Space, serenity and that definitive Seminyak touch

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Antonino Tati checks in to the Anantara Seminyak Resort & Spa to discover plenty of room to move, second-to-none spa services, the finest dining, and even out-there activities for the more adventurous…

Usually when I fly into Bali, I choose a late afternoon flight and end up getting in to Denpasar at around midnight. After an hour at immigration and customs (yes, it takes that long now with the new expanded airport) and a 50-minute taxi ride into town, this means checking in to my hotel at a scary 2am. And when a hotel is as stunning as the Anantara Seminyak Resort & Spa, you really would want to kick yourself for wasting half a day’s booking…

Which is why I was very glad to be checking in to this establishment smack bang in the middle of my Bali holiday. Oh yes, I did my research alright, and discovered that this massive resort situated on one of the most pristine segments of the Seminyak coastline offers huge accommodation space, all the mod cons and amenities, and one of the most impressive Indian Ocean views – at around the same rate or less than some of the smaller, pokier hotels.

Forget asking for a late check-out already; I demanded an early check-in!

Immediately upon arriving, a smiley bellboy tended to my luggage, handling the LVs – already overstuffed with shopping – with great care and delivered them to my room quicker than I could start stashing away the luxury bathroom amenities. Now that deserved a good tip, and god it feels good handing over a note with six digits on it (100,000 Rp is all I had and, heck, with the excellent Aussie exchange rate, it’s not even a tenner!).

Luxury, if not decadence, is the key theme at Anantara. Not so much in the resort’s décor – for this veers more toward eco-chic than over-the-top gauche – but more so in the rooms’ spaciousness. Some might say you could swing a cat in the lounging are alone. I’d say you could fit an entire menagerie in there. Seriously, the total of the bedroom area, lounge space, wardrobe, bathroom and Jacuzzi deck combined, the 80-square-metre room was a good third of the size of a house. Villa Schmilla…

I soon learnt that ‘Anantara’ in Sanskrit means “without end”, and it seems the architects and designers of this place made this their mission, too, when it came to allowing for room to move.

Plopping myself on the giant king bed, I enjoyed the natural fanning of cool breeze coming in from the ocean as I checked out the resort’s very lengthy spa menu.

Gone are the days when spas offered a couple of slices of cucumber and a lie-down for the sake of ‘wellbeing’. In their place are sheer havens of transcendental-like experiences – the variety of treatments and massages seemingly endless, and the ingredients used being more and more exotic.

Anantara adopts five key ingredients variously in its spa menu: clove, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and vanilla. The first of these, clove, is native to the nearby Maluku islands of Indonesia and is the strongest of all the aromatic spices. Prized for its ability to freshen breath (hence the ‘clove cigarettes’ puffed by locals) heal digestive disorders (due to its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic properties) this activating spice is featured in a good lot of the Anantara treatment options.

I opted for the very special sounding ‘Sensual Spice Odyssey’. It commenced with a foot cleanse where my tootsies were soaked in a large wooden bowl filled with spices and petals, followed by a body scrub and an energising massage head to toe (well, the other way around, actually). The head massage relieved more cerebral tension than I knew I even had, while the rest of my body felt way energised afterward.

A facial is also included in the deal, with the beauty technician incorporating your choice of essential ingredients.

All up the treatment lasted just over three hours but the blissful sensation way beyond. And at 185,000 Rp – or around AUD$180 – it’s a bargain when compared to some exorbitantly priced spa establishments back home.

Anantara Spa also offers quick ‘fixes’ including 30-minute Green Tea & Oriental Spice or Floral Baths (250,000 Rp – AUD$22) that are great when scheduled between all that shopping and restaurant-hopping you’ll be doing in and around bustling Seminyak.

There are some hotels and resorts whose in-house dining options are often watered down, so to speak, that the traditional elements of their surrounding culture are sacrificed in the name of satisfying the homogenous traveller palette. Not so with Anantara.

Breakfast is a buffet offering Indonesian specialties, pan-Asian favourites and even continental as an option, while lunch and dinner give diners extensive a la carte options.

Specialities include grilled fish, fresh from Jimbaran Bay, rending sapi (mouth-watering pieces of beef in a host of herbs, nuts and spices including kaffir, coconut, kandis and lemongrass – delish!), and oxtail soup for the more adventurous.

For those who enjoy Thai, the ‘Wild Orchid’ is a restaurant devoted to that country’s cuisine, where master chefs craft zesty creations right before your eyes. The reason for the inclusion of Thai-specific cuisine is because the very first Anantara resort opened in Thailand’s historic seaside enclave of Hua Hin, and the restaurant in their Seminyak locale serves to acknowledge the hotel’s rich history.

Even dining by the pool is a multicultural affair, with the simplest of dishes commanding even the fussiest of a gourmet perfectionist’s attention.

THINGS TO DO
Every day, Anantara offers a range of organised and do-it-yourself activities in and around its spectacular location. From the action-packed to the more scenic and relaxing, there’s plenty of things to do when you’re done sunbaking by the pool.
There’s white water rafting on the Ayung River, elephant riding through nearby rainforests, and hiking to hilltops to discover heavenly decorated temples.

Wind down after an adventurous day out with one of the resort’s famous ‘sunset experiences’ where complimentary tea-tails are served on the main deck between 5 and 6pm.

Or keep the adrenaline going at the gym next door to the spa on the rooftop floor, fully appreciating those Indian Ocean views.

In this writer’s travel experience, Anantara Seminyak Resort & Spa is one of the most impressive and hospitable of Indonesian accommodations. The staff are always friendly but never imposing, the food could not be faulted, the views are magnificent, and, again, the size of the rooms fit for a king. Be sure to do your homework when next visiting Bali, and put this place at the top of your web research if five-star satisfaction is what you’re after.

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BOOKING INFORMATION

Anantara Seminyak Resort & Spa is situated on Jalan Abimanyu (Dhyana Pura), Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia.

Rates start from around AUD$420.00 including tax.

The resort is part of Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels and Mr & Mrs Smith guarantee this rate.

Booking includes free daily canapés and tea-tails cocktail experience at the SOS Supper Club.

For more information or bookings visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or phone 1800 896 627.