ayana Bali Resort and Spa
I’ll tell you that place exists, and while it might take a weekend just to arrive, I’ll also tell you it’s worth the vacation days. AYANA Resort & Spa is Bali’s pleasantville, a resort so accommodating and mesmerizing, the only need to escape would be if you wanted to get in a surf session, or perhaps see the famous Uluwatu Temple. Set on 222 acres of tropical gardens overlooking the Indian Ocean, AYANA and its sister resort right next door, RIMBA Jimbaran, are the perfect places for weddings, engagements, family vacations, honeymoons, mother-daughter trips, beach getaways, and the list goes on and on. If you can dream it, AYANA can do it. That simple.
Where to begin? I’m going to be frank. Exploring this place took days – generously sized is an understatement, so you can imagine the overwhelming sensation I experienced while trying to make sense of it in one blog post. Here we go. AYANA and RIMBA together have 11 pools, 650 rooms, 15 restaurants and bars, eight wedding venues, a world-class spa, two gyms, golf putting and private beach. Like I said, there aren’t many reasons to escape. It’s also only a 15 minute drive from the airport. Score! After driving an hour and a half to the city of Ubud upon landing in Bali, visiting AYANA on the coast was a plus because I was able to experience the difference between inland Ubud culture as well as the fishing village of Jimbaran Bay on the coast.
I’ve been fortunate to stay in some posh places in my lifetime, but few rival the Villas at AYANA. Complete with a butler and his golf cart shuttle service, it also incorporates ample space with private pool and a bathroom almost bigger than the bedroom itself. Ahhh, dreams really do come true!
Hands down, one of my favorite features I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing at a hotel is Champagne Floating Brunch. It is exactly how it sounds – a feast that floats! AYANA really takes eating to a whole new level, bringing new meaning to the term bottomless. Breakfast in bed is officially old school.
If discovering all 11 pools doesn’t make you water logged, descend the 197 stairs to private Kubu Beach. The white sand and photo opps will have you down there for hours until you can muster up the energy for the journey back up! Try your hand at a Balinese cooking class, create your own perfume at the on-site creation studio, or golf the 18 hole putting course. If you’re feeling the love, go scope out all eight wedding venues. It’ll make you want to elope and throw up, all at the same time. Sunrise yoga won’t disappoint either because what beats shavasana (or wild thing pose) and this beach? Short answer: nothing.
Thirsty for more? No problem. AYANA will fill float your boat with the world’s largest Aquatonic Seawater Therapy Pool. I was given complimentary access and told I’d lose a couple pounds by completing the adult-like water park. Are you joking? A free thrill while losing weight? Sign me up! With over 60 jets and geysers, the pool will engulf you for two hours of your life relieving tension, jet-lag and boosting circulation and metabolism.
Bar on the rocks? Sounds like a drink, and while it could be, I’m talking about Bali’s iconic sunset venue that incorporates 360 degrees of sheer glamour on the rocks. Sitting 45 feet above the Indian Ocean at the base of AYANA’s towering cliffs, this place makes anyone feel like a rockstar, no matter what you’re drinking. Tip: If you’re there for sunset views, you’re not alone. You’ll need to get in line early as most people head down via trolly, allowing only 8 people at a time. If the line is long, ask a staff member for directions to the stairs. Don’t miss the sunset while waiting in line!
Let’s just say you can find any cuisine in the world from any corner of the world here at AYANA. Eating is a culinary journey at the resort, so partake in Italian, Japanese, Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, Western and more. Close your eyes, throw a pin at a map, and AYANA will transport you to the best of their abilities.
I typically mention service if it so deserves to be mentioned, but I believe AYANA needs its own service section. I’ve never stayed with a hotel where its staff knows about my every move, want and desire. That’s not meant to sound creepy or intrusive. Instead, it was attentive and genuine, allowing me to get to know Balinese people how every traveler should – on a deeper level. Other cultures could learn a thing or two from their generosity and ability to make authentic, sincere and fluid conversation.
Hotel hopping has never been easier. If you’re the type of traveler who likes to experience it all, hop on the complimentary shuttle bus for a five minute joy ride to RIMBA, AYANA’s modern sister, born in September 2013.