Minggu, 18 Oktober 2009

The Best of Nusa Dua

From a museum, to a spaceship and a spa of butterflies, Nusa Dua has it all. One of Bali’s most exclusive areas is also about to hold its 13th cultural festival this month. We celebrate by feasting on the best that the peninsula has to offer.

Get wrapped in mud
Going to a spa these days takes courage. Over are the days when a spa visit only includes a gentle massage, a sauna and a flower bath. More spa goers mean more spa openings and this means more money for research and development. If you consider yourself a spa connoisseur, then getting wrapped in mud is something you live for. The Black Moor mud is known for its healing characteristics. When you get your skin scrubbed with aromatic and warm Moor mud and then have it wrapped all over you for about half and hour, your skin immediately becomes very smooth. Add that with a fine massage and you know you're going to come back again next month. (The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua, Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua T: 0361 771 327, www.luxurycollection.com/bali)

Ditch your kids
But this is only because we know The Westin Kids Club is one of the best on the island. The resort has developed all-round facilities and services where your offspring are well taken care of and fully entertained. They have art classes for your kids to learn how to make simple handicrafts and appreciate Balinese culture, or even fishing. Longing for a peaceful breakfast without your kids running around, screaming and making a mess all over? The Westin has gone as far as providing special kids section at breakfast which for some people is the ingredient that makes a perfect morning cup of coffee. (The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, BTDC area Nusa Dua, T: 0361 771 906, www.starwoodhotels.com)

Ride a camel
They can't possibly bring a desert to a beach in Bali, but they can bring the camels. These animals might not look as handsome as studs, but they are surely fun to ride, especially on the beach and then through a traditional village. Both the morning and afternoon rides are almost equally entertaining, but keep in mind that it could get really hot up there when the sun is in full blow. The sunset tour is best because it can keep your sweat level to the minimum. (Nikko Bali Resort and Spa, Jalan Raya Nusa Dua Selatan T: 0361 773 377, www.nikkobali.com)

Sip the island's best Bloody Mary
At St Regis Bali Resort, they call it Bali Mary and it's truly merry. Coming here with an empty stomach is not recommended because you might end up drinking glasses after glasses of this tasty drink for your lunch. The vodka, spices and tomato juice are mixed together so well that this drink feels so crunchy you almost want to chew instead of sip. Luckily, the bartenders have mercy on you and provide you with a piece of cucumber. What's the recipe you ask? Absolute Pepper, jicama, cucumber, brown sugar, tomato juice, lemon and a variety of spices of which content is we can't reveal. For the best experience, come for a sunset drink and enjoy it while watching the resort's regular fire dance performance. (The St. Regis Bali Resort, Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua Lot S6, T: 0361 847 8111, www.stregis.com/bali)

Holiday like a celebrity
No, it doesn't mean jet-setting with a diet of champagne and cigarettes, but stay in a zen-like environment and eat healthily, just like Sting and Donna Karan. The Balé's villas can soothe your mind simply by handsomely standing there. The whole complex has been designed to look more like a modern temple with a world class spa equipped with a comprehensive health menu. If that's not enough, their signature restaurant Faces also has a Wellness Corner menu. Be sure to try the light yet flavourful organic quinoa salad with nashi ear, papaya relish, toasted almonds and curry vinaigrette. (The Balé, Jl. Raya Nusa Dua Selatan, T: 0361 775 111, www.thebale.com)

Whack balls
Releasing stress is sometimes not just about relaxing. There's only so much sunbathing and going to a spa can do for you. For the rest, golf is the answer. Designed by Nelson Wright, the 18-hole course at Bali Golf and Country Club is considered as one of the best in Asia. The windy nature of the Nusa Dua area is just the challenge you need to prove to yourself and most importantly, your golf buddies (of course!), that you are the best at whacking balls and putting them into tiny holes. There is a Balinese-style clubhouse for the post game drinks, but if you can't wait that long, try asking for two caddies. One to carry your golf stuff and another one to carry your drinks and to make sure the glasses are bottomless.(Bali Golf & Country Club, Kawasan Wisata Nusa Dua, T: 0361 771 791, www.baligolfandcountryclub.com)

Dine in outer space
Tetaring restaurant in Kayumanis Nusa Dua was designed and made by aliens. Yes, this is a blatant lie, but it could have been for its futuristic looks. The architects here have managed to combine glass and bamboo panels so perfectly that you are under the illusion of dining inside a spaceship. Their food however, isn't alien as they are guaranteed to please the human palate. Farther inside the complex, their villas are also equally excellently designed. Popular for honeymoon couples, the best thing about staying here is the privacy. Kayumanis Nusa Dua doesn't accept children and even when the complex is full, you can hardly see the other guests.(Kayumanis Nusa Dua, BTDC Area Nusa Dua T: 0361 770 777, www.kayumanis.com)

Eat modern Indonesia food
The best Indonesian foods are often the ones you find on the side of the streets. But while the foods out there are indeed mouth-watering, you also need to have the right stomach for it. If you have just arrived on the island, you might want to stay away and be kind to your tummy. Instead, go for the safe option and enjoy modern Indonesian dishes in a posh setting. Chef de Cuisine Ida Bagus Oka's five-course set menu is a great introduction to this type of Indonesian dishes. But if you want to choose from the menu, we recommend you to start with the oxtail soup and have the Sate Besar as your main course.(The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa, Nusa Dua, Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua, T: 0361 771327, www.luxurycollection.com/bali)

Live like a king
To become a king is difficult. Prince Charles might have the pleasure one day, but even he can't get the guarantee. So you need to marry the Queen of England where the possibility of which is next to nil. Still, you can live like one easily in Nusa Dua. The Royal Residence at Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa is owned by the Sultan of Brunei and this is where he resides whenever he's in Bali. However, for most of the year when the king isn't around, the residence is available for rent. Lie down on the massive four-post bed that looks truly striking and get a taste of the royal comfort everybody has been dreaming about for all of their lives. Who knows it might be contagious. (Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa, BTDC area Nusa Dua, T: 0361 771 210, www.nusaduahotel.com)

Be cultured
Every year, there are noises usually coming out of the amphitheatre at Nusa Dua. When it does, you're in luck because that means there is a feast of culture in the area. Now in its 13th year, the Nusa Dua Fiesta will be held from October 17-21. Unfortunately, the cool amphitheatre is not going to be used as much as before. This year, most activities will be held on the Nusa Gede Island and the organiser has promised a colossal Balinese dance performance for all to marvel at on the opening day. There will also be daily Indonesian traditional performing art shows at the newly-built stage on the tiny island. For detailed schedule, check out their website: fiesta.balinusaduaresort.com

Be a shopaholic
It's an accepted notion that shopping gives instant gratification. What happens after you receive your credit card bill later on is a bridge you only cross when you really have to. Those who know Nusa Dua well is aware of the fact that there is actually good shopping in the area. Bali Collection offers a wide variety of goods from evening cocktail outfit to jewellery, cheap tourist tats, books, sporting goods to food. Yes, food. There are plenty of good restaurants and bars available inside the open-air complex should you decide you need more energy and encouragement to swipe your card.

Get married in a pyramid
Not a real pyramid of course, but inside the remarkable triangular structure made by glass called Infinity located at Conrad Bali. It seats 60 people so it's big enough for an intimate yet lavish wedding ceremony. This wedding venue is ideally located by the beach so you get a great view of the Indian Ocean while pledging unconditional love to your significant other. Should you want to go more traditional, the Water Garden, also in the vicinity of Conrad Bali is an alternative option. (Conrad Bali, Jl. Pratama 168, Tanjung Benoa, T: 0361 778 788, www.conradhotels.com)

Try Nusa Dua's newest Sushi bar
Japanese cuisine enthusiasts in Bali can be happy and excited with the fact that more and more excellent Japanese restaurants have been opened here. Let's just hope the good news reaches the ears of chef Nobu and convince him to open a restaurant on the island. But until then, let's welcome the latest addition to Bali's world of Japanese eateries. The Royal Santrian has only recently opened its doors to public, but its hip Sushi bar has already been going places. The chef improvises daily creating new Sushi rolls for guests. Imagine the variety and type of rolls available at the bar. Be one of the first to have a bite! (The Royal Santrian, Jl. Pratama Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua, T: 0361 778 181, www.theroyalsantrian.com)

Join the local water games
The main Nusa Dua tourist complex offers a decent range of beach activities. But the real fun is located a bit farther down in Tanjung Benoa. Known as the centre for water sports in Bali, this area offers a whole new level of water-related adrenaline-pumpers. Brave yourself and try out the parasailing facilities or see if you can still look cool on water playing wake and knee boarding. If you simply want to feel roaring engines in between your legs, there are plenty of jetskis around to satisfy your needs. For a wide variety of such sports that even include coral/deep fishing tour, head down to Conrad Bali. (Conrad Bali, Jl. Pratama 168, Tanjung Benoa T: 0361 778 788, www.conradhotels.com)

Pamper yourself at the spa of butterflies
The Remède Spa at St. Regis Bali is a beautiful and massive complex surrounded by a koi pond. If you arrive after sunset you get to be welcomed by luminous rectangular rocks placed tastefully at the lobby. After that, walking to your treatment room, you'll start to think that you're seeing butterflies and moon everywhere. Don't panic. It's not something you might have eaten or drunk, it's just one of the interesting features in this posh spa. Inspired by the Indian Poet, Kabir (1398-1448), who wrote “the moon shines in my body”, a moon and butterfly theme runs through the spa facilities and with sophisticated lighting, they have somehow managed to make these butterflies look to be gently fluttering around. If you only have time to try one treatment here, ask for the one that uses vodka. Are you starting to get butterflies in your stomach now? (The St. Regis Bali Resort, Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua Lot S6, T: 0361 847 8111, www.stregis.com/bali)

Appreciate art
On this island, when you think about museums and art, you think about Ubud. But it turns out that even in posh Nusa Dua you can still go and stare at a painting for hours. Museum Pasifika is quite new, it's only opened in 2006, but it already boasts over 600 works on permanent display. On top of showcasing fine works by Indonesian artists, the museum also displays works from other international artists whose works carry similar theme, Asia and the Pacific. When you're done analysing the paintings, there is a little stand at the lobby where you can buy a book about all the arts inside. As the museum rarely gets busy, it really is a nice break from all the shopping and partying one seem to always do in this area. (Museum Pasifika, BTDC Area, Blok P, T: 0361 774 935, 774 624, Opens daily from 10am – 6pm, Admission fee is IDR 60,000, www.museum-pasifika.com)



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