Preview: Bali’s Five-Star Samabe Resort

A monkey guards the make-shift gate as we pull into Samabe Resort, Grand Mirage Resort’s sister property, located in Nusa Dua.

Right now, Samabe Resort isn’t quite there — it’s wrapping construction with an opening set for early 2013. But, even as we walk through the white sand and the still-under-construction villas and suites, I can tell one thing: this resort is going to give all of the others on this part of the exotic island a run for its money.

Perched high on a cliff, when Samabe Resort opens, the five-star resort will epitomize luxury.

It’s easy to imagine sitting on this villa’s terrace at twilight. Photo courtesy Samabe Resort.

I’m not kidding.

Think personal butlers, private pools for each villa, complimentary spa treatments, yoga, organic meals, a daily cocktail hour (which I can envision being a highlight for me) and more. All-inclusive.

A birds-eye-view of Samabe Resort. Rendering courtesy Samabe Resort.

Spread across 16 luscious acres of tropical land, Samabe Resort will offer 35 free-standing villas and 39 suites — one and two bedroom villas and suites — plus seven penthouse villas and the Royal Samabe Residence, essentially a two-bedroom home with infinity pool. Each and every one offering unobstructed ocean views.

The sales manager weaves Daniel and I through the grounds and buildings, explaining the little details, like the bamboo thatched roofing which will have to be replaced regularly, but  a “must” in order to echo the Balinese architecture the resort prides itself on presenting. Each room is decorated with culture in mind, tapping in to woods, colors, accents and more, giving guests more than just a typical hotel room.

A villa bedroom. Ahhh. Photo courtesy Samabe Resort.

We step into one of the suites, a gorgeous expanse of room with doors opening out onto a large balcony with a stunning view of the blue-green Indian Ocean. We’re high up, and looking down, down, down I immediately lust for the room to be complete and to be sitting out here on plush patio furniture, sipping a glass of champagne.

A suite bedroom at Samabe Resort. Photo courtesy Samabe Resort.

It’s that gorgeous.

At one point, standing on the balcony and letting the hot air gently tousle my hair, I close my eyes and imagine what it would be like to stay in the finished product. Only one word comes to mind — heaven.

The view from said suite.

 

Editor’s Note: My time in Bali was courtesy of Grand Mirage Resort, however all opinions are my own. If you have questions regarding this, please read my disclosure policy

Resorts Reviews

Devdan: a glimpse of Indonesian culture in Bali

The lights dim and then burn the eyes, a man and woman appear on opposite ends of the stage. Staring longingly at each other. What transpires next is a mix of sensuality, passion and dancing that leaves the audience entranced.

Devdan

Photo courtesy of Devdan

The couple merges together, holding onto thick ribbons hung from the top of the stage. They intertwine, hold, lift into the air together, part and reunite, telling a story of forbidden love. The background: Borneo. But, on a stage far away … in Nusa Dua on the island of Bali.

After the dance, the lights dim once again. This time, a group of female dancers splash in the man-made river at the lip of the stage. There’s fire. There’s rain. It’s an all-out production and visually stunning.

Devdan

Photo courtesy of Devdan

Tonight, we’ve taken a break from the all-inlcusive paradise at Bali’s Grand Mirage and headed into the tourist enclave on the island to see “Devdan — the treasure of the Archipelago.”

It’s a far cry from all-you-can-eat-and-drink. In this moment, we’re soaking in the culture of Indonesia. And it is beautiful.

Devdan

Photo courtesy Devdan

This stage performance, which has only been around for a little more than a year, is one way to learn more about the rich cultures that make up Indonesia. Part-Cirque and all dance, the 90-minute show takes audience members through traditional dances and more of Bali, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Papua.

The show begins when two children separate themselves from a tour group and find a treasure chest which transports them to different cultures of Indonesia. With exotic costumes, traditional dances, whimsical performances that include rain, fire and even a boat ride, the children’s eyes are opened to more than they ever expected.

“Devdan” exposes audience members to quite the spectacle, merging history, love and contemporary themes into an entertaining show.

The bottom line: I really enjoyed this performance. Each cultural performance spans about 20 minutes or so. My favorite was Borneo, which plays out a gorgeous love story that is sexy and took me back to Cirque and Las Vegas. The dancers are ridiculously talented and the production value — other than the tracked dialogue of the children — is high quality, complete with breathtaking special effects. However, the one part that left me scratching my head was the hip hop dance that was awkwardly stuck into the show. Yes, the dancing was great, but it just didn’t seem to fit the rest of the show, which is designed to highlight some of the many cultures of Indonesia. 

Editor’s Note: I was a guest of Devdan, however all opinions are my own. If you have questions regarding this, please read my disclosure policy

 

Asia Blog Indonesia Reviews Shows

Old and Lonely: an expat tale of (not) dating in Thailand

It’s one of those thick and gorgeous nights in Bali, when the air gently whispers in your ear, the ink black water of the Indian Ocean licks the soft butter-colored sand, and you can just barely make out puffy clouds lingering in the night sky.

Grand Mirage Resort Bali

Sitting outside at the Jukung Grill at Grand Mirage Resort, Daniel and I are enjoying overly-full stomachs, thanks to a decadent dinner, and more rose wine than we should. Late into our evening, an older couple sits across from us and we all begin chatting.

From the Isle of Mann, the two are on a 12-day holiday and this is their last night in paradise. Eventually, Daniel converses with the husband and I chat away with the wife.

She tells me of her battle with cancer (she’s been in remission for five years) and her need to just get out there and live. I tell her about my travels, my life today.

And, that’s when she says this:

“Please, dear. Do me this one favor.”

I raise my eyebrows, awaiting her response. Her face immediately turns from bright and sunny to a look of remorse.

“Please, with your life right now and traveling and everything, please do not turn Old and Lonely.”

Old. And Lonely.

Within a second, my airy October evening goes from light and happy to serious.

Old. And Lonely.

“Oh,” I say quickly, waving my hand, “I won’t.”

I try to say it with confidence, but there is none in my voice … or in my heart.

The truth is, being Old and Lonely is one of my greatest fears. I’m the single girl. I’m the girl that always gets asked by the perpetually-in-a-relationship girl “why on earth are you still single?”

As if it is a curse.

It’s not that I haven’t been in relationships — I have. Although most of them were horribly self-destructive. And, it’s not like I haven’t dated — I have. Although, most of the guys I have dated were total assholes. (Yeah, my taste in men has — up until very recently — sucked).

For many years, I stopped caring if I had a significant other. I mean, when I quit my job at 30 to go and travel, I was so thankful I wasn’t leaving the Love of My Life in Atlanta. Then, when I went backpacking, I was so thankful I wasn’t in a relationship with the person on the train next to me. But then, I was 31. And decided to move to Las Vegas. Which is like a cesspool of sleaze as far as dating goes. Ask any of my single (and amazing) girlfriends there. Finding a decent guy is next to impossible.

When I told my parents I was moving back there, I also told them I realized this decision would likely impact one of the things I wanted most in my life — to have children. Because, let’s face it, I wasn’t going to meet the man of my dreams living in Nevada.

It wasn’t until recently, I felt this sudden sense of urgency. This feeling of holy-shit-I’m-still-single-and-there-aren’t-even-any-potential-people-in-my-life moments. I mean, suddenly, I am 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, (gasp) 33 and I have … no one.

Old. And Lonely.

Arriving to Thailand, I hoped things would be different than Las Vegas.

Guess what?

They’re not.

In fact, it is worse here.

A few weeks ago, I was walking with an American (guy) friend and we were talking about dating.

“Shit, D,” he says to me as we walk down the street talking about him meeting Thai girls, “it must be just awful for you here in terms of dating.”

Thanks, buddy.

“Yeah,” I sigh, trying not to let the sting of his words penetrate my skin. “It pretty much sucks. The western guys want to date Thai girls … and the Thai guys …” I trail off.

So, on the gorgeous Bali evening when the woman tells me not to be Old and Lonely, it hits home. Hard.

As soon as I return from Bali, I make a promise to myself to go out more. To meet more people. To engage. To try and date in Thailand.

I’m in no rush to meet someone. I’ve waited 33 years for Mr. Right to walk down the tarmac. I don’t doubt it will happen at some point. And I can promise this: I will not be Old and Lonely. Just Old.

Asia Blog Expat Life Indonesia Thailand

Daily Wanderlust: a Grand Mirage Resort room with a view

I’ve dreamed of going to the exotic Indonesian island of Bali for ages. Pretty sure even before that book came out all about eating, praying and loving. In my mind, I always envisioned a paradise of sorts where reality and dreams mingle together on the soft sands of the Indian Ocean.

You know what?

It’s true.

A few weeks ago, I bopped down to Bali to spend a long weekend. Sure, the flights were a bit of a pain from Chiang Mai to the tropical island, but it was well worth it as soon as I walked into my room at the Grand Mirage Resort and was greeted with this simply magnificent view.

Grand Mirage Resort Bali

Want more on my trip to Bali? Stay tuned!!

Editor’s Note: My time in Bali was courtesy of Grand Mirage Resort, however all opinions are my own. If you have questions regarding this, please read my disclosure policy

 

Destinations

Daily Wanderlust: Gunung Kawi, Bali

Editor’s Note: While I am preparing to leave Las Vegas, embark on an epic cross-country road trip exploring America and relocate to Thailand to become an expat, I have opened my blog to special guest posts from travel bloggers I love. This is a guest post written by Theodora Sutcliffe.

I’ve travelled to over 50 countries among the world, over 20 of them with my young son, and Bali, Indonesia, is one of the most consistently beautiful places I’ve visited. If you are planning a visit to Southeast Asia, make sure to search for Bali hotels.

Link Location: In content

It’s not just the landscapes of rice terraces, volcanoes and cliffs descending to world class surf. It’s the indigenous culture, a form of Hinduism that’s unique in the world, and sense of beauty that makes everything, even humble flower offerings, food or the art of tying the sarong an aesthetic exercise.

This tranquil spot is Gunung Kawi temple, a few miles outside Ubud. With its flowing water, lush palms and simple, elegant architecture, it’s the essence of Bali, and bathing in the springs is an absolute must.


Destinations Guest Posts