Why west is best
Sunset-viewing in Bali is such a ritual for tourists that beach clubs and resorts make an enormous deal of the end-of-day theatrics. The west-facing coastal strip from Jimbaran, Kuta and Legian to Seminyak and Kerobokan offers myriad options and many are justly famous, such as the Rock Bar at AYANA and its neighbour, Sundara at Four Seasons Jimbaran, with its fire-pit and foamy cocktails, plus the reliably rocking KU DE TA in Seminyak, with DJs and beanbags.
There’s a young, cool crowd at Potato Head and Woo Bar at W Retreat & Spa. But the traffic is horrendous most nights and after being stuck for more than an hour trying to reach the latest, and supposedly hippest, club, we give up. It makes sense, we decide, to stay put at Jimbaran Puri Bali where the sunset ritual is casual and relatively uncrowded.
This is a public beach and there’s the added attraction of being with the locals. Kids fly kites, couples stroll hand-in-hand and the shallows seem to be just the spot for wedding photography. Several brides we spy end up with wet hems on their floaty white frocks but there’s a great deal of laughter and, in one instance, the tossing of a bouquet high into the waves. Further along the beach, in both directions, are clusters of warungs serving seafood cooked over coconut husks to diners at tables anchored in the sand. Head left for the best-known, between InterContinental Bali and Four Seasons Jimbaran.
The resort has a smart new canopied boat, named Dedari (Sea Angel), to take guests along to the high cliffs of the Bukit Peninsula, past fishing boats heading out for overnight trips, their masts decked with pennants, and close to prime surfing spots at Uluwatu. Then it’s back for two-for-one happy hour at Puri Bar, adjacent to Nelayan Restaurant, to pull up a stool or planter’s chair, or drop onto a beach bed, getting stuck into spicy nuts and crisps, waiting for the sun to plop, reliably red and swift, into Jimbaran Bay.
Pool villa at Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali, top; hammock in the grounds, above left; beachside canopy bed, above right; spa attendant Ari, above