2.5 hours from Bali airport is Amankilla – think old Bali, scattered with villages and dense tropical forests. Perched on a hill is the beautiful, classic, timeless Amankilla. The service is beyond – the property is private and feels as though you have it to yourself sometimes, with guests finding shade in the striped thatch-covered bungalows by the pool. The food is 5-star, and you could think you are at any of the best restaurants in Sydney….Europe, London – it’s fresh, healthy and your every request is considered.
Aman – means peace and the one thing I noticed most about this sprawling Balinese castle with private winding paths to your villas is there is no music in the restaurant, pool area or bar. You are in fact wrapped in the sounds of the birds, the ocean and the breeze as it rustles through the tropical jungle – and you are immediately at peace.
For us, it wasn’t just the grandeur of this hotel – but the staff whom some have been there since its opening 31 years ago. They are both genuine, kind and warm as the Balinese are – but they are world leaders in hospitality and service, and your every need is put first above all else.
The grounds are magical, and the beach is dramatic and private. This is, without a doubt – a world-class hotel, with service and making your stay a dream the priority of every one of the staff that work there.
Make an effort to watch the sunrise and do the sunrise cruise – it was a highlight for our family and the best way to start our first experience of the world, that is the first class AMAN.
We moved onto Amanwana – which is on Moyo Island and is a secluded luxury escape reached by private fast boat from Sumbawa. It’s raw, untouched, incredibly private and we felt like the only guests at the property. Flanked by the crystal blue water of the Flores sea, you are greeted by all the staff as you arrive at this private island with a warmth that makes you feel like family.
It’s a common trait of the AMANs – the ability to put you at ease and make you feel welcome into their world of peace. We loved the rawness of this island, watching the sunset over the water, the tides rise and fall and spent our days snorkelling and swimming in the crystal blue waters and in the bright-coloured world of the fish and coral – untouched and healthy. Without a doubt some of the best snorkelling we’ve done – and it’s a step of the beach in front of your luxury tent.
Some animals come to life at sunrise and sunset – monkeys, deer and black-tip sharks that circle at dusk a stone’s throw from your tent.
We swam off the back of the beautiful Aman traditional outrigger one day for 5 kilometres submerged in the sea with fish and turtles. The staff played soccer with the boys at sunset for hours and took them fishing until after the evening while we explored a nearby waterfall – a must-experience for a couple or a family. We swam in the pools that Lady Diana once bathed in again, listening only to the sounds of nature and running water – emulating all that makes one feel at peace.
The food is fantastic – the service has a more laid-back island vibe that appeals to our family. At the heart of this island is adventure, which we embraced – but you can also choose to listen to the sounds of the sea and do nothing much at all – I love that the choice is yours. AMAN – I now understand the term an ‘AMAN Junkie’ it would be very easy to become addicted to these hotels and their way of life. Memories etched in our family’s minds forever.