I should admit my ignorance right at the beginning. I didn’t expect much from Bali the first time I went there. It was a detour of a trip Avantika, and I had planned to Israel. When that didn’t go as planned we – as we often do – looked for places that don’t require a Bali visa. And so we found ourselves on the first flight to Bali, and that was one the wisest decisions ever. It was a short trip, and we promised ourselves we would be back with more time on our hands.
That’s what we did.
We booked our flights for the 6th of April to Bali, and we were trembling with excitement.
There are two ways you can do a Bali trip – a maniacal budget trip which you spend in an alcohol induced haze or you can loosen your purse strings a little and spoil yourself. This time Avantika and I chose the latter. There was no choice in the matter. She was five months pregnant.
Booking hotels online make me uncomfortable but the picture of The Bale looked unreal. We took an informed chance. ‘Even if it a fifth of what we see in the pictures, we are going to fine,’ we said to ourselves. We were trembling with excitement and keeping our fingers crossed when the staff led us to the check-in counter. The welcome-drink was fresh, and it calmed us down after a long flight. Of course the smiling faces, their sing-song happy voices helped tremendously. But what really got us into the holiday mood was the complimentary welcome massage. Loved, loved, loved it! Massages and I have a strained relationship. My useless masculinity keeps me from taking those, but my real-self melts under the touch of a masseur. The property is magnificent – clean, massive, beautiful – and it is well taken care of.
We were then taken to our . . . well, let me see how to put it. . . palace. Well, technically it was the Deluxe Villa but you know what I mean. The tour of the room got us both grinning – a day bed, a massive bathroom which opened into a private pool, 2 showers, the biggest, deepest bathtub I have seen, and the usual suspects. I’m not embarrassed to say that I was in the pool till my body shriveled like a raisin. The best part about the pool was its depth. Usually private pools are made with the thought that there will be kids around so they aren’t deep. But since The Bale is a couples’ only hotel their pool is fairly deep (1.4m)!
After sufficiently tiring ourselves out, we headed for dinner. The hotel provides a pick-and-drop service around the hotel which is convenient. We headed to Bali Collective – an outdoor shopping and eating area, well-lit and nicely put-together – and ate till our stomachs hurt. To be honest, we couldn’t wait to get back to our beautiful, canopy covered bed. The property looks even better at night with its soft yellow lights, white walls, the green lawns, and the little waterfalls they have made everywhere.
We read till late while it softly drizzled outside, and dozed off. We overslept because that’s what holiday are for!
The morning sun streamed into our room from all sides as we pulled open the blinds and drew the curtains. It was beautiful. The grass was still wet, the sun was shining, and the water in the pool glistened. Braving the temptation for another dip, we ordered breakfast instead. A decision well-made. My mother would have been happy to see me eat like a ravenous dog. We ordered eggs made in two styles, fruits, the bread basket, pancakes, juices, and steaming cups of tea. Just writing this makes me hungry again. The food was pitch-perfect, be it the taste or how tastefully it was all decorated, and set us up beautifully for the day.
We left to see the two most famous temples in the city. Uluwatu and Tanah Lot. Why not a beach instead? The popular perception of Bali is of unending beaches and even longer parties. Though while that’s true, what’s often overlooked is how beautiful Bali is even without its beaches. Bali, unlike the rest of Indonesia, has an overwhelming Hindu population and it seeps into the architecture which is a mix of Javanese and Hindu motifs. The rock-cut sculptures are beautiful, almost aggressive, emotive, and loud. Even the houses look like temples, and you invariably walk into one only to find someone drying their clothes on a terrifying lion sculpture! It’s just worth it to go to Bali for a walk around its streets. Needless to say, the temples were beautiful and overwhelming. Luckily, Bali’s pretty ahead in it’s Wi-fi game which meant we could Google all about the temples. The sunset at the Uluwatu temple was jaw-dropping.
By the time we got back, we were quite knackered so we booked ourselves for a spa. Suppressing my instincts, I chose the longest, deepest, rejuvenating spa treatment. The spa is a two-minute walk from the reception inside the hotel in a beautiful little nook. Water and smooth stones and smiling faces welcome you. It started with a cold tea and ended with me snoring, dreaming. The smiling masseurs were amazing and worked their magic through my revolting snores. I slept like a baby that evening.
Both Avantika and I woke up in the middle of the night. We made ourselves chamomile tea in the room. (It was a tough pick between all the tea and the coffee you could choose from) It rained heavily that night and little frogs jumped about in the grass. It was beautiful. We slept off on the day bed.
The morning came and we were sullen to have to leave the hotel. What made it better was the scrumptious breakfast we treated ourselves to it again.
‘We could get us to this,’ we both found ourselves saying.