Taking the high mark
A former AFL footballer has created two top-end escapes away from Bali’s overcommercialised tourist spots, writes Fiona Hudson
FOOTBALLER. Bali. Tranquillity. Now there’s an unexpected combination of words.
But EX-AFL player Tony Smith has helped create two serene new escapes that couldn’t be further removed from the boozed-up brawls and Bintang singlets of Kuta.
The two up-market properties – one a remote villa resort carved into the limestone cliffs of the holiday island’s southernmost tip, the other a plush hotel complex in posh Seminyak – are very different.
But the end results are the same: pure, uncomplicated relaxation.
We start at Semara Uluwatu, a collection of five-bedroom villas on the edge of the Bukit Peninsula, about a half-hour drive from the airport. The idea, if you’re travelling with friends or family, is to hire an entire villa as your own mini-resort, complete with butler, chef and driver. Couples or solo travellers can rent single suites.
Each of the seven villas has its own style and strengths.
Chic Tamarama, for example, is often chosen for weddings or 40th birthday parties.
Ambar, with its interconnecting bedrooms and pool fence, is better for chilled family getaways.
Travelling solo, I snare perhaps the best bed of all – a deluxe Balinesestyled suite in Villa Chintamani, complete with private cliff-top plunge pool and views over the Indian Ocean.
Hours, then days, drift by as I do little but eat, sleep, read and watch the activity below from the pool or the daybed. Seaweed farmers tend their crop; children hunt in rock pools; a fleet of rickety fishing craft slides by. All the while, eager-to-please staff bring