In a haze of calm away from the trendy boutiques of Seminyak, the The Legian Seminyak is a sophisticated, oceanfront hotel surrounded by palm-dotted lawns and a terraced infinity pool that leads to a broad, butter-soft beach. Choose from sleek suites in the main building, the Legian hotel, or opt for an all-frills villa with a private pool, centred around the hotel’s beach club.
66 suites and one beach house at the Legian Seminyak Bali; 14 one- and two-bedroom villas at the Club.
Noon, but flexible subject to availability, and a charge of up to one day’s rate. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £425.41 (IDR8,324,800), including tax at 21 per cent.
Rates generally include breakfast (otherwise it’s US$35 plus tax and service charge) and return airport transfers for guests in higher suites and room categories. Honeymooners will be gifted two glasses of Champagne.
Studio, One- and Two-bedroom Suites come with a raft of extras: free soft drinks and snacks from the minibar (replenished daily), afternoon tea (from 4pm–6pm), welcome drink on arrival and a daily fruit plate, and use of hotel facilities (entry to the health club and yoga studio, and bike hire). Guests staying in the Legian, Sunset or Seminyak suites, Beach House or Villas get additional personal butler service, cocktails and canapés (6pm–8pm), daily afternoon tea (4pm–6pm), and a chauffeured pick-up and drop-off service in the Seminyak area (8am–11pm).
At the hotel
Spa and wellness centre, gym, boutique, library of board games and books, gardens, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: free internet (high-speed broadband/WiFi) in suites and villas; iPod dock (in suites), a minibar with free local beer (in the minibar of Studio, One-Bedroom and Two-Bedroom suites), a minibar with free local beer and spirits (in villas), two iPods, Bose sound system, LED flatscreen TV, Blu-Ray Disc Player, espresso machine.
Our favourite rooms
Top-floor suites at the Legian command exceptional views of the ocean. We like the generously proportioned third-floor one-bedroom Deluxe Suites. At the Club, to single out just one of the capacious dream homes would be foolish, unless it’s the king-of-the-coast, three-bedroom Beach House.
At the Legian, three seductive tiered pools (30m, 23.5m and 14.5m long) offer Indian Ocean views. Across from The Legian, there’s a 28m-long pool at the Club Lounge.
From 9am–9pm (the last booking is taken at 8pm) healing Balinese therapies are carried out by nimble-fingered therapists in the spa's four single treatment rooms and two dedicated couples suites. Balinese and chakra-balancing massages; detoxifying body polishes and wraps; Elemis and Pevonia facials; bathing ceremonies; and mani-pedis complete the indulgent menu. Free Hatha yoga classes are held every morning from 8am to 9.30am. Private yoga, Pilates or meditation classes can also be arranged for an additional charge; you can choose the indoor studio or the garden as your venue. The wellness centre (7am–10pm) meets all your relaxation needs with a sauna, steam rooms and plunge pools. The fitness centre has stationary bikes, free weights and treadmills, and personal trainers for an additional charge.
Although the resort itself is a laid-back, unfussy affair, for venturing out into the swish neighbourhood, pack a good dose of smart glitz, and Mrs Smith’s strappiest sandals. For glamorous Balinese accessories, head to Biasa on Jalan Seminyak. Save some room in your suitcase for souvenirs from the on-site boutique, including colourful local artworks.
Free yoga lessons are on offer for all guests. Extra beds for adults are US$120 a night, including breakfast, depending on room type.
All ages welcome at this family-friendly resort. Baby cots are provided free; extra beds for older children costs US$80 a night. Book a Balinese nanny from US$12 an hour with 24-hours’ notice. The Legian offers an extensive children’s menu.
All ages welcome at this family-friendly resort. Baby cots are provided free and an extra bed for older children costs US$80. Book a Balinese nanny from around US$12 an hour with 24-hours’ notice. The Legian offers an extensive children’s menu.
little ones old enough to play independently or teenagers with the right to roam.
At the Legian, Two-Bedroom Suites make the most sense, or request a free cot or an extra bed for US$80. Club villas are ideal for families with mini Smiths old enough for the private pool not to be a worry.
During high season (July-early October), the hotel runs a programme of acitivities for mini Smiths including jewellery-making, Balinese dance classes, and arts and crafts. Three daily sessions are held during peak holiday periods (9.30am–10.30am, 10.30am–12 noon and 2pm–5pm).
Lifeguards are on duty from 7am to 7pm daily at the main pools. Arm bands are available.
A separate kids menu available in the Legian restaurant and from room service. It features dishes that adults may wish to dine on too, such as Indonesian fish and chips, and margherita pizza.
Childcare can be arranged for little ones with 24 hours' notice for about US$12 an hour.
No need to pack
High chairs, car seats (for private transfers), cots and changing mats are available free of charge.
Benefit from free baby baths, bottle sterilizers and even buckets and spades.
The Legian supports community initiatives, such as the Team 8 programme, which helps schools with equipment and funding.
Grab a seaside table at the Pool Bar for sundowners that lead into dinner. For Friday’s seafood extravaganza, book ahead and request a waterfront table.
By day, anything more demure than a bikini or board shorts goes. Add glamour after dark.
The open air Restaurant at the Legian overlooks the hotel's tiered infinity pools and has ocean views. French and southeast Asian flavours intermingle on the menu, created by culinary king Luke MacLeod: pick from Wagyu sirloin, red snapper and lobster tortellini. Themed dinners are held on certain nights – make sure you catch the hot favourite, the Friday night seafood barbecue. Breakfast is served here from 7am. Club guests can enjoy a more traditional Indonesian menu in the intimate Club Lounge; and for an even more secluded dining experience, book the Pavilion, where up to four guests can sup in private.
The hotel has two bars and the Lobby Lounge. Set between the ocean and the pool, the Pool Bar is a laid back, open air pavilion where the hotel's signature cocktails are served. Pair a Legian Mojito with a couple of their small bites; take your pick of flame-grilled baby squid, snapper carpaccio or simple, but tasty, fishfingers and chips. The Champagne starts flowing as early as 10am at the Ocean Champagne Bar. Pick your favourite bottle of bubbly – your options include Cristal, Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, and Billecard Salmon – then select a couple of sides, or a wood-fired pizza to go with it. Afternoon tea is served between 4pm and 6pm, and there are live jazz performances in the evening on Wednesdays and Sundays. Pre-dinner cocktails and late-evening spirits and cigars are served in the laid-back Lobby Lounge.
The Restaurant and Club Lounge both take orders until 11pm. The Pool Bar and Lobby Lounge officially close at midnight (with a little leeway for last-minute revellers), and the Ocean Champagne Bar opens and 10am and serves its last last at 10pm.
Order from a globe-spanning menu throughout the day (and night).
The Legian Bali is near Kuta, right on Seminyak Beach, Bali’s hippest strip of sand. The surrounding area is a hedonist’s hive of excellent shopping, dining and nightlife.
Fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport, near capital Denpasar, served by carriers including Garuda, Singapore Airlines, Jetstar, Air Asia and JAL. The hotel can arrange a transfer by private car for IDR735,000 (plus a 21 per cent government tax) each way for up to three passengers; the hotel is about 40 minutes away by car. 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).
A 15km drive from the airport, free for Club residents. Otherwise, airport transfers can be arranged for US$50 a car each way. 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 $120 a day (this includes petrol, WiFi and the driver's services).
Worth getting out of bed for
Consult the guest directory for listings of Bali’s many temple ceremonies – the Legian concierge (or your Club butler) can arrange transport and advise on dress code.
Try fresh honeycomb with saffron-poached pears and hung yoghurt, a breakfast burrito or chilled coconut sago pudding, perhaps; the all-day lunch menu is equally enticing. Barbacoa at Jalan Petitenget No.15 has barbecues down pat – expect wood fires and a lotta smoke, plus plenty of Latin American pizazz. Gallop through delicious dim sum at Mama San (the lamb and pumpkin potstickers with chili oil and black vinegar have earned a loyal following) at Jl. Raya Kerobokan No. 135. If you’re feeling troppo, you might be pleased to hear that the restaurant boasts air-conditioning on both floors.
Beach club, restaurant and lounge bar Ku De Ta, at 9 Jalan Kayu Aya in Seminyak, is a long-standing favourite. Stop by for a caual beachside lunch or a formal dinner, and compare and contrast its cocktail list, starting with its lychee martinis, with that at Hu’u Bar on Jalan Oberoi, Petitenget – it's hard to miss with a multicoloured roof. Throughout the year, international DJs take to the decks in front of a buzzing audience of keen music fans and party-goers.
Having a butler spoils you for life. You need to know this before you check into the Legian Bali; afterwards you may never again be able to pour your own drink or fold your clothes. You may even struggle to walk.
With my knowledge of butlers gleaned mainly from movies, I try to imagine the real thing as we travel to Seminyak. Will we be waited on by a penguin-suited Lurch intoning, ‘You rang, sir?’ Or perhaps a quaintly English Jeeves who will iron Mr Smith’s newspaper while being implicated in various murder mysteries.
But first, we must find the Club, a super-private 11-villa hideaway close to its established mothership hotel, the Legian. Its entrance is so discreet our taxi driver misses it and instead delivers us to the much more visible lobby of the Legian itself, where the elegant bellboys summon a sleek black Lexus to relocate us across the narrow street. It’s such a short distance, we protest. We could walk. The driver looks astonished and we realise that the Club, which describes itself as ‘an oasis of sophisticated relief’, intends to spare us even a whiff of exertion. There’s a brief flash of Seminyak street bustle, a security-patrolled gate, then absolute peace. The villas stand around an ornamental pond, tropical gardens and the Club Lounge, with its bar, restaurant and nearby pool.
The Club delivers Legian luxury wrapped in an extra layer of personal attention. Each villa has a dedicated butler, and ours is Vina, who is not even slightly Lurchesque or Jeeves-like, but a smiling Balinese lady who combines serenity with the efficiency of an elite military unit.
She unlocks a wooden door and we step into our secret garden. There’s a 10-metre swimming pool fringed by hibiscus and frangipani, an outdoor dining balé, manicured lawns, day-beds and, in the middle, a Balinese palace that, thanks to further ponds, appears from certain angles to be floating on water. Vina’s introductory tour has more highlights than we can immediately absorb: a welcome bottle of Taittinger chilling in the fridge, bedroom with four-poster, bathroom with his ‘n’ hers wardrobes, a drinks cabinet proffering decanters of gin, vodka and whisky, jars crammed with cookies and nuts, and a minibar of further tipples. They’re complimentary and refill magically whenever plundered.
The roll call of goodies continues: two sarongs, with tying instructions; tasteful straw sandals, a yoga mat, beach bags; board games, magazines and two iPods loaded with music for every taste. And my favourite: a huge bath outside among those ponds.
Left to our own devices, we explore our walled garden and conclude that it is, indeed, completely private. So we skinny-dip and Mr Smith takes a sarong-less stroll, communing with dragonflies. I’m concocting puns about bare-bottom botany when the doorbell rings, sending him scrambling for cover. No need, as Vina is clearly accustomed to guests exploring their inner naturist and allows time for modesty between ringing and entering through her special butler’s door.
Want to know the truth about butler service? It’s a little weird at first. Being resourceful travellers who, if necessary, will build a fire or catch dinner, we’ve unpacked our own suitcases and poured our own champagne. Then we remember that’s Vina’s gig.
I fear we’re under-achieving at being butlered, so we rustle up some dirty laundry and ask Vina to book a table at a much-recommended restaurant, La Lucciola. ‘Think of more tasks,’ I urge Mr Smith. You haven’t known real luxury until you’ve suffered from butler angst.
Normally, we’d walk around the corner to La Lucciola, but this is the Club, where feet don’t touch the ground. At sunset, Vina, black Lexus and driver arrive and deliver us to the door in moments. La Lucciola perches on a tranquil stretch of Seminyak Beach, and waves, candlelight and delicious Italian food paint a romantic idyll so dreamy that although we walk home we reckon Vina wouldn’t mind – since it feels like floating.
The villa is so richly appointed you could nest indefinitely. But the next day we want to explore the Legian, as its facilities are available to Club guests. We recline on a sunlounger and watch the two-tier infinity pool and Indian Ocean vying to out-blue each other. Then, at risk of disappointing our butler, we walk along the beach towards Kuta and back along streets lined with shops running the gamut of tat to tasteful.
After the hubbub, we relish our private paradise. Apparently, some guests only emerge from their villa cocoon to visit the Club Lounge. Others punctuate their seclusion with trips to the Legian’s spa, Pool Bar and the Restaurant, where we dine that night. Being VIPs (Vina’s Important People), we’re escorted to a prime table on the terrace. My river prawn sambal is spicy and fresh; Mr Smith’s red snapper with chilli oil and water spinach is his favourite dish yet.
By now, we have endless errands for Vina. We’ve got her tracking down friends, finding shops, and asking the chef to make us a local dish called martabak. Just as we’ve finally surrendered every last shred of self-reliance, it’s time to leave. Vina helps us pack and farewells us at the gate. ‘Come with us and run our lives!’ we want to cry, because after two days of splendid, cosseted indolence, we are convinced that survival skills are vastly overrated.