This new and improved tropical destination proves that trends are fickle and design requires no restraint. With the right service, great food and entertainment, you need never be faced with Bintang or braids again.
Looking out over manicured gardens and into a dazzling pool featuring a 20-metre long Marilyn Monroe mosaic on the pool’s floor, anyone would think that we’re perched on top of the Hollywood Hills. Instead, we are on the edge of Seminyak, getting a tour of the Luna2 Private Hotel, experiencing a di fferent side to the (often) bargain-holiday mecca that is Bali. Cheaper air travel means that visitors are now usually happier to spend that little bit extra to make the most of revamped cosmopolitan hotspots.
Luna2’s Orbit Restaurant
Luna2 is an example of Bali’s new flashy side. This retro-inspired odyssey features décor from the 60s, Monopoly-board flooring in the hallways and bright bold furnishings that complement the pop art adorning the walls. While it may all seem fun and frivolous, it has been done with a serious level of design and detail. A short walk down the beach is Double Six, a more modern-looking hotel resort with an anticipated luxury style. It does have a couple of unexpected surprises, including the Acqua Perla Spa – where whimsical inspiration comes from a modern take on an Alice in Wonderland theme, translucent pastel lighting washes the white walls with colour and the stress-melting (or rock star) treatments are something that dreams are made of.
One of Acqua Perla Spa’s bubbly treatment rooms
On Double Six’s fourth floor is The Plantation Grill by Robert Marchetti (a Sydney chef who is also tied up with Australia’s QT Hotels. A meal here is unique for this island. Skipping back to the 1920s in style and panache, you could be anywhere in the world. Prohibition-style cocktails precede a meaty meal of extraordinary flavour and quality, and service is second to none.
Interior of The Plantation Grill by Robert Marchetti
La Favela is one of those places that you kind of need to visit, and then kind of wish you hadn’t. It’s a crazy, ramshackle bar-cum-nightclub that blurs the lines between fabulous and dingy. Like a near empty bric-a-brac store with a surprise around every corner – not all of them good. On the opposite side of town is METIS Bali Restaurant lounge and bar. I had been told by regular travellers that this is a beautiful place for a meal – and it is. It’s a beautiful setting with bold Indonesian inspired design and overlooks some lovely gardens but that’s about where it ends, as it features a menu that seems merely to service European travellers, and the food is so-so. Perfect for a glass of Champagne and some very attentive service, and full to the brim with beautiful people (most of them European) lounging on high end furniture – hoping to get noticed. A venue that has received world-wide acclaim is the hottest new(ish) bar in Seminyak – Motel Mexicola. Devised by Adelaide’s eccentric design and brand evangelists MASH (with some help from another Adelaide design agency, Studio Gram) this 60s throwback to the gaudy streets of Mexico is a place to see and be seen – for tacos, tequila and one heck of a fiesta. They serve some of the best margaritas in the world and are open for casual lounging in the afternoon sun to late-night table-top dancing – just make sure you fit dinner in between, because the food here is seriously good.
A taste of Motel Mexicola’s eccentric design
Back to base at Luna2. The hotel’s Space Champagne and Caviar Bar – an exclusive rooftop overlooking a private part of Seminyak beach – is the place for tasty food (featuring deep-fried foie gras and delicious salmon and caviar blini) and potent space-themed cocktails. Later, in the hotel’s restaurant Orbit, we experience the culinary mastery of UK expat chef Errol Defoe. His food is infused with avour and nostalgia – much like the restaurant itself. With Seminyak taking off in a new direction, now is the time to set a course to Bali. luna2.com plantationgrillbali.com acquaperlaspa.com motelmexicolabali.com