Scent and re­lax­ation

Cin­na­mon spices the air at a Bali villa es­tate

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION ASIA - CHRIS­TINE McCABE

Cin­na­mon is an evoca­tive spice, one that spans cen­turies, cou­pling ex­otic Asia with chilly Europe. It re­minds me of Christ­mas and hot af­ter­noons in dusty car­pet shops in In­dia, where the scent of car­damom or cin­na­mon-flavoured tea of­ten scents the mote-flecked air.

One of sev­eral spices to fuel a lively trade dom­i­nated by the Dutch in the 17th cen­tury, cin­na­mon, or kayu­ma­nis, gives its name to a pretty re­sort in Bali’s sea­side Jim­baran district, where the ar­chi­tec­ture re­calls In­done­sia’s colo­nial past and at break­fast in the lovely Resto, a de­light­ful replica of a Ja­vanese joglo, cin­na­mon tea ac­com­pa­nied by de­li­cious cin­na­mon toast makes the per­fect way to start the day.

I, how­ever, am ad­her­ing to an all-nasi goreng diet at Kayu­ma­nis Jim­baran Pri­vate Es­tate and Spa.

So at break­fast, an open-ended and very quiet af­fair, strictly a la carte, with only the sound of whirring ceil­ing fans and a cho­rus of neigh­bour­hood cock­erels to dis­turb the morn­ing rev­erie, I am pre­sented with a de­li­cious, art­fully con­structed ver­sion of the dish on a palm leaf disk, a tomato and cu­cum­ber but­ter­fly at­ten­dant (a mere bagatelle at six bucks).

This very smart Resto is a re­cent ad­di­tion to the al­lvilla Kayu­ma­nis Jim­baran Pri­vate Es­tate and Spa. The re­sort’s 20 ac­com­mo­da­tion com­pounds are hid­den in sprawl­ing gar­dens be­hind an­other re­sort, Bel­mond Jim­baran Puri, a five-minute walk from the beach.

Al­most as soon as our taxi enters Kayu­ma­nis’s serene, green haven, the noisy hub­bub of Bali’s streets fall away; we tip­toe across steps over a pond and into the light and airy re­cep­tion bale from where a smil­ing young but­ler dis­penses chilled tow­els and drinks be­fore whisk­ing us to our villa, called Bungkak. Every com­pound has a botanical moniker; bungkak is a young co­conut, not ex­ceed­ing a di­am­e­ter of 10cm, to be pre­cise.

Our small co­conut turns out to be very com­modi­ous, tucked away be­hind high walls in its own gar­den dom­i­nated by a good-sized pool and large thatched open-air liv­ing bale com­plete with kitchen.

The decor has an ori­en­tal flavour, cel­e­brat­ing the in­flu­ence of Chi­nese mer­chants who set­tled across In­done­sia dur­ing the Dutch colo­nial pe­riod. The look sits very well in this lit­tle slice of cul­ti­vated Bali, where sweetly scented frangi­pani flow­ers drop into the pool seem­ingly on cue and a sound­track of bird­song (and roost­ers) is on high ro­ta­tion.

The mas­ter bed­room is air-con­di­tioned with canopied bed; there’s a study (that doubles as an­other bed­room) and large out­door bath­room. A free mini­bar, stocked with soft drinks and Bin­tang beer, is com­ple­mented by cof­fee ma­chine, mag­i­cally re­plen­ished fruit bowl and a large jar stuffed with cin­na­mon biscuits.

Se­ri­ously sul­try weather that causes palm fronds and hair­dos to sadly wilt is no im­ped­i­ment to out­door liv­ing in this com­pound, a quick togs-op­tional dip (one of the ad- van­tages of a pri­vate villa) and it’s into that out­door shower with a gush­ing spout (very “Me Tarzan” and ter­ri­bly good for knot­ted shoul­ders).

A late af­ter­noon down­pour light­ens the swel­ter­ing mood so it’s off to the beach. From the re­sort’s front gate, a stroll of barely three min­utes down a nar­row laneway, past the Bel­mond’s back door, and we’re on the beach where night-time bar­be­cue eater­ies make this a lively af­ter-dark des­ti­na­tion (sun­set is spec­tac­u­lar).

Mid af­ter­noon and ven­dors are doz­ing be­neath lit­tle thatched huts be­side signs ad­ver­tis­ing mas­sage, cold drinks, and surf and “boggi” board rental. The sea is choppy and the broad beach busy with women col­lect­ing rub­bish and load­ing it onto a trac­tor and trailer ca­reen­ing along the sand; a task with­out end, it would seem.

The Kayu­ma­nis gar­dens are an in­stant balm, min­i­mal­ist in de­sign dom­i­nated by great swaths of im­mac­u­late lawn (clipped with pre­ci­sion by a team of 15), and co­conut palm groves set about with large glazed urns. Banks of spi­der lilies and stone troughs filled with rose petals and frangi­pani flow­ers add a splash of colour.

A stroll from our villa to Resto or pretty day spa is a kind of med­i­ta­tion in it­self. If you’re feel­ing more en­er­getic drop by re­cep­tion and pick up a bi­cy­cle to ex­plore the vil­lage (with a but­ler in tow if the traf­fic makes you

Kayu­ma­nis Jim­baran Pri­vate Es­tate and Spa liv­ing area, top left; gue­stroom, top; lobby, left; and in-villa din­ing ser­vice, above

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