Sofia Graniello makes a wanderlust escape to Indonesia where she almost trades the opulent Middle East for paradise realised at the Conrad Bali…
It was time to visit Bali. Visit greatness. Some call it paradise even. Being the skeptical woman that I am, I had my doubts about ‘great Bali’. Would it be overrated? Would it be crowded with wannabe surfers? Thinking of what I was about to be faced with, and thinking about every place I would visit, and every temple I could possibly photograph like a typical tourist – I had plenty to keep my mind occupied on my nine hour plane ride from Doha.
Arriving on the island, I did nothing but relax, and let the place speak for itself, ready to pull me in. Wowed by a myriad of motorcycles, cars, and people all clustered on the road – I was immediately submerged into Indonesia’s gem. Arriving at the Conrad Bali – the most soughtafter luxury resort for couples and families – the place was exceptionally grand. Modern, contemporary, spacious, with a twist of luxurious appeal – I was officially in paradise! Having stayed at one of the Conrad Suites, I had to pinch myself to reaffirm I was finally in what many call a haven! A 45 sqm deluxe room with a balcony, terrace and a view of the pools and gardens – it was private and secluded enough, with luxurious personal amenities. Not to mention its fabulous marble bathroom, tub, and coffee/tea making facilities for couples who wish to stay for a romantic getaway, or for that perfect honeymoon. In addition, it offers a private pool to their members with a restaurant in reach, in which I enjoyed my daily international and Japanese breakfast with a breathtaking view of its plush private pool.
And because I’m a breakfast kind of gal, filling you in on what RIN is all about, is a must. This Japanese restaurant offers delicious and traditional flavours with a contemporary twist. So if you crave a Japanese breakfast with some miso soup, then this, is your spot. And if perhaps a Mediterranean approach is what you crave for the evening, Eight Degrees South, a casual, yet refined atmosphere is just the perfect choice for a romantic/family outing. Having had a succulent dinner on my first evening, the winners of the night were their tasty smoky Wagyu prime beef steak tartar, their black angus rib eye steak and the delightful gourmet virgin aged olive oil-octopus. And that was just the start to my Balinese paradise escape.
It was time to explore the island and capture its realness, its people, and the multi faceted culture the island has to offer. And having had my first waterfall experience, Tegenungan waterfall should definitely be on your bucket list.
However, hold on to your tops ladies, because I’m still looking for mine! Surreal as it can be, every landscape and every temple I visited was even more breathtaking than the previous one, which takes me to my favourite sightseeing spot: Ubud. Known for its ‘hipster’ vibe, and surrounded by edgy and grungy restaurants – the choices and the atmosphere were endless offering nothing but artistic inspiration. Not to mention the one temple I had the pleasure to tick off my list: Saraswati Temple, known also as: Lotus Temple. If the name still doesn’t ring a bell… think: Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts.
And continuing my culinary journey at the Conrad Bali, my next experience was a taste of the island’s local dishes. Suku the resort’s main restaurant, offers a buffet and a la carte breakfast, lunch, and relaxed dinners. One I fully committed to and enjoyed thoroughly. If you ask me, the fried rice and Balinese noodles took the grand prize – which I proudly served on my plate many times. And yet, when I thought I had already had all of my Balinese experiences, a local massage was very much in need. Jiwa spa, the resort’s serene private haven of pure wellness, offers an array of massages, facials, and treatments – I wish I had done them all.
Having picked wisely, a 60 minute Ocean Flow of pure relaxation, I can honestly say it was on par with the excellence of the Balinese fried rice – I’m obsessed with fried rice, if you’re wondering. My therapist used medium pressure with Balinese massaging techniques, which soothed and eased my stress knots paving the way to a healthier me and topping off my beautiful vacation.
From breathtaking temples to cerulean bodies of water, if you’re thinking of visiting Bali, do it. It is paradise. Take it from a woman who has had a skeptical view of paradise in the past.