First architect you think of is Frank Lloyd Wright and Fallingwater.
Angular vistas; minimalist style; water trickling over black basalt or flowing through terraced channels; brilliant sunshine on white stone. The cool aesthetic is a treat for the eye, and soothes the spirit after the battle through Bali's twenty four hour traffic jam.
Rooms are huge and elegant: self contained villas really, not your normal hotel box. Vast bathrooms, personal swimming pool, lawns, day beds. (But the smooth terrazo of the bedroom floor is a death trap with wet feet: take care!)
If your idea of a sophisticated night out is to sit at Starbucks in a sterile shopping mall, bombarded by competing and hyper amplified karaoke bands, then Bali Collection is the place to go. There are some decent places to eat, a free shuttle from the hotel while the food at most of the restaurants is OK and not too extortionate - but the noise is unspeakable.
Even the hotel is not guilt free.
When you’re paying £120.00 for a romantic meal beside the floodlit pool it’s a bit of a downer when you can’t hear each other speak over the “background” music. (In fairness I think they had it turned up full volume to mask the noise of pile drivers from the construction site across the road. Second time we ate there it was fine - but still too expensive to be more than an occasional treat. Balinese wine is not yet good, Australian wine doesn’t seem to travel well and both cost a lot. Stick with good local beer.
Yet there’s a difference between overpriced and expensive.
Eating at the hotel is not cheap, but the food and the service are wonderful (as is breakfast by the pool). Stylish nouvelle cuisine, superb ingredients beautifully cooked. Lovely, attentive staff who seem to take a delight in the quality and friendliness of their service without being either deferential or over familiar. Quite a gift.
About half a mile away, the hotel has a small fenced off area on a public beach with about a dozen loungers and access to a café and (perfectly clean) toilets and showers. Worth getting up very early and going down at low tide to watch local families harvest seaweed in the shallows from a network of poles and fences - all of which disappear - along with the people - at high tide.
It feels like the last gasp of a simple and dying lifestyle.
On the landward side of the beach, vast machines gouge sand and rock for the next speculative development which will cover the littoral and mangrove swamps in high rise concrete - and certainly won’t tolerate peasants scraping a living from the seaweed.
Bali is a region of temples and artists: stone, wood, silver, batik, music, dance, legend, surrealistic puppets. Whole villages devoted to a single craft, with skills passed across generations. Yet most Balinese inhabit a different economic universe. Silversmiths (and all the other craftsmen) make exquisite artefacts in musty darkness - and earn pennies while their work increases in value with each step up the distribution chain.
As a visitor you are honoured, watching as a privileged voyeur the last gasps of an overwhelmed culture. Choked by traffic and motor cycles; displaced by gated resorts of first world wealth; threatened by Indonesia’s resurgent and puritanical Islam (the militants don’t only hate the casual hedonism of western visitors soaking up pleasure and sunshine, but also the Buddhist/Hindu syncretism of warm, tolerant Bali).
Catch it while it’s still there. Forget the air conditioned malls, and get into the markets. Feed the local economy. Argue with the stall holders. Play the game. (“Final price: good for me, good for you”). Connect.
Then back to the elegant quiet and falling waters of the Balé. Unbeatable.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Bale is a rare gem, a retreat dedicated to revitalizing your soul. With just 29 blissful pavilions, each with their own private swimming pool and modern, fashionable interiors, The Balé offers you the chance to relax and revitalize in style.Stroll through peaceful white − walled courtyards and past refreshing water pools, indulge in the unique collection of holistic spa treatments and well-being programs and dine on the freshest organic produce.Enjoy the friendliest and most refined service − what we call out "hospitality from the heart". The Balé is all this and more. Come and experience its magic.You deserve it ! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Bale Hotel Nusa Dua
- Bale Nusa Dua
- Bale Hotel Nusa Dua
- The Bale Bali/Nusa Dua