Review: A taste of paradise at The Mulia, Bali
Bali is known as the Island of the Gods – blessed with world-class beaches, lush green forests, historic temples and sprawling rice paddies. In short, it’s a honeymooners’ paradise – as journalist Alexandra Downs discovered first-hand when she and her husband jetted out for a week of luxury at 5* resort The Mulia, nestled on the dramatic coastline of Nusa Dua... <br /><br />The Mulia – which first opened its doors for business two years ago – has quickly established itself as one of the top honeymoon spots on the island, with its beachfront setting, spectacular sunrises and abundance of world-class restaurants. And just an hour after arriving, sipping on the best lychee martini I’ve ever had in my life as we sat mesmerised by the view of the sparkling azure waters of the Indian Ocean, our epic 17-hour flight was already a distant memory as we kicked back into total, barefoot relaxation mode.
Nusa Dua, dotted with exclusive, international resorts, is the most exclusive area of Bali. And it certainly feels a million miles away from the party scene of West Coast resorts like Kuta. But while The Mulia may be a sprawling hotel that employs an incredible 2000 staff and even has its own Hindu temple on site, you still feel like you’re in your own private, romantic enclave. The inner décor of the hotel feels like a continuation of the sand and sea outside and – unless perhaps you’re visiting the on-site conference centre on a work trip – I would say it’s impossible to feel anything other than relaxed in the stunning surroundings.
Honeymoon add ons include complimentary champagne and strawberries upon arrival plus built-in spa packages – which are totally unmissable. The spa, located in its own building, is a haven of pampering and relaxation. Even my husband, more at home on the resort’s tennis courts or at the nearby, world-famous golf club (and yes, I did have to sacrifice a day of sunbathing to accompany him for a few rounds) was keen for a return visit after we’d sampled the treatments on offer – including a (brief!) visit to the only ice room in Asia Pacific. In fact, after revitalising ourselves in the thalassotherapy pool, indulging in a signature, hour-long couples’ exfoliation and massage treatment and being treated to a complimentary ginger drink and fruit platter afterwards, I was left wondering if we should actually have saved ourselves the hassle of all that wedmin prior to our UK wedding and just tied the knot at the Mulia.
It’s a popular destination wedding spot and, with three wedding chapels – one on the beach, one on the lake and one with spectacular sea views – and pampering packages available for the entire wedding party, it seems like a fantastic idea. In the spa they can tend to 25 people at once in their impressive salon, which uses top-of-the-range Bobbi Brown, Chanel and Mac makeup and Kerastase hair products, so you and your bridesmaids are guaranteed to look your very best. Amazing. <br /><br />The Mulia is actually comprised of three hotels; Mulia Resort, The Mulia – a boutique hotel of beachfront accommodation where all suites have butler service – and the ultra luxurious Mulia Villas, which each have their own pool and, again, butler service, and are located a short buggy ride away from the main resort. We were staying in The Mulia Resort, which boasts 526 spacious, well-appointed guest rooms and suites (all include flatscreen TV, iPod docks, and wifi), five pools and a fantastic kids club (perfect for honeymooners who don’t want to leave their little ones behind!).
This was also home to our favourite spot for lunch and/or evening cocktails, The Sky Bar. Set high above the infinity pools with views of the white sands and ocean, I have yet to eat my favourite dish, chicken satay, in a more spectacular setting, and the day beds are perfect for a post-food afternoon snooze in the sun…!
For more active guests there are plenty of activities on offer, from kayaking and yoga to trips to the fitness centre (I was kicking myself when I realised I’d left my trainers back in London, ahem), and checking out the local attractions. I would highly recommend a trip to experience the sunset at Uluwatu, a famous temple perched high on a cliff above the sea. The always helpful and friendly staff can organise a taxi to take you there (it’s approximately a half hour drive) and bring you back. Keep an eye out for the monkeys – they’ll steal your camera/ phone/ food/ anything they can get their hands on – but aside from them, this excursion is ten out of ten on the romance front.
After a hard day sunbathing, cocktail sipping (preferably at the swim up bar in the infinity pool by the beach, which serves whole coconuts with straws in – what could be more tropical!) and sightseeing, what better than a chance to get dressed up and sample some of the incredible food on offer in the hotel? There are eight restaurants and bars to choose from, offering a variety of cuisines from across the globe. We particularly loved Japanese restaurant Edogin, where the chefs (who are Japanese – yes, this is the real thing, and something the hotel prides itself on) prepare delicious teppanyaki and sushi right in front of your eyes, and Soleil, which offers a range of Mediterranean-influenced pan Asian cuisine. Tip from the top – try the seafood tasting menu and you won’t regret it. <br /><br />When we found out the hotel was voted best new hotel in the world in the 2013 Conde Nast Traveler Hot List, we weren’t surprised. This place really does have it all. And now, sitting in chilly London in the depths of winter, we’re already dreaming of a return visit…<em><br /><br />A romantic getaway at The Mulia, starting from USD 2,250 for a three-night stay, includes a secluded escape for two with views of the Indian Ocean on a 1km stretch of white-sand beach. Couples will have a beachfront suite at The Mulia and will be treated with the finest champagne and caviar, a private outdoor Jacuzzi, an ultimate self-pampering session at Mulia Spa and a dinner for two under the stars at Soleil Mediterranean & Pan-Asian Restaurant. In addition, exclusive airport transfers will be arranged by the hotel’s concierge.</em><em> For more information visit <a href="http://www.themulia.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.themulia.com</a> . We flew from London Heathrow with Singapore Airlines, via Singapore.</em><em> </em>