A set of warm chocolate brown eyes and a beaming Balinese smile welcome me as I swim up to the bar at the Sofitel Nusa Dua resort.
“What would you like?” asks Ketut (yes Ketut). I laugh and he immediately knows why. “I’ll have a sunrise!” “Okay Rhonda,” now it is his turn to laugh.
It has been a mere 80 minutes since I stepped off my flight at the newly refurbished Denpasar Airport in Bali and I am now bikinied up and enjoying my first cocktail in the resort’s massive pool.
This beachside resort is incredibly spacious, which you discover as you leave reception and walk through the foyer and find yourself under an enormous dome that covers the main staircase that leads you down to the resort’s dining area.
The dome seems to be held up by warm rich curved timber beams that reach from the ground to the ceiling and my escort informs me that it represents the Banyan tree – a very spiritual tree in Bali.
As we head to the lift my attention is caught by the impressive view from the main lounge that sweeps out over the large lagoon pool, terraces and tropical gardens to the Indian Ocean.
I’m staying in room 3012 which is a ground floor Luxury Room with pool access. As I’m ushered through my wide dark teak door I’m impressed to find that the spaciousness of the resort extends to my room. To me it looks more like a suite. There’s a king-size bed, four-seater lounge, club chair and dark timber coffee table. There is also a glass-topped workstation with chair, a bar area and walk-in robe.
The bathroom also impresses with its size with a stand-alone stone and timber bath, glassed off toilet room and the shower could easily fit three Ketuts. The room’s decor is a wonderful blend of French and Balinese style with golden timber floors married with mushroom and taupe soft furnishings. There is a large hand-carved teak sliding partition that screens off the bathroom and offers depth to the room.
I pull back the curtains to find a lovely private sandstone terrace fringed with lush vegetation. Steps lead down into what looks like a private pool, but later I find as I turn the corner that the pool is in fact part of the resort’s main pool. A short swim down a tropical fringed canal leads me to the pool bar where my Ketut waits.
The main resort pool is massive so it gives the impression of never being crowded, even when the resort is full. If you are looking to swim laps you may prefer the second pool at Club Millesime (the executive lounge). Guests staying in luxury pool access rooms, suites and villas get free use of this club space.
After a couple of cocktails I head back to my room for a quick change and dinner. There are two dining options at the resort _ Kwee Zeen and CCC which stands for Cut, Catch and Cucina.
I’m keen on trying out Kwee Zeen which is a circular restaurant set around the base of the resort’s feature Banyan tree. This upmarket eatery offers a buffet with a market style feel to it. There’s a variety of European and Asian cuisines to choose from _ Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Indonesian and there is also a dumpling stand and noodle bar on offer. If you ever tire of the buffet you can enjoy a fine selection of treats from the French/Asian a la carte menu. For me there was no going past the Asian buffet. The dessert section had a fantastic array of sweet treats from creme caramel to various flavoured- cakes to creamy gelato.
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The next day I headed for CCC to see what all the fuss was about. CCC is rated the No.1 restaurant in Nusa Dua.
The lunch buffet here is very popular so it’s wise to book. I’ve never been a buffet fan, but the one at CCC did excite me especially when I saw the antipasto/cheese bar. It had a great selection of antipasto grilled vegetables, charcuterie, terrines, pates, and a great cheese section with a to-die-for cheese fondue. There is also a salad bar, seafood station with all the delights from the ocean – oysters, scallops, lobster, clams, crayfish and more.
The carvery, which had the usual selection of roast meats, also featured a kebab section and of course there was a well-stocked pasta/pizza station too. The Dessert area had the biggest selection I have ever seen – eclairs, creme Brulee, crepe suzette, brownies, cupcakes, chocolate torte – simply too many to mention. It certainly was an impressive buffet and for $39 you can’t go wrong.
At night CCC’s comes alive with Balinese dancers and live music. Although, well known for its choice of three cuisines (steak, Italian and seafood) there is also an eight-course degustation. It really is a culinary adventure that must be tried and at around $100 (excluding wine) it is reasonably priced by Australian standards (with wine $200 and yes, wine is still very expensive in Bali)
I’m a glutton for great spa treatments and if you have been to Bali you will know this place is spa central. You can get a massage almost anywhere in Bali and for as little as $10 for an hour.
The So Spa at the Sofitel is certainly much more expensive than outside the resort but you are paying for the upmarket products and the Spa itself is five-star luxury. Compared to other resorts in Bali it is still reasonable and, as we know, considerably cheaper than hotels in Australia.
I arrive at the spa 10 minutes early eager to start my treatment. Like the rest of the resort, the spa is a beautiful blend of French and Balinese style with rich earthly tones of chocolate and deep reds complimented with taupe and oatmeal soft furnishings that ooze luxury. I’m mesmerised by the intricately carved timber panels that seem to hang from the high ceilings. In the heart of the spa is a large shallow pool of tranquil water that flows under a glass wall and extends into the Millesime club lap pool. The effect is simply stunning.
There are six treatment rooms – all with en-suites – with shower and toilet facilities. The treatment rooms are all simple Balinese glamour with incredibly high ceilings and white washed walls adorned with inter-woven screens that rise up to the ceilings giving the impression you are in a luxurious cocoon. It makes me feel safe and relaxed.
I’ve opted for a one-hour Balinese massage ($95AU) which is a pleasant blend of massage, pressure point and acupressure reflexology designed to help my body regain its equilibrium. I would definitely rate my massage as one of the best I have ever had.
Vietura Aesthetic Lifestyle Clinic
For those guests interested in more of a health/wellness experience, the resort also offers the Vietura Aesthetic Lifestyle clinic which has non-invasive procedures such as non-surgery facelifts, Botox and face shaping, fat freezing, full body detoxification, colonic treatments and laser treatments for blemishes and unsightly veins.
The spa itself is quite different to So Spa. Vietura has a slick and sophisticated efficient feel with warm cream furniture and walls teamed with touches of dark timber. This is the place you come to make a difference to your life whether it be more technically enhanced beauty treatments, body contouring or health counselling.
One of the hottest therapies at the spa is Lypocryo. Touted as the ultimate fat remover, it claims to freeze fat cells and eliminate them from your body.
Since it had been a while since my last facial I opted for the Micro Exfoliation which would give my skin a good spring clean and sort out any blemishes. I also booked in for a Colonic Hydrotherapy treatment which flushes your colon out with warm filtered water to eliminate years of built up toxins. Twenty five litres is the amount of water pumped into your colon during the therapy – I made it to two litres before I felt extremely uncomfortable and bloated. And I must say even after just two litres I still felt extremely flushed if you will pardon the pun.
Visit your local Flight Centre for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Bali or call 131600 24 hours.