Major renovations have put Conrad into the top tier of Bali resort properties, as Stephanie Mee discovers on a weekend layover.
One of the best things about living in Bali is that any time you’re feeling a bit blasé about the everyday, you can skip off on a staycation to some pretty awesome resorts. Such is the case for myself and a mate around the Lunar New Year, so we set our sights on a getaway to sunny Nusa Dua. Our destination is Conrad Bali, a sublime seaside resort that recently underwent renovations.
The Asian holiday season is in full swing when we arrive, so the resort has plenty of happy travellers milling about to give the place great energy. Yet despite the fact that the lobby is buzzing, the service is spot on. We’re immediately brought cold towels and refreshing welcome drinks and the check-in is swift and hassle-free from start to finish.
Our Lagoon Suite is one of the newly renovated spaces in an exclusive wing of the resort and it’s pretty spectacular. It has scads of space including a separate living room and dining area with sofas, a huge TV, a dining table, and a guest bathroom. The bedroom features a plush king bed and a gorgeous bathroom with an oversized bathtub. The best part though is the wrap-around terrace with sun loungers and steps that lead directly into the pool.
You can’t talk about Conrad Bali without bringing up the lagoon pool. This massive free-form body of water winds its way around the Lagoon Wing of the resort. Start from your own steps or either end of the wing and swim your way past the suites, under bridges and up to the pool bar. Conveniently placed steps allow you to get out at various points and explore the lush gardens or head off to the beach in front of the property.
All that swimming is sure to work up an appetite, and Eight Degrees South is the perfect place for a bite. Located at the edge of the pool and overlooking the ocean, this open-sided spot serves fresh global fare like vibrant salads, grilled seafood and roasted meats. Gluten-free and vegetarian dishes are clearly marked on the menu and there is a special selection of dishes for little ones.
Seeing as it’s the eve before the Lunar New Year, we decide to celebrate with a decadent sushi dinner at RIN. The Japanese restaurant is set in a quiet corner of the resort and has a cosy atmosphere with plenty of dark wood, Asian prints on the walls and tables lit softly with lanterns. The á la carte menu is enticing, but we decide to go omakase style and let the chef surprise us with an array of dishes.
Our multi-course meal includes insanely fresh sashimi expertly sliced and artfully displayed on ice, nigiri sushi featuring premium cuts of fish, miso soup with scallops, and wagyu steaks served with a sizzling hot stone so we can cook them right at the table. By the time the ginko panna cotta and macha roulade make it to the table, we’re close to sated, but somehow manage to finish the last dish.
The new year starts with a new experience: a floating breakfast served in the pool in front of our room. Again, the chefs have gone all out with an opulent spread that includes granola and yoghurt, poached eggs on toast with fried tomatoes and bacon, waffles topped with strawberries and icing sugar, and a basket of freshly baked pastries. Everything is served on a huge tray that floats, so you can cool off in the pool while you eat.
If you really want to treat yourself, a visit to Jiwa Spa is a must. Follow a series of winding pathways through the gardens and past a series of ponds and you reach the spa building surrounded by lush greenery. Treatments include soothing massages with essential oils, rejuvenating facials, body wrap infusions, and flower baths. There are also special therapies designed specifically for men, as well as fun children’s treatments.
On my stroll back to the suite, I walk along the beach and pass Conrad’s unique Infinity Wedding Chapel. This striking triangular structure has glass windows on all sides that offer views of the Indian Ocean. I can see how it would make for an incredibly memorable spot to tie the knot. For those considering a wedding in Bali, Conrad offers tailored packages that include nuptial ceremonies in the chapel, on the beach, or in the gardens.
Throughout our stay, I’m struck by how elegant, yet easy-going the resort is and how even though it’s clearly a popular spot, it never feels crowded. Everything adds up to a phenomenal beachfront getaway from the beautiful poolside suite to the warm service, and the indulgent eats and spa treatments. Congratulations are in order to the Conrad for creating a fabulous place to which anyone can escape the ordinary.