|Karma Kandara - A little piece of heaven on Bali's southern tip|
Karma Kandara Villas, Ungasan Bali
Signature Karma Kandara service begins at the airport. I don’t mean at arrivals with resort transfer, I mean from the moment we disembark the plane! I curiously hear my name and realize the smiley man in a collarless suit is addressing me. Worried at first that something is wrong, my seconds of anxiety soon turn to wonderment at learning this friendly man is our personal escort and, he’s greeting us literally the instant we step off the plane.
Arrival card, customs form, priority service through immigration and customs - we are out of the airport in less than 15 minutes, bags and all! Impressive. Unsure that would be allowed in many other countries, we feel like movie stars and happily lap up the blue-ribbon treatment.
Of course our chaperone has called ahead, so our luxury vehicle is waiting, smoothing the transition. Our driver introduces himself and seems very intuitive about the level of conversation we desire. Answering our questions with plenty of detail but not blabbing on unnecessarily. Mineral water is a welcome refresher, as too is the fresh smelling and superbly clean van interior.
A 40-minute ride from the airport sets us down in Bali’s Bukit Peninsula, or “Billionaire’s Row.” Steep cliffs rise above the Indian Ocean protecting and privatizing beaches with their vertical bluffs. Aquamarine waters swirl in a spirited dance below and pale sandy beaches beg to be explored bare foot. The climate is pleasant on the cliff edge. Ranging from 20 to 33 degrees Celsius, sea breezes cool the grounds making the tropical island get away truly enjoyable any time of year. Stunning marine views aside, the “must visit” Uluwatu Temple is only 20 minutes away, and golf lovers will be delighted to know that an 18-hole championship golf course is less than a 10-minute drive away too.
Welcomed by name by the cordial staff, our check-in is pleasant and cooled with an icy ginger beverage. A buggy takes us down a cobblestone path to our villa where our personal butler gives us a guided tour.
|Two Bedroom Villa|
There are 54 luxury villa residences of two, three, four and five bedrooms, each with its own private pool. Our two-bedroom home is set in traditional Balinese arrangement with living spaces laid out around a lush garden courtyard and private pool. Frangipanis shade the pool’s edge and deck chairs recline under a giant umbrella, inspiring hours of leisurely dipping and lazing.
|Garden Courtyard in Two Bedroom Villa|
An open living plan and natural materials are favoured in the interior design of the villa. Natural stone, local artwork and warm teakwood ornament the space. Grass and bamboo clad the high-pitched roof giving a distinctive Balinese finish to the clean contemporary composition. Both air-conditioning and ceiling fans provide a choice of cooling.
Villas blend the best of the local surrounds with the latest in modern technology. Our kitchen is fully equipped with SMEG appliances including a full size fridge, oven, stovetop, microwave/grill and dishwasher. The lounge area has caught hubby’s attention with its LCD screen and surround sound speaker system. Our butler tells us CDs and DVDs are available at reception if we so desire some of this form of entertainment. We don’t realize until our second night, when we borrow some DVDs, just how fantastic the surround sound system is. We feel as though were’ in the cinema. Speedy Wi-Fi means we’re connected again to the outside world within minutes of settling in.
|Kitchen and Dining Area|
The master bedroom is on the second floor of the sleeping quarters and our comfortable bed is draped in a soft mosquito netting. The marble bathroom with separate shower and large bathtub is complemented with lush bath products smelling of grapefruit, lavender and rosemary. A wooden deck furnished with sun chairs and coffee table issues a space for moon gazing, which we have clear view of on this cloudless night.
Another complete sleeping area downstairs is opulent in its spaciousness. A king size bed is companioned with a daybed making the space suitable for a couple and a child. We love the en suite bathroom, which opens up to an outdoor shower concealed from prying eyes by wooden beams and vines, and is our choice for bathing over the next three days.
|Bathroom and Outdoor Shower|
Food and Beverage
Villas are fitted with all you need to cook for yourself (and staff will even do your grocery shopping for you), but there are a number of options within the resort for those who really want to feel spoiled.
|French Press Coffee|
In-Villa Dining is available at the touch of a button and the service wows. For starters the menu is extensive and available 24 hours a day. Our food delivery boy greets us by name, sets our table and makes sure we’re happy before disappearing and leaving us with our supper. We’ve arrived late at night so order from the Overnight Menu. There’s a Breakfast, Entrée, Main Course, Sushi, A la Carte, Grill, Pasta/Risotto, Splash, Wellness Cuisine, Tapas, Desserts, Beverages, 7 Chakras (cocktails), and a Kids menu too!
Hubby’s Black Angus Burger (IDR150) is juicy and full flavoured. A soft bun holds iceberg lettuce, onion, gherkin and aged white cheddar cheese. There are healthy choices as well and my Karma Organic (RMIDR150) with mixed greens, grilled green asparagus, avocado, tomatoes, fennel and plumply shaved truffle is pleasantly satisfying. The dressing is light with a salty finish.
|Black Angus Burger|
A distinctly western breakfast with many wholesome options has us up early dribbling in anticipation. Brekkie can be taken in villa or at Di Mare Restaurant. We’re taking full advantage of not dressing and order in. The Ricotta Hotcakes (IDR90) with cherry compote, shaved coconut and honey mascarpone are drool worthy. Fluffy, but textured, they’re stacked high and we both let out joyful moans as they vanish in our mouths. My Egg White Omelette (IDR120) is filled with roasted cherry tomatoes, zucchini flower and goat’s cheese and, sits aside whole grain toast. I give it a thumbs-up for flavour and a healthful start to the day. Hubby’s Eggs Benedict (IDR130) are cooked perfectly. The yolk drips down the crust of the English muffin as the fork breaks the cloudy white. Soft ham gives a pleasantly porky punch and hubby declares it a fine rendition of this popular morning meal.
|In Room Dining - Breakfast|
Later in our visit we order from the Karma Wellness Cuisine selections. This is a meat free menu and each item shows total calories and nutritional breakdown. I’m in love, love, love and wish more hotels would follow in Karma Kandara’s footsteps to liven up their healthy choices.
The Leanser (IDR100) is a colourful plate bursting with juiciness provided by local grapefruit, organic watercress, avocado and micro leaves. A coriander, lime and chili dressing dispenses just the right amount of kick to make eating salad an enticing idea indeed. Bake (IDR160) is a gluten-free thin crust pizza with wild spinach, avocado, red onion and goat’s cheese. If you don’t think of it as a pizza, and imagine it as a tasty lunchtime treat, you’ll be wowed. The Nourish (IDR190) salad is truly nourishing. Piled high with torn leaves, beans sprouts, avocado and strewn with seeds and nuts, we almost feel the nutrients being delivered to our blood. Toasted walnuts and goat’s cheese are indisputable highlights completing the plate with a both a mildly bitter and creamy conclusion. We understand why this is a favourite and repeat order amongst guests.
|Sunset at di Mare|
A short stroll to the resort’s highest point rewards us with spectacular views from Di MareRestaurant and Lounge. Literally sitting on the cliff’s edge, expansive vistas of the rocky headlands, crystal blue Indian Ocean and pristine sandy beaches are a feast for the eyes, just as much as the food is for the stomach. Modern Mediterranean cuisine and an award winning wine list leave guests wondering if they have indeed been transported to a luxurious Greek island.
|Di Mare Restaurant and Lounge|
The nutritious options here have our mouths watering and our minds content. Flavourful meals that are healthy satisfy not only our taste buds but our consciences as well. A number of creative experiences for breakfast, lunch and dinner make dining here, day after day, an exciting idea. Follow this link to see some of our favourites.
Above di Mare, Temple Bar and Lounge presents an open-air sundeck where DJs spread a sexy cool vibe with their hip tunes. Cocktails and tapas are the perfect accompaniment to the cerulean surrounds and sunset happy hour should be firmly written into your schedule.
If dining with your feet in the sand is your idea of a dream dinner date, Karma Beach Balicontinues the Mediterranean theme with a brick oven and a Mykonian swing on all that is seafood. Fantastic during the day for a lounge and a dip, a lounge and a dip… with sun chair service, or at dusk with the charm of glowing lanterns and candlelit tables, fresh menu options will delight any palate. Follow this link to discover our lunch date and thoughts on the food and drinks.
|Hill Tram to Karma Beach|
|Sushi Platter - Karma Beach|
But… for a truly unforgettable experience, a romantic dinneron the private spa deck should be booked. A wooden balcony drops off the side of the cliff, with only a glass barrier between us and the ledge. Lush greenery and the rocky bluff face provide a protective wall, privatizing this sensational retreat. The view directly below is of crystal clear aquamarine water and, beyond of the golden sunset reflecting off the clouds and the sea. It is here that our butler has adorned our dinner table with rose petals and serves us fine Champagne and delicious cuisine. See some stunning photos and our sunset evening via this link.
Karma Kandara Resorts certainly know how to make the most of a location and the cliff spa, overlooking the grand Indian Ocean epitomizes this ideal. More of a wellness retreat, than stand-alone spa, Karma Spa combines beauty, healing therapies and fitness facilities all in one venue.
|Karma Kandara Spa|
Spa villas jut out from the escarpment, with glass windows rubbernecking the glorious wild coastline below. The best way to enjoy the service is with the windows open to hear the soothing sounds of the waves rolling onto the shore. Highly skilled therapists are educated by experts in the industry: certified sports massage experts; health practitioners; reflexologists; and healers. Sourcing ingredients from local farmers using ethical and sustainable practices, the products used to treat our bodies, also supply our minds with a dose of good.
Featuring an infrared detox sauna, Himalayan crystal salt pool and fully equipped gymnasium the amenities are more than satisfactory. The sauna too sits on the cliff face offering expansive views of the ocean below. Set in the hillside, the gym is surrounded by green and provides all the basics of a treadmill, cross trainer and bike, alongside some free weights and strength machines.
The Three Monkeys’ Club is not something we need, but we imagine parents are sure to appreciate the complimentary supervision and activities for their youngsters, allowing themselves time to enjoy the beauty of this heavenly retreat. If you book directly via the Karma Kandara website, which promises the best available rate, kids under 12 not only eat for free, but too are entitled to complimentary membership to Three Monkey’s Club. What a deal!
Sadly Time to Say Goodbye
While the surrounds have a distinct Mediterranean feel, the service in undeniably Balinese. The warmth and friendliness that has made the small island world famous is ever present at Karma Kandara. From our personalized airport greeting to the second we’re bid farewell, we feel part of a family, one to which we’ll always feel connected and, hope to reunite again soon.
Reasons to visit: an unforgettable private cliff top spa dining experience; stunning location; self-contained luxuriously spacious villas; excellent food and beverage options with lots of healthy items on the menus; superb service (airport greet undeniably one of the best); good value for families with children under 12 who benefit from a “kids eat for free” and “complimentary kids’ club” offers when booking directly through the Karma Kandara website.
Karma Kandara Villas
Jalan Villa Kandara
Banjar Wijaya Kusuma
Ungasan, Bali, 80361
+62 361 848 2200
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