If you love big hotels that make a statement in the grandest way, the new Apurva Kempinski, Bali, is perfect. It may have taken a decade from the initial design to the soft opening in February, but the wait has been well worth it. Everywhere you look holds surprises of the best kind in this stunning Nusa Dua hotel that is sprawled over 14 hectares.
Etched into a steep beachfront cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, the design and decor are a tribute to the glorious Majapahit Kingdom era, which was known for its rich culture and intricate handicrafts.
From the moment you step into the huge pendopo-style lobby with its traditional Javanese-style peaked roof, expect to be overwhelmed. It’s hard to know where to look first. There’s the soaring gold tiered ceiling that seems to glow, fine Javanese hand-carved woodwork and dazzling glass works in the shallow pools, dotted with floating pink lotus flowers. Look down and you can’t take your eyes off the striking labradorite Madagascar granite floor that sparkles like gemstones in the light and resembles the ocean.
Taking centre stage is the steep 250-step outdoor Grand Staircase that soars towards the sky and was inspired by Bali’s sacred Pura Besakih water temple. Beautiful pink, white and purple bougainvillea trail over the walkway terraces where nightly rituals are held and yoga and meditation classes at sunrise. Tumbling waterfalls lead down to the shimmering 60-metre main pool, manicured beach and turquoise ocean.
Throughout the resort, there are lush gardens with clusters of Solobium trees, hibiscus and fragrant frangipanis with a perfume that lingers. The hotel designed by the Trivium Design Group reflects an open-air theatre and was inspired by traditional Balinese rice terraces with buildings zigzagging down the hill.
My palatial suite is huge with an entry hall, separate walk-in robe, king-size bed with the softest linen, a desk and an inviting mini-bar with treats. The lounge area leads to the terrace with a plunge pool with fabulous resort views to the beach and beyond. The marble bathroom is also spacious with a walk-in rain shower and stand-alone bathtub that’s hard to leave.
It’s one of 475 sumptuous rooms, suites and villas available. Many come with plunge pools, and all feature beautiful Indonesian craftwork and understated decor.
Although it is tempting to stay in my suite and enjoy the rich surroundings, I have club access and head there to try the hydrotherapy pool which bubbles away.
Afternoon tea and nightly canapes and drinks are served in the club lounge. Breakfast is served upstairs with stunning resort views. The tropical fruit and traditional Balinese dishes prove tempting.
Main Pool and Beach
The 60-metre main pool is surrounded by small alcoves with sun lounges at the water’s edge that are perfect for couples or groups.
There’s a separate kids’ pool, and an innovative family club to keep the youngsters happy. The beach club organises water sports and activities and there’s a lifeguard to keep watch.
The Apurva Kempinski Bali is home to six restaurants offering a variety of eclectic culinary experiences.
Pala Restaurant, in the middle of the resort, offers all-day dining with local and international dishes and an extensive buffet. Sunday brunch has become a feature at many Bali hotels and this hotel excels with masses of fresh seafood, tasty dishes from around the world and fabulous dessert stations.
The Japanese restaurant Izakaya by Oku is my favourite with its fabulous degustation menu and cocktails. It is a sister of the award-winning OKU restaurant at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta.
The Reef Beach Club is a great spot for lunch or casual dinner – especially if you want to feel the sand between your toes beside the 42-metre beachfront infinity pool.
For a taste of Indonesia’s famed herbal tonic jamu and the distinctive luwak coffee head to the Selasar Deli and at Koral Restaurant you can gaze at colourful fish swimming in the aquarium while you dine.
For a nightcap under the stars, the Pala Rooftop Bar is perfect on a balmy night.
The Apurva Spa
The impressive Apurva Spa offers healing treatments based on the Javanese philosophy Rupasampat Wahyabiantara, which aligns outer and inner beauty. As soon as you arrive, life slows and the hardest decision to make is what treatment to select.
My hotel verdict?
The Apurva Kempinski Bali artfully blends a glorious heritage to a beautiful tropical resort with plenty of Balinese charm and even its own “stairway to heaven.”
Rates start from IDR4,401,980 (about A$456) per room per night.
Find out more: kempinski.com/en/bali/the-apurva-kempinski-bali