When your Instagram feed includes comments like, “Huh? Thought you were in Bali?” under snapshots of your Balinese resort, you know you’ve hit holiday pay dirt. A luxury seafront idyll set into a hillside near Manggis on the east side of the island, the resort is a 90-minute drive from the chaos of Kuta Beach, but a million miles from it architecturally, philosophically and aesthetically. As the ornery Mount Agung fumes quietly in the background, infinity pools, tumbling down the hillside like rice paddies, softly call your name. Jag a poolside balé and relax with a good book – or someone who’s read one. Bagus!
From her discretely positioned hillside suites overlooking the Lombok Strait on Bali’s still-relatively-rustic east coast, Amankila is master of all she surveys. Leave the resort and you’re smack bang in the middle of village life, more likely to run into a rice farmer or local craftsman than an over-excited schoolie. It’s a 90-minute drive north east of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport – not bad when you’re on another planet at the end of the trip.
The resort’s roomy Moorish-style villas (they’re actually modelled on the nearby water palace at Ujung) are on stilts, all the better to view the waters of the Lombok Strait, in some – but not all – cases over a vast private pool. Under every thatched roof are teak canopied beds, a writing desk, divan, bathtub, twin basins, separate showers and toilets – every neutral element, like the terraces off each suite, bathed in glorious natural light.
Food and drink
While there’s a bar and three restaurants on the grounds of the resort – The Beach Club (pictured above), The Terrace and The Restaurant (fresh fish is delivered every morning, ducks have been free-ranging on the resort’s local farm and fruit and veg come from the kitchen garden) – they are not your only dining options. On a hill about 15 minutes’ drive away is a private balé called Tirta Sari where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner – or sip dirty martinis by candlelight as the sun goes down. For the ultimate romantic dinner, have the beach club, the pool and the beach to yourselves, with a table set on the sand, a bonfire, the services of a private chef and waiter (and an almost certain "yes" to whatever you’re about to propose).
For business travellers
The resort has printing and copying facilities, AV equipment and a laptop. Amankila’s plush, air-conditioned Library can accommodate meetings for up to 16 guests. A projector, projector screen, whiteboard and microphone is available and wi-fi, CD and iPod connectivity is free.
For wellness travellers
With breezy balés positioned around the terraced pools, relaxation is a given. While there’s no spa, treatments can be arranged in your villa. The resort has a small fitness pavilion and yoga classes are held in the coconut grove at the Beach Club. To get the heart pumping and catch a glimpse of local life, the resort can arrange jungle treks up hills, through rice fields and across rivers to villages snap frozen in time. Take a catered snorkelling cruise to a coral reef or head to the Beach Club and grab a windsurfer, Hobie Cat or kayak.
The fab factor
Behind the cool stone walls of the elevated Kilasari Suite (pictured above) is a surprisingly vast terrace with a private 21-metre infinity pool and the waters of the Lombok Strait beckoning through the palms.
Best for: Luxury travellers
Number of villas: 34
Rates from: About $1250
Wi-fi: Free for guests at 25mbps
Address: Jl. Raya Manggis, Manggis, Bali 80871
Telephone: +62 3634 1333