At Raffles Bali, Nature is the Anchor

by Julius Kensan
10th June 2024
Set against the magnificent vista of Mount Agung and Jimbaran Bay, Raffles Bali is a luxury retreat that appeals greatly to contemplative and receptive individuals who take comfort in the unhurried pace of vacationing.

The revered Mount Agung is a testament to Bali’s cultural and spiritual landscape. The majestic mountain, which influences both the island’s rainfall patterns and the religious beliefs of Balinese people, is venerated as a terrestrial reflection of Mount Meru—Hindu cosmology’s axis mundi and celestial stairway.

Perched elegantly atop a verdant hillside, Raffles Bali has the good fortune to be the recipient of the timeless beauty of Mount Agung as well as the tranquil waters of Jimbaran Bay. And the resort’s logical response to accentuate the vista that nature has so generously provided? They frame it. 

The Raffles Bali experience essentially begins from the driveway that is flanked by greenery. An elegant prelude that acts as a palate cleanser from the hustle of people and frantic traffic from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. This short yet effective drive helps prepare and reset the mind of guests to the retreat within. At Raffles Bali, one’s senses are fundamentally guided by the presence of nature. 

Across the resort, the architecture marries Balinese tradition with modern elegance, creating an environment that is both timeless and invigorating. Take their private villas, for example; the interiors, adorned with artisanal Balinese crafts and contemporary furnishings, echo the island’s rich cultural tapestry while ensuring modern comfort. While the villa’s private pool and open-air pavilion offer an opulence that is at once understated and private, and there’s a sense that they serve as a supporting role and guiding frame for guests to better take in the breathtaking view before them.

This delicate sensibility extends to their signature restaurant Rumari that is perched on the property’s highest point. Breakfast is a serene ritual accompanied by the presence of Mount Agung that is soberly framed by the wooden columns of the structure. Depending on the whims of the weather (and your luck), Mount Agung may shyly hide behind the thin veil of clouds or present itself confidently against the azure sky.

Here, the meals are generous but completely calm and relaxed. The tasting menu format allows guests to dive into heritage Indonesian options and familiar international dishes—think bubuh mengguh along with egg benedict, washed down with nourishing smoothies—while limiting food waste. This approach harks back to a refined etiquette that doubles up as an act of sustainability.

Relaxation at Raffles Bali is, of course, not limited to the appreciation of nature, a cool dip in the infinity pool and a leisure stroll by the private beach. The resort also offers an exceptional wellness experience that transcends mere relaxation. The holistic treatments are rooted in traditional Balinese and Southeast Asian healing practices, thoughtfully designed to guide guests inward, enabling restoration and self-discovery.

Among these treatments, the Reiki session with the respected healer Made Warmana and chakra balancing with Surya Kusuma Aradhana stand out, where both healers are patient and generous with their knowledge. In the former, Pak Warmana dives into the practice of Reiki that is easy to absorb without the disguise of mysticism. Similarly, Pak Surya proposes stress management based on the guest’s principal chakra and element constitution, before culminating in a rebalancing of the body through sound healing.

The luxury retreat in Raffles Bali may seem centred on daytime activities. But come evening, there’s no reason not to conclude the day with dinner at the aforementioned Rumari. Led by Chef Gaetan Biesuz, the dinner presents contemporary Southeast Asian cuisine refined to Michelin-star standards. The restaurant also plays host to special dinners featuring noted chefs from other noted establishments. After dinner, and a few glasses of wine are imbibed, simply retreat back to the villa, draw a hot bath and slip into restful sleep before rising early to soak up nature once more under the sun.

It should come as no surprise that Raffles Bali is a luxury retreat that appeals greatly to contemplative and receptive individuals who take comfort in the unhurried pace of vacationing, leaning towards activities that feel intentional or even doing nothing at all, while allowing the magnificent view to unfold itself like a living painting—a lone fisherman rowing across the pristine waters in the foreground, and Mount Agung standing in stoic silence since time immemorial.