The hotel has 415 rooms and suites, all of which have been pretty much empty for the past 24 months. “We have been well-supported by the local market, but nothing like before,” says Pasdeloup,
He used the shutdown to create a Beach Club and undertake a range of renovations and refreshes. “The hotel is sparkling and ready for guests.”
Consult the Indonesia tab on smartraveller.gov.au, which advises all travellers to Bali must show evidence of a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test result taken within 48 hours of boarding the plane.
Australians will also need to purchase a single entry visa B211A for tourist purposes before leaving home, which a travel agent can organise. (The visas are priced around $34 to $40). And of course, full travel insurance for COVID-related medical expenses is strongly recommended.
Jetstar market research conducted for other destinations such as Phuket and Fiji shows that “quarantine greater than three days in a resort setting significantly reduces customers’ desire to travel to leisure destinations”.
Exhale, inhale at this hotel near Ubud
With yoga classes, the Jack Fruit restaurant, jungle villas and the Eucalyptus day spa, Pramana Giri Kusuma is your typical lush catastrophe. And we haven’t even mentioned the Indian, Indonesian and Arabian architecture and design pops, or the unassuming rural village of Melinggih where this property is situated. Can you hear the roosters crowing?
From the mosquito nets to the rattan recliners and calming water features located every five metres, you’ll forget how to spell COVID-19 as you sink into an outdoor bath strewn with rose petals.
There’s plenty of competition when it comes to big luxury “wow” hotels in Ubud; be aware that this option is small scale and low-key by comparison. But we love the laid-back local feel – and the fact many properties across Bali are now doing sharp deals to lure tourists back, including Pramana Giri Kusuma.
Located 11 kilometres from Ubud, this small boutique-style hotel has just 11 suites; it first opened in 2020 only to shut again, but has now re-opened for business. The hotel provides a 24-hour front desk, and room service.
While in Ubud, don’t forget Aman’s first Bali resort, Amandari, opened here in 1989 – built to simulate a traditional Balinese village.
UK-based booking site Mr & Mrs Smith still rates Amandari as an all-time favourite. We love Mr & Mrs Smith’s descriptor of “what to get out of bed for” during a stay here: “A hearty helping of temples – including Gunung Kawi, Pura Agung Gunung Raung, Pura Griya Sakti – are within an hour’s drive from Amandari.”
To book Pramana Giri Kusuma is located at Jalan Raya Payangan, Bali, 80572. Room rates from $US75 ($105) a night. For more information, call +6281237893970 or see pramanagirikusuma.com.
For Amandari, see aman.com, rates from $1238 a room, a night, including taxes, daily breakfast and airport transfers.
Veer off grid on Sumba
Since American entrepreneur Chris Burch (fashion designer Tory Burch’s ex-husband) took over Nihi Sumba in 2012, this breathtaking property has won even more fans the world over. It’s been a favourite of the surf set for decades, but Burch’s team has worked tirelessly to create a world-class luxury sanctuary by the famed surf break.
Whether you go for the surf break, the multi-awarded Our Spa Safari™ Nihioka, the sunset horse rides on the beach – or daily treks through the surrounding wilderness, rice fields, and traditional Sumbanese villages – there’s something for everyone in this extraordinary pocket of the world. It can be reached via a one-hour flight from Bali’s Denpasar airport.
Life & Leisure felt Nihi Sumba was worth flagging as part of Bali’s return, as remoteness and seclusion are key to the experience here. The resort has just 28 beautifully designed villas of one to three bedrooms. For fans of Nihi Sumba, note that Nihi Santo Tomás Costa Rica is due to open in 2024.
To book Rates at Nihi Sumba start from $US1000 ($1392) a night, which includes three meals a day, airport transfers to and from Sumba town, plus rapid antigen tests on departure.