September 27, 2019

It had been a rough few days on the island, a small group of us had gathered earlier for what is Bali typically well known for—partying and needless to say, a hell lot of booze was involved. After embracing the party vibes from sunrise to sunset a little too fervently, I was sorely in need of some romantic time with my boyfriend—and was ready to perform some sun salutations in the nude, on my private patio. Evidently, Bvlgari Resort Bali had my name written all over it. 

After a restful 40 minutes on the road, the booze taking a hold of me, I fluttered my lashes and awakened to the marvellous sight of the arrival pavilion. A benumbingly cold towel imbued with scents of lemongrass was presented and I refreshed myself. Feeling sentient again, I soaked up the sprawling landscape of villa roofs interlaced with lush landscape forest. Beyond that, the clift does a dramatic drop, and there you have the view of the Indian Ocean, fully animated. Definitely not a sight you’ll see everyday. A calm sea breeze rouses your hair, you notice that you’re in the company of very beautiful people parading stylish kaftans, boho sandals and oversized straw hats—possibly making up a mere sampling of what’s available to the top 1% of holidaymakers visiting Bali.

Bvlgari is one the world’s largest luxury jewellers and watchmakers. And that’s the extent of my limited knowledge concerning the brand and its running collections. Aside from my recent trip to Tokyo where I had the pleasure of dining at Bvlgari Il Ristorante Luca Fantin in Ginza, accompanied by the well known ‘Bulgari hospitality’ bestowed upon me; it’s as if the world of luxury consumerism and my own existential values subsisted in parallel universes—till now.

What seemed like an extreme diversification into hotels by the construction of Bvlgari Hotel Milan in 2004 was actually a brilliant expansion plan of Bulgari’s luxury lifestyle DNA. The brand strives to be flawless in every aspect: from service to facilities, food and even down to the architecture and details of each fabric chosen. Unlike owning a piece of Bulgari’s timeless jewellery, I was eager to put this way of life to the test. Starting with a buggy ride to my Ocean View Villa—a plush 300 sqm comprising a bedroom, bathroom and plunge pool decked out in bangkiray (a solid mahogany from Java) and glass laced with handwoven Songket silk. 

I would have loved to just get comfy on the deck chairs on my private patio, however the allure of the resort’s ‘twofold spirit’—one being a quiet and private sanctuary, the other, a glamorous and energetic getaway made me haul my bathing suit-clad self to the larger pool perched on the plateau in a bid to catch the last rays of the enigmatic sunset. I accompanied this with an impromptu meal at Il Ristorante – Luca Fantin, the restaurant’s signature Italian restaurant. Opened 2 years ago, Sous Chef Fabrizio Crocetta is the force behind the elaborate tasting menu. Cracking open a bottle of Rossj-bass Langhe 2016, which oozed sublime pale gold, my evening was made sweeter with pillows of crabmeat filled ravioli, paired with globs of dill cream that rang in a beautiful bitterness. Although the night was still young, the cushy Italian bed frame and snug linen beckoned. The beach can wait.

Breakfast was made of sugar-dusted almond croissants, warm lattes, and omelettes stuffed with blue swimmer crab smothered in sweet and sour sauce. Lest not forget the ravishing view of the Indian Ocean to start the day right. Sangkar is just a short walk away from the villa, albeit on killer cobbled pathways and inclined slopes that would put your fancy heels and calve muscles through some excruciating pain. Stow them away and adopt more sensible footwear if you’re looking to explore the resort grounds. On that note, there is plenty to soak in such as the private 1.5km of private beaches 150 metres below the resort that is only accessible via the hotel’s dedicated funicular service. Steep doesn’t even begin to cut it, as it requires nerves of steel, after which you’ll be rewarded with secluded stretches of white sand and picturesque rock pools, shadowed by soaring volcanic rock cliffs overhead.

The Spa at the Bvlgari Resort Bali has all of the beautifying offerings you would expect at a luxury hotel—facials, body wraps, and even Ayurvedic rituals. Guests are first greeted at the doors of the antique Joglo house from Java, dismantled and precisely relocated at the site. It’s transportive and thoroughly supplementary of Bvlgari’s ode to respecting tradition and culture. Perched on the cliff’s edge, you’ll benefit from the natural ASMR effects of the crashing waves below. I absolutely loved their signature Bulgari massage, which is a freestyle massage using Balinese techniques (that was firm with the right kind of pressure). However, the treatment that caught my eye was the Bvlgari Royal Lulur for two—a three-hour extravaganza that throws a bacchanal of treatments into the mix. Expect foot rituals to exfoliating scrubs, cleansing facials to a visit to the plunge pool before the culmination of a signature four-hands body massage with exotic oils. I reckon this administration would send you into spa heaven.

What more can I say? The Bvlgari Resort Bali left me with some extra special memories. A perfect blend of traditional Balinese style with dramatic contemporary Italian design, the result is one that emulates a good feeling, which I could wax lyrical for months on end. There’s also something beautiful in Bulgari’s sustained motto, ‘Larger than life’, that they have mastered and you will never look at luxury hospitality in the same way again.