Asia Hotels Travel

Amankila – Part One

This post is part four of my Bali adventure – for parts one through six, please see below.

Travel to Bali – Cathay Pacific
Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah, Ubud Bali
Ubud – The Tour
Amankila – Part One
Amankila – Part Two
Seminyak, Bali – The Legian Hotel, Shopping and Eating

After three nights in Ubud, we wanted to see another part of Bali, and thus headed to the Eastern side of the island. I wanted to incorporate a stay in East Bali because I had heard that the area was closer to the “traditional Bali,” and wasn’t as crowded as Ubud or Kuta/Seminyak. Our three days in East Bali and at our resort Amankila were amazing. There were so many aspects about our stay that I loved that, I had to split my review into two posts.

On our day of checkout in Ubud, Amankila sent a driver over to Chedi Club to pick us up. The car was equipped with cold water, wifi and snacks. We headed towards the town of Manggis, where the resort is located. Along the drive, we began to see glimpses of the coast and ocean and started to get excited. About an hour later, we passed a sign announcing that we were about to enter Amankila!

amankila sign

The car pulled up and we headed to the main lobby, where we were immediately greeted.

amankila lobby

While our check in details were being completed, we were walked over to the bar and presented with a delicious virgin cocktail by the bartender. I can’t remember all the components but it had fresh passionfruit, sorbet and ginger beer.

Amankila welcome drink

We also had our first glimpse of Amankila’s famous “three tiered” infinity pools, inspired by the rice terraces of Bali. The view over the ocean was gorgeous.

trinity pool

After we finished our drink, we were brought to our villa. Amankila only has 34 villas, but the grounds are huge. Some can be quite a walk away (as well as up some stairs), and the resort has buggies that you can call to take you up.

Here’s a photo that shows you just how sprawling Amankila is.


via Amankila

Our villa though was a very nice walk for us, not too long.

villa entrance

We requested a specific villa on the recommendation of a friend – #37. Villa #37 we later found out was famous with the staff for having the best ocean view. Randomly throughout our stay, drivers and staff would say, “You have the best view!”

villa 37

villa view

Our villa was an “ocean view” villa, so no pool, which I didn’t think was a loss as the resort’s pools are so amazing. Our villa was a bit smaller than ours at Chedi’s, and incredibly well designed. The architect was Ed Tuttle, who designed another hotel I’m very fond of, the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris.

I also appreciated the large sitting area out front, where I spent a lot of time reading.

villa entrance2

Upon entering, you immediately found the bed to your right (which was a nice big one, always appreciated by an American like myself). I had requested a pillow top addition since sometimes beds in Bali can be quite hard – however I was told that all the beds in the resort now had this topper.


The bathrooms were also split into a separate men’s and women’s vanity area. There were also two separate open wardrobe and luggage areas for each person.

villa bathroom

There were several day beds around the room which were always lovely and had great light. I want one of these for my home (and no, a couch doesn’t count). I think if you have small children, these day beds can be converted into children’s beds.


One of my favorite aspects about our villa was the small design details which were everywhere. Mother of pearl for example, was used throughout  – everything from the toothbrush holder to table top inlays featured it. Here was a detail I didn’t notice until our last night – the mother of pearl inlay on our bed.

bed mother of pearl

There was also the obligatory fruit basket that we had in all three of our various hotel stays within Bali. However I have to say that Amankila’s was the best. I’d recommend trying the mangosteen – amazing!

Fruit basket

Even though Amankila had a great restaurant where we usually had dinner, we took breakfast in our room every single day. The view was just too amazing and we loved sitting out on our little deck. The service and setup was flawless.

breakfast setup

Seriously…can you see why we couldn’t make it down to the restaurant?

table set up

breakfast table 3

The food was of course fantastic as well. Like at Chedi, we’d order a mix of both traditional Indonesian and Western breakfast options. The only drawback about breakfast was that you’d wake up with a relatively flat stomach, put on your bikini…and then fill your stomach with pounds of food…and it’d no longer be so flat. Totally worth it though.

First we’d start with the fruit plate. The item on the bottom right corner is mangosteen, it’s probably the first time I’ve ever had it fresh. I have to say it again – it is a must try when at Amankila! The town of Manggis, where Amankila is located, actually means mangosteen.

amankila breakfast fruit

This was a chicken porridge that was delicious and very soothing.

chicken porridge

The Nasi Goreng which featured two of my favorite items in the world – fried chicken and a giant shrimp chip. Yeah!

nasi goreng

Awesome fresh banana pancakes. Actually my favorite part of these bad boys can be seen in the left bottom corner of the picture. Freshly made butter with bits of honeycomb inside, the whole thing just melted together when you spooned some off into this swirled goodness. Oh my.

banana pancakes

Fresh Moroccan doughnuts with some amazing toppings/dips I cannot remember except that one was a coconut custard and the other was like a sweet latte sauce.

moroccan doughnuts

After breakfast each day, we’d putter around for a bit and then either head down to the pool or the ocean.We’d usually pass by these sweet local girls in the afternoon, making flower garlands.

Flower girls

Our first full day, we went down to the pool. We enjoyed the bales and always chose one as our pool base. I really don’t see why all resorts don’t have these…a fabulous place to nap the day away. Do you see me?


The pools were a very nice temperature and it was always comfortable to hop in and enjoy the ocean view. I spent most of my time by the pool though chatting with Mr. Feather, sleeping, reading, and of course, eating more. Our first day by the pool, we decided to order a little snack. However, all the options looked so good, we ended up with a large burger.

Amankila burger

And….pho. I was very excited to see pho on the menu. To be honest since I’ve had pho countless times, it wasn’t my favorite pho ever, but still a good noodle soup. I’d say it was more like a Thai/Indonesian soup than pho.

Amankila pho

We also ate desserts by the pool. Here was our favorite, a classic Indonesian dessert called Dadar Gulung. They were basically thin crepes/pancakes with a coconut filling. Delicious.

dadar gulung

This was another dessert we tried. I don’t remember much about it, except that it was good and I ordered it because it featured the words chocolate and toffee in the description. I will always choose a Skors bar at the vending machine.

pool dessert

As you can see, the food at Amankila was really delicious. We also loved our dinners there. One of the nights when we happened to be taking dinner in the resort, there was a traditional dance being performed by local villagers that the resort had arranged, right by the pool.

It was lovely to watch, especially as we had missed the traditional dance at Chedi Club. The dancers are so talented (especially their hands!).  We sat on the steps while the staff distributed some roasted peanuts and waters.

amankila dance 2

There were several dance vignettes, and the entire show lasted somewhere between 30-45 minutes. Here are all the dancers, taking a bow at the end.

amankila dance

We felt very fortunate to be able to witness this dance.

That concludes the first half of my review on the fabulous Amankila! Part two will cover the wonderful beach, and some special experiences that the resort offered.

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  • Lili
    June 17, 2013 at 8:24 am

    OMG!!! what a fantastic vacation – totally trying to convince the hubs that we should go!!!

    • Katherine
      June 17, 2013 at 9:53 am

      Lili if you go let me know – our travel agent booked all of our hotels and he’s especially good for Aman 🙂 You’ll love it, I highly recommend it!

  • Adele
    June 17, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Beautiful views from your room & OMG the food looks amazing!
    Happy Monday Hun xoxo

  • Sonya
    June 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    We stayed at Amanyara last time in T+C and very much enjoyed it. The private pool was immensely helpful. We will be returning to Bali next year and had Amandari on our itinerary, now we need to add Kila!

    • Katherine
      June 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Oh I wish we could have seen Amandari! I’d love to visit it next time we go to Bali (and we will be back!)

  • WorthyStyle
    June 17, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    What an incredible destination! I am loving each post – the fact that you are going into so much detail to describe what we see, and the places you all went. Really incredible things to capture here! I would love to go there, even though I am terrified of plane rides.

    • Katherine
      June 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      Thank you Worthy you are too kind 🙂

  • Naaj Rona
    June 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    The villa is so spacious and beautiful and the views are just magnificent

    • Katherine
      June 17, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      Yes the views are one of the most amazing aspects 🙂

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living
    June 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Wow, Amankila definitely lives up to the Aman name! I love the 3 tier infinity pools and bungalows! I’ll have to check it out during my next Bali trip!
    Random – I just thought, would it be tasty to have the nasi goreng ON the shrimp cracker, hehe?

    Oh and mangosteens are definitely more prevalent in SE Asia. I became obsessed with trying it after reading a NY Times article about the author proclaiming it to be the perfect fruit. It really has a wonderful texture and flavor, but I don’t get it often because my husband is mildly allergic to it (bummer!)

    Chic ‘n Cheap Living

  • Sonita Lontoh
    June 17, 2013 at 8:08 pm


    Amazing post!

    You know, Amankila’s location, Manggis, actually means Mangosteen in Indonesia 🙂 Glad you enjoyed your stay.

    Did you guys get to try Rambutan (hairy fruit), Sawo (sapodilla), lengkeng (longan) and some other fresh tropical fruits? Those are my favorites!


    • Katherine
      June 17, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      We tried the hairy fruit, snake fruit – I’m not sure if we tried longan or sawo though! There were so many amazing types of fruit there – my favorite was actually the passionfruit!

  • Ammu
    June 17, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Beautiful place, but the photo of the two little girls makes me wonder how they can employ children to work there. Disturbing.

    • Katherine
      June 18, 2013 at 6:59 am

      Hi Ammu, thank you! With the girls, they were never there before the afternoon (so after school was out) and I do think Amankila makes a dedicated effort to enrich/benefit the local villages in whatever way they can. While we were there, there was a small pamphlet about their efforts to send all the children in the local village to high school (after successfully paying for elementary levels).

      Culturally I agree that at least in the US it is very unusual and I think the Balinese locals at the end of the day would be the best authority about the topic.

      • Ammu
        June 18, 2013 at 8:10 am

        Thank you for taking the trouble to write such a detailed, graceful response. I am glad to see that amankila makes an effort to educate kids living nearby. I report quite a lot on child labour in India, and it’s distressing to see how many people here – who can easily afford to hire and pay adults a fair wage – will hire girls in their early teens to be full-time nannies and household help. .

        • Katherine
          June 18, 2013 at 10:26 am

          That is heartbreaking! I was speaking with my husband about this after your message and he mentioned that he was also curious about the topic and asked the resort about it while we were there. The staff mentioned that it was a long running program that also gave the children an opportunity to learn/practice some old traditional arts. I would love to hear some of the views of locals though, I hope they share the same stance.

  • Marlene @ chocolatecookiesandcandies
    June 18, 2013 at 1:12 am

    The food reminds me of what I used to eat growing up in Borneo. In fact, those crepes are what we call kuih (little snacks) and are in fact hawker/street food we buy for less than 50cents (I’m sure they cost double that now). What a beautiful set up.

    • Katherine
      June 18, 2013 at 6:59 am

      Kuih! Thank you for sharing that 🙂 I loved them, wish I could find them in the US!

      • Dina
        June 19, 2013 at 2:04 am

        They normally available as desserts in Thai restaurants – well, at least here in the UK!

  • Dina
    June 18, 2013 at 5:43 am

    Lovely post, you are right, the hotel looked amazing.
    I used to do Balinese dance when I was a child. Wish I can still do it now. The arm exercises was a killer though.

    • Katherine
      June 18, 2013 at 7:00 am

      Yes the arm and finger exercises looked to be quite difficult! I’d love to hear a little more about it, interesting to hear that they are actually quite strenous!

      • Dina
        June 19, 2013 at 2:03 am

        The finger movements are not a problem (well at least for me when I was young!). The hard part about the arms is that they are meant to stay mostly at a 90 degree angle to the torso for the duration of the dance.
        I love how they are mostly fast paced, quite energetic. I come from Java where the traditional dances are a lot more slow paced.
        If you like the aman resorts, check out Amanjiwo. It’s not at the beach, more in the mountain and overlooking Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist sanctuary.

  • O
    June 18, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your vacation – these photos are beautiful beautiful beautiful!

  • Elna
    June 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Mangosteen is my favorite fruit in the whole world. Its a little pricey here in Oman since it is imported from Thailand. I’ll have loads of it when I visit the Philippines this July. I hope you can come to the Philippines next time Katherine. The Amanpulo Resort there is heavenly.

    • Katherine
      June 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      Amanpulo is definitely 100% on my list! I would love to go there and get some more time to explore Manila a bit as well.

  • Hannah S@
    June 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Katherine I would like to email you about more information about your agent and how to book . May you tell me where is best to reach you? Thanks!!

  • Makeup Morsels
    June 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Oh my, those banana pancakes with honeycomb butter! *drools unattractively*
    Thanks for bringing us along with you, always thoroughly enjoy reading your travel posts 🙂

  • TC
    June 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    oooh, you always pick the best hotels! and mangosteen (drool)!!! i remember eating more than what’s good for me in cambodia. i always overindulge when i can get them (usually on a trip to asia) because they’re almost impossible to find in the US. they briefly appear in chinatown shops during the summer.

    • Katherine
      June 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Ahh I need to check chinatown more often! I wish it was easier to find in the US 🙂

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