The Italian jewelry house chose a gem of a location for its first hotel outside Italy. The Bulgari Bali perches on a cliff top 450 feet above the Indian Ocean on the tip of the Jimbaran Peninsula, the island's southernmost coast. (Next stop from here: Australia.) The resort is built terrace-style on a steep slope, and when it came time to divvy up the choicest real estate, the land right along the cliff edge, the competition must have been keen.
The spa, along with the nine Ocean Front Villas, resort pool, and restaurants, came out on top. The relaxation pavilion, the centerpiece of a tranquil garden with a swimming pool, looks out on a panorama broken only by a few small boats and the horizon. Four of the eight treatment rooms also have this mesmerizing view. The style throughout is clean and modern, with one bow to tradition: spa reception. It occupies a 19th-century Javanese joglo (traditional house) that was shipped here and reassembled piece by piece. The exterior is a tour de force of carving — a kind of doily in wood.
The 59 villas, most of them 3,230 square feet, were designed as high-walled compounds with substantial outdoor living space. The interiors are simplicity itself: a large bedroom and a large spa bathroom — the tub is in the center, and the floors are black terrazzo — separated by a hallway/dressing area. The rooms with the best views are the Ocean Front Villas or those at the top of the property.
The rest of the hotel is reminiscent of Aman architecture, particularly in the way the high walls necessitated by the site have been turned into a design element, and the generous acreage allotted to ornamental pools (right). It's an irresistible formula: dramatic location; cool, understated luxury; and as much privacy as you can handle. It would take a jaded heart not to fall for it. — G.W.