The Aman Resort properties are in a luxurious 5 star category of their own, and when I say that, I mean that if there were such a thing as a six star rating, this would get it. Their 26 exclusive properties worldwide are small, intimate, and dreamy. Each property is located in a natural and cultural setting. The service is impeccable and as you will read in our activities section, their activities are the cream of the crop. If you should ever stay at an Aman Resort, be sure to take full advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime excursions/activities that they have to offer. Here is a good description of the Aman Resorts which I pulled off of their website:
“If you measure success in room numbers, Amanresorts hasn’t achieved all that much. We have never focused on being the biggest. We prefer to think small. Intimate. Involving. It’s not that we are better than big hotels because we are small. We are different, that’s all. Amanresorts responds to a contemporary lifestyle. That’s what we offer – a lifestyle experience, without limitations. There are people with a shared lifestyle the world over. Whether in Europe, Asia, the Americas, they have one thing in common, something that brings them to Amanresorts. That ‘lifestyle’ is about shared values, a lust for faraway cultures, for the world around that excites, shapes and nourishes. It is an appetite for pampering and a deep appreciation of the creative and elegant – the way an Aman responds to the environment, the way light falls on the table or water fills a pool. Each of our resorts is quite different in location, look, mood and guest experience. Yet each leaves an impression, an indelible mark.”
AMAN RESORT part one:
AMANDARI “Peaceful Spirits” LOCATION: The mountainous Balinese village of Kedewatan (60 minutes from Denpasar airport and 10 minutes from the arts community of Ubud) VANISHA DESCRIPTION: Authentic, cultural, Jungle setting, nature-lover’s paradise MUST DO ACTIVITIES: Trek through the Ayung Valley. White-water rafting on the Ayung river. Day-trip to Ubud. Guided Bike ride through the surrounding local villages.
We arrived at Amandari just after sunset. At first glance the structure was modest, designed to mimic an old Balinese Village built with high paras-stone walls and thatched roofs. We stepped out of our car into an open air courtyard which was serene and quiet and smelled of incense. The only noise to be heard were the toads and frogs hiding in the lush vegetation around us. We were immediately greeted by at least four people who all already knew (and addressed us by) our names. One of them took our bags and welcomed us while the others got us cold drinks, talked to us about what type of experience we’d like to have there, gave us our room keys, and a short tour around the grounds. What service! Upon entering our villa, a big bowl of local fruits and a bottle of champagne awaited us. Mostly fruits I had never seen before. Accompanying it was a little book telling us about each fruit. How fun! (and thank god for this because some of them looked so scary I would have never tried them had it not said how yummy they were in the descriptions!) In our villa there was also soft balinese music playing on an iPod and incense had been burning, filling the air with a wonderful yet different smell. Way to set the mood!!! Aaaah! Attention to detail, I love it! The 2 story villa was very spacious. It had a thatched roof and wooden beams. The decor was clean and minimal.
The next morning when I woke up I took a look outside. WOW! We had our own pool and cabana, which was great, but even greater was the fact that our villa was sitting on a rice terrace. We could sit and watch the local people work their magic on the sprouting rice fields, right from our chaise lounge in the back yard.
Our Villa with our own private pool.
Our cabana overlooking the rice terraces
The path leading to our private villa
Amandari main pool overlooking rainforest
I read in a book that the best way to discover Bali was to find a path and follow it. Bali has paths everywhere you look. So we set out to follow the path just outside of our villa. The sound of toads and frogs and crickets filled the outside air. It smelled of that amazing and fresh “just rained” smell which I love so much! After about 5 minutes of walking, the path led to steps and the steps led to a beautiful shrine which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.
Stairs leading down to the river
A shrine in the middle of the rainforest
We felt so lucky to have stumbled upon this by accident!
Looking up at the shrine
A face carved into the ground
Lord Ganesha carved into the mountainside
This is where we met a local man named Ketut. He spoke no English but was so welcoming and wanted to guide us down to the river below and show us all of the beautiful sites.
The River below Amandari
At night we had such different and marvelous dining experiences. The food was magnificent. The first night we had them set up a private candlelit dinner under the cabana in our back yard. It was not just room service. There was a server waiting on us the entire time. And what service it was! I was blown away by the experience.
Private Cabana dinner in our villa’s yard
The second night we reserved a private table situated on a little island surrounded by a koi pond. The table was set to the nines and had our names written on a banana leaf in the middle. The third night we ate at the restaurant and had an equally great time.
Private koi pond dinner
We did most of Amandari’s suggested activities/excursions and absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed each one of them. If you want to read more on those just click on the links above or click on our activity section. One small tidbit of advice, do not get a manicure at the spa here! I left giggling and laughing because the woman had no idea what she was doing. My nails looked horrific and I remember thinking that my 6 year old daughter could have done a better job! However the experience was still enjoyable and the balinese woman giving me the manicure was very sweet. Over and out -XOXO Misha