Sunbaking, cocktail sipping and boutique shopping are at the top of most people’s to-do lists when they land in Bali. As I check into Anantara Seminyak, however, I only have one thing on my mind: getting my hands on a local sim card.
Now I know what you’re thinking, this is hardly the most glamorous introduction to a beachfront hotel that’s best known for its seductive rooftop bar and sumptuous day spa, but as my stay here is sandwiched between work meetings for my jewellery brand in Indonesia and an off-the-grid diving holiday in the Komodo National Park, I desperately need web access on my iPad to wrap things up.
Tropical warmth starts to work its magic as soon as I step into the lobby, caressing my city-stressed body as I’m shown to my Anantara Ocean Suite – a large, airy space with jaw-dropping beach vistas. Work quickly slips down my list of priorities.
Easing into the relaxed pace, I order a light room service dinner, which arrives swiftly and tastes delicious. With the balcony door open, the sea breeze carries the soothing sounds of breaking waves into the room, sending me straight to sleep in a spectacularly comfortable bed. Duck-down pillows and a high thread-count; we’re talking one satisfied customer.
Bliss reigns until 4am when the buzz of mosquitoes biting my back wakes me up, a not-so-gentle reminder that I’m no longer in Melbourne. I recall being shown a mosquito kit during my room briefing, and cupboard number three delivers the goods. I could clear a jungle with the arsenal in that box! So, after spraying frantically, lighting a mosquito coil and slathering myself in repellant and anti-inflammatory cream, it’s back to my heavenly slumber.
The cooing of birds and purr of lapping waves rouse me just after sunrise, a far more appealing wake-up call. The night before I’d caught some sports action on the plasma TV, and with the Bose surround-sound system, getting active had never sounded so good. This morning, I’m treated to my own version of Chariots of Fire as I spy the morning fitness crowd running up and down the beach.
Watching all that exercise makes me ravenous, so I head down to poolside restaurant Wild Orchid. Set on a deck overlooking the sea, garden and infinity pool, the tables are spaced well apart, lending a relaxed intimacy to the meal. While I’m on holiday I like to make time for breakfast as I rarely squeeze it in at home, but when I see the buffet, I decide to make even more time… It's the kind of lavish, must-devour spread that makes you appreciate the phrase 'bun fight'.
Bircher muesli, fresh fruit, yoghurt, perfectly poached eggs, just-baked bread and local honey that you scrape straight from a rack of honeycomb... over the next two hours, I’m in the zone, working my way through the menu while sipping on soy lattes. The only reason this indulgence comes to an end is because I have a booking at the rooftop spa.
Many Balinese are genetically blessed in the massage gene pool, with large, strong hands despite their modest stature. Considering myself something of a spa connoisseur, I request a hand inspection of the staff before settling on my therapist. As my masseur works away all the tension in my shoulders and I watch his huge, stocky feet pass under the table, I know I’ve made a good call.
Just as I’m trying to relax, the need for a sim card pops annoyingly into my mind. It seems like a good excuse to explore Seminyak post-massage, but when I return to my room the Jacuzzi on the balcony distracts me. Bath salts, incense and an iPod dock… what day is it again?
Wallowing in the bubbles, I’m roused some time later by a phone call – my sister, who happens to be in Bali as well, is down in the lobby. Selena’s very excited by all the shops that are within walking distance of my hotel, including small local labels and chic international designers. As tempting as it is to hit the stores, the giant day-beds between the pool and beach prove to be more enticing. With the languid breeze, tasty Indonesian snacks, chilled tunes and dappled sunlight filtering through the coconut palms, I’m soon asleep. When I wake up, Selena is also snoozing.
By now the sun is dropping, so we arrange to meet Selena’s husband for dinner at the hotel. Anantara’s showcase, SOS Supper Club is a ravishing rooftop affair, and as it faces west it provides a spectacular vantage point for sunset cocktails. Dinner is excellent steak and seafood in the fine-dining restaurant, enhanced by service that is sincere and efficient without being fussy. Afterwards, we stroll along Seminyak Beach, soaking up the cool vibes of legendary beach bars Ku De Ta and Potato Head Beach Club.
While some revellers are making their way home the next day, I’m up early to catch a flight to the island of Flores. As I’m bidding farewell to the fabulous staff and this lovely haven, I’m struck by the feeling that there was something I was meant to do... Oh yes, the sim card! Oh well, work will have to wait...