Synonymous with luxury, the Sofitel brand needs little introduction. Its debut offering on the Island of the Gods is a marriage made in heaven – the perfect balance of Balinese cultural influences and French elegance.
Words: Chitra Santhinathan
With contemporary chic décor infused with Balinese accents like rich timber carvings and basalt stone flooring, the hotel was certainly a welcome retreat. Inspired by a Balinese village square, the circular lobby framed, on one side, a picture-postcard view of Nusa Dua’s golden sands and azure waters. My eyes were immediately drawn to the centre of the lobby, where a gigantic tree rose skyward to a cupola high above. The structure was symbolic of the Hindu / Buddhist tree of life, and beneath the cupola was an intricately-carved panel by a local artist depicting the cycle of life.
The hotel itself was a low-rise property, with five blocks and 17 villas spread across manicured grounds fronting the beach. Here, even the smallest room, like my sea-view Luxury Room, was a celebration of luxury. At a spacious 48sq metres, the room was equipped with a plush sofa for a cosy tête-à-tête and a lovely sitting area for in-room dining.
A carved wooden sliding door revealed an ample bathroom replete with a free-standing tub, separate shower and of course, designer French (in this case, Lanvin) toiletries. Mind you, the bathrooms of the suites and villas are equipped with Hermes toiletries! How’s that for luxury? Room categories range from Luxury to the 420sq metre Presidential Villa, so-named as it recently hosted a visiting president. The three-bedroom villa offers butler service and its own private pool.
Surveying all that was mine, my attention was briefly distracted by squeals of delight. Walking out onto the generous balcony, I soon spotted the source of the excitement. Below me, a family with two young children had just discovered the pleasures of plunging directly into a pool from their pool-access room. Anxious for a dip myself, I made my way downstairs to the more adult swim-up bar despite there being several more pools to choose from, including one with massage jets to soothe sore muscles.
After laps in the pool, I headed to So Spa for a relaxing massage. I was told the spa’s high ceilings were influenced by Sofitel’s French heritage while the decorative filigreed panels that framed the waiting lounge were a Balinese accent. My pre-treatment routine began with a cup of cold jamu beras kencur – a restorative tonic made of ground rice and traditional herbs, sweetened with palm sugar. My therapist then led me to a black-walled room, which was unlike any of the spas I’d visited in Bali. I opted for the Milk and Spice Infusion Body Wrap, a 30-minute treatment designed to stimulate blood circulation. While waiting for the coconut-milk infused wrap to work its magic, my therapist treated me to a head massage that was so relaxing, I drifted off to sleep. Nudged awake a half-hour later, I rinsed off and was rewarded with a back massage, followed by a cup of jasmine tea and ginger cookies.
Refreshed, I was ready to take on the task at hand: Dinner. But, with two dining outlets to choose from offering a variety of cuisines from Asian to Mediterranean, I was spoilt for choice. Kwee Zen, an open-concept restaurant divided into several sections occupied the entire ground level of the lobby block and featured a mix of cuisines on its buffet and à-la carte menu. The other restaurant – or three, should I say – was Cut Catch Cucina, which showcased grilled seafood, steakhouse fare and Italian cuisine. I settled on a perfectly-cooked lamb rump and the recommended tagliatelle frutti di mare with house-made spinach pasta and fresh seafood. Needless to say, both were excellent! Credit must also go to the staff, whose passion and enthusiasm reflected the French standard of service excellence. At Sofitel Nusa Dua, life was indeed magnifique!
SOFITEL BALI NUSA DUA BEACH RESORT
Address: Lot N5, Kawasan BTDC Nusa Dua, Kuta Selatan, Bali, Indonesia
Telephone: +62 361 849 2888 www.sofitel.com
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