You never know if you have saved the best till last – until you get to the end. But on this occasion – I think we can safely say that we did….just.
The Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay is about as close to perfect as any resort, we have ever stayed in, anywhere.
That is a big call for this trip, let alone when you add it to all the other amazing places we have been lucky enough to stay in.
The hotel is on a hillside just at the end of Jimbaran Bay. Close enough to walk to other restaurants or hotels, but far enough away for it to feel quiet and secluded. The hotel itself was busy with the IMF annual meeting so lots of extra security and people, but you really didn’t notice. There are only pool villa’s in the resort and 3 main pools, so you can always get a seat and they never feel crowded.
Sundura is the beach club pool, so it is shared with the public (who pay of course), but other than late in the afternoon, we never struggled to get a seat. It is clearly very popular and it is stunning, with its Olympic sized beach front lap pool. It is amazing to sit there at sunset with live music and cocktail in hand. The meals served are reasonably priced and lovely. The usual fare during the day but come night time it becomes Asian fusion with lots of tasting platters to share.
We preferred the terrace pool, located in the middle of the resort, partly because it was almost always empty, it had stunning views and it was close to our room. The small person also was decidedly happy to have a really deep pool to swim in – 2.4 metres in parts. Simon loved watching the planes take off and land across the bay and I had the delight of swallows ducking and diving between chapters in my book.
Below is a more kid friendly pool and a series of plunge pools, with a waterfall backdrop.
My only gripe is that the pool terrace was often used for events so on at least 2 occasions the terrace pool was closed. There were other options, but if its your favourite pool – you might feel a little cheated.
The resort grounds are lovely. Full of colour and manicured gardens, all lit at night with lanterns. It really is the stuff of dreams.
The flowers in the gardens are amazing and the colours at sunset, spectacular. There are many choices for where you can have sundowners or dinner – but the resort could really do with one more restaurant. We ate at the next door Intercontinental on one evening. Their Italian restaurant is reasonably priced and you can sit outside under candle light and eat beautifully prepared Italian dishes.
Otherwise we had 3 good evening meals at the Four Seasons, one at Sundura (the beach club), one at the main buffet restaurant and one in our room. All were good and what you would expect at a resort.
The buffet breakfast was fantastic, lots of choice from healthy to waffles and French crepes.
The villas themselves are spread out across the vast park like grounds. Laid out like a Balinese village -they are traditional on the outside and modern on the inside. Equiped with outdoor showers and plunge pools, day beds and sun loungers. They really are perfect.
Ours came with its own birds nest and baby bird next to the outdoor shower.
We were upgraded to a deluxe Villa with a partial view of the ocean and – more importantly from the husbands perspective a view of the steady stream of planes taking off and landing in the distance. The airport is close enough to see but not so close you hear anything. I could imagine that view might put some people off, but given the nightmare that traffic is here, I am really happy we are close enough to get to the airport easily, given we fly home late tonight.
Our pool was warm, if a little on the small side. (I think we have been spoilt by the size of the Villa pool at the Four Seasons Nam Hai) It was private but we didn’t use it all that much. That may have had more to do with the alternatives rather than the villa pool itself.
The entry level villas here are not cheap but if you can stretch the budget – then this place is well worth it. I doubt there is a bad room – it is just great, greater or greatest. If you like the beach, request a room low down on the club side. If you want peace and views – the higher the better. If you like to walk to most things then you want to be somewhere in the middle.
Children are always catered for well at the Four Seasons, from special amenities, to treats, to a take home beach bag and swim top. They genuinely love kids and are happy to wisk them away to feed fish, hunt for water lizards and be entertained.
As you would expect from a Four Seasons the service was impeccable. They have a great iPhone app from which you can text for a buggy, make a restaurant reservation or order up room service. It is prompt and easy and made a big difference. It was too easy to be at the beach and just magically text for a buggy to deliver you back to the room, or to track down the flip flops your small person left at the other end of the property.
Our days were spent poolside reading, playing outdoor table tennis, cards or just hanging but had we wanted to engage in any activities there were plenty on offer. You can head to coconut grove and take a surf lesson, ride a water bike, sail a catamaran, head to the spa, take a cooking lesson, watch a cultural dance, visit a temple…. the list is endless.
We chose not to do much of anything and I feel completely relaxed. Moving villas every few days might sound crazy to some people, but not to us. We like new hotels, we like new places and it meant that really made the most of each villa and hotel we were in. Sightseeing took a back seat. I don’t regret that at all – we will be back in Bali soon enough and the small person has exams to go home to, so she diligently studied every day before breakfast – while Mum and Dad worked. I have always wondered who used hotel desks – now I know!
We saw a lot of the island and definitely know where we’d come back to and what we would avoid next time without traipsing to temples in the heat.
Concluding this degustation tour here, at this resort was the right call. There was no better place to finish up our last day.
Like all good reviewers we have assessed each hotel against certain criteria and that will be published next week – watch out for it!
Meanwhile I have a few hours left in paradise, so I’m off to get my last cocktail and watch my final sunset. The journey home begins…
Highlights from small heights
Awesome. No more needs to be said.
Top two tips: Go there. Go there again.