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(Reuters) - What’s big, green and lush all over? Bali, of course. And whether you seek dancing or romancing, retail or culture, surfing or hilltop meditation, are going solo or have tots in tow, the Indonesian Island of the Gods fits all comers.
Bukit Peninsula offers big-name resorts, spirituality abounds in Ubud in the mountains and the less-developed regions in the north but it’s Seminyak and environs on the southwest coast that are the most happening for food, retail and fun.
While Bali has an incredible offering of fabulous hotels – Alila, Aman and Four Seasons all have spectacular resorts - for us it’s is all about villas.
The choice is outstanding: book and you’re instantly transported to a world of 24-hour staff, privacy, luxury and value – just add a toweling turban.
And there’s a pad for every style, from the colonial elegance of Kaba Kaba Villa, to 007-style decadence at Luna2 or the lavish Konaditya House with its custom-made furniture and museum-worthy art collection, all right on the beach.
Having a chef on tap has its perks, but Seminyak’s restaurants are too good to miss. An Australian gourmet influence combined with an influx of international chefs has helped create a culinary scene where creative flair wins out.
Sample it yourself at Sarong in Seminyak, showcasing Will Meyrick’s tantalizing take on southeast Asian food; savor flip-fresh fish amid lush rice paddy surrounds at Sardine and taste Euro-Asian plates at LA-style glass bunker Kilo.
Bali’s bars meanwhile are throbbing with Latam beats at hip hang outs such as La Favela and Motel Mexicola. Not to be missed are the island’s day-to-night beach clubs, catering for families through to party animals.
Ku de ta and Potato Head Beach Club live up to their reputations, the former frequented by a Euro-glam crowd, the latter relaxed and retro-vibed.
New addition La Laguna is earning points for its beachfront, natural lagoon and picturesque pool.
Should you be on the lookout for new threads, Seminyak is top for shopping, and home to independent designers enthralled by the Balinese aesthetic and local craftsmanship.
A good starting point is Seminyak Square. Have a rummage at the flea market then saunter along Jalan Laksmana toward The Legian hotel taking in art galleries, interior decor, antiques, fauxtiques and fashion along the way.
Stand-out boutiques include Natalie Dissel for jewels made with rare stones, horn, leather and precious metals; frocks and accessories by Gail Elliot; bright beachware by Kirsten Sikiotis at Maidenlove and not forgetting the beatnik mash-up of gallery, shop, café, motorbikes and surf boards at Deus ex Machina.
(This article was contributed by LUXE City Guides. The opinions expressed are their own. www.luxecityguides.com)
Editing by Michael Roddy and Louise Ireland