Automorphic Musings

October 29, 2013

The Aman Experience – Amankila Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — cyby @ 3:34 am

I’m normally not a big breakfast person.  Perhaps hotels are the only place where I would actually go and have breakfast.  Not because I’m cheap, but because I’m normally not hungry at all in the morning.  There is no short of great breakfast places in Hong Kong, but I don’t really want to eat within a few hours of waking up…. so there usually goes breakfast.

But in any event, the Bali Break package came with breakfast, so it seemed such a waste not to actually eat.  Out in Amandari, the rice terrace and market trek included breakfast, and I was a little bit hungry after the hike…

Anyway, we had the option of having breakfast in the villa or going downstairs.  Since it was so beautiful out, I wanted to take a walk….

Morning view...

Morning view…

Flowers

Flowers

Flowers

Flowers

Flowers

Flowers

So we decided to have breakfast down at the restaurant.

Breakfast Menu

Breakfast Menu

Breakfast Menu

Breakfast Menu

We ordered coffee, juice, pastries, yoghurt, muesli, and a mee goreng (!) – which was definitely more than enough food.  I barely finished my portion anyway.

Juice & Coffee

Juice & Coffee

Juice & Water

Juice & Water

Muesli

Muesli

Pastries

Pastries

Mee Goreng

Mee Goreng

Condiments

Condiments

Pastries

Pastries

Having stuffed ourselves and had our morning share of coffee, we wanted to go back and chill in the villa for a bit.  Unfortunately, we walked right into them servicing our room, to which they hastily apologised.  I just asked them to continue and we went back downstairs instead.  We spent a few minutes in the library and went down to the beach to take some more photos.

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

A few notes about the beach: the dry black volcanic sand is *hot*.  The ones covered by waves, of course, is cool.  Nonetheless, the sand where they had chaises and cabanas were quite warm to my feet.  The waves were, as seen, quite strong, so nobody was actually in the water.  I wanted to ask how popular the water activities were, but I never got around to it.  They did have free activities for us, but the rough seas definitely turned me off to it.

After lying around for a bit more, soaking up some rays and drinking lots of water, we opted to go back to the room before we turned to toast.  Our main form of exercise this trip was actually walking up and down between the villa and the beach.  Fast forward ten minutes and 280 steps later, we were back, and we found tuber roses waiting for us:

Tuber Roses and Card

Tuber Roses and Card

It is definitely these little touches that helped make service so phenomenal.  On the bed was tonight’s dinner specials:

Dinner Specials

Dinner Specials

The cookie jars were also refilled to my delight 🙂

Later that afternoon, we made it down for a quick lunch, spent time at the library, and swam in the beach club pool for a bit, before retreating for more afternoon tea:

Lunch

Lunch

Young coconut

Young coconut

 

Beach Club Pool

Beach Club Pool

 

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

Flowers

Flowers

A funny thing did happen during afternoon tea – we were approached by the staff about dinner time.  Unbeknownst to me, my partner already arranged dinner plans up at the villa.  I guess the message that I should not know about any of this didn’t translate.  Ha!

As evening rapidly approached, I took a few more shots of sunset, which happened behind the mountains…

Dusk

Dusk

Dusk

Dusk

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Dusk

Dusk

Shortly thereafter, we walked to the bar for a drink, and we encountered a fire dancer performance.

Fire Dancer

Fire Dancer

Fire Dancer

Fire Dancer

Fire Dancer

Fire Dancer

Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments

Fire Dancer

Fire Dancer

 

Lobby in the evening

Lobby in the evening

Evening

Evening

We arranged for dinner at 8pm, but so we thought we would have a little time when we got back at 730 to relax for a bit.  But of course, the dinner table was already set up:

Dinner Setup

Dinner Setup

Dinner Menu

Dinner Menu

Dinner Menu

Dinner Menu

My partner ordered the Rijsttafel for us, which is a good selection of Indonesian dishes….

Soon as we entered our villa, our waiter popped up from nowhere (probably from the villa next door, which is by now empty), and asked us whether or not we wanted dinner now or to wait.  I opted to wait a couple of minutes.  We went inside, got changed and relaxed a few minutes, before he showed up with the food, which he carried on his shoulders on a huge tray.

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Rijsttafel

Dessert

Dessert

It was a lot of food, and a lot of it was pretty spicy.  He also carried a large cooler filled with cold water with him.  Unfortunately, we drank the entire supply, so he apologetically had to go refill it.  We were also given towels from time to time.  He also took a few photos for us.  What amazed me was how he was able to carry *everything* at one time.

After dinner, we thanked him and went back inside, but not five minutes later, we went out and *everything* was cleaned up and back to normal.

We got another bedtime story and some more dessert – this time Pecan Pie.

Bedtime Story 2

Bedtime Story 2

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing, reading a bit, and then went to bed early.

Next up: The Aman Experience – Amankila – Part 4 and Final Thoughts

Advertisements

October 10, 2013

The Aman Experience – Amankila – Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — cyby @ 8:36 am

Shortly after 6pm, the sun began to rapidly set behind the hotel complex.   I almost wished there was a good view of sunset over the water, but the geography meant that it wasn’t happening.

We decided to head down to dinner and then perhaps calling it an early evening, as the rice terrace trek and hike was a bit exhausting.

As we walked down to the bar and restaurant areas, the walkways were all lit up, some by candlelight:

Amankila walkway at night

Amankila walkway at night

Amankila walkway at night

Amankila walkway at night

We thought about just having dinner, but we were tempted by snacks at the bar when we were simultaneously greeted by both the restaurant staff and the bar staff.  We decided to go for a drink first, since it was “only” 630 in the evening.

Amankila Bar

Amankila Bar

Amankila Bar

Amankila Bar

Amankila Bar stone sculpture

Amankila Bar stone sculpture

Balinese musical instrument

Balinese musical instrument

It appeared that there was going to be a musical and dance performance sometime during the evening.  We sat down, and took a look at the drinks menu, and ordered a Lime-Bitini, and an Amanjunkies (Which we were definitely turning into by then).  The lime-bitini was “gin, dry vermouth, and aman serum” – whatever “aman serum is”…. and the Amanjunkies was “bacardi and midori with pineapple juice, lime juice, and mint leaves.”

Amanjunkies and Lime-Bitini

Amanjunkies and Lime-Bitini

Both were delicious and deadly.  So delicious that I almost forgot they were deadly.  We also ordered a pretty large plate of edamame to go with it, which I think was the cheapest food on their menu, and of rather good value – I’ve had to pay far more in NYC and in HK for about a quarter as much…

While we were sitting and enjoying our drinks, a blond woman just came by and said hello to us.  I was confused for a moment, but then I realized that she was Claudia, the manager.  We proceeded to have a very nice conversation with her about our experiences so far, such as the new airport mess, our stay at Amandari, and the upcoming typhoon that would hit Hong Kong.  It turned out that she has family in Hong Kong, and was slightly concerned as well.  She also told us that another couple from Hong Kong was in town, and decided to extend their stay by a day to avoid the typhoon.  She mentioned that they were indeed not full, and we should not worry about it at all.  By then the typhoon was starting to concern my paranoid self, as I would hate to have my flight cancelled or delayed and so on.  After all, Denpasar airport is definitely not the most pleasant place to hang out at….

A few more minutes of pleasantries later, the music and dance routine began, and she left us to enjoy the show.  Once again, pardon the quality of the photos:

Amankila Dancers (Are these the same flower girls?)

Amankila Dancers (Are these the same flower girls?)

Amankila Musicians

Amankila Musicians

The drink was *really* starting to hit this lightweight me then, and after another half hour of sipping through this drink, I finally decided to go have dinner.  The bar was emptying out by then anyway, and I was actually starting to get hungry.  Like magic, someone showed up and before we finished our sentence, he offered to bring our unfinished drinks over to the restaurant next door.

We sat down and was immediately greeted and offered a choice of bread, and we both had some bread.  We then turned out sights to the menu:

Amankila Dinner Special

Amankila Dinner Special

Amankila Special Dining

Amankila Special Dining

Amankila Dinner Menu

Amankila Dinner Menu

Amankila Dinner Menu

Amankila Dinner Menu

Amankila Dinner Menu

Amankila Dinner Menu

Amankila Dinner Menu

Amankila Dinner Menu

Amankila Dinner Menu

Amankila Dinner Menu

Unfortunately, because I truly suck at taking photos and I have no memory whatsoever, I couldn’t recall what the soup ordered (until my partner just very unsubtly reminded me that it’s all itemized on the bill!).  Anyway, I ordered the Jukut Gedang to share (A chicken and papaya soup, which was divine), and for main course I had the Ayam Bakar Bumbu Rujak (a grilled baby chicken with chili, garlic, and tumeric), whereas my partner had the Ayam Goreng Kecap Manis (fried chicken with garlic, shallots, chili and sweet soy).

Jukut Gedang

Jukut Gedang

Ayam Bakar Bumbu Rujak

Ayam Bakar Bumbu Rujak

Ayam Goreng Kecap Manis

Ayam Goreng Kecap Manis

Mint Tonic (note how it is served slightly differently here - with extra tonic water!)

Mint Tonic (note how it is served slightly differently here – with extra tonic water!)

For dessert, even though we were thoroughly stuffed, we ordered the Piseng Goreng, which were fried banana fritters with a coconut sorbet.  Unfortunately, I devoured the entire thing before I remembered that I didn’t take a photo…. I originally thought I couldn’t finish it all, but it turned out that I had plenty of room for dessert!

Being so stuffed, we decided to go for a short walk around the complex, but since it was so dark and my photos turned out to be such duds, I really didn’t take many photos for the rest of the night.  But I did wander into the library and sat for a few minutes, where I saw a piece of technology that I sorely didn’t miss – in fact, I didn’t miss it so much that I didn’t take a photo of it:

Television Channel List

Television Channel List

One thing of note: I have not seen a television at all at the resorts since I arrived in Bali, and the lack of technology like that was very welcoming, even though I was out carrying my iPad, my phone, and my camera…

Amankila Library

Amankila Library

Amankila Library Board Games

Amankila Library Board Games

Amankila Library Brochures

Amankila Library Brochures

Amankila Library Board Games

Amankila Library Board Games

Amankila Library

Amankila Library

Amankila Library

Amankila Library

Amankila Library

Amankila Library

There was also a computer for everyone’s usage, but nobody was there, and I wasn’t about to get on a real computer to do any real work…

After a bit more walking and climbing back up to the villa, we returned to the following:

Villa 36

Villa 36

Amankila Bedtime Story

Amankila Bedtime Story

Amankila Bedtime Story

Amankila Bedtime Story

Chopsticks with bedtime story

Chopsticks with bedtime story

A bedtime story!  Just like in Amandari, we were given a small present with turndown service.  I’m not sure what the chopsticks mean, and I didn’t see it in the bedtime story… but I guess I’ll have to find out next time.

Thoroughly happy, we set up a nice warm bath for the night and happily went to sleep.  But before bed, we had to decide whether or not we wanted the windows open – the windows here all had screens, so there was no obvious mosquito issue, and it did feel cool enough.  However, we decided that it was probably going to be too warm under the covers, so windows closed it was!

Hot bath!

Hot bath!

Hot bath!

Hot bath!

Next up – The Aman Experience – Amankila – Part 3

October 6, 2013

The Aman Experience – Amankila – Part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — cyby @ 4:00 am

As the car drove off into the massive traffic jam that is Bali – I contemplated about just how different my experiences in future hotels and resorts would be.  Amandari was definitely a transformational experience, and has set the bar for any other Aman resorts really high.  I actually started worrying about just how would Amankila meet this standard.  Of course, from everything I have read, the experience was going to be flawless, or very nearly such.

I was not very much looking forward to this car ride – partially because I really didn’t want to leave Amandari, and partially because the stop and go traffic was  just atrocious.  Bali definitely doesn’t have adequate transport infrastructure to handle this many tourists.  Nonetheless, between the refreshments and the brownies that were given to us for the ride (which were indeed phenomenal), we made it to Amankila in about 1 hour 40 minutes.  Through it, we made it through some quiet villages, lots of construction, and many other winding roads.  I must admit I dosed off a bit, and by the time I woke up we were near the coast road.  The scenery was breathtaking, and very different from the rainforest-like atmosphere that we’ve experienced at Amandari.

About 30 minutes after waking up, we finally made it to Amankila.  As we turned right into the resort, we actually went up quite a steep hill before coming to the security area.  After the cursory check, the car pulled into the reception/lobby area, where we were greeted by the staff and two flower girls, who promptly gave us some flowers.  I didn’t want to photograph the girls because I felt creepy doing that.

Amankila welcome flowers

Amankila welcome flowers

Amankila welcome flowers

Amankila welcome flowers

The staff already knew everything about us.  They asked us how the drive from Amandari was, how was the rice patty trek, and so on.  It seems like Amandari have already filed a report on us already, and they already knew everything about us.  My first impression was that the resort was bigger.  I mean, at 36 villas, it really isn’t much bigger, but because it faces the ocean, it certainly felt much bigger….

We were given a quick tour of the main areas, and this was the first sight that greeted me:

Amankila Triple Infinity Pool

Amankila Triple Infinity Pool

I couldn’t believe the description until I really saw it.  I mean, how cool is that!?!?

Amankila Triple Infinity Pool

Amankila Triple Infinity Pool

Amankila Triple Infinity Pool

Amankila Triple Infinity Pool

The ocean was breathtaking, and immediately gave a very very different vibe than Amandari, but equally as pleasant.

We were assigned villa 36, which was about 120 steps or so up a hill.  Looking at the map later, I see that most of Amankila’s villas are up pretty steep hills and would be quite a workout.

Amankila Villa 36

Amankila Villa 36

Amankila Villa 36

Amankila Villa 36

This is their Ocean Suite, which does command a good view of the water:

View from Villa 36

View from Villa 36

View from Villa 36

View from Villa 36

The villa itself is smaller and more elongated than the Amandari ones, but the personal touches were still there.

Amankila VIlla 36 Outside

Amankila VIlla 36 Outside

Bed

Bed

Desk

Desk

Daybed

Daybed

Fruit

Fruit

Cookies!

Cookies!

Upon discovering the cookies, I quickly reached into it and had a few before continuing snapping photos:

Bathroom with dual vanity

Bathroom with dual vanity

Bathtub - quite deep!

Bathtub – quite deep!

Bath products and candle at bathtub

Bath products and candle at bathtub

ShowerShower

Rain shower

Rain shower

I came back out to find that our welcome snack and drink was there for us:

Amankila welcome snack

Amankila welcome snack

Amankila welcome snack

Amankila welcome snack

It was a refreshingly light ginger soda with lemon sorbet and passion fruit, along with some more yummy cookies.

Having taken a bit of time and consumed the snack, I took a few more photos, starting with the DND sign:

Amankila DND sign

Amankila DND sign

Amankila DND sign

Amankila DND sign

Amankila Welcome Card

Amankila Welcome Card

Amankila Welcome Card

Amankila Welcome Card

That left me still wondering why I’m addressed by my first name and my partner by his last name…

Amankila Dinner Special

Amankila Dinner Special

Amankila Brochures/Paperwork

Amankila Brochures/Paperwork

More paper...

More paper…

I then discovered the activity pack, which was a whopping 24 pages, which I have uploaded here.  Activities range from diving, sailing, trekking, local tours, and mountain climbing.  Many of them do look alluring, and I swear I could be here for weeks!  Close to the last page, I discovered that they have a helipad for helicopter transfers if desired.

Amankila helicopter transfer

Amankila helicopter transfer

If only the rest of Bali wasn’t so beautiful, I’d helicopter it back to the airport!

And I also looked at the menu and wine list:

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

Amankila Menu

With all that, and a little quick unpacking, we went down for afternoon tea, which was served between 4 and 5 down by the pool, in front of the library….

By the time we got there, a small crowd had gathered for ginger tea, which was served with two types of cakes – one traditional Balinese and the other Western.  I naturally opted for both:

Afternoon tea at Amankila

Afternoon tea at Amankila

Afternoon tea pastries

Afternoon tea pastries

I also saw the flower girls there, making more flowers:

Amankila Flower GIrls

Amankila Flower GIrls

Amankila Flower Girls

Amankila Flower Girls

Eventually, they made their way around greeting everyone and offering them flowers, including us:

Amankila Afternoon Tea Flowers

Amankila Afternoon Tea Flowers

More afternoon tea flowers

More afternoon tea flowers

Amankila Flower GIrls

Amankila Flower Girls

I took the opportunity to grab a few more snapshots of the area, before refilling my tea and just taking a break – I’ve done nothing but snap a photos since arriving an hour ago, and I had no less than one hundred photos already!

About forty five minutes later, we opted to walk down to the beach.  We have the option of getting a free car/buggy ride down through a winding road, but we decided to be “healthy” and walked down:

Walk down to the beach

Walk down to the beach

Walking down steps to the beach

Walking down steps to the beach

Steep, small steps

Steep, small steps

Almost there....

Almost there….

Almost at the beach club and beach

Almost at the beach club and beach

Turns out it was about 140 steps to the beach club and pool area, which was deserted except for staff.

Amankila Beach Club

Amankila Beach Club

Amankila Beach Club

Amankila Beach Club

Amankila Beach Club

Amankila Beach Club

41 meter pool!

41 meter pool!

Pig

Pig

Amankila Beach Club Shrine

Amankila Beach Club Shrine

Amankila Beach Club

Amankila Beach Club

Amankila pool

Amankila pool

Amankila Beach Club

Amankila Beach Club

Amankila Beach Club

Amankila Beach Club

A few more steps and we reached the black sand beach.  Again, going to let the photos do the talking here:

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

Amankila Beach

It also looked like that someone booked the beach for a candlelight dinner – listed on the activities pack.  In fact, the beach seemed set up for it for the two nights that we were there:

Beach bonfire

Beach bonfire

Beach bale

Beach bale

Beach Bale

Beach Bale

The staff greeted us and asked how everything was… including out drive down from Amandari.  How do they know these things!?  We were offered beverages and so on, but we declined.  I must also add that the sand is very warm until one hits the parts closer to the water, something I would discover again the next day.

Having wandered around a bit more, we decided to head back up and get a little rest before the evening rolls in, counting around 280 steps all the way back up to Villa 36.

Next up: The Aman Experience – Amankila Part 2

Blog at WordPress.com.