The panorama of azure skies and lush green foliage converge with the rolling Indian Ocean surf. Welcome to the idyllic Amanusa Resort on the southern tip of the island of Bali, “the peaceful isle.”
Amanusa Resort is one of 18 Amanresorts, and this one prides itself on its balance of physical beauty and spiritual roots, according to founder Adrian Zecha. At Amanusa you’ll find the art of the bale, perfected. Bales, known as cabanas or gazebos in other cultures, are a kind of traditional symbol of Bali. They’re usually made of local teak or coconut wood and topped with a thatched roof; Amanusa makes the most of its bales by creatively adapting them to the special needs of refuges from a stressful world, who start to relax just by spotting the nearest bale awaiting them on the shoreline.
A bale can be used as a private retreat, a room of one’s own just for reading, writing postcards, meditating, napping,or just plain decompressing. Private bales are each fitted with plush mattresses and thick roll cushions, according to resort personnel. Visitors can roll out a mattress, stretch out, and relax, in between dips in the safe lagoon or leisurely strolls along the white sand beach, and then return to the bale for refreshments or a light meal. (Each beach bale is outfitted with a ceramic pot of frangipani water to wash away the sand.) Visitors can also enjoy a massage in the privacy of the bale to the accompanying sound of gentle waves of the Indian Ocean. The trained Amanusa masseuses combine Swedish and traditional Balinese massage techniques.
For more active guests, the tennis center provides two all weather tennis courts, and so there’s another bale between the courts for shady breaks, complete with iced chrysanthemum tea and other refreshers.
Traditionally, each Balinese village has a larger bale which serves as a kind of community gathering center, and Amanusa resort has borrowed a bit of this authentic culture for its luncheon facilities, a larger, dining bale with its rattan-screen windbreak. After lunch, during low tide guests can walk out to the coral reef for a quick dip to look at the teeming fish; athigh tide, they can make use of the snorkeling equipment to swim out and explore.
But there’s more to Bali than its bales. And that includes the more conventional aspects of luxury vacations. At Amanusa, each of the 35 spacious suites mixes up a peaceful palette of serenity with smoothly blended crème walls, beige thatched ceilings, and mahogany furniture. The bathroom beckons to guests once they catch the hint of the scent of frangipanis evoked by the hot bath water awaiting in the marble-tiled sunken bathtub. Glass doors open up to phenomenal views of the sparkling crystal-blue waters of the Indian Ocean or the rolling glistening fairways of the Bali Golf and Country Club.
The bales of Bali and Amanusa provide the perfect setting for a tranquil holiday escape to “the peaceful isle.”