Amanjunkies help me on Bali plans

Jan 13th, 2006, 11:43 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 72
Amanjunkies help me on Bali plans

I have been on Bali last summer and stayed at the Amankila. It was so great, that I'll return this year not only to the Amankila but also to another Amanproperty on Bali. Now, that's the dilemma:

In Ubud my options are:
-Amandari (have been there for dinner and wasn't very impressed, but it was dark)
-Begawan Giri (heard many positive things about it)
-Chedi Club Ubud (have stayed there: it was great but maybe not the best, it is the cheapest)

since I want to make use of the Aman Bali offer I have to pick 2 Amanresorts on Bali and I don't know whether to choose Amankila and Amandari, or Amankila and Amanusa and then stay at the Begawan Giri in Ubud. How's the Amanusa compared to Amandari (I know it's hard to compare).

Also I have to decide between Amanjiwo and Amanwana.
sqskybed is offline  
Jan 13th, 2006, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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I am also a member of Aman-anonymous.

I agree that the Amankila is divine.

In Ubud, I think you need to make trade-offs as there's no one perfect place. Iím very fond of the Chedi management (they also run the Legian) but I think this property is a loser Ė too hot, no view. They poured a lot of money into the renovation, but I think they would have been better off starting over some where else.

On the Ayung river valley you get the Amandari, Begawan, Alila, KupuKupu Barong and several new properties, like Kayumanis. T

he Amandari is 20 years old and showing its age, although I think of the lot it has the most positives for privacy and service. I agree the restaurant is darkish, but I like the villas and pool -- a lot.

Begawan has recently come under new management -- the very trendy Christina Ong from Singapore Ė with the intention of making it more mainstream. Still luxurious, but less quirky. They've begun to make a lot of change, but I haven't been back to see it yet.

Kayumanis is a small villa-style resort nearby that is very beautiful and serene. This is the best of the new. Kupukupu has been totally renovated. It was one of the first resorts in the area and has a spectacular setting. Many people love the Four Seasons. I find the public architecture a bit off putting and the pool too small and shady, but the setting is very nice. I always end up getting a suite at the Alila. Not perfect either but I love the room.

The only reason I would recommend Amanusa would be to golf Itís in the middle of a great course (and miles from the beach) but other than that there are much nicer places in South Bali.

Bottom line, I'd pick Amankila and Amandari. If you still want a third place in South Bali I'd choose the Legian or one of the new villas.

Amanjiwo and Amanwana are completely different in setting and end use. Both are spectacular, but I think youíd need to first decide what kind of environment you want as Central Java and Moyo Island couldnít be farther apart. Amanwana is not so easy to get to (it pretty much takes a day). It is isolated and tropical and the activities are nature-centric, focused on the ocean and rain forest. Amanjiwo overlooks Borobudur and offers a lot of cultural activities. The architecture is spectacular (same architect as Amankila), but it is hot as blazes. The choice really depends on what you want to do while you're there.

Glad to hear you're coming back to Indonesia. They'll be happy to see you!
marmot is offline  
Jan 13th, 2006, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Check out Puri Wulandari it is an amazing hotel equal to any Aman and less money. Truly exceptional!
scfphoto is offline  
Jan 13th, 2006, 03:59 PM
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A new Amanjunkie on this board! Welcome!

We have been to 6 Amans now. Two of which are Amankila and Amandari. We are leaving for Amanjiwo next July. By all accounts, Amanjiwo is right up there with Amankila as the "best of the best" for Amans. So I would recommend that over Amanwana just based on what I have heard on other forums. The other thing that I have heard is that Amanusa is underrated. The beach is supposed to be wonderful! Whereas the beach at Amanwana is made up of crushed shells and can be uncomfortable to walk on. Also, the Begawan Giri will probably not be as good as an Aman unless you are able to secure an entire compound for yourselves. If you book a single room you will end up sharing your villa with others.

Have you considered skipping Bali (since you have already been) and doing a combination Amanjiwo (4 night cultural) / Amanwana (4 night nature) plus the 5 night Aman-sponsored Komodo Island expedition. That's what we would have done if we had the time. People who have done the expedition say it is out of this world. Make sure to read up on it at the Aman site and then google the ship. It's really beautiful and they rarely fill it so it is pretty much your own private yacht!

Hope this helps a bit. Please keep us informed of your plans!
Ericka is offline  
Jan 13th, 2006, 04:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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I went to Amanjiwo in Sept. Coincidentally I was there at the same time as the manager of the Amansara in Siem reap which I'd been to. We both agreed that architecturally Amanjiwo is probably one of the best Aman properties. Its design - which you will appreciate best if you do the hike on the Aman grounds to the machan - echoes that of Borobudur and is simply breath taking. Borobudur and th ability to see it at sunrise with Amanjiwo is a beautiful monument. I also felt that unlike say Siem Reap where u spend most of your day out exploring the temples and get little chance to enjoy the Aman hotel, Jogjakarta i.e. Amanjiwo is a great property to experience Aman luxury as there is not that much else IMO to do in the vicinity. I ADORE begawan. I think people dwell too much on the shared residence - it is true that each house has 4-5 rooms but the design is such that your room is no less private than in any boutique hotel. My favourite residences were I think fire and earth. I personally did not like the Four Seasons in Ubud. I absolutely love Ubud and my only reaosn to go back to Bali for a 3rd time would be a trip to Ubud.
hobbes is offline  
Jan 13th, 2006, 11:43 PM
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First of all, thanks for your help. I'm glad to join the amanjunkies community. What they say about Aman is true: once you have been to an Aman, you never want to go somewhere else.

I definitely prefer Amanjiwo over Amanwana. Both are spectacular I think, but it takes a long time to get to Amanwana and that puts me off a bit. Besides, I'm a more interested in culture then nature.

so my travel plan so far:

4 nights at Amankila
4 nights at Amanjiwo

but I still can't decide between the rest:
3 nights at Amandari
3 nights at Amanusa and then
2/3 nights at Begawan Giri but then also
only 2 instead of 4 nights at Amanjiwo

I know where Amanusa is, I've been to the Nusa Dua area last time and I didn't like it (overdeveloped). Is the Amanusa totally secluded or can you 'feel' that it is located in such a touristy area. That's my main question.

Also, which city is the best to make a stopover on the way to Indonesia. I can choose between Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong. Have been to both KL and Singapore and really like both cities. On the other hand I might make a stopover now in Hong Kong and stay at the Peninsula. What would you do?

thanks for your help so far. I really appreciate it!
sqskybed is offline  
Jan 14th, 2006, 02:07 AM
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sq, I haven't actually stayed at Amanusa but I've had several meals there. It's literally in the middle of a golf course. I don't golf either but friends who do tell me it's a very good course. The resort is on a cliff, like Amankila, so it's secluded in a way, but you don't get a middle of no where feeling as you do at the Amankila. They have a private beach that you have to drive to that is on the far end of Nusa Dua. When I was last there, there was a major development being built on the next beach. Like all Amans the Amanusa is lovely and serene, but I'd say that the major draw is definitely golf.

If the choice were between Amandari and Amanusa I'd go for Ubud hands down. I LOVE the atmosphere on the Ayung River ridge. Especially at night it's magical. Begawan has one of the prettiest sites of any, but as I said, I'm not sure what kind of changes the new management group may have made.

Just a thought, why don't you just stay a one or two extra nights at Amankila? You could still take make day trips to Ubud and the surrounding areas.

As much as I adore the Amanjiwo I think 4 nights is a bit long for the area and that you'd be better served in Bali.

Hong Kong definitely deserves more than a stop over, but a night at the Pen may just whet your appetite for a longer stay in the future.
marmot is offline  
Jan 14th, 2006, 03:34 AM
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Thanks for your help, marmot. The Amanusa doesn't sound like my cup of tea. I'm not a golfer and although the beach there might be prettier then at Amankila, I prefer total seclusion.
I can stay longer at the Amankila but I must pick two Amans on Bali, because if you want to make use of the Aman 7 night Bali offer, you have to pick at least 2 Amans on Bali.

my travel plan has now changed a bit to:
5 nights at Amankila
3 nights at Amandari
3 nights at Amanjiwo (or maybe 2 nights in a better suite)
3 nights at the Peninsula Hong Kong

I can also pick another special hotel on Bali and stay there as well. Do you have any suggestions for a really special experience? I think the Amans are the best Bali has to offer. But I don't want to stay in the Jimbaran/Nusa Dua/ Legian area. There can be one exception and that's the Bvlgari but it hasn't opened yet. What do you think of the Bvlgari?It has actually the same price as an Amanresort, but you get a 300 sqm villa. But it's probably very new in July..
sqskybed is offline  
Jan 14th, 2006, 08:58 AM
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For the future...when you go to Phuket..which you must if you are an Aman Junkie...stay ate the original - Amanpuri!

I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!
luckykat is offline  
Jan 14th, 2006, 10:22 AM
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Oh, one more thing to further confuse you....

We are combing our upcoming Amanjiwo stay with 2 nights at the Losari Coffee Plantation - also on Java. It is owned by someone who used to(?) own a few of the Bali Amans (?). At any rate, this property is supposed to be a labor of love for her. It is surrounded by 8 volcanos and is in quite a spectacular setting.

Activities include:
- Chartering a private 1902 steam train for a tour of the local villages, etc. You may also invite some of the locals to join you.
- Coffee plantation tour on premises as this is a working coffee plantation
- Wonderful turkish spa (hammam)
- Waterful trek
Ericka is offline  
Jan 14th, 2006, 12:07 PM
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Hi Ericka. thanks for the tip about the Losari, I actually already noticed this hotel in my SLH book. It looks stunning and I guess it can be combined easily with Amanjiwo since it is only an one hour drive from Borobudur. I read that you're going in July, we're also planning to go in July. What a coincidence!
sqskybed is offline  
Jan 14th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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Sqskybed - we'll be on Java from July 1 thru 8. Before that, we'll be in Singapore for a night or two. Please let us know if our paths will cross. We'd love to trade notes about Amans.

P.S. We are very jealous you are going to Amankila again. We struggled with whether to return there but opted to skip Bali altogether this time around.
Ericka is offline  
Jan 14th, 2006, 04:31 PM
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In South Bali I donít think thereís a resort that can come close to the Legian. Itís not perfect, but Iíd put the service, ambience, aesthetic on a par with the Aman (theyíre all part of the same incestuous group) but the experience is completely different.

The Legian is really ON the beach and is near (but not too near) to lively beach culture -- shops, restaurants, club. You can take advantage of it when you want it and just as importantly you can get away from it. The grounds are spacious and serene, the pool is stunning and the rooms all have beautiful seaview balconies.

The fact is that there just isnít any good undeveloped beach left in Bali. The wide, sandy, good for walking, swimming, people watching, wave pounding, sunset beach that stretches for miles from Kuta to Seminyak is all built up with older resorts that in my opinion are desperately in need of redevelopment. I think it will come eventually, but short-term Iím always pleased with my experience at the Legian.

Most of the newest resorts and zillions of villas are being built in the peninsula at the southern tip of Bali called the Bukit. It is basically a cliff that stretches from Nusa Dua to Ulu Watu to Jimbaran. This where the Bvlgari, the Bale, Ritz and most of the villa developments are located. Itís extremely arid Ė desert like Ė and a good hike to the beach. The beaches are usually coves or inlets that are at the mercy of the tides. Once at your resort or villa you are miles from anything else and unless you intend to stay onsite, that 40 minute taxi ride gets old fast.

Donít get me wrong, I think the Amankila pulls off this kind of seclusion + luxury brilliantly. I just donít see the resorts in South Bali offering the same environment. To me personally, a combination plate of resorts is a good thing. We stay a few days at the Amankila or Alila to unwind and ďdetoxĒ (just figuratively and when we're ready for some stimulus or contact with the species, then we decamp to the Legian.

In Indonesia and most of the tropics things deteriorate quickly so thereís a lot to be said for new or high level of maintenance. I think this is the main appeal of the new developments Ė they are fresher, the architecture is more up to date (they're all influenced by each other) and they come with innovations that the older resorts have to add on to inappropriate designs. But the problem still remains Ė they donít have good beaches. So Iíd say itís a major trade off.

On another subject: I finally found someone who actually stayed at the Losari. They loved it!
marmot is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 12:20 AM
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Thanks for the information, marmot. I've been to the Legian last year and loved it. Especially the great restaurants in the neighbourhood like KuDeTa. The suites are really pretty, service is almost perfect. There's only one thing that keeps me back from staying there again and that's the size. It is quite big, and I get a 'hotel' feeling, which I normally dislike. And as I mentioned before, I like seclusion.
But thank you again, you're a great help to me.

Ericka, we 're not sure when we'll be going in July. We'll probably leave in the first week, but I guess we're on Java in the third week of july.
Where will you be staying in Singapore?

Amankila is indeed stunning. It's the best hotel I've ever been to. I still remember clearly my (only) 3 days there. We made a great mountainbike tour around the local villages. It was such an experience! And we also chartered one of the two yachts and went off cruising for one morning. It was great and even on the boat perfect Amanservice. We settled close to a lovely beach with many local fisher boats and had lunch on the boat.
What I also like about Amankila is that althought it's a (very) expensive hotel, it is not a snobbish place.

my travel plan has changed a bit to:
3 nights at the Peninsula (is it worth to stay in the Harbourview Suite)
4 nights at the Amankila
3 nights at the Amandari
flight to Yogyakarta
2 nights at the Amanjiwo
1 night at the Losari Coffee plantation (maybe 2)
flight back to Denpasar
2 nights at the Amanusa (just to relax on the beach)

I'm still not quite sure if we will make a stopover in Hong Kong, because I love Singapore and Kuala Lumpur very much. It's tough decision.

sqskybed is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 04:20 AM
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You're itinerary sounds wonderful!

In Singapore, we'll be at the Ritz Carlton - our second stay there. This time we've booked a Millenia suite on the club level because we will actually have a full day and night to enjoy the room/hotel.

I have not been to The Pen Hong Kong but would die for the opportunity! From what I've heard, you do want to secure a room with that lovely view.

Have a grand time.
Ericka is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 04:25 AM
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Sqskybed, one more thing... if you have not yet discovered (your screen name suggests you have!) please give the forums over there a whirl. There are many Amanjunkies that hang out on their Luxury Hotel forum. And then there is the SQ forum as well.
Ericka is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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I stayed at the Ritz Carlton Millenia a year ago and loved it. It's even better then the famous Raffles, where I've stayed last summer. The Raffles was disappointing. I have heard of but I wasn't registered but now I am! Thanks for the tip.
sqskybed is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 08:33 PM
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sq, sounds like a great trip. Look forward to your report.

For three days, I'd rate Singapore and Hong Kong about equal. I'm less enthusiastic about KL. For a longer trip, I think HK has the most to offer.

Yes, you should go for the harbor view room. If the Pen is prohibitively expensive then consider the Intercon across the street. The I-C isn't up to the Pen in service or elegance, but it's very nice and the views are the BEST.
marmot is offline  
Jan 16th, 2006, 02:42 PM
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The Alila resorts in Candi Dasa and Ubud are Amans without the outrageous price tag.....
Mitch04 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 08:21 AM
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Well, we'll make a stopover in Singapore, we'll be staying at the Four Seasons, unless somebody has a better idea. I was not impressed by the Raffles last year and I like the central location of the FS. I also like the Ritz Carlton, but the location is not really central.
sqskybed is offline  

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