Indonesian gems

Because I’ve always wanted to…

Issue 25 / December 2016

Pre-festive season greetings to you all!

Helen and I have just returned from some of the more remote areas in Indonesia, namely West Papua/Raja Ampat and Sumba Island, as well as revisiting some of the more serene parts of Bali. Many folk ask me – surely Bali is no longer the place it was? Agreed, Seminyak is very touristy and commercialised but once you get away from the mainstream, Bali is as magical as ever. Please click hereto see our recent trip, Indonesia in Style/Lateral Luxury. I also attach two other Indonesian trip ideas – family in July/August and one for family Christmas ideas. Please click here for family summer holiday ideas. Please click here for family Christmas ideas.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas.

Laterally yours,

Soori Bali

The sublime and luxurious Soori Bali occupies a unique position on the edge of the ocean between the Batu Karu Mountain and terraced rice fields, a hidden refuge, truly Bali as it should be.  Crafted out of local materials, Soori Bali sits comfortably with the stunning surroundings on this quiet stretch of coast, maintaining a true sense of place. The Soori’s  restaurants use fresh produce from nearby farms and spices from its own garden so you can expect some pretty good eating here!  In terms of trips out, the Soori is a hop and a skip to the renowned and astounding Tanah Lot Temple.

Click here to view the website


Misool Eco Resort, Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat is right up there in the top 10 best places in the world to dive.  I have long wanted to go there and see it for myself and it exceeded my expectations and some!!  Misool is situated in the very remote region of Southern Raja Ampat in West Papua.  Based around a private island, Batbitim, it is nestled deep in an archipelago of uninhabited islands, in the very epicentre of marine biodiversity.  Thanks to the vast ‘no-take’ zone surrounding the resort the underwater life is like nowhere else on earth!  I witnessed 6” wide manta rays flying over my head not to mention a host of other huge and colourful fish.  Plenty for non-divers here too though.  South Beach is as idyllic a palm-fringed, white sand beach as you could find anywhere, where you can go for a gentle snorkel and follow turtles over the reef.

Click here to view the website

Belmond Jimbaran Puri, Bali

The heavenly Belmond Jimbaran Puri sits on one of Bali’s most beautiful white talcum-soft sand beaches, a tranquil retreat worlds away from the frantic streets of downtown Kuta.

You can relax on a comfortable beach lounger and watch as the sky turns crimson and birds, including the rare and lively Bali Starling, sing overhead while the scent of grilling fish entices you to dinner.  I enjoyed a swim in the huge and very warm pool before breakfast, later retiring to the bar for a tasty lunch with a cold beer.

You can also saunter down the beautiful beach to enjoy some freshly caught fish from a choice of local seafood restaurants.

Click here to view the website.
Pool and sunset, Jimbaran

Watukaka, Sumba Island

A short hop by plane from Bali and an interesting drive through bamboo hut villages and lush, green landscapes brought us to this brand new tented establishment set in the jungle above the stunning coast of Sumba.

Philippe and his wife Chantal have built their unique property from scratch in an area of unspoilt natural beauty.  The tents, designed by architect Chantal, are glamping at its best and use some wonderful local materials.

Chantal is multi-talented and is also in charge of all the delicious French-influenced cooking.  Philippe can take you for a freshly-prepared barbecue of local fish on a deserted stretch of beautiful beach stopping to meet some traditional villagers on the way!

Click here to view the website


Nihiwatu, Sumba Island

Voted the number 1 hotel in the world by Travel and Leisure magazine in 2016, Nihiwatu offers staggering luxury in a rugged “edge of the wilderness” destination.

This is a once in a lifetime experience and one you will never forget.  Originally mainly a surf destination for those dedicated to the high rollers, Nihiwatu has become the stuff of dreams for anyone who craves the very best accommodation, outstanding and charming service, breathtaking surroundings and a life-enhancing experience.

If you’re not a surfer I can certainly recommend the fishing – I am proud to say that I caught enough fish to feed the whole resort!!

Click here to view the website.

Amankila, East Bali

Come in Aman junkies, this one’s for you!  The gorgeous Amankila is perched atop the cliffs in lush green East Bali, a serene, three-tiered pool tumbling down the hillside like a cascading rice field.  There is easy access to their beach and pool club down below.  I wanted to explore this less-visited part of Bali and it is an absolute treat.  On a half day outing we experienced some amazing sights – the ancient traditional village of Tenungan, the elaborate Bali water palace of Tirtagangga and the nearby highly atmospheric old royal palace.  There were plenty of picturesque rice terraces to see on the journey too.

Click here to view the website


The Chedi Club, Tanah Gajah, Ubud, Bali

The Chedi Club was created from the private holiday retreat of an art collecting Javanese businessman, Mr Hadiprana, and you know you are staying in an exclusive, personal home from home.  The villas are comfortable and very luxurious though, many with their own pool.  Your personal butler will bring you a cocktail of your choice at sundown, by the edge of the lake if you wish.

The lovely restaurant overlooks pristine paddy fields with gaggles of ducks winding their way through the rice looking for insects.   If you fancy stirring from the pool one option is to go on a mostly downhill bike trip from the volcano an hour or so’s drive away through some of the most fantastic scenery I have seen.

Click here to view the website.

Up Periscope

Wellness retreats are not a laterallife speciality but I was blown away on a visit to the Como Shambhala estate near Ubud.  The creation of Christina Ong, whose first hotel was London’s The Halkin, Como Shambhala is billed as a true ‘Retreat for Change’ with resident experts including a yoga teacher, Ayurvedic doctor and resident dietician. The holistic, 360-degree approach offers signature massage therapies and beauty treatments. A state-of-the-art  gym and outdoor activities such as hiking and climbing make the most of the Estate’s unique location. Cuisine is always nutritionally balanced while the residences, suites and villas suit independent guests, couples or families.  I looked at a couple of the suites – absolutely stunning!

Click here to view the website


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