For the third and fourth nights of my visit to Bali, I moved over to RIMBA’s sister property, Ayana Resort and Spa. Ayana is the hub of the resort, with several pools, restaurants, bars, and activities to pick from (a tram runs frequently between Ayana and RIMBA, which makes it easy for guests to go back and forth to each). I was lucky to stay in one of Ayana’s private villas, which, if you ask me, is the way to go here if you can swing it. With my villa, I was issued my own private butler and a designated cell phone so I could ring him anytime I needed something, like a golf-cart ride to dinner (or rescuing from a giant insect that took up station in the middle of my living room floor). How posh!
Villa guests at Ayana check in at a separate lobby, which is tucked away on a hilltop in the trees. At this point, if you’re not bursting with anticipation of what villa life here has in store, you’re not human.
My private villa! I probably took 30 pictures of the carved blue doors alone before ever setting foot inside. They made my villa feel so hidden and special, like some kind of incredible surprise was waiting on the other side.
Those are indeed pink swastikas on the doors, but in ancient Asia they held a far different meaning than the one they took on in Europe much later.
My bath was filled with rose petals when I arrived. I never got a chance to use it but loved seeing it every time I walked in.
Ah, the pièce de résistance—my crazy-beautiful backyard. Would you ever want to leave? I didn’t.
Eventually, I managed to peel myself off my private patio long enough to explore the resort…
…starting with its swimming pools.
This one was lined with private cabanas that would’ve made perfectly suitable guest rooms, in my opinion.
Selfie sticks are a bona fide thing among tourists in Bali. They. Were. Every. Where.
Happily, so were these fragrant flowers.
When it was time to get serious about swimming, I rung up my butler for a ride to Kubu Beach, Ayana’s own private beach. He dropped me at the beach’s access point, and I descended 197 stairs to what I’m pretty certain is the most gorgeous little beach I’ve ever seen. Ready?
That spot below, where all the little heads are bobbing around, is my new favorite place on this planet. That little corner of the Indian Ocean is warm, clear, and so comfy. I’ve always loved being near water but have never cared much for getting in it, but this spot is an exception. The only thing that eventually lured me out was the promise of a picnic lunch.
If there’s one thing I needed after a day of slothing and sunning at Kubu it was more R&R, so I headed to Ayana’s spa for a few hours in its Aquatonic Pool. I didn’t get any pictures there, but rest assured it was a highlight of my stay. Ever been to an aquatonic pool? I think it actually qualifies as some sort of workout.
The spa is a little jungle oasis of its own. So peaceful!
The rest of my stay at Ayana consisted primarily of shoveling delicious food into my face at Padi, Dava, and Kisick restaurants, but my favorite dining experience was a poolside cooking class with Chef Suryana, who taught me to make gado gado, my new favorite thing, and nasi goreng—Indonesian fried rice—which made me homesick for a certain restaurant back in Boston.
Gado gado. And gado-damn, was it delicious.
It’s easy to over-indulge at a place like Ayana (and I did, happily), so I jumped at the opportunity to take a sunrise yoga class overlooking the Indian Ocean. I’m still somewhat of a newcomer to yoga, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt so focused and relaxed in a class. It’s hard to find anything to worry about when you’re here.
That’s not quite all I have to say about Ayana. Stay tuned for one more post about an extra-special spot at the resort…