Stephanie Mee heads to the biggest room in the house at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort.
WHEN your weekend plans involve a stay in a presidential villa, you pretty much already know your digs are going to be decadent, especially if that villa happens to be at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua. For those not familiar with the Sofitel brand, this luxury branch of the French ACCOR group combines French elegance with local culture to create unique resorts that are both timeless and refreshingly modern. Their lavish beachfront resort in Nusa Dua is one of their most stunning, and the Presidential Villa is the shining star of the property.
We’re booked in for a Sunday night stay, and while we’re dying to check out the space where former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono once shacked up, we decide to set aside some time first to indulge in the Weekend Chic Brunch at Cut Catch Cucina. Listed as one of the Best Hotel Brunches in the World by Condé Nast Traveler, this decadent weekend affair is just too good to pass up.
Once seated in a plush leather booth, our waiter greets us with a cheerful bonjour and offers us champagne and French wine. Then we’re given free reign of the stations stacked high with fresh seafood, succulent roasts, house made breads, cheeses, sushi and pizza, plus an entire dessert room with chocolate fondue, a DIY donut station and a cotton candy machine. As we feast, we are treated to a live fashion show, a live jazz band, and roaming waiters offering special dishes like tuna tartare and truffle risotto.
It’s pretty hard to roll out of the restaurant after putting back plate after plate of exquisite eats, but we manage to make our way to Club Millésime for post-prandial lattes and a peruse of the bookshelves while the staff check us in. All guests staying in the Luxury Pool Rooms, Suites and Villas have access to this stylish library and lounge with cosy nooks and corners indoors and out, a private pool, daily afternoon tea, and happy hours with wine tastings and free-flow cocktails.
When we finally enter our abode for the evening, we’re immediately taken aback by just how palatial the Presidential Villa is. White stone walkways wind around water features and multiple buildings that house three separate bedrooms, a stand-alone living room, an opulent dining room and a kitchen.
At the back facing the beach there is a long lap pool surrounded by outdoor lounge areas with cushioned sofas, a barbecue and an al fresco dining table. On the other side of the lounges there is a huge lagoon pond, a grassy lawn perfect for garden parties, and a gate leading directly onto the beach.
In typical Sofitel style, you can see elements of both local flair and classic French aesthetics here. Sitting outdoors you feel firmly rooted in Bali with the sounds of the ocean lapping the shore, the sweet scent of frangipani blossoms wafting over the sun deck, and the thatched roofs juxtaposed against clean white walls. Inside there are thick velvety carpets, modern amenities like espresso machines and flat screen TVs, and gorgeous bathrooms with white marble counters and Hermès bath products.
As tempting as it is to spend the entire afternoon and evening chatting over cocktails on the breezy decks, slipping into the still waters of the pool and nibbling on complimentary chocolate truffles and macarons while watching movies in the cool air-conditioned living room, there are plenty of reasons to get out and about at the resort.
For pampering, guests can head to the open-air cabanas along the beach and let the massage therapists from So Spa work their magic with signature Balinese treatments using various bodywork techniques and aromatherapy oils. Sofitel is also the home of Vietura Bali, a medical spa offering non-invasive beauty and body treatments and wellness ‘staycation’ retreats.
For dining you’ve got Kwee Zeen, a boutique Pan Asian affair offering sophisticated dishes from around the region, L’Oh Pool Bar for creative cocktails and light bites next to the resort’s sprawling lagoon style pool, and Cut Catch Cucina, which when it’s not serving brunch is serving up steaks, seafood and rustic Italian fare. Room service is also available around the clock.
If socialising is more your scene, then Nikki Beach Club is your spot. This world-famous brand opened their first ever Bali beach club here at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua, and they couldn’t have picked a better spot. Spilling onto the golden sand and overlooking the Indian Ocean, the open-plan venue features beachfront cabanas, oversized opium beds, a pool with underwater speakers, and multiple bars including a swim-up cocktail bar.
After touring the grounds and the fab facilities, we’re all about making the most of our personal palace. With just two of us in the Presidential Villa, we certainly had enough space to spread out and luxuriate in the pure opulence of it all. However, if we were to do it all over again we’d definitely do like SBY did and bring a crew.
Sure, SBY may have kept a low profile with the First Lady and his security team when he stayed here, but this villa deserves to be shared and shown-off with family members, friends or a wedding party, corporate gathering or retreat group. Not only do you have the scenery, the space and the stunning design, but you’ve also got the gracious staff to provide you with Sofitel’s signature five-star service worthy of any world leader.