With breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean and tropical gardens, The Apurva Kempinski Bali is straight out of an Indiana Jones film
Does one ever tire of going to Bali? I guess not, considering I have been there half a dozen times within the last year! Indonesia is one of those countries where one visit isn’t enough and definitely not to Bali. The island has it’s own charm, vibe and atmosphere that I am at a loss of words when asked to describe it. You will have to experience it yourself, if you haven’t as yet.
Located in Sawangan Nusa Dua, nothing will prepare you for the sheer size that is The Apurva Kempinski Bali. My first look at it’s welcoming courtyard told me why the Indian prime minister chose to stay here during the G20 Summit last year.
Even the walk to the main lobby will have you staring in awe, but it is the humongous Pendopo-style lobby, which is an expansive 2,000m² pavilion with a soaring tiered roof, that makes you look upwards (and for once, not down to your phones).
Designed by Indonesian architect Budiman Hendropurnomo, the resort is based on Bali’s iconic rice terraces and its ancient subak irrigation system. Continuously filled with light and sea breeze, the lobby reminds me of the ancient buildings of the Mughal Empire in India, though in this case, it would be the Javanese-Hindu Thalassocratic Empire. The copper high-rise towering structure within the lobby is a nod’s to the Kingdom’s past, while the gebyok, carved by more than 600 artisans from Java and Bali, stands on a labradorite granite flooring.
Once you pick your jaw up from the floor, head out to the balcony that has a spectacular view of the resort and the beach. It is here that you’ll notice the monumental 250-stair walkway, which appears to spilt the resort down the middle, much like the Mayan pyramids. Inspired by the Pura Besakih water temple, one of the largest and holiest temples of Balinese Hinduism, the walkway is flanked by cascading water fountains and trees.
Does it get better than this? You are about to find out!
The Apurva Kempinski Bali has 475 rooms, suites and villas, 60% of them with their own private plunge pools. This is not a resort to be going out to explore Bali, you’d want to stay in and indulge in all that it offers.
The resort has something for everyone and even when it comes to food. There are six restaurants to choose from with a wide variety of cuisines on offer. Reservations, if needed, can be made with the resort’s culinary hostesses in the lobby, also known as the Kempinski’s signature “Lady In Red”. If you’re planning a wedding, the massive chapel on the beach, with neighbouring villas is a good place.
Bali’s first and only aquatic dining experience, Koral is like being under the ocean. A restaurant in the basement or under the main pool area, it is an aquarium, with you on display for the various species of fish. Combining fresh and seasonal products, modern cuisine is offered in a set menu and signature degustation menu. The underwater world effect makes sure that you get dinner and a show. Sting rays swimming above while you tuck into fresh oysters with sour cream, slow-cooked Mutiara spiny lobster, chicken ravioli, crisp herbed seabags or grilled veal. The flavours are inspired by the Indonesia coast and use local ingredients. Accompanied with a hypnotic soundtrack that captures the magic and mystery of life below the waves, all the senses are stimulated at this aquarium restaurant.
Izakaya by Oku
The Japanese restaurant is inspired by Oku in Jakarta and offers an open kitchen experience with counter seating, as well as tables for larger groups, with private rooms. Apart from a la carte, the menu also has an Oku Signature Bento and a Seasonal Bento, which are seven courses each. The restaurant is popular in the evenings, so it’s best to reserve a table in advance.
Reef Beach Club
If you’re near the main pool during the day or on the beach and don’t want to stray from it… we get it, you’re on holiday… try Reef Beach Club. Charcoal-grilled flavours that capture the essence of Bali’s tropical ambiance, the club is on the expansive beachfront setting of Nusa Dua and surrounded by tropical gardens. It is also close to the 42m infinity pool, so you have all the things you need for a beach retreat in one spot. In addition to the meats and seafood BBQ, the club also has some 30 selections of rosé, which is the drink for Bali weather, IMHO. As the sun goes down, be serenaded with a bonfire and live music performances under the stars.
I love Chinese cuisine in all shapes and forms, and Bai Yun satiates me in that regard. It’s main USP is the hot pot, though it does also serve an all-you-can-eat dim sum lunch. From Mongolia to China, and nowadays popular in Southeast Asia, the hot pot convivial experience can be enjoyed here. The name translates as “white cloud” in Mandarin and as the hot pot generates heat, the steam floating in the air resembles white clouds. Get it? The hot pot comes in individual pots, though can be shared with two and offers a variety of signature soup bases such as chicken herbal, pork ribs and vegetarian. Yes, yes, there is the favourite of all time, mala, as well. You can choose two soups in one pot, which comes with the chef’s selection of fresh meats and locally-grown organic vegetables. It’s a hot spot for lunch with the locals, so again reservations are necessary.
Pala Restaurant & Rooftop Bar
The scene for brunch, sundowners and happy hour, Pala is also the restaurant for a big buffet breakfast. Situation in the midst of the main pool area, it offers easy access to most happenings. The Brunchcation on Sunday’s is termed as Bali’s best and we can see why. Not only are you spoilt for choice, it also offers views of the beach and sea beyond. The rooftop bar is the place for star gazing at night with a drink in hand.
Adjacent to the Pendopo Lobby, with the majestic views of the Indian Ocean, the deli offers light bites, an all-day breakfast selection, a variety of jamu, which is the Indonesian herbal drink and various coffees from all around the archipelago.
The Ciff Lounge
If you’re in a club access room, you can have breakfast at the Cliff Lounge and afternoon tea. With two balconies facing the ocean its a great place to begin the day.
You’re never going hungry at The Apurva Kempinski Bali!
L’Atelier by Cyril Kongo
After moving from France to Bali during the pandemic, French graffiti artist Cyril Kongo has got his own studio in the resort. L’Atelier by Cyril Kongo, occupies the entire area on the highest floor of The Apurva Kempinski Bali, with a terrace to boot. Have a private evening with art and here.
Apurva Spa is a relaxing haven, where treatments are based on the ancient proverb “rupasampat wahyabiantara”, which loosely translates to “true beauty is achieved when outer beauty and inner beauty are in harmony”. The spa occupies an entire half floor of the resort’s main building, with a relaxation terrace offering the endless view of the ocean. Each spa room comes with a private bath, shower and toilet and you feel like a warm cocoon once in one. All the treatment are tailor-made with different kinds of oil and lulur depending on specific individual needs. Bliss!
Begin the day with a traditional Balinese Melukat or a purification ceremony by the sea in a hidden cave-like temple, that’s about a two minute drive from the resort. What makes this exciting is that the water blessing has to be done before the tide comes in or your toes will be soaked… and the tide comes in fast!
You could also immerse yourself in a gong bath in a beautiful meditation room at the resort. I will admit that the room and the session brought the uttermost tranquility to me, just another plus of being in Bali.
Of course, the one touristy thing you can allow yourself is heading to for a bit of culture and sunset… with a few pests in the form of monkeys. At one of Bali’s best places to watch the sunset, the Pura Uluwatu Temple is a seaside pagoda that is on a cliff. The temple dates back to the 11th century and while you watch the sun go down, you are also treated to a traditional Balinese dance.
The Apurva Kempinski Bali’s 2023 campaign, “Powerful Indonesia”, encompasses 12 monthly themes, focusing on partnership, cultural-diversity, an empowerment programme, sustainable activations and a development platform for people with disabilities, making the resort more than just a destination. Visit kempinski.com/en/the-apurva-kempinski-bali.