Ayana Resort and Spa, Bali

Without contest, Ayana Resort and Spa in Bali, is the very best resort I have ever been to.

Pool at Ayana

Pool at Ayana

Located in Jimbaran and just a 30-minute drive from Denpasar airport, Ayana is set on around 80 hectares of pristine land, high above a cliff over the Indian Ocean.

One of the pools at Ayana

One of the pools at Ayana

Formally known as the Ritz Carlton, Ayana is now owned by an Indonesian gentleman who has given the resort a multi-million dollar renovation.  Today there are seven swimming pools, 15 restaurants, a world famous Rock Bar, a health spa, conference rooms, a wedding chapel, landscaped grounds and more water features than I was able to count.

Rimba

Rimba

Before you arrive at the entrance of the resort, you need to go through security.  This is taken very seriously and every vehicle is checked prior to entry.  This is the first resort I’ve stayed in where there is a man with a serious-looking weapon standing on guard at the entry.

They are serious about security.

They are serious about security.

When you drive up to the entry foyer at Ayana you are warmly greeted by staff wearing traditional Balinese dress who present you with a fragrant garland of frangipani flowers.  Your luggage is whisked away to your room and you’re escorted to reception where you’re handed a fragranced ice-cold towel and given a chilled tropical juice.  A lovely welcome after a long journey.

A welcome drink

A welcome drink

Ayana has a wide range of accommodation options from garden-view rooms, oceanfront rooms, studios, villas and beachfront villas.  If I do have a negative comment to make about Ayana, it would be its website.  As someone who had never been to Ayana, I found it very difficult to find out enough information about the accommodation options to make an informed decision; it was quite confusing.

High, vaulted ceilings adding to the feeling of space.

High, vaulted ceilings adding to the feeling of space.

I decided to book an oceanfront room but if there’s a next-time, I’ll definitely be booking a villa.  Our oceanfront room was on the top floor of the three-storey complex.  It was right at the end of the open corridor so there was no traffic marching past our room making it whisper quiet.

Our spacious room.

Our spacious room.

As soon as we entered the room I was immediately impressed by the size of it.  We had an entry foyer, a very large bedroom with a sitting room and office area, a balcony running the length of the room, a stunning ocean view, and an enormous bathroom.

Part of the bathroom.

Part of the bathroom.

The bath was filled with rose and frangipani petals that were very fragrant and there were bath salts, bubble bath and an aromatherapy oil-burning candle beside the bath.  The bathroom was supplied with large, thick fluffy white towels of every shape and size and there was a generous variety of toiletries and necessities.

A very welcoming bath tub with rose and frangipani petals.

A very welcoming bath tub with rose and frangipani petals.

Because you can’t drink the water in Bali, the room was stocked with six bottles of clean water with a note advising if more water is required additional bottles would be supplied complimentary.  A small basket of fruit was delivered every day along with a couple of containers of snacks like chilli peas and salted nuts.

Our room.

Our room.

The king-sized bed was turned down every evening and there was a pillow menu if the four pillows on the bed weren’t what you’re used to.  They were fine by us.

We've arrived - just in time for sunset.

We’ve arrived – just in time for sunset.

If there was a negative about the room it’s that while the room was incredibly spacious, there weren’t any drawers.  As soon as I arrive in a hotel I like to unpack and I found it difficult because while there were a few open shelves, there weren’t any drawers and the hanging space was also very narrow.  I don’t think that’s standard throughout the oceanfront rooms because I met a woman who was in the same accommodation and she said she had plenty of drawers as well as a chaise lounge on her balcony that we didn’t have either.  Never mind.

View from our oceanfront room.

View from our oceanfront room.

After our arrival we changed and went down to the bar next to Sami Sami Restaurant where you can sit on a level lawn and enjoy a drink looking out over the ocean.  The weather in June is perfect with lovely night time temperatures where you can wear one layer and feel perfectly comfortable.  Drinks at Ayana are reasonably priced except when it comes to wine and champagne.  An ordinary glass of wine is around $22.00 with a ‘plus-plus’ tax of 21% to be added and as for the champagne, I’m still staggered.

Sunset

Sunset

Cocktails seem to be what people drink but I chose the tropical gin and tonic that came with thin slices of cucumber and little white and red berries that exploded in your mouth.  This drink was so much more than a G&T.

Tropical gin and tonics

Tropical gin and tonic

Breakfast was included in our package and that was a hot and cold buffet at Sami Sami Restaurant.  However, we found the breakfast very ordinary and quite a mish-mash of cuisines and cultures and with some oversights of all the things I enjoy like hash browns, sauteed mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and eggs benedict.

A typical Balinese breakfast.

A traditional Balinese breakfast at Dava.

If you stay in a villa, the breakfast included in your package is at Dava, a restaurant where you order from a menu rather than negotiating your way around a buffet.  Those who aren’t staying in a villa are not excluded however it costs and additional US$5.00/person.  That sounded like good value to us so every morning we hopped in a golf buggy and were driven up to Dava.

Transport around the resort

Transport around the resort

Tropical fruit platter.

Tropical fruit platter.

The breakfast at Dava was incredible with all my favourites provided as well as traditional Indonesian fare.

Eggs benedict with crab meat and avocado on the side.

Eggs benedict with crab meat and avocado on the side.

Ayana has a world-famous Rock Bar that I’ll tell you about in another post, but also down on the water’s edge near the Rock Bar is the adults only Ocean Beach Pool.  You get there by inclinator or you can walk down to it.  Drew and I loved this saltwater pool; it’s in a very beautiful setting, there are no crowds, it’s very peaceful, you have the view of the ocean and there are day beds to lie on.

Ocean pool

Ocean pool

All pools are well-staffed and the staff are nearby should you require bottled water, a snack from the bar menu, shade cloth or additional towels.  They even walk around asking if you’d like your sunglasses cleaned which you hand to them and they come back sparkling.  At the Ocean Beach Pool we had a perfect day of relaxing with swimming, eating burgers, drinking G&Ts, reading and looking out at the view through sparkling sunglasses.

Ocean pool

Ocean pool

When we picked ourselves up from the day beds, we headed to Aqua Tonic, a pool with 16 stations of massage jets.  The pool is the largest of its kind in the world and the water is pumped direct from the Indian Ocean and then heated to a comfortable temperature.  It takes around two hours to get around all the stations and every part of you is massaged by very powerful jets.  And when I say ‘powerful’, I mean it.  You have to remove all your jewellery so it doesn’t get removed for you and a friend of mine hopped in wearing a two-piece swimsuit and afterwards said she was sure she had no elastic left in her pants.  You need a tight-fitting one-piece maillot and a measure of strength to withstand the jets.

Aqua Tonic - has 16 stations of pummelling.

Aqua Tonic – has 16 stations of pummelling.

Drew and I loved the Aqua Tonic experience but the next day I could feel every one of my muscles – they’d all been thoroughly pummelled.  Aqua Tonic will work wonders for you if you’re recovering from a flight or if you’re feeling fatigued.

Aqua Tonic

Aqua Tonic

The villas are situated in a separate part of Ayana and away from the main reception; it’s either a 15-minute walk or a few minutes in a golf buggy.  Whether or not you are in a beachfront villa, they all have amazing views and you can book either a one-bedroom or two-bedroom villa.  They all have private swimming pools however, if you do feel like leaving your villa there is also the communal river pool.  Central to the villas is the Martini Bar and Dava Restaurant.

Entry to the villas

Entry to the villas

Beachfront villa

Beachfront villa

Beachfront villa

Beachfront villa

Beachfront villa bathroom

Beachfront villa bathroom

Beachfront Villa

Beachfront Villa

Pool at a Villa

Pool at a Villa

But that’s not all!  Ayana Resort also incorporates the newly-opened Rimba Resort which is situated on eight hectares and is a sister resort of Ayana.  Rimba has been designed based on the Balinese philosophy of ‘tri hita karana’ which means the harmonious balance between God, people and nature.  We took a shuttle bus up to Rimba and had a drink at the Oxygen bar on the top floor where there is also a pool you can swim in.

Pool at Rimba

Pool at Rimba

Rimba has hotel-style accommodation with rooms with balconies overlooking the many swimming pools.

Rooftop bar at Rimba

Unique Rooftop Bar and Restaurant at Rimba

Whether you arrive at Ayana for a conference, wedding, honeymoon or family vacation, Ayana has something for you that will exceed your expectations.  With a staff of over 1000 people to meet your needs, 80 hectares of landscaped grounds, 15 restaurants and seven swimming pools, I’m sure you’ll be like me and never want to leave.

Twilight down near the Rock Bar.

Twilight down near the Rock Bar.

Verdict:  Out of this world.

Ayana Resort and Spa:  Jimbaran, Bali

Comments

  1. Wow… I never wanted to go back to Bail as I love Fiji… But now I want to go here!!!! 🙂

  2. I loved Bali, we had a villa with a couple of staff but this looks amazing. The pools look wonderful. We did spend a fair bit of time in the Rock Bar though. GG

  3. Places like this exist outside of the movies? Wow. This looks like paradise. I’ve never stayed at any place like this, just chain hotels and a B & B once. I can see why you would not want to leave.

  4. I have actually been there! It is an amazing place and so glad you were able to visit. I hope you never have to leave… LOL Of course we did not have a beach front villa while we were there but very nice all the same. You have to watch out for those little dragons though… did you see them while you are there? I don’t know what you call them but they look like a iguana.

  5. Great Sunday morning reading and dreaming! This is new to me and an interesting beginning as think you will post more. Huge infrastructure so you almost do not have to leave the premises to play or work or eat or drink! Have to admit I like far smaller and more private places for my hideaways but quite a few in Bali and Malaysia seem to be of this size . . . oh security measures have been high in Indonesia for years: remember travelling gfs speaking of such 5-6 years ago already . . .

  6. Wow Charlie, looks like paradise, have a wonderful time!

  7. looks wonderful – like a travel brochure – and you look very relaxed – must be all that aqua pummelling and beautiful pools. I am curious about the petals in your bath – what happens to them?

  8. Dear Charlie,

    7 swimming pools! I can seriously work on my tan ar Ayana! I love the cool marble floors under my feet instead of carpet in tropical resorts.

  9. The villas are stunning aren’t they. I really want to stay at one, even once in my life!

  10. I love Bali and this resort looks absolutely glorious Charlie … and I must say you’re looking very relaxed … it’s going to be very hard to come back to reality!

  11. Wow the pool sounds incredible. I love that you have to plan your swimsuit ahead! lol

  12. Right, I wonder what it would take for me to convince Pete we HAVE TO visit Ayana resort….
    Fabulous Charlie!
    Have a beautiful week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  13. What an amazing place! I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself – this looks divine.

  14. This all looks very beautiful Charlie. Imagine having a guard with a gun at a resort. Not quite what we expect but especially after the Tunisia thing last week, it is very much needed these days. Hope you had a fab break!

  15. Oh, my gosh, what a gorgeous locale! And your accommodations look incredible!!! After your tough year so far, you deserve this lovely getaway! xoxo

  16. We loved this resort too. Especially the rock bar. Can’t wait for your article on it.

  17. O.K. to heck with the rest of the island…give me a couple of weeks here. WOW! What am awesome resort!

  18. Wow! Now that’s a resort! I have never stayed anywhere even remotely similar. 🙂 Althogh the security makes sense to me, that must have been a little disconcerting to be reminded of the need. I’m so glad you had such a wonderful experience. I think I would feel like royalty!

  19. Hope Drew is getting a chance to enjoy some of this too:-) Fab pools and those G&T’s would certainly hit the spot!

  20. Sounds so amazing. I hope you shook off all that stress there in that giant room! Xx

  21. I have read about this property, you never know if the brochure hype will live up to the actual experience. Well all I can say is WOW, it looks out of this world and your images make me want to be there NOW, I am glad you enjoyed yourself (those lounging chairs in the swimming pool look so relaxing)…thank you for the review…x

  22. Terrible Charlie Louie. It just looks terrible!!

  23. Wow, Charlie, this place sounds gorgeous. It’s about 9C here in the Adelaide Hills today, so I’d like to be there right now!
    When I was in the Philippines last year, I stayed at the Shangri La in Manila, where every car was searched on entry by armed men with dogs and mirrors on long sticks for looking under the vehicle. It was all a little unnerving.

  24. This is insanely beautiful Charlie! Those pools and views are spectacular. I wouldn’t want to leave either. What a beautiful resort!

  25. What a beautiful resort! No wonder you didn’t want to come home.

  26. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous…and the roses and frangipani, which I remember were everywhere in Bali, more than make up for any lackluster breakfast. What a place! Lovely in every way.

  27. So glad you are having a wonderful and relaxing vacation.

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