My stay at Four Seasons, Jimbaran Bay demonstrated that the incredible beautiful spirit of Bali lives on.
A Four Seasons people carrier was waiting for me at Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar. I was surprised it was not a limo but it fitted with the culture of Bali better. There was a baby seat installed for Issy but I could not get the WiFi to work properly. However, charming Martini, from Guest Experience, was there to chat with me.
At the hotel Phil (Director of Rooms), Greg (F&B Director) and a large contingent of key staff were waiting to provide a perfect warm welcome. I was given a flower garland and sweet young girls came forward to present me with a Balinese doll.
I found I had been given the two bedroom Royal Villa and could not believe this place with its private sauna, hot tub, views to die for etc. Karsila, my butler, helped me to settle in and there were Bvlgari products in the stunning marble bathroom. Veuve Clicquot had been left on ice, along with an incredible collection of welcome gifts for Issy and me.
After a swim in my private pool, I went to to meet Phil & Greg on the Sundara sundeck for a getting to know you drink, while looking over Jimbaran Bay. They were entertaining company and we shared Four Seasons stories while I drank a refreshing Jim-Let Fox Trot cocktail with gin, lime and spring water, as an icy slush.
Dinner in Sundara
Next it was dinner in Sundara restaurant. It was an incredible experience with Chef Liam making me tasting plates, and the staff perfect dry Grey Goose martinis.
First I was given cold dishes and then a plate of hot ones. All the food was excellent but the duck & chicken liver parfait, 48 hour braised Zhoug lamb shoulder and tamarind pork ribs with chilli & coriander blew my mind.
It was so nice that a member of staff I used to know at Four Seasons Doha came to say hello.
First Full Day
I got up early and swam in the stunning private pool, looking out over Jimbaran Bay.
My First Yoga Class
Next it was a yoga class in the Healing Village Spa. Gede, the male instructor, was patient, understanding and helpful but I was worried I would split the Mandarin Oriental swimming shorts I was wearing and embarrassed by my lack of flexibility, compared with all the woman in the class.
I was the only male participant. We attempted the downward facing dog, cobra etc and I was glad when the class was over. However, the words of praise and encouragement from all the woman afterwards made it all worth it. They all said I was an an example to their partners and they may bring them next time.
Back at the villa my butler served me breakfast of Eggs Benedict with thick bacon and then I swam again.
My First Reiki Massage
At 11:30am was my Reiki massage with Elisa - an interesting Italian who makes you feel she is almost looking into your soul with her intense stare, and invasion of your personal space, when you first meet.
The massage was fascinating with me feeling something with her great touch (was she guiding my life-force?) but then being being unsure how to process her comments after about my mother etc. I decided to put my 'emotional imbalances' to one side for later.
Back at the villa I opened the Veuve Clicquot and worked on my travel blog in the pool. No better way to spend a few hours.
For lunch I 'created my own' Angus cheeseburger with blue cheese, crispy onions rings and a crispy shallot bun with fries. My butler helped to serve this to me.
Then it was off to the Cooking School where I was shown how to make two Balinese healing tonics and got to try them. One intended to accelerate blood circulation & dump fat and the other to improve digestion. Some interesting tastes with fresh turmeric etc and more of the tonics were sent back to my villa.
After a quick rest, it was off to the Sila Giri Kesarah Temple, inside the resort, to watch Balinese dance. I wish the audience had been bigger but the dancers, including a guy playing an old man, and musicians with their hypnotic music, were excellent.
Back at the villa chilled Balinese beers, salads and a beautiful cake for Issy, were delivered.
Private Dinner in the Gazebo
That evening I had an Indonesian dinner in the private Gazebo overlooking the lights of Jimbaran Bay, lightening added to the mesmerising effect.
I loved the shredded chicken salad with lime and spicy tomato dressing; yellow fin tuna salad tossed with shallot & lemongrass; the spicy duck broth soup with meatballs; the mouthwatering spring chicken with chilli, shallot & ginger; and the grilled lamb chops with spicy soy and peanut sauce.
Chef Widana did a great job but the humidity meant I had the desserts served back at the villa, while I cooled off in the pool.
I ended the night drinking the rest of the Veuve Clicquot in my villa, while burning joss sticks marvelling at the incredible classy Royal Villa, firing up the hot tub and finding Issy's surf board.
It started with the Indonesian breakfast of Nasi Goreng Kampung, with dried anchovies, prawn fried rice and a fried egg. A perfect way to start the day.
First Healing Practitioner
I met Ibu at the Healing Village Spa at 9:30am and was surprised to learn this was another session where touch would be used. This time she intended to connect to my ancestors and use her 'healing energy'.
I found this a more difficult session than the day before, feeling less connection to this former Buddhist nun. After the session she had comments about my father that I, once again, decided to process later.
With all these thoughts to consider, I decided to take a walk around the stunning resort grounds and then swim in the longest pool of my life.
Manager Joshua from Sundara (who was a great help the night before) came to speak to me at the pool and was a sensible voice from Sydney.
I followed this with an incredible lunch and delicious cocktail by the pool. Phil came to check how I was doing and I raised my concerns about false memory syndrome and aspects of the sessions I had had. He was another down to earth reassuring voice.
Later in the afternoon I was taken on a tour of some of the shrines in the resort grounds by Surya. It was thought provoking to consider that the numerous shrines were all started before the hotel.
After I got back to the villa, a barman came over and made the best passion fruit martini of my life. Macaroons and delicious fresh local Yellow fin tuna with haricot vert came too. It was perfect to eat and drink all this in the pool.
My Leaving Party
That night was a sunset Grey Goose martini and Veuve Clicquot party held for me. The management team are such a great group of people and I had a ball talking to Chef Pasquo about Dubai, as Phil joined me having a martini.
Dinner in Taman Wantilan
For my final dinner I had fresh oysters and then penne pasta with anchovies, olives and orange.
The oysters were incredible and my fears about the orange in the pasta unfounded. It was a legendary good meal, Chef Pasquo's team did an incredible job.
Leaving is Difficult
On my last day I started with a breakfast soup and then packed. It is a truly great hotel where you feel so sad about leaving, I had made so many great friends.
Karsila drove me to reception one last time and there was another big group of staff to say goodbye. Martini presented me with gifts which she said were traditional Balinese outfits for Issy and me.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻 (6 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - Karsila & Martini; the mouthwatering food; giving me the Royal Villa; the surf board for Issy; the Grey Goose martini & Veuve Clicquot party; and the incredible warm of the management meant this Four Seasons hotel broke the ‘teddy score’ system again. My tips; if you intend to do yoga, pack some loose clothes and you must try Chef Liam’s duck & chicken liver parfait & Chef Pasquo's Bali oysters.