and produce locally whenever possible, and monitors its waste with an aim to reduce year on year. Small steps are taken everywhere, from measures to reduce water consumption, to use of eco-certified paper products, to biodegradable bags for waste disposal.
Outside the resort, the Four Seasons cooperates with local NGOs on organizing and participating in the Clean Jimbaran project, which focuses on beach and other community cleanups, the implementation of waste reduction and recycling programs, and education programs for local schools and the general public.  The property also organizes and hosts a number of community events help magnify the resorts good efforts, one of which is the “Hope for Life Charity Event”, an annual athletic event that raises funds for local cancer patient support.
With a vested interest in upholding the community it resides in, the Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay employs primarily local villagers (70% of staff are Balinese), and promotes local artists through its Ganesha Gallery. The gift shop offers The resort also provides skill training and working opportunities for handicapped people, in collaboration with a local NGO, the Senang Hati Foundation.
Most recently, Four Seasons Resort Bali has developed a unique partnership to help rural communities in great need. Muntigunung, in the remote northeast, is considered one of Bali’s poorest villages. The Four Seasons have been working with an independent NGO, Verein Zukunft fur Kinder, to teach the villagers to sow, harvest, dry and pack cashews and roselle buds, both of which can be cultivated in the dry soil of the region. The Four Seasons then purchases the products for use in its restaurants and spa, and for sale in the gift shop.
A private sanctuary
All of the 147 distinguished and thoughtfully-designed villas at the Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay featureBalinese thatched roofs, private gardens with plunge pools, and spacious open-air communal areas as well as separate pavilions for sleeping and bathing. Many of the villas have their own shrine, and all feature moss-covered statues, handcrafted teak furniture and other traditional touches that add to the alluring ancient Balinese vibe of the property. At the same time, every modern convenience is available, including iPod docks, flatscreen TVs and WiFi.
We loved the huge bathrooms with double sinks and deliciously deep bathtubs, as well as the outdoor rain showers – there’s nothing quite like bathing under the stars to truly feel like you’ve escaped the urban bustle. The generous sun deck and daybeds facing Jimbaran Bay were ideal for sunrise yoga, midday basking and evening entertaining.
Care for a swim?
We loved our plunge pool for sunset lounging and morning dips, but for proper swimming and gazing at the ocean, the hotel offers two large pool areas for guests. The main pool features a breathtaking infinity edge facing the sea, and is a perfect place for families to relax in the sun, with plenty of lounge chairs. When not occupied by smiling, splashing children, this pool’s glass-calm surface beautifully reflects the surrounding slender palms and wisps of cloud over Bali. The second pool area, just below it on the hill, fills from the upper pool via a rushing waterfall. The adjacent outdoor hot tub, also overlooking the bay, is perfect for romantic sunset cocktails.
As well as the pools, one can stroll or be driven by electric buggy down to the beach just below the resort, where the hotel has both a kids club and a beach club offering surfboards, catamarans and kayaks for guest use, and the ocean water is generally warm and safe for swimming.
Dine with me
The resort offers a variety of excellent restaurants and bars serving fresh seafood, Indonesian and European specialities, or you may choose to have an old fashioned picnic prepared for you or dine by candlelight in the privacy of your own villa. Alternatively, stroll a few minutes along the beach to one of the many local seafood restaurants for an authentic experience. We enjoyed choosing from the extensive in-room breakfast menu for early morning delivery. There’s just something lovely about white linen breakfast service by your private pool overlooking the sea at sunrise that says “perfect holiday.”
Options at The Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay's four open air restaurants and lounge/bars range from Indonesian and Asian cuisine to regional Italian cooking and family favourites. In-villa dining is available and those in Residences can utilise the private services of a Four Seasons chef. We particularly enjoyed strolling down to PJ’s, on the beach, for wood-fired pizzas, chopped Caesar salad, and fruity beach cocktails at any time of day.

Spa bliss
Our last night at the Four Seasons was spa night, and what a treat to save for last. Eight luxurious treatment rooms make up The Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay's spa, including three private suites and a full-service “Royal Spa Suite” for the ultimate indulgence. Many of the spa’s treatments incorporate natural essences of plants, flowers, herbs and spices.
Treatments can be arranged in guest villas or in open-air bales overlooking the sea, but we decided to take full advantage of the spa’s own oversized plunge pool and relaxing garden with adjacent steam and sauna to prepare us for our treatment, a Tropical Magnolia Massage. For this treatment, the spa uses a product line created exclusively for the Four Seasons by Sodashi, an Australian skincare company with a focus on pure and natural plant essences. The Tropical Magnolia line contains natural magnolia essential oil as well as rosewood and damask rose, which are well known for their anti-ageing and restorative qualities.
Sounds fragrant and divine, no? And it was. A gentle footbath in the private garden of our suite initiated the ritual, as is common in Balinese spas. We were treated to first a soothing face massage, then a full body massage that incorporated hot towels and warm magnolia oil. The masseuse, belying her diminutive frame, was strong and skilful. A magical combination of techniques including pressure point, long gentle strokes, stretching and scalp massage had us virtually melting into the massage bed by the end of it all.
After a refreshing roselle tea on the outdoor terrace, we lazily slipped back into our plush Four Seasons robe and padded back out into the fresh evening air toward our villa, ready for bed and reluctant to ever go home.
Visit www.fourseasons.com/jimbaranbay/ for reservations.

By: Nissa Marion


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