The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

The re­open­ing of the lux­u­ri­ous Im­pe­rial and Royal Vil­las on Mon­day com­pletes an ex­ten­sive two-year ren­o­va­tion of the Four Sea­sons Re­sort Bali at Jim­baran Bay es­ti­mated to have cost more than $20 mil­lion. Aside from new-look high-end suites, all 147 vil­las have been over­hauled, al­most half com­pletely re­built to offer a new Premier cat­e­gory.

Man­age­ment lis­tened to reg­u­lar guests when brief­ing In­done­sian de­sign guru Jaya Ibrahim, who sadly died be­fore the project’s com­ple­tion, on the lay­out of the one and two-bed­room Premier vil­las. Guests wanted more space to lounge in the sun, so in some vil­las the bale pavil­ion has been moved to the front of the gar­den to take in the sea views. The re­sort’s sig­na­ture deep bath tubs have been re­tained but struc­tural ex­pan­sion in­cludes a new liv­ing area, larger bed­room and big­ger pool; the cool Asian look is pared back with care­fully placed ob­jetsd’art giv­ing an el­e­gant gallery vibe.

Yet the ro­man­tic feel of a tra­di­tional Ba­li­nese vil­lage has been re­tained, in­clud­ing the com­pound-style villa lay­out, moss-en­crusted stat­ues and lush land­scap­ing of the late Made Wi­jaya (Michael White). When the 14ha re­sort opened ocean­front 23 years ago it was the first to fea­ture a plunge pool in ev­ery villa and a pi­o­neer of mod­ern Bali style in­cor­po­rat­ing out­door liv­ing, from bales to bath­rooms, in a gar­den set­ting. This care­fully im­ple­mented, long-term ren­o­va­tion brings the Four Sea­sons bang up to date but reg­u­lar guests will be thrilled to learn the mood of one of Bali’s orig­i­nal gar­den par­adises re­mains un­al­tered and mag­i­cal.

DON’T MISS: A Pure TDA fa­cial in the lovely day spa where the ex­ten­sive menu mar­ries mys­ti­cism with science. This hi-tech treat­ment be­gins with what feels like a good old scrub with a tiny cheese grater (ac­tu­ally finely ground sap­phire crys­tals). Then a rose and san­dal­wood serum is pro­pelled into the der­mis us­ing the TDA ap­pli­ca­tor blow­ing oxy­gen and pu­ri­fied wa­ter and sound­ing rather like a bel­lows. But the re­sults are stun­ning. DIN­ING IN: Ex­ec­u­tive chef Pasquo Bow­man King over­sees tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary fare in ro­man­tic set­tings on the beach or over­look­ing the bay. With long ocean views, tin­kling foun­tains and en­velop­ing green­ery, the open-air, high-set Ta­man Wan­ti­lan of­fers all­day din­ing fea­tur­ing the catch of the day from the lo­cal fish mar­ket; break­fast of­fers an ex­ten­sive buf­fet with sev­eral cook­ing sta­tions. The cool and clubby Sun­dara is the per­fect spot for a cock­tail by its lap pool. Try the blue swim­mer crab and co­conut salad mixed at the ta­ble. From June 1, Sun­dara will also be dish­ing up beach­front break­fasts.

DIN­ING OUT: Jump a cab to Da Maria in Petitenget run by Aus­tralian restau­ra­teur Mau­rice Terzini; there’s an Amalfi Coast comes to Bali vibe with great pasta and late night piz­zas. Or try Will Meyrick’s Malaysian­flavoured Tiger Palm in Seminyak; have the Nonya fish curry and out­stand­ing roti canai.

ASK THE CONCIERGE: Take out a wa­ter bike for a pedal on the bay, book a sun­set cruise or sign up for a yoga class in the new ocean­front bale.

CHECK­ING IN: Vil­las from $US680 ($917) plus taxes. More: foursea­

ALSO TRY: Gold­en­eye, Ja­maica; Four Sea­sons Re­sort Koh Sa­mui, Thai­land; Banyan Tree Lang Co, Viet­nam.

CHRIS­TINE McCABE Santa Bar­bara’s new 121-room Ho­tel Cal­i­for­nian opens this north­ern sum­mer; the hotly an­tic­i­pated de­but fea­tures a stel­lar lo­cale, steps from the ocean, in­te­ri­ors by celebrity de­signer Mar­tyn Lawrence Bullard and a rooftop pool; the ho­tel’s 1925 fa­cade has been in­cor­po­rated into the new build • Ad­vance book on­line at the swish new Sof­i­tel Syd­ney Dar­ling Har­bour, open­ing in Novem­ber, be­fore June 4 to go into the draw to win a golden ticket of­fer­ing dou­ble passes to nine of the city’s hottest at­trac­tions in­clud­ing the NRL State of Ori­gin, Rus­sian Na­tional Bal­let, a he­li­copter flight and New Year’s Eve ac­com­mo­da­tion in the ho­tel’s Pres­tige Suite • Ice­land’s strik­ing Ion Ad­ven­ture Ho­tel has opened a city out­post in Reyk­javik; cur­rently in a soft open­ing phase, the Ion City Ho­tel fea­tures 18 gue­strooms, some with saunas; book through De­sign Ho­tels for a 50 per cent dis­count this month for stays be­fore June 15 • In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal’s stylish Indigo life­style brand has un­veiled plans for a sec­ond ho­tel in Aus­tralia after an­nounc­ing a 140-room new build for Bris­bane’s For­ti­tude Val­ley last year; the 170-room Ho­tel Indigo Mel­bourne Dock­lands will open in 2019 with all rooms of­fer­ing wa­ter views • Over­look­ing the Ma­sai Mara, andBeyond’s sig­na­ture Kenyan lodge Bateleur Camp will un­dergo a com­plete re­fur­bish­ment of all tented suites later this year adding two new swim­ming pools, fit­ness cen­tre, mas­sage sala and cof­fee bar.

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