Asia Food Hotels Travel

Amankila – Part Two

This is part five 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

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!

photo

photo1

The buggie drops you off almost directly next to the Beach Club.

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.

via Amankila

via Amankila

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.

black sand

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).

beach bale

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.

foot bath

And of course, there was a beautiful ocean view all around. Bliss!

beach view

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.

aman boat

There were two staff members on our boat from Amankila, and one was our snorkeling guide as well.

aman boat on

After we situated ourselves on the awesome top deck (basically like a huge giant clean white mattress), the crew started to get it ready.

amankila boat snorkel

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.

boat top

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.

boat view

sailing view

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.

lunch on amankila boat

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.

boat wake

This time we went a different route and sailed past Amankila.

amankila boat view

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.

Satay Country

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!

satay cooking

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.

satay dinner 6

Our bale was in the middle of a rice and peanut plantation so all we saw were beautiful lush greens and the countryside views.

satay view

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.

satay sauce

After some salad and a fruit refill, we got onto the main course…. satay!  There was beef, pork, chicken, shrimp and fish satay.

satay meat

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!

satay dinner 5

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.

satay dessert

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!

cake satay

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.

Amankila sunset

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!

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  • Adele
    June 24, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Beautiful Bali. Seeing this post makes me want to go back again.
    Have a wonderful week Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • Jess
    June 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Hi Katherine! Is there a page with the price list on the special activities? That scuba ride looked amazing!

    • Katherine
      June 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Hey Jess, no page but you can email them or once you make your reservation you can also just respond and ask for the rates. Are you going to be going? I’m jealous!

      • Jess
        June 25, 2013 at 1:29 am

        It’s officially on my list! I just wanted to see so I could see how much I would need to save up:) Thanks for the great reviews, they’re so lovely!

        • Katherine
          June 25, 2013 at 9:54 am

          Yes of course! Prices are reasonable for the level of resort – from what I remember private dinner options were around $250-$400 or so, but can go up quite a bit with alcohol, wine is super expensive in Bali!

  • Lesley
    June 24, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Such a nice dreamy vacation (: Glad you and Mr. Feather had a fabulous time! I grew up in Malaysia eating satay and dadar gulung. Dadar gulung is one of my favorite desserts EVER!! My mom still makes it sometimes when we go home to visit (time consuming, much?), and I can polish off about a dozen if I’m not careful (:

    • Katherine
      June 25, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Lucky to have a mom that makes it…it’s so yummy! I need to try more treats from southeast Asia, the food there is amazing.

  • Lilly
    June 25, 2013 at 5:34 am

    Hi Kat! Love the posts! I was wondering if you could post a bit on luxury goods and the workplace? I haven’t entered it yet, but I’d like to be prepared when I do. Is it a no-no to wear/bring them in?

    • Katherine
      June 25, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Thanks Lilly – I can try and do a post in the future. I try not to wear recognizable name brands in the workplace (no logos) and name brands/items everybody knows like a Birkin bag I simply leave under my desk for most of the day.

  • Lucy
    June 25, 2013 at 8:09 am

    The place looks amazing. Bali is now definitely going on my travel list. Thank you for providing such detailed posts. I am really enjoying them!

    • Katherine
      June 25, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Lucy I loved Bali, highly recommend it!

  • Joanna
    June 25, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Wow, that photo of you sitting on the top tier of the boat is just stunning! What a luxurious feeling it must’ve been to feel the wind in your hair and smell the water, all while being comfortable on a moving bed!

  • Marlene @ chocolatecookiesandcandies
    June 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    With the crazy weather in England, I’d die to get on the plane to Bali right now. Looks beyond beautiful. I went back to Borneo a couple of years ago and made my cousin trek through the entire city to buy me fresh satay!

  • Courtney
    June 25, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Bali is one of the top places to visit on my travel list! After reading this post it might have just gotten bumped to the #1 spot.
    Delicious food, crystal clear blue waters, white beaches, and a gorgeous resort sounds like the absolute perfect place to go.

    A Golden State of Mind

  • Naaj Rona
    June 29, 2013 at 12:03 am

    The views are just magnificent. The coconut trees, the sand and the beach reminds me of Goa.
    I would love to go to Bali, hopefully one day!

    http://naajronaslifestyle.blogspot.co.uk

    • Katherine
      June 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      I’d love to visit Goa one day! I had the chance years ago but it involved having to go to some festival on the beach and I’m too old for that now! Anywhere you’d recommend?

  • Azis Abdul
    April 8, 2014 at 9:53 am

    OMG love how the way you share your story! Even you could mention ‘dadar-gulung’ :))

    Cheers!
    Azis.

    • Katherine
      April 8, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Thank you! Yes I need to update, thanks for the correction on one of my favorite desserts now 🙂

  • Susan
    July 21, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Katherine,

    Love your travel posts and finally getting around to putting them to use! I’m thinking about taking my 2nd baby moon in Bali. Do you know if Amankaila is kids friendly? We will be bringing our 2 year old as well.

    thanks,
    Susan

    • Katherine
      July 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Yes I think Amankila is! Our villa had a daybed that would be perfect for a child to sleep on as well, and I think the resort has free babysitting too. If you want I can put you in touch with our agent who is very close with Amankila and who can help answer questions and do your booking as well (he charges no fees). Just email me if you want me to put you in touch 🙂