A small oasis
Life in Amed is a small oasis tucked between the black sand beach of Lean village and dramatic inland hills. Choose from their small cottages, with downstairs double beds plus upstairs singles, two medium-sized beachfront villas, or a large and lovely three-bedroom villa.
There's also a moderately-sized free-form swimming pool, a large lawn area, lovingly tended gardens and a restaurant back towards the main road. Of course there's the beach out front -- as with most of the beaches in north Bali, this is a jet black sand affair -- and during the day much of it is given over to the dozens of jukungs resting after an early morning of fishing. It's easy enough to wander between them though and straight offshore you're got some quite good snorkelling, with ample stretches of coral teeming with fish -- the further offshore you go the better.
The house, or to be accurate the "Perfumed Garden Beach House", has been modelled to an extent on a Javanese joglo, with two ground floor bedrooms (each with open-air en suite and a terrace veranda), separated by a broad common area that overlooks the lawn area to the beach. Upstairs is the master bedroom, with its own en suite and veranda. When you're booking this for you and your friends, don't even bother drawing straws for who gets the upstairs bedroom, just grab it!
After the initial, “Holy cow it’s big!” upon arrival, the first thing we noticed was the beautiful tiling throughout. Soft and cool under foot, the English owner Sarah told us she picked the motif and colours herself. The tiles were fired at a local tilers in Sidemen, in central Bali. From the common area to the stairs leading upstairs into the master en suite, from earthen hues to warm reds and purple details, the results are enchanting.
Doors and windows are finished with wooden Balinese and Javanese accents -- the doors into the two downstairs bedrooms are actually windows from a large old house. Much is antique, secondhand or from refurbished teak, procured during trips to the myriad furniture shops in Kerobokan. There's precious few mod-cons, with no TVs and the internet is, well, a bit patchy. Yes, there's air-con and coffee- and tea-making facilities, as well as a large fridge that was stocked with soft drinks.
Crisp linen with fluffed pillows and over-sized mattresses stand high off the floor. Ample chairs and benches adorned with all manner of side pillows beckon. The view from the open-air bathrooms back up the mountain valley behind the resort are spectacular, and out the other direction, glorious sunrises wake you with Lombok in the distance. With a large lawn area and swimming pool out front there's ample space for kids to go mad.
Life in Amed has a half dozen more regular sized bungalows in the main grounds along with a second swimming pool. These are quite cute affairs with a double bed downstairs and two single beds in a loft above the terrace veranda. Bathrooms are immaculate, spacious and well designed. It's also in this area you'll find the two smaller villas, which, we'd have to say, are a bit cramped and hog the beachfront area. Consider them a practice run for the main house -- they nailed it second time around.
The good things in life often don't come cheap and the same holds for Life in Amed. You're paying a premium here for a lovingly designed and implemented resort. The beach cottages are US$70 in low season, $95 in high, the smaller villas are $120/$145 in low/high season and the Perfumed Garden Beach House is a substantial $300/$360 per night. Before you choke on the price of the larger house, bear in mind it comfortably sleeps three families, so if you're looking for a hideaway with some friends, we'd class it as solid value. Of the other offerings, the smaller villas are actually the worst value, and we'd say if you're travelling alone the beach cottages are the way to go, but if you can rustle up a crowd, the Perfumed Garden Beach House smells pretty sweet.
Address: Lean village, Bunutan
T: (0363) 23 152;
Coordinates (for GPS): 115º41'21.12" E, 8º21'18.72" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 400,000 to 1,000,000 Rp
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
US$ two bedroom
US$ Three bedroom
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Amed