Selasa, 18 Agustus 2009

Seminyak Styling

August is here and the island springs into life for the annual month long rush hour of jet set types hitting the fair shores of Bali for a dose of tropical sun, surf and the scene that is Seminyak. Platinum cards at the ready for a VIP quick exit to fashionista central. Ray Bans optional…

seminyak Just around the corner from Kuta, Seminyak is the epicenter of jet set cool for the urban tropical elite. With a concentration of some of the best restaurants, bars, spas and boutiques on Bali, not to mention a high percentage of some outrageously cool villas, Seminyak has developed into being leader of the island scene over the last few years. Some consider the place snobby, while others come to see and be seen. In the middle of the mix lives a thriving expatriate community of fashion designers, architects, restaurateurs and even the odd magazine editor. Bali suburbia it is, in all its chic glory.

When it comes to accommodation the choice is as endless as the overdraft facility on your credit card. Visitors pay big bucks to setup shop in Seminyak: although there are still some good deals to be found, but you have to book well in advance and be prepared to bargain hard - at this time of year mark ups for villa dwellers are the norm.

Worth checking out are Heliconia Villas (Jl Laksmana, T: 0361 730 563) for their Balinese style villas with open living in a private tropical garden scene, funky swimming pools and only a five minute walk to the restaurant and bar scene on Seminyak's infamous 'Eat Street'. Slightly more up market is The Samaya (Jl Laksmana, T: 0361 731 149). With twenty four idyllic villas all facing the ocean it is one of the coolest places to soak up the Seminyak sunset and soak in a wide variety of whiskies on the wooden decking. The Elysian (Jl Sari Dewi, T: 0361 730 999) is a boutique style villa resort tucked away behind The Oberoi Resort in the back streets that join Laksmana to Dhyana Pura. It has a cosy selection of twenty six small villas perfectly suited to the weekend party crowd, but is also a good option for couples seeking some privacy in an otherwise very busy part of Bali.

Unlike Kuta or Legian, Seminyak is actually rather easy to navigate on foot. Away from the traffic jams of Laksmana most of the boutique shops and galleries are central enough to be within walking distance of where you are staying. There's less 'hassle factor' evident in this part of town too, so ditch the taxi (save that for the ride home) and explore one of the funkiest parts of Bali for some very cool retail therapy.

Biasa (Jl Raya Seminyak, T: 0361 730 308) is a long established classy boutique stocking a beautiful range of soft cotton, Indian silks and top-quality linen and rayon clothing, for women and men, with the emphasis on cool comfort. The collections are ideally suited for Bali's hot climate, late night parties, or a walk on the beach. Magali Pascal (Jl. Raya Seminyak, T: 0361 732 132) designs a range of silk, chiffon, glamour and luxury for the new generation of sophisticated, fashionable, sexy women who love balmy Bali nights. French-born fashion designer Magali Pascal's clothing is beautifully embellished. Dresses, tops, skirts, trousers and jackets glitter with a youthful radiance. This season's collection moves into brighter colours with some very cool shades also available. Diamonds are a girl's best friend, so if a proposal is on the cards, Jemme's (Jl Petitenget, T: 0361 733 508) diamond collection is guaranteed to delight. This sophisticated jewellery shop presents brilliantly crafted adornments for a discerning clientele. Clusters of crystals, diamonds, zircons and precious metals, including platinum and white gold, are combined in innovative contemporary designs.

seminyak Sabbatha (Jl Raya Seminyak, T: 0361 734 877) continues to astound with his highly original and uber glamourous bags for him and her. His range of accessories is equally as desirable as the bags with some incredible gemstone studded bracelets that are hard to put back on the shelf. Prasada (Jl Kunti, T: 0361 735 805) is an exclusive boutique and a fashionable alternative for anyone seeking exquisite yet contemporary style. Prasada brings forth a style focusing on fashion, resort wear, jewellry and accessories. Specializing in luxury silks, and fine cottons incorporating hand beading and sequins to elaborate on the already prominent high quality merchandise offered in the store. Traditional materials or motifs are often incorporated in the form of printed batik style silks or natural woven baskets. The unique collection of quality, original jewellry available compliments the wide selection of exclusive accessories and clothing throughout the store.

Predominantly women's wear, but a range of children's wear and men's shirts are available.

Dinda Rella (Jl Laksmana, T: 0361 736 953 & Jl Raya Seminyak, T: 0361 734 228) stocks a range of cool cocktail dresses, flowing frocks and glamorous gowns fashioned in richly coloured satin and crinkle silk, and finished with a whole host of highly decorative applications including Swarovski crystals, stones, diamante jewels, beads, sequins and embroidery. Beautifully integrated accessories include flirty fans and party bags embellished with feathers and beads.

Nilou (Jl Raya Kerobokan, T: 0361 744 6068) has been in the business of selling high quality, handmade high-heeled shoes, boots, sandals, bags and belts for some years now and has a well-established and loyal fan base including Uma Thurman and Gisele who shop here when in town. Nilou combines style with comfort; shoes are custom made to fit and come with a 100% guarantee, even if the sole is worn out after three years of wear. From chic and sexy camisoles, chemises, bustiers, bras, panties and thongs, fashioned from the finest Italian fabrics and lace, to classic, practical, combed cotton briefs, Niconico Intima (Jl Raya Seminyak, T: 0361 731 172) presents a powerful combination of romantic, sensual, glamorous and feminine designs. Niconico Blue for men offers a stylish collection of boxers and briefs.

Bridging the gap between shopping and a sundown cocktail spree the Seminyak spa scene is worth checking out. Guys head to Prana (Jl Kunti, T: 0361 730 840) for the Turkish Delight Hamman treatment or the recommended Prana Male Facial that shaves years off even the youngest of complexions. Ladies are also catered to at Prana but many opt for the male masseuse treatments next door at Chill (Jl Kunti, T: 0361 733 751). New on the menu is a therapy designed to combat the stresses of jet lag. Deeply therapeutic and healing, the therapists target the acupressure points in the whole body using signature lotions made from essential oils, paying particular attention to tension points in the head, ears and neck to balance the energies in the body, particularly those in the three chakras located above your shoulder girdle. The treatment relieves negative energy, aches and migraines, and boosts sluggish blood circulation – all common symptoms of travelling 30,000 feet above the Earth in a pressurized cabin, or more commonly after a serious night out on the town.

If you're worried about getting too much sun on your skin (or haven't seen the sun owing to nocturnal tendencies) check out Glo (Jl Kunti, T: 0361 738 689) for a professional spray tan in a choice of three healthy glowing shades. What's more, it only takes a few minutes to achieve. Glo also delivers some of the best manicures and pedicures on the island. Gay friendly and essentially, but not exclusively, a spa for men, M Spa (Jl Laksmana, T: 0361 736 715) boasts a staff of all male therapists. The menu presents a wide choice of massage including the Meng Massage administered by two boys using four hands. Also recommended are the body masks, scrubs, facials, and the traditional Balinese Boreh, a great treatment for sore muscles.

'Cocktails first, questions later…' uttered Vince Vaughan's immortal character in Swingers and not a truer word can be spoken about this Bali rite of passage into the Seminyak night. The sunsets over the beach in Seminyak can be truly astonishing and the crowds still flock like well lubricated lemmings to the one place on the coast that needs no real introduction. The suave and sexy can now level up at Ku De Ta (Jl Laksmana, T: 0361 736 969) with the imminent opening of their VVIP upper decking area, affording those with squillions of disposable Rupiah an elevated vantage point over the setting sun. A super exclusive menu, private lounge area and service bordering on that of a five star resort are what paying punters can expect when ascending to the dizzying heights of the second floor. The rest of us can expect to slog it out over the sun loungers downstairs (get here around three in the afternoon to snag one of these, and guard it with military prowess), throw back the martinis and sample some truly atomic creations from the ambassadors of booze – Bar Solutions.

If 'busy' isn't your scene then wander up the beach to either The Samaya or next door to La Lucciola (Jl Kayu Ayu, Petitenget, T: 0361 730 838) for a more relaxed sunset session. The chocolate martinis have to be ordered off the menu but are the best we've come across in Bali in two years of searching, and we've hunted high and low. Upstairs has the best views over the ocean but is non smoking, the downstairs bar is tucked away at the back of the dining area so take a table and consider staying for dinner as the New Australian cuisine is worth sampling.

Dinner is an event in itself in Seminyak and, outside of Ubud, has some of the best restaurants on the island in her radius. Current pick of the bunch is Sarong (Jl Petitenget, T: 0361 737 809) a restaurant, lounge and tapas bar oozing with visual texture and lush fabrics. At Sarong, street hawker food is raised to fine dining levels, and the result is divine. The menu features the great cuisines of Southeast Asia with dishes—and chefs—from China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. The prices at Sarong don't reflect the quality of the cuisine or the setting, a resounding success after only a couple of months of being open. The Living Room (Jl Petitenget, T: 0361 735 735) is a stalwart on the dining scene - a beautiful colonial style pavilion in a romantic garden setting encompassed by lacy white wrought iron railings. The extensive menu presents modern Asian fusion with a French twist. Dishes include frog legs with green papaya salad; Vietnamese spring rolls; honey wasabi beef; Thai seafood curry, and desserts such as dark and light chocolate mousse duo.

Mannekepis (Jl Raya Seminyak, T: 0361 847 5784) is a new Belgian restaurant in Seminyak (right next door to Made's Warung) reminiscent of a European bistro with a beautifully-styled interior featuring a long bar. The menu presents some authentic Belgian specialties, along with a good choice of global eclectics. A friendly place to socialise and enjoy the sounds of live jazz and blues music on Thursday & Saturday nights from 8.30 pm. Gado Gado (Jl Dhyana Pura, T : 0361 736 966) is a beachfront favourite offering seriously fine dining in a stunning and very romantic location, overlooking the ocean. The spacious lounge bar area with soft comfortable sofas extends outside onto a wide, open-air terrace shaded by leafy trees. International cuisine with enticing lunch and dinner menus offering beautifully presented, exotic dishes and plenty of seafood and luscious desserts.

Just up the road from The Living Room, hu'u (Jl Petitenget, T: 0361 736 443) remains extremely popular with the Jakarta crowd. Dinner here is always a treat as are the lychee martinis on the oversized garden cushions. The music policy tends to let the place down a bit (operatic house music anyone?) so the post midnight crowd tends to gravitate back towards the direction of The Living Room or up into Legian and F-Lounge (Jl Raya Seminyak, T: 0361 730 562) for some abstract beats. It's down to the rooftop floor of Anantara (Jl Abimanyu, T: 0361 737 773) to SOS for something a little funkier: currently the trendiest spot on the block this place is a lot of fun but also one of the most expensive places to knock back the drinks on the island.

Love the place or hate it, Seminyak cannot be ignored. It's a fun place to dive in and out of and the only part of the island to really party with the up market crowd. If Kuta is too kitsch (actually there's no 'if' in the equation) for your tastes then head uptown this August. Just don't expect to walk away from a big night out with much change left in your pocket…

Modern Indonesian Masters Exhibition at The Museum Rudana

The role of a Museum of Art is to inform and educate! This is a common enough objective and one that could be expected of any museum. But Nyoman Rudana, the owner of the eponymous Museum Rudana, has purposely given this objective a supplementary function: his museum aims to be at the service of the image of the nation. And what service. Beautiful paintings by many of the country's masters.


Nyoman Rudana wishes to create an image of Indonesia, and Bali, that goes beyond tradition. He wants to affirm that they are contenders on the scene of both cutting edge modern and post-modern.

Since the creation of the Museum Rudana, the aim has been to present Indonesian artists and their contribution to international modernism – with the inclusion of an Indonesian ethnic symbolism within a modernist form.

Eight artists are exhibiting at the present show, among them, the greatest names of Indonesian and Balinese modern art. These eight selected artists represent the two modernist traditions of Hindu Bali and Islamized Java as well as the two schools of Bandung and Yogyakarta. In Bandung modernism was taught in the institutions while in Yogya, it infiltrated through the consiousness thus leading, in the latter case, to a larger share being given over to the ethnic component.

All the Balinese artists included in the show were educated in Yogya, thus adding a supplementary layer to their adoption of the modernist principles of art. As the exhibition hopes to make clear, it is by its modern symbolic expression, derived from the traditional local cultures, that Indonesian modern art makes a significant contribution to international art.

The eight selected artists, two from Bandung, Srihadi Soedarsono and Sunaryo, while the rest consist of Yogya - educated Balinese artists, Nyoman Gunarsa and Made Wianta, as well as the younger Nyoman Erawan, Made Djirna, Made Budhiana and Wayan Darmika, all of whom, with the exception of Darmika, are already well-established names in the Indonesian art world. The only newcomer is Darmika, whose star has risen only in recent years.

Of the eight participating artists the name of Srihadi Soedarsono comes first. At 76 he is already an important name in Indonesian art history and he spans much of this history beginning his career in the late forties as an illustrator of the national liberation struggle.

The eight painters above, who are amongst Indonesia's most famous, illustrate the encounter of modernity and tradition. Yet, all are aloof from reality. Their world is that of symbols, dreams or ethereality. The real world is absent. There lies for artists, and for the museum, the challenge of the future.
Excerpt from Jean Couteau

Villa Kubu

This is a dream of a place that belies where it is found – right in the middle of it all in bustling Seminyak. The fourteen villas that comprise Villa Kubu, all have their own private pools, and are unique and different from each other. Villa Kubu is the inspiration of Dee Myton, and you can visibly witness all the care and attention that she has lavished from the design of each villa, to the love and care of the chosen antiques, pictures and soft furnishings. You instantly feel welcome, at home and on holiday!

You know that you are off to a good start when your complimentary chauffeur greets you with a pick up, from wherever on Bali (be it air port, hotel or private residence). Start your stay with an in-villa massage, it is the best way to unwind and Bali has fast become renown for its spas and beauty treatments. Indonesian herbs and spices add to the expertise, leaving you ready for a dip in your pool. The Kubu staff will have your sunbed set up and ready for you to lounge around after your dip, to serve you a tasty light meal from a deliciously healthy menu. Just the thing under the sweltering Bali sun. If you feel like letting your hair down, then a cocktail slowly sipped whilst flicking through the pages of this very mag is also an alternative to letting the time pass. All the villas have a good library of various complimentary books and magazines.

Let time go – enjoy your villa, the nature surrounding it – an abundance of colour in various forms of flowers, until you are ready to venture out once more into Seminyak. One of the remarkable things about Vila Kubu is that although a very peacefully soothing property, it is right where it is all happening – shopping, restaurants, bars, clubs and beaches – and within walking distance. There certainly is a lot to explore in the area, and the guest will not be short of ideas of things to do. Alternatively, if you feel like wandering further a field, then your personal butler can help you to arrange a particular trip or driver. But more than likely, you won’t want to leave for too long, to make the most of your stay.

villa kubuBreakfast is complimentary, and cooked and served up by the staff – and it becomes quite an enjoyable, hearty affair. Some guests have also celebrated their weeding and anniversaries at Villa Kubu – as there are packages that cater for these very events, from start to finish, as extremely competitive rates. And then, you would not have to go particularly far for the honeymoon! Talking of moons – my particularly favourite part of my stay was moonlight swimming – romantic, fun and something that Bali was made for, in the privacy of my own pool and villa. Enjoy.

Villa Kubu
Jl. Raya Seminyak,
Gg. Plawa 33F, Seminyak, Kuta.
T: 62-361-731129 F: 62-361-735500

Tugu, A Culinary Time Machine to Centuries Old Bali

For a relatively small island, Bali probably has the most complete variety of international fare restaurants compared to other islands. But where does one go for quality Indonesian dining, where one can indulge in a beautiful and indigenous atmosphere, savor delicious authentic dishes, and have decent wines? Instead of restaurants, Hotel Tugu in Canggu has spectacular theatrical dining venues with different themes that transport guests from one era of Indonesia's past to another. There must have been around 30 different kinds of dining experiences that I was told of by the staff - but the few below are the ones that really stick. One of my favorites was the atmospheric Warong Tugu. Set in a rustic open kitchen inspired by the daily lifestyle of Javanese and Balinese between the 15th to the 19th century, Waroeng Tugu is an open air hut with old tiled roof, featuring a row of beautiful antique statues and old wooden benches. The simplicity of the Waroeng Tugu is where it's so beautiful, not only in terms of its ambience, but in the whole experience of feasting with simple dining wares, hand-rolled corn cigarettes just like in the old days, an old ice grinder from the turn of last century, and many more. The dishes here are prepared by Ibu Soelastri, who has cooked at home since she was a small girl, and at Tugu for a number of presidents of Indonesia. The Waroeng Tugu has no menu—instead, Ibu goes to the market, picks the ingredients she likes, and then she makes up to eight different dishes in Waroeng Tugu's traditional open kitchen. In the morning, Iboe Soelastri gives cooking classes here, where she brings her guests with her to the market.

As dusk fell, I was taken to Tugu's deserted sandy beach, guided by a row of torches and red flower petals. A table for two, with flowers and candles atop, sat alone facing the Indian Ocean, with nothing around except for a seafood grill and a champagne stand. No hawkers, no beachwalkers, no other tables, and no noise except for the crashing waves. I was told, "We usually set only one table alone on the beach – but tonight is special, we put these thousands of flower petals because one of our guests will be proposing," say no more.

tuguGetting hungry from the fragrant smell coming out of the kitchen, I decided I just wanted to choose from the comprehensive a la carte menu since it was getting late, and to sit at one of the lovely tables, with a view onto the gardens. However the staff wanted to show me one more venue, so I followed. I was glad I did – I was taken to the most extravagant dining room I have ever seen. A whole Chinese temple from the year 1706, stood there in a beautiful red-walled room, complete with its black and gold carvings, black pillars, and a striking black carved wooden roof. Decorated with beautiful giant black and white drawings of the old kings of Bali and lit by rows of red candles. I decided I would save this room for the next time I'm celebrating with a special someone.

Walking back to my previously chosen table with a view to the ocean, I was tempted to peak into another dining room that was set up for two other guests. This room, the Bale Puputan, has beautiful 19th century Balinese antiques and artwork, and a beautiful marble table from that period. Celebrating Bali of the 19th century, two special dining experiences are available here – the first one being the Balinese Rajadom dining, and the second one the Grand Rijsttaffel. a special dining created by the plantation masters during the colonial Dutch era, where they entertained guests with dishes using the exotic spices of the country. Bear in mind that the Grand Rijsttaffel dining is served by a parade of 13 waiters wearing traditional costumes, even if you are only a party of two. Noticing my bedazzled expression, I was further explained that the Grand Rijsttaffel was ‘normal'. Their most special dining experience, called the Tugudomis mind blowing. The Tugudom dining experience tells the story of how the royal entourage of the Majapahit Kingdom, including the soldiers, the ox carriages, the elephants, etc, arrived in Bali when they were defeated in Java, where they were warmly welcomed by the Balinese. The dishes presented here are researched to the times of the Majapahit era, and include royal dishes as well as cuisine prepared by the humble villagers to welcome the entourage. The Tugudom theatrical dining can include up to an entourage of 50 people, bringing the whole Majapahit entourage to present time – again, even if you are only a party of two.

Classical Balinese dance can be arranged with any dinner at Tugu. Ibu Cenik, one of the oldest and most flamboyant dancers of Bali, also dances on the beautiful stage upon request or on special schedule.I will say no more, except that dining at Tugu is indeed an experience of a lifetime.

Hotel Tugu Bali, Canggu (+62-361) 731 701

Rain Stoppers, Traditional Knowledge in A Modern Age

Imagine a three-month well planned garden party all of a sudden dissolved by heavy rain. Invited guests scattered around, food soaking wet, and all the fine decorations destroyed by water. Imagine an open-aired professionally prepared musical concert cannot proceed because of water pouring unexpectedly from the dark sky overhead. Assume a special outdoor party for an incentive tour group failed to continue because of rain. All of these situations would cause great pain and disappointment.

In order to avoid such disappointment and pain, inviting a rain stopper or diverter might be a good idea. It might sound senseless, but attempts in stopping unexpected rainfall is one of the oldest traditions in Balinese cultural practices, which can also be found in most societies in Java. This tradition is still practiced by the Balinese, because of its significance and function, not only within traditional, but also within a modern context, such as tourism activities. These beliefs and practices are not aimed against the will of Mother Nature. In fact, people believe that Mother Nature has her own system that cannot be intervened by human beings. All natural occurrences, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, lighting, strong winds, and thunder are predestined by God through Mother Nature. No one knows how to predict them or how to stop or divert them, to save human lives and prevent natural disasters.

For rain, however, the Balinese have a tradition to stop, hold, or divert it to other locations or to simply hold it for several hours. The aim is to secure a rain-free spot where a function or activity is being held. Many important occasions in Bali and other parts of Indonesia were made rain-free by traditional means. For example, the opening performances of the annual Bali Arts Festival at the Denpasar Art Centre is usually accompanied by a rain-stopping ritual, especially if the program is going to be attended by special guests like Presidents, ministers, and ambassadors. To also ensure the smooth running of a temple festival, a ritual of rain stopping will usually be performed. At Besakih Temple, there is a shrine for the seat of Ida Ratu Sila Majemuh, where rain-stopping rituals are usually performed to avoid rainfall in the Besakih Temple area during a festival. The celebration of Asia-Africa Conference Anniversary in West Java, in 2005, was also secured by rain-stopper.

The ritual of rain-stopping or diverting, is not an eye-catching activity because it is performed low key. It is performed by officiating small offerings and burning incense, as well as a plate of fire (pengasepan). All of these aim to produce smoke that on rising up is believed to be able to push clouds away. The movement of the clouds aims at letting the rain fall elsewhere or pour when the rain stopping ritual has ended.

In Balinese tradition there is also a rain-asking ritual. This ritual is usually performed in the case of long dry spells. Groups of farmers often perform this in order to water their paddy. A more elaborate offering is required for the rain-asking ritual. Both the rain-asking and stopping rituals have proved to work well otherwise would not still be performed. The failure of a rain stopping ritual might occur because several rain-stoppers are in action at the same time at a similar location. Each of them will push away the clouds from the area they have to secure, sometimes to the direction where another rain-stopping ritual is being held. By this, the attempt easily fails. Another reason may be that the ritual of rain stopping is performed too close to the time of rainfall. The earlier a rain-stopping ritual is performed, the better the results. The better prepared the ritual, the higher chance it will be fulfilled by God.

rain stoppersA person who performs the rain stopping or rain diverting is called 'tukang terang' in Balinese or 'pawang hujan' in Indonesian. Knowledge in asking and preventing or diverting rainfall is kept in a 'lontar' leaf manuscript written in old Javanese. Some of these have recently been printed into a book form with stunning calligraphy or rerajahan. A tukang terang usually gains knowledge and skill through either reading lontar palm leaves or by receiving divine blessings through a series of trances. Before being able to perform a rain stopping ritual, they need to do a self-purification ritual. Many temple priests try to have rain stopping rituals performed for his/ her temple. A set of offerings and a lot of incense is required for performing a rain-stopping ritual. The offerings will be officiated in a shrine or temple near to the area where the function is to be held. Hotel management or event organizers might invite a tukang terang from a distant village if the local temple priest is not keen to do so. During the ritual, a tukang terang spell is cast as a mantra in the form of mediation, to ask God to kindly pour rain on another place.

A rain diverter is often in high demand during the rainy season in Bali. Rainy season falls between September and April. This means that the holiday and festivity month of December and January tend to have a lot of rain. As there are usually a lot of outdoor celebration during these months; concerts, and parties, the invitation of a rain-stopper to ensure the smooth running of a program is often given priority. The success of a rain-diverting ritual can be as high as 90%. Event organizers have to budget extra to ensure their program is rain free. As other rituals in Balinese tradition, there is no fixed charge for rain-stopper ritual, but it could cost between US$ 25 to US$ 100, including the costs of offerings.

Although the average rainfall in Bali is relatively low, avoiding disappointment from the possibility of rain by providing a rain diverter is always worth planning. Since the topic of the rain-stopping ritual is often discussed between people in the tourism industry, especially by event organizers with their foreigner counterparts, more and more outsiders know and think about rain-stoppers. Eventually the subject can even serve to promote and enhance the mystical image of Bali.

The continued use of rain-stoppers in various activities indicates that this traditional knowledge or belief still has its functional meaning and practicality in the modern age. Although modern technology now witnesses the use of laser-light to clear a cloud to prevent rainfall, the traditional way to divert rain is still popular in Bali as it is in most regions in Java. Compared to modern technology, the use of a traditional rain-stopper is much more practical, while its effectiveness is almost certain. If you happen to have an important and special outdoor function yourself, do not allow rain to spoil it. Invite a rain-diverter, and, let the Balinese Gods do the rest.

Cengondewah- kendra gallery

Even the most superficial survey of contemporary Indonesian art will reveal a schism between artists who produce beautiful images that can vary from the trite to the sublime, and those who dwell in the darker regions of human nature and sexuality. Visitors to the current solo exhibition of the Sundanese artist, Tisna Sanjaya, at Kendra Gallery will have no trouble identifying the artist’s allegiance. These paintings and mixed media works are not for the faint of heart. It is also unlikely that you will see many of them hanging on the walls of Bali’s ‘happy’ villas any time soon.

cigondewah-06, 2009“When I was a boy, Cengondewah was an idyllic country paradise where I played barefoot in the rice paddies”, the artist laments. Today the area is a bitter example of the fruits of progress – in this case the growth of Bandung’s textile industry. Chaotic, dirty and polluted, in Sanjaya’s eyes, its once happy villagers have been reduced to victims eking out subsistence living in a cultureless wasteland. For those who have visited the ramshackle backstreets of Denpasar, the lesson in hopelessness is not lost.

Sanjaya’s lost world of innocence and youth is symbolized in the only idyllic painting in the show, that of the artist riding upon the back of a water buffalo playing a flute like a latter day Pied Piper of Hamlin. The image is also a tongue in cheek reference to colonial nostalgia - photos and paintings of buffalo riders were very popular among the colonial elite and epitomized their stereotypes of happy natives. The rebellion of Indonesian artists against pretty pictures can be traced to the struggle for Indonesian independence and the founding of the island nation’s first modern art school, Persagi, in 1938. Later egalitarian principles and revolutionary ideals would also lead to the rise of a school that believed that a fundamental purpose of art was to denounce injustice. This would all end after the alleged Communist coup attempt in 1965 when Suharto’s New Order government ushered in a return to saccharin and vacuity.

The private war of Tisna Sanjaya and his minion was only made possible by the fall of Suharto. In its aftermath 30 years of pent up frustrations, political and private, exploded once again on the art scene. As one of Indonesia’s most talented graphic artists, Sanjaya understood well the ancient connection between this medium and mass communication. The new freedom gave him the chance to produce a series of compelling but challenging images such as “Nie Wiederkrieg” (Never Again War) painted with asphalt. Unlike those who prefer only to blame others, Sanjaya sought to better the lives of the people of Cengondewah by buying a small plot and building a small cultural centre to enrich their lives.

pulang kandang, 2009While angry at the failures of capitalism, Sanjaya can also display a self-effacing humour, seen in the image of him buried beneath a pile of canvasses with his head resting on a soccer ball with a man hiking into the distance. The exhibition also includes what appears to be a series of contorted self-portraits and body prints from his Amnesia Cultura series. In “Pulang Kandung” (return to the stable) we see a tree inside a balloon shaped head with a large black bird on top surrounded by the iron bars of a cage. Surrealistic, the asymmetric imagery is reminiscent of the best of Marc Chagall.

“Perhaps I can effect change, and perhaps I cannot”, he murmurs, “but it is better to try than surrender to what is wrong, especially when those behind it tell you you should be happy with progress.” Ironically those who buy the most vapid pretty pictures often vilify such artistic idealism. It remains to be seen if their makers are cynics or not. As for Sanjaya, although some might feel his pictures remind them of Hell, his soul is that of a saint. Coincidentally his Sanskrit based name, Sanjaya, translates to ‘Ever Victorious’. Asmudjo J. Irianto, the talented curator of the show deserves special mention for his hard work.

Kendra Gallery, Uma Sapna Villa Seminyak
T: 0361 736 628

Dine and dine.....

oscar’s dessert by flavour: violetteThe kitchens of St Regis are described as a playground, where Chefs and kitchen staff alike are encouraged to explore, to learn and to adventure into the imagination.

St Regis Executive Chef, Oscar Perez, describes himself as the spark and his team as the engine. He gets each of their inspiration, motivation, discipline and technique started, but it’s the members of his team that make the machine move. Although there are authority figures, each of the top chefs work along side the members of their team. There is no shouting or ordering about other people. Everyone knows what responsibilities they hold, and each are aware that they play an important role in the service engine of St Regis.

When I arrive at St Regis it’s 7 o’clock in the morning. Because this is just in time for Breakfast, the most important meal of the day, I wander over to Boneka, the a la minute breakfast venue of St Regis Resort Bali.

Many hotel restaurants offer the run of the mill, boring; help yourself buffet kind of breakfast. Not Boneka. Here you will find a delicious menu of out of the ordinary delights. Enjoy a duo of freshly shucked oysters or a serve of Wagyu beef tenderloin and fried egg with slowly baked cherry tomatoes and sautéed baby potatoes. A fine selection of Sashimi served with organic miso soup or a serve of dim sum, crispy fried potato cake with your choice of sausages or there is of course, the chance to try the famous Boneka Eggs Nouvelle, lobster ragout in an egg shell with parsley cream topped with salmon roe.

What is most apparent as you walk through the restaurant doors is the long kitchen bench that lies to the left. The bench is open and exposed, designed to allow closeness between the kitchen staff and the diners wandering in to see what their meal choices are. Breakfast at Boneka is intended as a breakfast experience rather than just a place to order food.

The members of the Boneka team are dressed immaculately in white jackets and tall chef hats. Each of them, quietly keep on with their work, whilst people stare, some of them look up and smile, ask if they can help or if the guest would like to try something that they are preparing.

They all arrived at 6am for the morning preparation, and will remain at Boneka until the morning service is finished, which is officially at eleven o’clock, but sometimes guests stay for longer.

The diners come in waves; the first one arrives at seven, has a quick breakfast and will be out by eight. The second crowd comes in at eight and usually stays until ten. They enjoy their time and take the opportunity to peruse the bar as well as try the food and drinks being passed around. It is mostly the latecomers, who are enjoying themselves until eleven. They arrive at 9 and are around for the full experience of the breakfast service. They look, they taste, they watch, and they take the time to enjoy.

As many guests are not familiar with the opportunity to order directly from the Chef, waiters act as middlemen, serving tastings and menu selections between chef and table. This Breakfast Bar also serves drinks with a difference. Collected by waiters carrying service trays, one particular St Regis specialty, known as the Bloody Mary, is offered around the room. The breakfast version, known as a Virgin Mary, is alcohol free, but offers guests an entertaining kick start to the day. Nothing about breakfast at Boneka is ordinary.

Each morning the St Regis baker’s rise and begin work at 2am. They, like the traditional bakers of the world, insist that the bread must be prepared and baked in time for the morning meal because the bread, croissants and other pastries are best served crunchy and fresh from the oven.

I watch as guests who move toward the bread cutting station, notice the delicious array of pastries that sit on the breakfast bar in front of a smiling chef. Some guests return nervously to cutting their bread and rush back to the safety of their tables. Others, allured by intrigue find themselves having their first interaction with the breakfast team.

Behind the Breakfast Bar, the chefs and their preparation of food are exposed and open. I imagine that it must be difficult to get used to at first, but the team, both at Boneka and elsewhere in St Regis, are encouraged to be proud of themselves and their work. It is explained to them that guests are not watching to be critical but admiring and enjoying the opportunity to watch a quality chef at work under such close conditions.

The same experience can be enjoyed at KayuPuti, the St Regis fine dining establishment that overlooks the beautiful Nusa Dua beach. Perhaps it is the breakfast experience that encourages guests to wander into the kitchen of KayuPuti to peruse the activities of the kitchen.

The KayuPuti staffs arrive at ten o’clock and begin their preparations for the day. As in most international standard kitchens, this usually begins with a quality check on products, temperature monitoring of the refrigeration equipment, and then the business of preparation begins.

From gold leaves and silver dust to Sturia, an Acipenser Baeri sturgeion caviar and MB7+ Wagyu beef, Alaskan king crab meat and Tasmanian salmon, the key to KayuPuti is no compromise on product. In a country where chefs may not have the financial resources to taste and experiment with expensive ingredients, Oscar encourages the members of his team to taste, try, and experiment. He encourages them to better themselves and their understanding and approach to ingredients.

Lunch is a more casual affair than dinner at KayuPuti. Many of the meals to prepare are classic pasta or seafood. I watch the meals prepared as I sit enjoying a meal perfectly positioned above and to the side of the kitchen.

Presentation and attention to detail is a high priority both for Oscar and at St Regis. Each plate, each meal, is cared for individually and each detail placed precisely in the right position. Each of the team members is encouraged to understand that consistency is key to quality. Each time a meal is prepared, it must be prepared to look and taste the same as the next, and it must stay this way.

As each plate receives these important finishing touches, a waiter waits patiently on the other side of the service bench. I imagine that for them, plate in hand, the time between kitchen and table must be nerve-racking, and the nerves would need to be calmed over time with an attention to building a confident arm.

Lunch service is steady until three, when just as lunch should be winding down, things get busy as guests wander in hungry from the beach.

Because of this daily wander in affect created by the beach, the time between lunch and dinner is short, meaning that there is no time for a break in between service. Lunch service doesn’t officially stop until five, and the KayuPuti kitchen and dining area must be ready to begin dinner service by six. This time in between service allows for a chance to clean and re-prep the kitchen and dining room in time for the evening guests.

As the light dims across the sky, the restaurant atmosphere transforms from a light bright casual but sophisticated venue into a warm ambience where wood floors, chairs contrast with white walls and cushions, tablecloths and crystal chandeliers. The night sky reflects the open kitchen environment of KayuPuti.

kitchen at kayuputiThis state of the art kitchen, larger than the inside dining room space of the restaurant, manages to create the warmth and intimacy between Chef and client, that can be so difficult to achieve in large restaurants.

Alongside the full set dinner menu, dinner offers guests the opportunity to try the special KayuPuti degustation menu. A daily changing experience for guests, that provides the kitchen staff the opportunity to experiment with flavour and technique in a manner that would not be possible on a set menu. Each of the meals are innovative, and are based on the highest quality of ingredients available to St Regis, but still base themselves on an element of conservative meals. Each of the team members have an opportunity to showcase their particular skill and passion within this menu. This is the St Regis kitchen playground that Oscar describes. The reason each of the staff love coming to work each day, the reason the kitchen will remain a passion for each one of them during their time at St Regis and into their careers. This is cooking.

When service calms for the evening, the faces of the kitchen begin to relax. The team begins to chatter and smile and I get the feeling that there is a sense of achievement, a pride shared between the team at the end of each day. Talk is about food, and about what will be on the menu in days to follow, but it is casual and it is inspiring. This conversation is passion and not work.

Sometime after 11 pm, the staff will gather for a drink around the bar, or outside for a smoke and a laugh. By twelve, most of them will be on their way home, tired, but looking forward to the days ahead. This is the St Regis service, and although tired, I too, left smiling.

The Ritual of the Morning

Balinese women are strong and know how to survive in life. Their daily practice of preparing and performing rituals gives them a sense of determination and resilience that prepares them for anything. Balinese people believe that the reason a Balinese woman is usually blessed with a longer life span than her partner is due to the practice of an important morning ritual known as ‘ngejot’, a practice which allows a woman to have a special connection with the gods that protect her from harm.

In order to perform ngejot a Balinese woman will rise before dawn because the process of preparing ngejot must begin before breakfast. It is considered extremely impolite to eat before the ngejot ritual has been completed and so people will abstain from eating until it is finished.

To most outsiders ngejot doesn’t appear to be much more than a day-to-day offering and the morning preparation of food. Preparation begins with boiling water and cooking rice, whilst at the same time, the preparation for the daily meal will also begin.

Ngejot is performed to keep a harmonious relationship between the world of the humans and the world of the gods. Each morning the ritual is prepared in the kitchen because for the Balinese, a kitchen is considered a sacred place along with the basin, water and fire, knives and anything that is associated with preparing ritual offerings. As a result, caring for the kitchen is a sacred activity.

Once the rice has finished cooking, the preparation of assembling the ‘nasi jotan’ prayer offering begins. Firstly, a portion of the rice will be placed in the holy basin. Then, the banana palm leaves are cut into small squares and placed onto a traditional holy bamboo tray known as ‘kumarang’. Lastly, small amounts of rice are added onto the banana leaves.

By placing the small offerings onto the kumarang, the rice will remain ‘sukla,’ or holy. This is a small detail that is important because if the offering is no longer considered holy the offerings will be worthless.

When all the preparations are complete and the offerings ready, a Balinese woman will go and prepare herself for the ritual.

She must put on a ‘kamben’, which is a traditional Balinese sarong. This will be worn with the ‘santeng’ that is tied around their waste during the start of the ritual.

Known as ‘nasi jotan’ each of these simple rice offerings are to be placed around various non-arbitrary points of the kitchen and the outside areas of a Balinese compound as an offering to the gods. The offerings are a way of saying thank you to those who protect the harmonious balance between the human and the natural world, the world of the gods.

The position of the nasi jotan depends on the household. Each place may have its own gods, as likely will each part of a household. Within the kitchen, these points are linked with each of the items within the kitchen. Every Balinese kitchen has a stove known as ‘jalikan’ that is used for cooking, which will receive the offering ritual, as will the water ‘jeding’, the knives, the grinder and so on until each of the items central to preparing offerings to the gods and the food for the family has received ngejot.

This morning ritual is a tradition that is held with extreme importance. Because behind the façade of daily morning food preparation and a simple offering it is so much more than just a simple offering to the gods. Ngejot is awesome as it helps to connect a Balinese family with a hidden and mysterious power that protects a family from harms way.

If this ritual is done well it is possible for a great power to exist within the kitchen of a Balinese household. A power of protection provided by the gods that has the potential to rid a person of all the bad energy that they might have collected during the day.

To this day, Balinese elders still acknowledge the importance of removing all bad energy from the body before entering into the central part of a Balinese home.

As such, the first step they can be seen taking upon arriving home is into their household kitchen. They are still connected to a deep understanding of the traditional practices of Bali, and the reasons for them. They truly believe that if ngejot is completed faithfully each morning that when they enter into their kitchen, all the negative energy they have been sent or collected will be destroyed.

Most importantly, the power of the ngejot-protected kitchen is also considered an effective way to minimalise an attack of niskala from the world of the spirits who live parallel to the world of the Balinese.

A Balinese woman remains strong throughout the challenges of her life because she is protected by the results of this morning prayer. Her determination and resilience along with the practice of Ngejot keeps her family safe from harm. Ngejot; the ritual a Balinese woman will never forget.

Luxury Lembongan

There are a few things that Nusa Lembongan is well known for: crystal clear water; relaxing beach-life; stunning sunsets over Bali’s volcanoes.

walking between bamboo at losari coffee plantation

Ask any surfer and they will cite the great reef breaks of Playgrounds, Lacerations, and Shipwrecks, while divers will rave about sighting the mola-mola (ocean sunfish), the heaviest known bony fish in the world, which can be seen in the waters off the island between August and October. Visitors to the island might talk about the patchwork spectacle of multi-hued seaweed drying in the sun in back yards and by roadsides - evidence of the leading role that seaweed farming plays in the island’s industry. It is also a renowned day trip destination; guests primarily from the large Nusa Dua resorts arrive on gaudy vessels that dock at the entertainment-filled pontoons in the bay, although they don’t venture as far as the island itself. For all its varied faces though, Lembongan is not acclaimed as a luxury destination… or at least, not yet.

Just a few years ago, visitors to Lembongan would have found a quietly charming place, with a scattering of small guesthouses dotted along a sweeping beach. Having quite basic facilities and infrastructure (think sporadic electricity supply; precarious public boat journeys; a diet of nasi goreng and the ubiquitous jaffles), it attracted mostly backpackers in pursuit of some quiet time after the excesses of Kuta, or surfers keen to take on the world-class waves just off the shoreline, and held little of interest to the discerning luxury tourist. Fast-forward a few years, however, and the appeal is broadening thanks to sensitively executed developments aimed at the higher end of the market.

One place with sights firmly set in this direction is Batu Karang Lembongan Resort and Day Spa. Established by an Australian family three years ago, it is unique on the island as the only Western owned and managed resort, and as such takes pride in being the only one providing the level of service expected by the top-end luxury market. It is especially popular with honeymooners and surfers, especially those with families in tow, though the flexible room arrangements with lockable internal doors make the accommodation suitable for anyone. While the idyllic views over the bay are shared with neighbouring resorts and villas, the like-thinking attitude of the management team with their customers sets it apart from the competition: despite challenges (arising mainly from the location), they strive to achieve a service as close to perfection as is possible anywhere else in the world.

pool at batu karang lembongan resortThe introduction of a speedboat service (Scoot, ref end of article) means that the island is more accessible than ever before – and the lolling, cramped public boat can be avoided. A mere thirty minutes after leaving Sanur, step into a place that feels a world away: unlike some other luxury desert island destinations, the unmistakeable natural beauty and traditional culture of the island prevails, making it the perfect place to come for some downtime. It is the sensitivity towards environmental and socio-cultural issues that propels Batu Karang Lembongan Resort into the leading position it occupies on the island.

The resort itself was carefully designed by an Australian architect to make the most of the views and space available, and as such there is barely an inch of the property without an incredible vantage point over the bay. The management’s efforts to provide a luxurious but eco-friendly resort include a range of energy and resource saving tips, solar panels and even the installation of a costly sewage filtration and treatment unit - the only one on the island – which keeps the garden sprinklers flowing with recycled water. As such, the resort tries to be as low-impact as possible upon the environment, while remaining steadfast in the level of luxury service they provide. Around ninety-eight percent of the helpful staff members are originally from Lembongan – testament to the proprietors’ dedication to creating local opportunities.

Within the resort there is certainly plenty to do: enjoy the swimming pools, sample an original Batu Karang cocktail, or simply enjoy the views. Right at the top of the luxury list though is a trip to Lulur Spa for a traditional style massage, facial, or hair and scalp treatment. The Lembongan Seaweed Body Scrub uses some of the island’s famous crop to exfoliate and smooth the skin, and is followed by a massage to soothe tense muscles. For beautification, there are aromatherapy and acupressure facials to choose from, as well as the No Fuss Facial For Real Men – a thirty-minute treatment that delivers exactly what is promised. In addition to the Spa, there is a steam room above the lap pool, and day lounge furnished with comfy sofas and equipped with DVDs and books. For film lovers, there is soon to be an evening movie theatre open to in-house guests twice a week during high season.

overlooking the coast of lembongan islandFor those who prefer more action, there is also a well-equipped gym, and water aerobics classes are soon to start. Outside the resort, water sports feature heavily, with surfing, snorkelling and diving all within easy reach. Diving excursions can be arranged through one of the local operators, while Batu Karang provide occasional opportunities for surf tours to Lombok and elsewhere. Guided cycling and walking tours of the island can be arranged by hotel staff, although guests are also encouraged to rent a scooter so they can explore the island independently.

After a full day’s activity, there is surely no better way to relax than with dinner and a drink, and Muntigs Bar at Batu Karang is the perfect place to do so. Wines from Australia, France, New Zealand, Italy and Spain adorn the well-stocked bar, which produces a variety of classic cocktails, fruity mocktails and international beers and spirits. On the menu is an interesting selection of Asian and Western dishes, all given star treatment by the resort’s Japan-trained chef. The coconut-crusted calamari with hot and sour sauce has the perfect combination of textures and flavours, a quality it shares with the perfectly mouth-watering rib-eye steak. From the specials menu, the river prawns, skewered on lemongrass stalks and served with salad and garlic mash, are a must-try – if you’re lucky enough to be there before they sell out. Finally, for the perfect ending to a meal, try the velvety texture and rich taste of the chocolate mousse.

With its growing popularity as a luxury destination, Lembongan is also attracting more wedding parties, and Batu Karang is well set up to accommodate ceremonies, receptions and honeymoons. The wedding pavilion can be hired along with the top half of the resort to give bride, groom and guests total privacy for their special day. Afterwards, the happy couple can enjoy their honeymoon in the special suite, with private pool, garden and relaxation bale, and furnished with a round bed and a huge bathtub, filled by means of a bamboo pipe in the ceiling above in a delightful twist on the traditional style.

Lembongan is changing, although its quiet charm and natural assets remain omnipresent. Alongside the natural attractions of the island, visitors can experience the very best in luxury in a place that is still protected from mass tourism.

Batu Karang Lembongan Resort and Day Spa
Lembongan Island, Bali, T: 0366 24880

Scoot, Jl. Hangtuah 27, Sanur Kaja
T: 0361 285522,

Me, Myself and A Bottle of Red Wine

Step into the private world of the Ayana Resort and Spa, set high on the stunning hillside above Jimbaran Bay. A natural spa sanctuary, it has not been influenced by the popular minimalist approach to décor and style: rather, it is a resort that has embraced its natural environment and developed a reputation as a lavish place of grandeur and decadence.

The Ayana Resort and Spa offers one of the most perfectly unusual treatments on the island, a treatment that can be described as delicious and absolutely alcoholic which leaves you feeling soft and refreshed and completely free from inhibitions and stress. The two-hour Mellow Wine Therapy is performed within the calming environment of a private spa villa surrounded by leafy green gardens, whilst the sound of cascading water lulls even the most tense of guests into a sense of peacefulness.

Like many packages, the Mellow Wine Therapy begins with a refreshing footbath and salt scrub to gently tease away dull skin and stimulate the circulation. Swayed by the calming influence of the therapist it is easy to feel completely relaxed before the treatment has barely even started. The next hour is devoted to a Balinese massage, performed using a moisturising Japanese grape oil. Therapists at Ayana demonstrate expert technique and control as they change their massage pressure with varying strokes, each firm enough to reach even the deepest muscle aches.

Based in Hokkaido, an area well known for viticulture in Japan, Enologist specialises in using grapes as their principal ingredient. Each of the dark skinned grapes, rich in antioxidants known to help keep skin young and beautiful, are pressed first for winemaking, then the remnant grapes and resin are used to make the Enologist oil, cream and essence used in this treatment.

With the deep tissue taken care of, the treatment moves to focus on the upper layers of the skin. The body is given a generous coating of the silky grape masque that will keep the heat and scent of the wine, before being wrapped up to let the beneficial properties of the grape penetrate. While wrapped and resting, a gentle mini-facial takes care of any last vestiges of tension, as the therapist strokes and smoothes skin and scalp.

The musty aroma of fermented grapes is strange at first, and certainly nothing like the sickly sweet oils often used in spa treatments, but ultimately the authenticity and simplicity of the products are refreshing and the skin is left glowing, whilst the environment of Ayana leaves the mind calm.

The final, and most wildly decadent, stage of the treatment is set within the flower filled bath and sees guests reclining whilst being served a selection of cheese and crackers, olives and, of course, a bottle of wine. The bottle is then tipped into the bath to mingle with the flowers whilst you can enjoy a glass or two for yourself.

A unique finishing touch it certainly is, but with no real function in terms of therapy, you will have to decide if you are decadent enough: we advise you watch how much of the bottle is being poured into the water. If you save a glass or two extra to enjoy in the bath, it becomes a deliciously decadent ending to the ultimate wine fuelled afternoon. You’d better not plan on doing anything afterwards.

Ayana Resort and Spa
Jl. Karang Mas Sejahtera, T: 0361 702 222

What's on august...?

Red Carpet Rolls Out

Oberoi Road is really sparkling! We’ve been watching with much anticipation for the opening of Red Carpet Champagne Bar and it’s finally popped its cork in time for the high season. Sponsored by Moet Hennessy, this 80 pax max luxe bar comes with all the five star trappings of a private boutique club. A 20m red carpet from the street rolls through the entire bar past the velvet ropes and Oscar photo-shots on entrance (thankfully not on exit!) so you can take home a Polaroid memento, valet parking by white gloved bell boys clad in red and gold outfits (they even clean your car while you swan around the bar) and glamorous service girls in short red leather minis. The Dutch owners who have had 25yrs in the restaurant, rave and entertainment business have pulled out all stops on this one creating “celebrity credit cards” for each guest to open up their bills with names like Brad and Angelina. A massive Bose sound system pumps fantastic music through the digs and the décor is pure high polished glam – gloss lacquered retro inspired table tops, white leather chairs, gold bar fridges and ironwood bar planks where you perch your derriere as you watch the street parade by.

Jl Laksmana no.42c, Oberoi Seminyak,
Tel: 0361 737 889,

Too Sexy for My Age

Ary’s Warung celebrated its 25th anniversary on July 17th with an evening filled with cocktails and friends. The occasion was celebrated with the launch of a new cookbook ‘Contemporary Balinese Asian Cooking’, which is filled with delicious recipes that everyone can try. With a smile among friends it was agreed that even the wine and the car are older than Ary’s.

Jl Raya Ubud, T: 0361 975 963,

Rock Star Bar

If you want to get your rocks off this August then head to hills of Jimbaran Bay to the newly opened Rock Bar at Ayana for cocktails that are pretty much served up ‘in the drink!’ This spanking new open top bar sits on rocks above the ocean with fantastic 14 meter high views from above the swirling waves and gorgeous 360 degree ocean views. A DJ booth with outdoor Bose system (hope its waterproof) is flanked by a split-level ironwood platform, long counter tables and dining and lounge spots to whet your whistle from. The Rock Bar is a feat of engineering genius as well as high polished glam design from the creators of world famous NOBU restaurants. It’s a long way to go for a drink; access is via an inclinator, but worth it for the luxury aperitifs, tapas selections and drop dead glam-dram views. Bring your wallet!

Ayana Resort and Spa, Jl Karang Mas Sejahtera,
T: 0361 702 222,

A bridge between Perth and Bali

Air Asia recently launched their twice daily flights from Bali to Perth …and we are already hoping that there are more connections coming soon. The inaugural flight on July 17 was at full capacity both ways so we can assume that there is an influx of all you Westerners out there on our party loving island. Welcome, but remember to go easy on the Bintang Singlet’s! Flights will be commencing August 19. (

Playboy Mansion Party

Don the Hugh Heffner jackets and Playmate fishnets for Sentosa’s first Night at the Playboy Mansion party on August 14th. Celeb DJ’s Tatian Fontes, DJ Golddigger and Andrea Mazzantini will spin steamy tunes to have you bunny hopping and rabitting off your cotton tails till the wee hours! from 8pm till late. Prizes for Hottest Bunny and Biggest Player.

Sentosa Villa, Jl Pura Telaga Waja, Petitenget
T: 0361 730 333,

Happy Birthday Hatten

It’s hard to believe that Hatten Wines is in its 15th year of producing wine. Bali’s original winery has plenty of reason to celebrate with their upcoming birthday celebration on August 15th. This landmark year for Hatten Wines will be the commencement of a whole new look. Be sure to keep an eye for the many surprises soon to take place with Hatten.

Cellar Door, Komplek Dewa Ruci 3, Jl By Pass Ngurah Rai Kuta
T: 0361 767 422,

Sun and Fun in Sanur

The Sanur Village Festival is on again from August 12th -16th. This year the theme revolves around marine life, so that means there are lots of marine inspired events for you to enjoy including water sport competitions and fun beach games. The Sanur Village Festival is all about culture and one big part of culture is community. There will be a culinary challenge, an open golf tournament, jazz, yoga, fine art, and even an international cartoon exhibition. Get yourself to Sanur and meet some friends to take to the high season parties. -

The Jemme Shop turns 2

The Jemme Jewellery shop, nestled in the heart of sophisticated Petitenget, is turning two in August. Adding to their range of fabulous up market gem stones jeweLlEry set in White Gold, Yellow Gold, Platinum, and top quality silver. For that special item or two needed this party season, you might like to take a walk upstairs to view THEIR exclusive treasure cabinets SHOWCASING their new collection of stunning 18 carat pieces set with diamonds available in white and yellow gold. What will be in your Jemme box?

Jemme, Jl Raya Petitenget 125, Seminyak, T: 0361 733 508

Million Dollar Disco

Dust off your platforms and comb your ‘fro for Karma Kandara’s Million Dollar Disco revelry featuring DJ Playmate and her addictive beats and mixes of funky house, dirty electro, and classics. Supported by DJ Nick Tooth (AUS) the Karma Express will be transporting guests with their complimentary party shuttle bus to and from Karma Kandara leaving and dropping off in Seminyak on regular basis. Saturday August 15th (Karma Kandara, Nammos Private Beach Club, Jalan Villa Kandara, T: 0361 848 2200, karmakandara)

State of mind of Seminyak

an evening at the poolside  of the oberoi

It is not entirely clear to many where the geographical boundaries of Seminyak actually lie. Then again, what was once a sleepy fishing village nestled in the shadows of touristic Kuta has, in the less than a decade, blossomed into one of the premier resort destinations in South East Asia. So what is Seminyak? Ask any of the boho ex-pats, jet setters, fashion mavens, gallerists and high-rolling hedonists that call it home and they’ll probably tell you that it’s not so much a place as a state of mind.

If any single factor sparked the evolution of Seminyak into the upscale destination it has become, it was the appearance of the trailblazing Oberoi hotel. Built in 1974 and bought by the Oberoi group four years later, it spearheaded development northward up the coast from Kuta and set a benchmark in terms of design and exclusivity that would not be matched for a quarter century.

Starting its life as a kind of peaceful suburb set apart from the bustling fairground atmosphere of Kuta, it was natural that Seminyak would develop at right angles to it. Where Kuta has long been the province of backpackers and package tourists (think high capacity hotels, global brands, large scale clubs and a veritable fraternity of touts), Seminyak evolved into a jet-set jumble of boutiquerie, crammed with high concept bars and lounges, designer shops, fine dining restaurants and ‘lifestyle’ villa resorts and residences.

The other vital thread that runs through Seminyak is of course the beach – a vast swathe of golden sand that stretches virtually unbroken from Ngurah Rai international airport in the south to the village of Pereranan 10km further north.

Here you’ll find some of Seminyak’s most refined – even iconic – tenants. Spread elegantly on a westward-facing beachfront bluff, Ku De Ta has fully lived up to its moniker since opening in 2000, earning itself international notoriety for fine dining, high design, unforgettable sundowners and cosmopolitan revelry with its legendary high season party series. Its recently added VIP rooftop lounge KUVE offers a whole new perspective on the paradisiacal location, accompanied by custom cocktails and tapas style delicacies like oysters, wagyu tenderloin and foie gras.

Just a beach stroll away is Samaya Villa & Spa resort, whose alfresco restaurant & lounge, Breeze, has become a favourite both for sunsets and dinners – think haute global cuisine amid reflecting pools, manicured lawns, pavilions and white stone verandas. A Frisbee throw further up the beach is another Seminyak institution, La Lucciola, a two storey wood pavilion that sees a steady flow of patrons from morning till midnight drawn by its immaculately turned out Mediterranean fare, sinful chocolate martinis and of course the ocean outlook.

Anantara is a relative newcomer to the league of oceanfront big hitters. The south beach style resort has been making waves with its outdoor shindigs featuring international DJs.

L to R : spa villa at sofitel seminyak, nutmegs restaurant at hu’u bali beachfront of the oberoi

Head inland, however, and there’s no shortage of impressive developments to swoon over. Sentosa Resort & Spa has established a stellar reputation with its spacious villas and designer club/restaurant facility – think irregularly cut stone facades, black mirror, centuries old frangipani trees and futuristic modular furnishings. They also host intermittent but invariably fabulous parties. On site Blossom restaurant meanwhile presents a mix of Thai and international cuisine prepared by talented Australian chef Chris Patzold.

Those with a penchant for audacious design – and five star comfort – need look no further than the Layar. The word means sail in Indonesian, a tribute to the elegant play of roof planes that characterizes each of these two and three bedroom villas – roofs that are detached from the walls, creating a radically different sense of volume and space within. Situated on a tract of land just behind the Laksmana road – where a myriad eateries and indie boutiques jostle for position – it’s the perfect pied a terre for the Seminyak socialite.

Jl. Laksmana – or Jl. Oberoi as it is often referred to – is almost a legend unto itself, with its ever shifting collage of dining and shopping options – catch some refined rock star couture at the new Religion store, which also houses sister brand Buddhist Punk. Billing itself as a champagne lounge, Red Carpet is soon to open its doors on the Laksmana strip, while mainstays like Italian restaurants Ultimo and La Lucciola and nearby Rumours with its cut-price steaks always do a roaring trade.

For exquisitely executed French cuisine, Kafe Warisan is unmatched in the area – and has been for more than a decade. Fans will be intrigued to hear that it will soon be shifting premises to a bigger site in Batu Belig – officially two villages on from Seminyak, but for many, more of an adjunct to its famous neighbour. For Asian street food given a gourmet twist, head to Sarong, with the added attraction of some maximalist contemporary décor with ethnic overtones.

There is something of a ritual to the Seminyak nightlife. It might begin with a dinner at any of the abovementioned eateries. Living Room and Hu’u Bar are hotspots for both eating and midnight mingling. But by two or three am, most head down to the Blue Ocean beachfront (where Bacio with its spacious dancefloor, sunken bar and VIP mezzanine, tends to draw the froufrou flock. But all roads lead to Double Six, Bali’s grande dame of nightclubs, a venue that doesn’t even really get going until three or even four am.

Whilst the appearance of new villas and restaurants has continued apace, there’s been an out and out boom in new boutiques over the last couple of years. Laksmana was once known as Eat Street, but a flurry of new clothing stores is making it more than just that. Notables include Dindarella, Lulu and Lily Jean for ladies fashions that run from cutesy to downright ostentatious. Both the newly opened Zuttion and Cornerstore successfully combine café and boutique concepts with effortless hipster credentials, while Simple Koncep Store (SKS) is the place for home ware design classics and immaculately cut Italian fashions.

sunset view over the pool at sofitel seminyak

On the Seminyak main drag, Sabbatha creates flamboyant leather accessories encrusted with stones and other curlicues while Pura Vida’s large-scale retro patterns and colours take you back to Rome circa 1960. For the ultimate in fine jewellery – and sensuous indulgence – head down to Jemme on Jl. Petitenget and splurge on their signature Diamond Cocktail - A bottle of vintage dom Perignon and a heart shaped pendant encrusted with more than 1/2 carat of diamonds resting at the bottom of the flute.

Once you’ve shopped, simply drop into one of Seminyak’s myriad spas – both Sentosa and Samaya offer treatments that will pamper you silly, as does the long standing Prana Spa at The Villas and Le Spa at the Sofitel.

To wrap things up, make your way to Biku on a Sunday for their Mystic High Tea served in a converted antique wooden joglo house - classic china tea service, scones, sandwiches and other delights, plus your future revealed in a swirl of lapsang souchong leaves…

After all of which you’ll probably agree that Seminyak’s a pretty nice state of mind to be in.

Welcome to the Water Palace

At a time when property developments on the island of Bali are becoming as common as kites in the August skies, one has to work a bit to separate the greater projects from the lesser.

Gapura Vista EstateWhat is it that makes an exceptional development? How does one separate the gold from the dross?

Location is certainly a factor; after all, there is only so much prime beach front or cliff top land in Bali. Style is another valid criteria; anyone who has the wherewithal to buy or build in Bali should be demanding exceptional style. Quality of construction should also be a compelling consideration; logically you can't reasonably claim to be one of the best if the quality of your work is poor.

A development which I think fits neatly the criteria for excellence is the Gapura Vista project, being built on the southern cliff tops of Bali. While you've probably never heard of Gapura Vista, there's good reason for that – not only is it a boutique development comprised of just ten top end villas, unique in style and built to the same quality, the strength of the concept and word of mouth rought together a like-minded group of individuals who were looking to create a small and exclusive life style community. Only one of the Villas is therefore for sale as all others are designed and built by the respective owners.

Gapura Vista is located on the cliffs of the Bukit seventy-five meters above the crashing surf of the Indian Ocean. The contour of the plot is perfect, gently sloping from the back to the cliffs' edge, providing natural drainage and perfect view lines. All the villas on the estate have clear ocean views and the landscaping is based on the existing natural shape of the land.

Gapura Vista was designed by architect Walter Wagner of the Habitat 5 group. Walter's work is well-known in Bali and he enjoys a strong reputation for producing excellent stylish work which blends in with the natural surroundings and respects the cultural esthetics for which Bali is rightfully famous. The villas were designed especially to combine the drama of the elevated ocean view with the serenity of the ancient cliff formations. Each owner tailored the designs to suit their own needs, within certain boundaries designed to project the coherency of the project as a whole.

Abutting the estate is a picturesque 350 year old template. The temple provides a pleasing visual contrast with the stunning ocean views. The land surrounding the temple was donated to the local temple by the originators of Gapura Vista. The temple land provides not only an aesthetic and cultural element, but also creates a sheltered area of protected land which preserves the estate's view lines and forecloses the possibility of someone developing a neighboring eyesore.

The location of the estate is only minutes away from the Nusa Dua Golf and Country Club and one of Bali's best swimming and recreation spots, Geger Beach. Residents of the estate will also have access to the beach area below the cliffs and there is even a road down to the underlying beach nearby the development. The new Uluwatu Golf Course, which is currently under construction, is also a mere ten minutes away.

At the very front of the development are two unique residences known as the Water Palaces. Both of these two-storey villas have particularly dramatic unobstructed views over the Indian Ocean. With their placement at the front of the plot, the Water Palaces also have direct access to the cliff face and the beach below and feature outstanding Feng Shui qualities, facing South with the Indian Ocean in the front and the Hills to the North. Each bedroom's orientation follows both the Chinese and Balinese Feng Shui priority whereby the head of the bed either faces East or to the North towards Mount Agung.

clear view to indian ocean

The villas are large, with a built area of 809 sqm on a plot of 1600 sqm. With four en suite bedrooms and a library which can also be used as a fifth bedroom, the Water Palaces are perfect for families who wish a second home or a holiday hideaway.

Habitat 5 chose for this project a range of exceptional high quality materials. The villas are finished with imported black Himalayan slate and acid washed marble. The master suites include teak wood flooring - an increasingly difficult finish to find these days. The pool decks are done in young flamed marble and the other exterior surfaces are a mix of similar high grade timbers and granites.

The two Water Palace residences derive their name from the large water features which Habitat 5 has designed into the landscape. The interaction of the large pools and flowing waters with the crashing waves of the ocean below create a unique and relaxing environment and make the Water Palaces truly special.

The one villa remaining for sale in the Gapura Vista estate is Water Palace II which comes with freehold title. The villa comes with built-in kitchen counters, wardrobes, vanity counters and more. Soft furnishings, decorative lighting, kitchen equipment furniture and art are to be provided by the buyer.

With the right location, defining style and high quality construction, Gapura Vista stands out among Bali developments.

For more information on Water Palace II, contact Zoe Rice or Matthew Georgeson at Elite Havens in Bali. Email:
Telephone: +62 361 738 747

Happy Birthday Hatten Wines - Through Rosé Tinted Glasses!

hatten wineThis August Hatten Wines will celebrate 12 years of making wine, and in particular, celebrate the birthday of their first table wine – Rosé. Rosé has produced 173 vintages in 12 years, which is quite a feat in itself! Due to the Balinese climate, grapes can be harvested every 120 days, producing wine all year round.

Hatten Rosé is an ideal wine for the warm climate of the tropics, making it perfect to drink at any time of the day or evening. It is a European style wine, that served chilled, is delicious by itself, or can compliment an array of food tastes. It is particularly suited to light meals such as salads, antipastos, pastas, or a selection of white meat dishes, or even spicy Asian cuisine.

Did you know that there are two techniques to make Rosé wine?
There is the Pressing Method, or the Saignee Method (American method)
Hatten Rosé is made from the Pressing Method and is not considered either a red or a white wine. It is made from the Alphonse Lavellee Grapes which brings out its own flavour of tropical fruits and aromas, therefore it is not as heavy to drink as a red nor has strong overtures of a white. As the Rosé is young and crisp, it does not have a long shelf life so is best drunk within 6 months. Cheers!

To celebrate the birthday of Hatten Wines send us your holiday experience drinking Rosé. If we select your experience for publishing, we willl give you a couple of complimentary bottles to further enhance your holiday!
E-mail or before July 31st, 2006.

Hatten wines can be found in all leading outlets – hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and bottle stores. Hatten Wines also have tasting outlets in Bali at their wine cellar - "Cellardoor" and Centro Shopping Mall.
Phone: 0361 767 422.

Holy water-Bali

Holy water is the element of purification, blessings and godliness ever-present at Balinese rituals and ceremonies. Along with flowers (offerings) and fire (incense), holy water, or tirta in Balinese, is an essential part of Hindu rituals and ceremonies. There is no ritual considered complete without holy water. Given the importance of tirta at Balinese rituals and ceremonies, the religion is also known as 'the religion of holy water' or agama tirta, a name that also brings Hindu's closer to nature.

Holy water not is not only essential but also contributes to the various levels and complexities of ceremonies. Unlike the offerings displayed, the contribution of holy water to ritual complexities is not always easily observed. Holy water is usually kept in a ceramic or silver bowl of small to medium size that contains some flowers that contribute to its fragrance and sense of holiness. Different types of rituals require different types of holy water. There is holy water provided at a particular ritual by a priest (sulinggih, pemangku) at a family temple and also by ritual officiators such as shadow puppeteers or mask dancers. Each 'tirta' has its own function.

There is also specific holy water taken from various temples, ranging from family temples, seaside temples, lake temples, or mountain temples, all gathered by priests or laymen. Each clan group in Balinese society has their own priest and clan temples from where tirta is obtained for a particular ceremony. Although such alliances and hierarchy is not always fixed or static, for sure, tirta cannot be obtained from just any temple or just any priest.

The bigger the ritual then the more different types of holy water are required from different temples. During the first Bali bombing cleansing ceremony, named 'Pamarisudha Karipubhaya', at ground zero in November 2002, holy water was taken from as far away from the temple of Mount Semeru in East Java as well as Mount Rinjani in Lombok. In addition to holy water taken from temples outside of Bali and that provided by priests, holy water is also made at the actual ritual site by mask dancers and puppet masters. Holy water is used to purify the ritual site, to bless sacrificed animals so that their souls will go to heaven, to purify offerings and to bless prayers. At a big or special cleansing ritual for the whole of Bali, such as the one held after the Bali bombings in 2002, holy water was distributed through hierarchical structures from the Hindu council for customary affairs at a district level to sub-district and village levels before then being distributed to each member of society. At each distribution point, the holy water is mixed up with purified water to ensure enough for every one. Such distribution is meant to help people to get tirta without needing to come and join rituals held far from their residence.

holy waterTirta is also important at cremation ceremonies. Cremations can be long, laborious, and complicated processes that can take days and weeks if not months. During the process, dozens of various tirta is needed starting from a small every day ceremony to the end of the cremation process. One significant importance is called tirta pangentas that cuts off the relationship between the body and soul of the deceased, so the soul can smoothly return to the afterworld. One hundred years ago, in September 1906, during 'the war to the end' that is locally known as puputan, which took place between the King of Badung and the Dutch colonial troops in Denpasar. The King's subjects were given tirta pangentas before going to war. This tirta was taken from the cremation ritual held for the old king who had died but had not been properly cremated due to the war. The sprinkling of tirta on the king's followers was both symbolic of their readiness to die in struggle to defend their motherland as well as engaging their spirit to get ready for battle. When they finally died at battle, principally no proper ritual or cremation was therefore needed. In September 2005 last year, however, the offspring King of Badung (now called King of Denpasar) held a proper chain of cremation rituals in case any of the king's followers did not receive tirta pangentas prior to the war a century ago.

With prayers at home or at a temple festival, the use of holy water often begins when devotees enter a temple. A ceramic bowl of medium size filled with holy water is often placed in front of the temple gate. Devotees should take the holy water and sprinkle it on their heads to purify their bodies and minds before entering the temple. Devotees are also required to cleanse their hands either using holy water or incense smoke to commence prayers. After praying, holy water is sprinkled three times. Firstly on their heads signifying purification of their minds to promote wise thought (manacika). Secondly, on their hands then held to their mouths to sip signifying purification of their mouths as to promote wise speech (wacika). Lastly, on their face or body signifying purification of their bodies as to promote wise behaviour (kayika). Manacika, wacika, and kayika are called trikaya parisudha, and are one of the principles of the Hindu teachings to encourage people to think, speak, and behave astutely.

It has become a habit for devotees to take holy water home in a can or plastic bag either to safeguard for upcoming relevant ceremonies or to distribute among family members. Members of the family who are unable to come to ceremonies or temple festivals (perhaps due to menstruation or being unable to afford long distance travel) can therefore still enjoy tirta and be blessed.

Tirta is a Sanskrit word meaning water, holy water, river, or bathing place. It also means the holy place for pilgrimage as in the word tirtayatra. Tirtayatra has recently become popular amongst the Balinese. They do not only practice tirtayatra around Bali but also at temples in Java and some places in India. Several Balinese tour companies offer packaged tirtayatra tours to India, although they are not demanded as highly as the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mekka, have been steadily on the increase. Bathing in the River Ganges is always included on India's tirtayatra itinerary. Tirtayatra to India is affordable only by the upper-middle and upper class Balinese Hindus. The lower-middle and lower class people do tirtayatra on auspicious days, such as at the full moon (purnama) to holy places in Bali and Java. The goal of tirtayatra is not only to pray and receive holy water but also to immerse participants in the holy atmosphere of the visited temples. Participants of tirtayatra often like to bring some holy water home and give them as gift to their family. Receiving holy water from India or other temples is always an invaluable gift for those who appreciate them. The origin of holy water reflects both spiritual and social hierarchy.

Although the types and origins of holy water is varied, their functions, both spiritually and philosophically, remain the same, which are to remove impurity, to perform purification, and to receive God's blessing.


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