Blending in with its neighbouring village and hidden from prying eyes, the Amandari in Bali is a sanctuary which subtly stimulates the senses.
In a discreet area in bustling Ubud, off the main road and down a little lane lies a sanctuary far from the madding crowd. Amandari, which mean ‘Peaceful Angel’ in Sanskrit lives up to its name in every sense of the word.
Hidden amongst the emerald-green forests and cascading rice fields of the Ayung Valley and located about 10-minutes drive from the centre of Ubud, the cultural capital of Bali, the Amandari redefines luxury in its own terms, never forgetting its surroundings as well as local customs and practices.
Integrating seamlessly with the neighbouring local village of Kedewatan where it is located, Amandari is the first Aman resort in Bali and the second one in the world (the first being the Amanpuri in Phuket) in the collection of ultra-luxurious and uber-stylish hotels and resorts which have come to epitomise the Aman Group.
Built to mimic a typical traditional Balinese village, arriving at this sybaritic sanctuary, I am greeted by the resort’s Welcome Girls – youngsters from the village who come to Amandari after school to learn dance and play music – and garlanded with a strand of sweet-smelling frangipani flowers.
The warmth and friendliness of the staff come through the minute you arrive, setting the tone for your entire stay. Even the sacred stone tiger located in the front courtyard beside the lobby and covered with a black and white chequered cloth and shaded by an umbrella appears to grin graciously at every guest checking in to the resort.
According to General Manager Mark Wright, what makes Amandari unique is something which can be measured by time.
“I believe where we stand out is our immeasurably fantastic and caring team, the vast majority of whom have worked at Amandari for over 20 years, and the relationship we have built with our neighbouring community for over 30 years,” he reveals.
“Our team’s vast knowledge of Ubud and beyond, as well as their love for ensuring every guest is well cared for, results in every guest receiving a unique stay and a high number of guests returning to Amandari for that personal touch.”
Indeed, Pak Dewa Oka, who served me at dinner in Amandari’s restaurant, has been working at the Amandari for 30 years (since the resort opened – it celebrated its 30th anniversary recently). He knew the menu inside out. He recommended the perfectly balanced Sop Betawi or Oxtail broth as a starter and the mouth-watering Barramundi Fillet with coriander, braised baby potatoes and dill cream as my main course for on my first night.