Bali & BEYOND!

You would know if you read my earlier post “Amankila’s 20th Anniversary” that I have just visited Bali and Indonesia. Primarily I travelled to Bali to attend the celebration at Amankila, so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to stay a little longer and explore Indonesia a little further. I travelled to Java for the first time and was lucky enough to experience the mystical enigma that is Amanjiwo.

Poolside - Amanjiwo
Poolside – Amanjiwo

It was a whirlwind of Amanresorts with their “Bali & Beyond” experience being the best way to explore this fabulous country. You get to experience one of the three Bali properties Amanusa, Amankila or Amandari combined with Amanwana on Moyo Island (a glamorous tented dive resort which I have visited before) or Amanjiwo, the temple of sophistication complete with the killer postcard views of Borobudur itself. Amanjiwo and Amandari were my choice for this trip, Chrissie from Amanresorts and one of my very best buddies had told me for years that this was THE experience in Indonesia… she was right!

Amanjiwo Pool Suite
Amanjiwo Pool Suite


Amanjiwo is designed by Ed Tuttle the same architect as Amankila, and its architecture has clearly been influence by, and compliments that of Borobudur. It was everything I expected and more… stunning, enriching, chic and sophisticated… the perfect Aman stay in other words.

Amanjiwo Pool Villa
Amanjiwo Pool Suite

True to form my pool suite at Amanjiwo was an oasis of calm after a day trekking the country side and the 9th century sanctuary that is Borobudur. It was also the perfect respite to recover and prepare for a night of sunset cocktails in the rice paddies with Mark Swinton the GM (thanks for the Billecart Mark!) and then onto dinner at Pak Bilal’s… a gorgeous local family in town who host you in their home, cooking you the most delicious Javanese food… you get to eat right there in their kitchen. It is beyond chic, and utterly authentic, all the while you dine on fabulous food and drink delicious wines and the gamelan plays … it’s out of this world and was one of the highlights of my entire stay.

Borobudur - Amanjiwo in the distance
Borobudur – Amanjiwo in the distance

Borobudur temple was built in the jungles of Java during the 8th and 9th centuries AD, the ancient site lay abandoned for centuries until it was rediscovered and restored in the early 1900’s. Being at Borobudur was ethereal and surreal and the temple is the most beautiful shade of pale grey. It is topped with the familiar bell-shaped stupas (above) and has walls of exquisitely carved stone reliefs. Aman organised my visit to Borobudur in fabulous style… you are whisked straight into Borobudur itself, no lines… no waiting … just pure exotic, indulgent adventure.



What else can you say about this legendary Bali hotel and Adrian Zecha’s second Amanresort after Amanpuri? It’s 22 years young and I will never forget the first time I visited for lunch in 1991, I was truly blown away with its stunning location and verdant, green-valley views. It took me 22 years to check in… and it was worth the wait! (Elle McPherson shot her famous swimwear calender here in 1993 … Elle draped in nothing but frangipanis beside Bali’s first infinity edge pool, now that was glamorous and oh-so exotic!)

Nothing has changed, I promise you… it is as beautiful today as the day it opened. Suite 15… now my personal favourite for it’s 180 degree vista that encompasses that jaw dropping valley view to your right, and the rice paddies to your left. My upstairs bedroom had THE rice paddy view (below). All the while being completely private and serene… you will never want to leave … and why should you?

Amandari Villa 15 - Rice Paddy View
Amandari Villa 15 – Rice Paddy View

My Duplex Pool Suite was a two-story traditional Balinese home with every mod con you could ask for including private pool and obligatory outdoor bathroom. Days were happily spent poolside drinking in that amazing view. This is the real (luxury) Bali, traditional & sophisticated temples of Balinese architecture, beautifully created by the architect Peter Muller … it’s just like living in a Balinese village. (only with room service!)

Poolside Bale Villa 15 - Amandari
Poolside Bale Villa 15 – Amandari

In the evenings the hotel holds concerts and performances featuring local villagers… this helps give the resort its spirit and secures its ongoing personal relationship with the local community and helps maintain the true authenticity that Amandari delivers back to its guests.

Amandari - Villa 15
Amandari – Villa 15

It doesn’t get any better than this… you want the “real” Bali experience? Do it with Aman… you won’t be disappointed.

For an exclusive “Where’s Brent Been” offer and to organise your very own Bali & Beyond adventure, contact me today.


    1. Fabulous! Desperate to visit Amangiri & loved your blog!! You are right, once you experience an Aman resort you are hooked!

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