Posted on | August 25, 2009 | Posted by Marian Simms Comments Off
If you’re the kind of girl who once danced madly at a full moon party in Thailand, tranced out in Goa, or spent a season in Ibiza… and then got hitched, had kids and are dreaming of a holiday that combines the best of old-you and new-you, then the Karma Kandra resort in Bali is designed for you.
Kandra, the newest of the Karma franchise is spectacular. Perched high on a cliff top awash with sea air, the views from all over the property are spectacular and restorative and the site, located at Ungasana, on the very southernmost point of Bali, is a world away from everywhere.
Clusters of self-enclosed villas meander along the property, creating the feel of a Mediterranean village; white stone pathways contrasting with the shock colour of vibrant tumbling Bougainvilleas. Navigating the terrain slows you to a dawdle as you make your way down the luscious ravine to the beach, with a couple of pools on the way to cool you off.
Our villa, with its coloured front gate, was accessed by a small bridge over a fishpond – beautifully lit by night and frequented by the most dazzling red dragon flies. Our accommodation had three bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and outdoor and indoor shower. The big difference from most holiday accommodation was the slick kitchen, fitted with a washing machine and dishwasher, and opening to the dining and relaxing lounge areas. This is well-thought-out luxury, with necessities that are often overlooked, and felt just like a glorified version of our home, transported to a different country. (I have a few sad tales of garments losing all life after being sent to resort laundries.)
Daily ‘let-it-never-end’ treats were stepping onto the deck and immersing ourselves in the deliciously temperate private plunge pool, and lolling around with a book in the garden cabana. The comfortably luxurious villa design creates a great bonding opportunity for the family, as even leaving the villa to explore became a really tough choice.
The two-to-four-bedroom private villas are designed for families, retreats or parties, and weddings with romantic beach ceremonies are often held here. The Di Mare restaurant, with its jaw-dropping views and high-end dishes using local produce, is popular with both guests and visitors, and the Moroccan-themed Temple bar perched on the rooftop also cashes in on the staggering vista.
At the bottom of an inclinator is Nammos Beach Club, poised on one of the most private and remote beaches on Bali. It’s a happening attraction, not only for guests but also for the expatriate locals. Their ‘Lazy Sundays’ with cocktails and pizza have become a big hit. Beach party anthems tinkle in the background while you wade in crystal-clear, warm water fringed with white sand, luxe cabanas and beach loungers. At night, this is the site of full moon parties, movie nights, events and wedding celebrations.
To our delight we arrived in time to be guinea pigs for the newly launched Karma Spa brand. Set up by spa expert Judy Chapman, this is not something to miss out on – in fact, it was the highlight of our stay at Karma. With the treatment huts perched high on the edge of the cliff, the spa is the most heavenly spot to unwind and surrender to the exquisite menu of treatments.
You can’t do better than booking the Karma Signature treatment upon arrival – there’s no quicker way to gently ease into the land of the gods. It’s so good that I would love to be able to put it into words, but I was transported; lifted and placed so beautifully that my brain wasn’t really running the situation. But take my word for it. As a seasoned traveller of many years, I have come to believe a massage when you first arrive makes the whole trip more pleasurable, and is therefore a great investment. Even our photographer David, who never (truly) gets massaged, became a convert at the hands of the Reiki-trained masseuses practicing a range of styles from Shiatsu to Balinese traditional massage.
The spa, with infrared sauna, salt-water spa, the famed Intraceuticals oxygen facial, seaweed wraps freshly harvested from the beach below, private outdoor showers and the private deck facing the Indian Ocean, makes this spot unique. Your comfort is considered at every step, right up to the sweet, cold ginger tea you are offered after your treatment. Packages range from the indulgent ‘Martinis & Manicures’ treatment to deep cleansing, makeover boot camps and yoga retreats. Nothing too demanding is scheduled before a civilised time of day; as spa leader Chapman puts it, pleasure must also be part of the cure.
One of my highlights was the Sunset Yoga sessions on the rooftop. Surrounded by Moroccan lanterns, with a full moon eclipse happening, we worked on core strength to sharpen up that beach body. And that’s as tough as it gets at Karma Kandra: a little yoga, a few laps in the big pool and a lot of well-thought-out decadence. karmakandara.com