Tucked away amongst lush bamboo in beachfront Seminyak, Bali’s chic quarter, The Amala hotel is a holistic hideaway where you can dine on refreshing cuisine after indulging in yoga, t’ai chi, water Pilates or a restorative massage. The hotel’s 12 modern thatched-roof pads offer the serenity of a spawling Balinese villa, just on a more romantic and intimate scale.
Get this when you book through us:
Healthy canapés and a fruit platter on arrival; and a romantic candlelit bath experience set up in your room (not valid for Deluxe Rooms)
Noon, but flexible up to 6pm, subject to availability, and a 50 per cent charge. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $119.36 (IDR1,681,571), excluding tax at 21 per cent.
Rates include breakfast, in-room soft drinks, cookies and fresh fruit
A Masters-In-Residence programme offers the services of Bali’s finest wellness gurus and healing hands. Consider booking an Aqua Wellness and Yoga Day with water woman Elisa Senese and yogini Beate McLatchie.
No check-ins or check-outs are allowed on 25 March 2020, when Bali observes Nyepi Day (Day of Silence). Bali’s airport also closes for the day.
At the hotel
Spa, yoga studio, gift shop, gardens, free WiFi throughout, a small library of DVDs, books and magazines, a laptop for guest use. In rooms: flatscreen LCD TV, CD/DVD player, iPod docking station, minibar, free bottled still water.
Our favourite rooms
Spa Villas have a Jacuzzi and herb-infused steam shower, but the plunge pool and kitchenette that you get with a Pool Villa just edges it for us. The decor is contemporary – white walls and lacquered black furniture with minimalist finesse and maximum gadgetry. The Amala Residence, with three bedrooms and large private pool, is ideal for groups or families with kids over 12.
All villas come with private pools. In addition there is a lap pool, shaded by palm fronds and surrounded by plenty of padded outdoor furniture.
A stylish tote bag for luxe Seminyak boutique booty; big shades for luscious lounge bars; gladrags for nearby nightlife at KuDeTa, SOS and the Living Room; Havaianas for navigating between the pool, outdoor bath and steam shower.
Freebies at the Amala include butler service, available 24 hours, and a 15-minute welcome massage. You can book a car and driver for local drop-offs.
The Amala keeps its peace with a strictly enforced policy of no children under 12.
Environmentally sustainable initiatives span a colloidal silver filtration system in the main pool, solar panels for hot water and electricity, recycling systems for plant watering, and the use of regional materials such as Bandung marble.
Let the butler turn the villa’s outdoor poolside table into a romantic affair with candles and wine for dinner à deux.
Korean honeymooners match their LVs and Polo ponies from head to toe, but others will feel entirely at ease draping a light shirt or beach frock over swimsuits.
Chinese high-back wooden chairs and opium beds confer an imperial quality on Bamboo, the resort’s otherwise minimalist and casual open-air dining room. The cuisine is Indonesian and seasonal, with a choice of vegetarian, salad and more indulgent options.
What the Amala lacks in a proper bar it more than makes up for with its drinks menu. A poolside bottle of Tattinger Reims Brut Reserve for decadent days; a fresh Booster juice for the morning after.
Bamboo takes food orders from 7am until 10.30pm.
It’s fairly standard to have breakfast at your villa – or any other meal you choose: the restaurant menu is available to order in when the kitchen is open, with a reduced selection on offer between 11pm and 7am.
The Amala is located in Seminyak, Bali’s hippest coastal neighbourhood and home to many of its top boutiques as well as one of the island’s most popular beaches.
Fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport (www.baliairport.com), south of capital Denpasar, served by carriers including Garuda, Singapore Airlines, Jetstar, Air Asia and JAL. You can buy a visa on arrival, if required, which costs US$25 for 30 days payable in cash (just make sure your iPod is charged to accompany your wait in line).
The Amala is a 15-minute drive north of the airport, just past the beach hubs of Kuta and Legian, and the hotel offers free transfers so be sure to provide your flight details. You can rent a car at the airport but traffic can be frankly terrifying and the roads aren’t always smooth sailing. Fortunately, you can hire well-maintained cars with excellent drivers for as little as US$30 a day.
Worth getting out of bed for
A Masters-In-Residence programme offers the services of Bali’s finest wellness gurus and healing hands. Consider booking an Aqua Wellness and Yoga Day with water woman Elisa Senese and yogini Beate McLatchie. Afterwards, hit Seminyak Beach for sun or surf, then wander the area's tempting shops.
Take a table under the illuminated ceiling of Merah Putihfor an evening filled with of delicious Indonesian fare. Choose a selection of traditional plates and their imaginative reinterpretations of classic cuisine, both made with local fish and meats seasoned with spices and flavours from across the archipelago. Sharing is caring here; all dishes are placed in the centre of the table so no one misses out. Less formal, though equally as appetising, is Bambu at 198 Jl. Petitenget in Seminyak (+62 (0)361 8469 797). Set in an wooden, open-air pavilion surrounded by water, this traditional restaurant serves a range of spicy curries and aromatic meat and fish dishes.
Naughty Nuri's is a playful eatery in the centre of Seminyak. Wash down Nuri's (the owner and chef) signature killer ribs, which are marinated in Balienese spices and BBQ sauce, with one of their island-famous twisted martinis or a frozen pink panther cocktail. Started as a passion project by two expat Aussies, Expat Roasters is a specialty coffee shop on Jl. Kayu Cendana. Inside, it's a super-modern minimalist space with an exposed concrete bars and dark-wood shelves. Led by their award-winning head barista, Shae Macnamara, Expat works closely with local Balinese farmers to source the finest local beans – because a good cup of coffee starts from the ground up.
For superlative sunset cocktails, try Ku De Ta which combines a laidback beach club, lounge bar and fine-dining restaurant on the waterfront. The lively crowd that fills Motel Mexicola each night is almost as vibrant as this Mexican bar's interiors; every surface is plastered in brightly-coloured patterns, pictures and curious knick-knacks. Tuck into tasty tacos, tostadas or their 'Feed Me Banquet' filled with Mexican favourites. No visit to a Mexican bar is complete without a tequila tipple or two; try their signature Mexicola cocktail made with Tradicional Silver tequila, fresh lime, tabasco and coke.
Busy, buzzy and boasting chichi shops, world-class restaurants and funky Euro-style bars – that’s Seminyak, Bali’s capital of cool. As much as Mr Smith and I love the decadence that comes wrapped in layers of tropical sultriness, we also thrive on peace and calm. Enter the Amala, tucked a few lanes back from the area’s premier fashion strip. Surrounded by tranquil ponds and stands of bamboo, its ambience instantly stills the frenzied beating of my store-loving heart.
A full-blooming frangipani perfumes the air of our Spa Villa, which has, as its centrepiece, a courtyard plunge pool with Jacuzzi jets. The pool deck seamlessly flows into the living room on one side and an outdoor bathing area on another. Here, a shelf near the enormous tub is lined with luxurious handmade soaps, bath soaks and scrubs produced in the Amala’s spa and scented with wild herbs, citrus and ginger. My favourite welcome gift, however, is a jar of freshly baked shortbreads, chocolate-chip cookies, sesame crisps and cinnamon swirls.
As my hand delves into the cookie jar for the fourth – OK, maybe the fifth – time, I remind Mr Smith that we need to keep our energy levels elevated for an afternoon of shopping. He accepts an offer of a cinnamon swirl as we head towards the door. There’s no doubt about it, Seminyak is a danger to most credit limits. Handcrafted jewellery, handbags, elegant footwear and high-end fashion labels are interspersed with street stalls selling everything from knock-off designer sunglasses and novelty lighters to Bintang singlets, the uniform of bogan Aussie tourists.
In no time we discover Mr Smith has natural bargaining skills and he’s negotiating deals that would make a used-car salesman blush. I, on the other hand, have no such talent. If the first price ain’t right, I quickly head for the door. Somewhat mercifully, the shopkeepers mistake my reluctance to haggle for that well-practised bargaining technique of feigning disinterest. Soon they’re chasing me down the street and dramatically dropping their ‘best price’, by which point I’m too embarrassed not to buy. The ‘turn and walk’, as we dub my move, is quickly incorporated into a formidable double act on Seminyak’s shopping strip.
Three fake Rolexes and a Gucci handbag later, we decide to head to the beach for retail respite. Big mistake. Our feet have barely touched sand when we’re accosted by a string of barefooted hawkers all desperate to hock their wares London geezer-style. A briefcase full of sunglasses, offensive bumper stickers and a bizarre collection of hats are all coolly deflected with a shake of the head.
‘Hey mister, you wanna buy some Raybans? Mrs, can I braid your hair? Massage? Mushrooms that will fly you to the moon?’
‘What?’ I stop dead in my tracks and turn to look at Mr Smith: ‘Did you hear that?’ His half smile of consideration tells me he did, and clearly. ‘No, thanks,’ I reply, giving Mr Smith a meaningful look.
The verbal assault continues but we walk on staunchly until finally we give in to a man who introduces himself as Ketut. As if by magic, Ketut pulls two icy Bintangs from a bucket and presents a couple of sun-bleached plastic chairs. It’s the best offer we’ve had all afternoon and we obediently take our places in time to watch the sun set.
The Amala’s overpowering sense of Zen has clearly taken effect when, the following morning, we wake early, bursting with energy. We head back to the beach, determined to beat the crowds. This time our strategy pays off. The sand is virtually devoid of life and rows of vacant deckchairs stretch out before us. The clear blue water is like a bath – you could swim for hours and never get cold. After what seems like an age, I turn back to face the shore. The sun is bright and I squint in the glare, eyes straining to pinpoint what was, moments before, a lone umbrella on the shore. Now there’s a throng of blue and white stripes lined up just beyond the water’s edge. But what really makes me gasp is the sight of four enormous German shepherds catching waves in front of me. ‘Did we really say no to those mushrooms?’ asks a grinning Mr Smith who’s paddled out to meet me. ‘Those dogs can really surf!’ Clearly, he’s impressed.
After the plank-riding pooches, I’m in need of some respite and we return to the Amala to road-test one of the spa treatments. Faced with innumerable options, we take the easy way out and choose the signature 120-minute Amala Healing Ritual, a series of scrubs, foot rubs and massages with essential oils finished off with a soak in a flower-filled bath. Two hours later, Mr Smith and I are capable of nothing more than lying in the sun by our private pool.
Hours later, still delightfully discombobulated, it’s time to eat. On closer inspection, the Amala’s Bamboo Restaurant feels a little too public for a romantic rendezvous and we decide to eat in the privacy of our villa. In moments the sun-deck is bathed in candlelight and a dining table appears by the pool. Handmade gnocchi, organic chicken and freshly caught fish are followed by delicious desserts washed down with one of the best lattés in Bali.
In ancient Sanskrit, the word amala means pure and unspoiled. I’m sure we’ll leave the Amala the next day feeling pure, but for the past 48 hours we’ve been thoroughly spoiled.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Amala’s Guestbook below.
Everything about The Amala was perfect. From check-in to check-out the service was 10/10. I strongly recommend the spa – really relaxing and again the service is exceptional!