A Charming Amed Hideaway.

Published 26 November 2016   

Location:
BALI – INDONESIA

Written by:
RACHEL LOVE

It used to be known as the “Lost Coast”, while others have described it as “Paradise Found” – a string of sleepy fishing villages, collectively known as Amed, on Bali’s most easterly point, with a rollercoaster road hugging a dramatic coastline of steep headlands and bays, volcanic-sand beaches and coral reefs. Before the Millennium, a trip to Amed was akin to uncovering a secret; the roads were unpaved, electricity was limited to a few dimly-lit hours in the evenings, and communication facilities were zilch. These days, this beautiful part of the island is considerably more developed, presenting asphalt roads, a wide choice of accommodation, internet access and mobile phone signals. Nevertheless, with spectacular scenery, magnificent snorkelling and diving, and a truly laidback vibe, Amed is a wonderful destination for those who wish to escape and – as I recently discovered – there are still a few secrets to be revealed.

ci7742Thatched roofs and 40 towering coconut palms The beachside swimming pool and restaurant.

Some friends had recommended I stay at Palm Garden Amed Beach & Spa Resort, and when I got there I just didn’t want to leave. Comprising 11 luxurious rooms, a restaurant, spa, and swimming pool, this enchanting seaside retreat is blessed with an intoxicating view of the crescent-shaped bay of Lean, and glorious red-sky sunrises across the Lombok Strait. Here, traditional village life continues in much the same way as it has always done; every night the fishermen go out in their colourful ‘jukung’ boats, returning to the beach at dawn with a bounty of fresh fish. The resort is characterised by alang-alang thatched roofs, and 40 towering coconut palms interwoven within a graceful pattern of curving pathways. Some of the trees extend through the roofs of the buildings because the owners couldn’t bear to cut them down. There is a choice of five different room types here, ranging from Garden Rooms to standalone Beachfront and Garden Bungalows, all with personal terraces and two with private pools. The best view can be enjoyed from the Beachview Deluxe Room, the only upper-storey room on the property which, as the name suggests, offers a fabulous vista of the sea and sunrise views from the lazy comfort of its king-size bed. The resort has been immaculately maintained over the six years that it has been operating, and each room is spacious, light and modern, with white walls and eye-catching artwork, harmoniously colour-coordinated with cushions and bed-runners. Each is adjoined by a sunny semi-open-air bathroom.

beachfront-room-with-pool1

massage-and-spaEach room is spacious, light and modern
The spa is open to the cool sea breezes.

In my opinion, the on-site restaurant offers some of the best food in Amed. The team in the kitchen is a bevy of ladies – wives of the village fishermen. All meals here are prepared à la minute with fine local ingredients. Fresh chicken and pork, vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, as well as rice is purchased from local farmers, the catch of the day is supplied by the ladies’ husbands, and dairy products are imported. The menu features home-baked bread, soups, salads, and pastas with various sauces, seafood dishes, and Balinese specialties such as ‘Pepes Ikan Panggang’ – comprising fish wrapped in a banana-leaf parcel, ‘Sate Lilit’ – grilled skewers of minced fish, chicken or pork with coconut, and ‘Lawar’ made with chicken, coconut and green beans. Delicious desserts include Swiss ‘Apfelküchlein’ apple fritters with cinnamon-sugar, and Bali’s famous black rice pudding with coconut milk.

ci7709An enchanting seaside retreat
‘Jukung’ fishing boats line the beach.

Approached via a bridge over an ornamental pond, the pampering spa was designed by the owner of the resort. The circular open-sided pavilion is an essay in timeless architecture, inspired by the curvilinear forms of sacred geometry, with a conical grass roof, teakwood pillars, and a floor featuring a mosaic mandala fashioned from natural-hued pebbles. The picture is completed with intricately-carved, richly-painted Balinese doors and shutters, stone statues and bas-relief tableaux depicting goddesses and protective guardians as well as heroes and heroines drawn from the mythical world of the Balinese Hindu heritage. Accented in rich purple and gold, the spa is equipped with single and double treatment areas, as well as an oversized soaking tub for flower petal baths. Indulgent treatments include traditional Balinese and ‘four hand’ massages, Balinese facials, reflexology, reiki, manicures and pedicures.

beach-view-deluxe-room

garden-bungalow-bathroom

Activities abound in Amed. In addition to the abundant diving and snorkelling, the peaceful ambience makes it the perfect place to practice yoga and meditation; it is the start-point for trekking up the slopes of Gunung Seraya to some of the rarely-visited villages; or if you’re looking for pure relaxation, you can simply chill out with a book.

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