“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognise how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson
Early morning. That still, expectant, glorious hour that exists just on the tipping point between bustling day and a quiet contemplation of what is to come.
We’re sitting on a swing bed, drinking black coffee, as the chirp of birds gradually intensifies with the heat of the sun. There is the buzzing hum of an insect; the chunter of a water sprinkler nearby; the deep, steady roar of the ocean, unseen beyond the walls of our private villa. A frog makes a croaking, hollow echo in the depths of its throat, and overhead the fronds of palm trees rustle against each other in the light, welcome breeze of the morning. Soon the heat will intensify so the decking is difficult to walk on, and our rectangle of pool – at present a shimmering mirror of the blue sky – will become a turquoise oasis.
The breeze stirs a frangipani flower – it floats, perfect as sugar decoration – gently onto the grass. The creamy walls of our expansive villa reflect the ripples of the pool, and a bird swoops from beneath the thatch of the day-bed, over the walls and out to the resort beyond.
If this sounds like paradise, then it’s because it very nearly is. Bali is known as ‘The Island of the Gods’ and, sitting here in a Deluxe Pool Villa at Belmond Jimbaran Puri, it’s the closest to tropical heaven I’ve ever been.
Resting in the south of the island, the beautiful gem of Belmond Jimbaran Puri epitomises romance and Balinese charm. A wander round the grounds is akin to exploring the Gardens of Eden – gloriously vibrant flowers cluster next to emerald sprays of fauna, with palm trees stretching up into the sky and ornate temples tucked next to lily ponds. A huge draw is the proximity to the beach – the wide bay can be accessed directly from the resort, and is ideal for admiring the sunset.
Traditionally clad staff float around, on hand to help with your needs while always smiling and exuding that gracious hospitality that the Balinese are known for. This is a place to relax and indulge – to do whatever the heart desires. Want to lie in a hammock, gazing up at the fluttering green canopy above? You can. Want to relax on the sand as the sound of the lapping waves lulls you into a contented doze? Do it! Want to eat seafood on the beach as the stars twinkle overhead? All catered for. A large swimming pool is communal but never seems busy, and there are activities for those who fancy a little movement – we spent a lovely morning painting our own eggs, and there are yoga, meditation and cooking classes. Plus of course there is the famous beach spa for those that would like to truly descend into ultimate relaxation.
When staying at Belmond Jimbaran Puri, there are a variety of options – Luxury Cottages, Two-Bedroom Garden View Cottages, and Deluxe Pool Villas. We inhabited the latter, and couldn’t recommend it enough. Seriously – you will feel like you have entered your own private kingdom where peace and tranquility reign supreme.
The gardens are sensational – an azure, shimmering private pool; swinging loungers where you can gently drift into a happy stupor (something we did frequently); an extravagantly large daybed; an outdoor shower so you can wake and freshen up to the calls of birds and sensation of sun on your skin. Then, moving indoors, the elegant opulence continues. Pad along the cool marble floors to your lounging area, or move into the stunning en-suite bathroom complete with black stone tub and dual sinks. Each night we sunk into the comfort of our snowy white four poster bed, somehow exhausted from doing nothing, happily awaiting another day to follow.
The best way to enjoy breakfast is by heading to the Tunjung Restaurant, where a sumptuous buffet awaits you, as well as daily specials. Eating fresh tropical fruits and eggs sunny-side-up with avocado, looking across the pristine sands of the bay as a steel band played behind us, was a lesson in how a good morning can put a smile on your face for the rest of the day.
And another must-do experience is dining on the beach at the Nelayan Restaurant. We headed to a table as the sun sunk in fiery splendour behind the crest of horizon, and birds flitted in and out of the thatched beach huts to the melodies of a live singer. Ice-cold margaritas were the ideal start to a creative and mouth-watering meal that made the most of Mediterranean and Indonesian cuisine. This fusion of flavours was both exotic and delicious – the duck breast and seared tuna steak with Asian vegetables have to be tried.
Belmond Jimbaran Puri offers the chance of an island escape like no other. It has taken the essence of Bali – and the idyllic dream that so many have of the Island of the Gods – and condensed it into a heavenly resort that is authentic, romantic, relaxing and luxurious. And the welcome that guests receive from the staff, and the genuine pride that is felt for the place, make it completely comfortable. Wander through the gardens and realise that the stresses of the world don’t actually matter – let your mind drift to thoughts of contentment and happiness. It is not often that a place lives up to the imgaition, but Belmond Jimbaran Puri somehow manages to exceed and enchant, and is sure to become somewhere you will never forget.