Whether you are looking a fun getaway or a peaceful sanctuary to spend your vacation, the location of this beachfront, 64-cottage and -villa resort is one of its greatest assets, on a calm, quiet, shallow bay, never more than a 20-minute transfer from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. Its setting in the centre of Jimbaran is Bali through and through – the village is still a fisherman’s enclave and the shops are mostly independent local enterprises.
Nothing has changed here for decades, making the experience like one of visiting Bali in the 1980s, before the island’s rapid development.
Belmond Jimbaran Puri can trace its genesis to the mid-1980s, when a local family purchased some beachfront land and built nine simple cottages. In time, a French management company took over, doubling the accommodations and adding a restaurant.
In 2006 Belmond (previously Orient-Express Hotels) assumed control, later expanding the property, introducing pool villas and upgrading the rooms.
Despite the changes in ownership and size, the sensibilities and feel of the resort have changed little, with an unwavering commitment to retain the ambience of Bali. The structures are unfussy, with dominant materials of bamboo, ylang-ylang, teak and Indonesian stone.
The faithful adherence to the Balinese aesthetic is fitting – and important, and hinged on the resort’s strong belief in the need for a connection to the island – since Jimbaran is at the heart of South Bali.
The cliffs of Uluwatu and its mesmerising temple, the heaving social scene of Seminyak, the party bars of Kuta, the beaches of Sanur and Nusa Dua, and the water sports of Tanjung Benoa, are all easily accessible, 40 minutes or less away by car. Jimbaran is a tranquil base, but one close to all the action.
Villas, set behind the cottages, are 350 square metres and are arranged along a meandering path in a manner that recalls a Balinese hamlet, with lush landscaping that includes bougainvillea, lotus ponds, and banana plants.
A small channel of water prefaces the entryway to each villa, to create balance; upon entering guests encounter a screen wall, which is a typical Balinese feature to stop evil spirits from entering the compound.
Once inside, you will see the private pool (all villas have one) and a large interior living area with a daybed and French doors that lead directly to the pool. Belmond Jimbaran Puri has three active temples on its grounds, with ceremonies taking place at each year-round. You are welcome at the ceremonies, either as a passive observer or an active participant, offering a first-hand, uncommercial conduit into the Hindu culture that makes Bali unique among Indonesia’s some 17,000 islands.
The resort also enjoys a perfect location –right in the middle of Jimbaran Bay. A daily walk to either end of the bay is eminently feasible and the seafood cafes to the left and the right are equidistant. What makes it a perfectly serene location is that the bay continues to be as quiet as it was in the 1980s, with limited hotel development, and no hawkers or roaming massage vendors, unlike the beaches north of the airport – and the continued dominance of the fishing trade that has long defined Jimbaran.