It’s like stepping back in time to one hundred years ago during colonial period Asia, somewhere between the late 18th to early 19th century. That’s what I felt as soon as I entered inside The Legian Bali. The hotel offers a stylish haven of dark woods, white walls and cream linens, natural fibers and a plethora of traditional Balinese artworks, designed by Jaya Ibrahim. While state-of-the-art amenities exist here, the ambiance is the antithesis of contemporary.
One feels immediately as if they were in an old home. Outside there’s an abundance of grassy lawns replete with banana trees and birds of paradise all of which surround the hotel’s major attraction: a three-tier swimming pool that extends out to the beachfront.
There’s an understated glamour here of sophistication and class. Smartly dressed hotel guests can be found enjoying a sunset cocktail or settling down by the pool with a good book or having a long swim. The Legian’s timeless atmosphere is the real life fantasy that many of have always dreamt of – a faraway, exotic place where you can lay amidst tropical palm trees all day long on a beautiful otherworldly beachfront while served to your heart’s desire.
The open-air living room at the Beach House. Courtesy of the Legion Bali
The hotel, which is located just five minutes away from the busy port of Seminyak, with its hip boutiques and bars, still feels as if it’s in some secluded, prestigious corner of Bali. There are all sorts of things to do.
You can explore the surrounding town on bikes that you can take for free from the hotel or hire Vespas for 200,000 Indian Rupiah. But you might, as I did, prefer to lounge around the hotel and enjoy the magnificent spa with its endless treatments, which I immediately fell in love with for its creative and natural approach to wellness.
Handcrafted massage oils created with indigenous plants and natural aromas found in the surrounding landscape are made especially for the hotel (I purchased several). Moreover, the spa evokes a holistic and calming ambiance, furnished with lots of wood and natural materials. I opted for the Balinese Ancient massage, which incorporates healing rituals practiced for generations by the Balinese. As I was finishing I heard the pitter-patter of raindrops, endowing the experience with a tropical and cosy vibe. Afterwards, there are warm plunge whirlpools, a cold plunge pool and a spacious steam and sauna room. I tried them all.
A canopy bed in the bedroom of the Deluxe Suite. Courtesy of the Legion Bali
Each morning I woke up early to practice yoga, first with a group session on the grass outside my bedroom near the pool and the next day with a private instructor in a studio near the spa. In the evening, dinner takes place indoors or outdoors, provided the weather cooperates (one day it did and one day it didn’t, which meant I had to move indoors at the last minute due to a tropical rainstorm). Either way, the fine dining experience is impeccably gourmet. My favourite, of course, is to sit outside by the pool surrounded by candles while sipping a drink and relishing in Indonesian specialities.
There’s a long strip of beach in front of the hotel where guests can take walks during the day or even journey by horseback. I eyed the surfers, which aren’t as many here due to the character of the waves in comparison to Canggu, wishing I could join – maybe next time. The infinity pool overlooking the beach framed by palm trees is just as magical and here I spent much of my day, albeit taking a break for afternoon tea (4pm to 6pm).
A view of the Jacuzzi area. Courtesy of the Legion Bali
Guests might notice, as I did, the industrial looking façade on the backside of the hotel, telling of its former usage. It was converted into the boutique hotel that it is today in 1996 establishing itself as the flagship for The Legian chain.
The Legian Lombok is scheduled to open at some point in 2019. It’s slightly more urbane appearance doesn’t take away from its timeless character. This is a hotel for everyone: families, solo travellers, groups of friends, and honeymooners. What’s not to miss are the sunsets captured from the pool that are some of the most incredible vistas imaginable. They, like an experience in Bali, are priceless, perfect and utterly beautiful.
Double rooms from Dhs2,807, lhm-hotels.com
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