This is part five of my Bali adventure – for parts one through six, please see below.
In the first half of my review of Amankila, I covered what for me are the basics of a resort hotel – the room, the service, the pool, and of course my favorite meal – breakfast (and snacks!). In today’s post, I’ll cover some of the aspects which made Amankila great – the unique experiences that we loved, and the beach.
Apart from the huge triple infinity pool that I showed in my last post, Amankila also had a separate pool facility next to the beach, as well as bales directly on the beach. To get down to the beach area, you walked down a scenic route of steps (around 150 steps I was told). There were also buggies that could take you down if you didn’t want to walk. I’d suggest taking the buggies at least once, it’s like a short Disney ride!
The buggie drops you off almost directly next to the Beach Club.
We used the Beach Club’s pool a few times and it was a nice place to either spend an afternoon, or walk over to splash around in when the ocean was too cold/strong. It was also a true lap pool.
We spent most of our time though directly on the beach! Amankila has a lovely black sand beach that is kept very clean by its staff. Beaches in Bali weren’t the cleanest overall in my experience – there was a lot of litter. Amankila’s staff were constantly picking it up when it washed onshore, though it was an unending Sisyphean task.
The best part about Amankila’s beach however, were the bales. There was a row of bales on the sand, with two sets of beach chairs set in front of them. It was also a great place to take a nap, and you fall asleep to the waves of the ocean.
If you can see the little tray below, it held two bottles of sunscreen, in various SPFs. We didn’t bring sunblock at all on our trip and all of our resorts had it – however Amankila was definitely the best prepared and had bottles everywhere (along with a fresh aloe vera after sun balm in your room).
It was also nice to be able to go out and play in the ocean, and then come back and rest in our bale just a few feet away. There was adequate distance between the bales and enough greenery that we felt like you were in complete privacy.
In front of each bale (as well as around the property) there was a water jug that we used to clean our feet of sand before hopping up into the bale.
And of course, there was a beautiful ocean view all around. Bliss!
One of the best aspects about Amankila was the number of unique activities that the resort offered. These activities were some of the best memories of our trip. Especially in a remote area like East Bali, I really appreciate a resort that has enough activities that you never have to leave if you don’t want to.
The first activity we did was a morning cruise on one of Amankila’s boats, the Aman XVI. I was super excited because I love boats! My mom gets very sea sick, so growing up we rarely had holidays involving boats or ferries of any kind. I still have never taken a cruise.
There were two staff members on our boat from Amankila, and one was our snorkeling guide as well.
After we situated ourselves on the awesome top deck (basically like a huge giant clean white mattress), the crew started to get it ready.
And off we went! We hung out on the deck and simply enjoyed the scenery. It was really comfortable on the top level as you can see – there were pillows, towels, and a wooden stand which the staff kept refilled with ice cold waters.
The first part of the cruise was just that – a cruise around the island side. It was great to see some of the rocks up close that we had only spied from far away while in our beach bale.
After a leisurely cruise, we pulled into an area and changed into snorkel gear. Unlike Mr. Feather, I’m not a major diver or a snorkeler so I was a little apprehensive. However once we got into the water it was so fun! There were so many colorful fish and plants. Our guide even gently caught a pufferfish in his hands for us to touch.
Another aspect of our snorkeling that I thought was very thoughtful was that our guide brought some old bread rolls (I recognized them from our dinners!) and passed them out to us to shred and feed them to the fish. There were constantly schools of them swimming around us. I also learned my lesson not to be stingy and hold a bread bit for too long in my hand – a fish suddenly dashed by and grabbed the piece, biting me in the process!
After we snorkeled, we hopped back on the boat and rinsed off with a freshwater hose. Then, the staff set up a delicious lunch for us on the bottom deck.
There was fresh fruit, delicious smoked salmon and ham and brie sandwiches, and pastries. Everything always tastes better right after you’ve been in the water, why is that?
After we finished our meal, we headed back upstairs to relax in the sun and the boat began a leisurely cruise back to the dock.
This time we went a different route and sailed past Amankila.
After about a ~25 minute cruise, we were at the dock and met by the Amankila car. I would highly recommend a cruise if you stay at Amankila – it’s an amazing experience!
The next day, I had booked another one of Amankila’s unique experiences as a belated birthday surprise for Mr. Feather. It was a private satay dinner for two in a remote bale, with your own chef and waiter. Even though just the written description was enough for me to book it, the actual experience was way exceeded expectations.
At dinner time, we were picked up in Amankila’s car and driven about ~15 minutes to a remote spot in the countryside. On the way, we passed by the beautiful scenery and rice paddies.
Then, we pulled up to a secluded spot and walked through a candle lit path. Immediately we saw that our chef was already at work preparing dinner. Both our chef and waiter were two of the coolest guys ever, and the service was of course flawless!
We then got settled into our bale. It was the same type as the ones Amankila uses on the beach and pool, but I loved this because it felt like the experience was special, just for us.
Our bale was in the middle of a rice and peanut plantation so all we saw were beautiful lush greens and the countryside views.
Then we got started with our first course! There were multiple courses and naturally like during any good meal, I ate too fast for complete photos. We started with some snacks and freshly cut fruit that we drizzled sauce over.
After some salad and a fruit refill, we got onto the main course…. satay! There was beef, pork, chicken, shrimp and fish satay.
And I just have to say – that the satay was amazing. I’m not a huge meat eater and I probably ate more meat that night than I have in years (my mother would be thrilled!). Mr. Feather earlier in the day stated, “I like satay…but I don’t love it.” Once he ate some of our dish though, he was a convert. He loved it the satay so much that he even ordered it for dinner from the Amankila restaurant the following evening.
Once we finished our first plate, our chef noted the favorites and kept on making more satay. I think we probably could have eaten as much as we wanted though after two plates we knew we had to stop if we wanted to eat dessert!
The dessert that came with our satay dinner was our favorite from earlier – dadar gulung (pancakes with a coconut filling). I loved these and Mr. Feather was surprised (and probably a little disappointed) when I scarfed all of mine down despite complaining about a full stomach only minutes earlier.
After our dadar gulung, our waiter and chef left to another area and pointed out a little bell in our bale where we could ring for service. We had everything we needed though so simply relaxed for half an hour or so and enjoyed the sunset.
Then, we started to hear the song “Happy Birthday” being sung in the distance. Our chef and waiter started coming down the path with a chocolate cake in hand as a surprise final dessert for my husband. It was the perfect way to end the evening!
By the way, the plate reads 101st birthday because of an inside joke – some of you may remember that last year, we celebrated Mr. Feather’s birthday in Japan at Takazawa, where I had them include a “Happy 100st Birthday” message. I heard later on that the Amankila pastry chef put in an emergency call to the front desk when he was making the cake – he wanted to make sure he had the age correct so that nobody would be insulted!
After we finished enjoying the cake, we enjoyed our view and relaxed in privacy until we were ready to leave. We ran the little bell in our bale and our waiter came to collect us and bring us back up to the road, where the car was waiting to take us back to Amankila.
That concludes my review of Amankila. Our stay here was our favorite resort stays, ever. We loved so many aspects of it – our beautiful villa, the amazing views, the fantastic activities. And layered on top of everything was a genuine, seamless level of service. On our last night at the resort, we sat outside our deck, enjoyed the sunset and felt very fortunate to have such a beautiful sight to come home to.
I do have some tips and notes for future travelers heading to Amankila. The resort was the most expensive we stayed at in Bali. To us, the expense was worth it in line with how much we enjoyed the resort. I would advise however, that you save some room in your budget for activities. Amankila has some really unique activities and though you could just enjoy the resort itself for your stay, the activities just make your stay that much more special.
I have already received inquiries about our stay, so if you have questions please feel free to leave them in the comments!
My next post will be my final on Bali and cover our stay in Seminyak. Thanks for reading along!