Mention Bali and immediately you think of sprawling resorts with bamboo lined walkways, trickling water features and signature Balinese dark wood… but not all Balinese accommodation is made the same!
Photos: Myself and Kevin
The spotlight has turned from Thailand in the last few years, and it is now shining down hard on the resort island of Bali. Affectionately known as ‘the Island of the Gods’, it isn’t hard to see why people are flocking to this Indonesian hot spot – the beautiful tropical climate, the overly friendly Balinese people, and some of the most gorgeous beaches and forests, make Bali quite the idyllic holiday destination. My last trip, back at the beginning of May with AirAsia, marked my fourth visit to the island. It was a very different visit to the previous 3, and a huge part of that had to do with our unique accommodation at the Luna2 Studiotel.
For all three of my previous trips, I stayed at typically Balinese residencies, both in the hip and happening Seminyak, and on the picturesque east coast of Bali in Nusa Dua. Picture white concrete walls, dark Indonesian wood features and blue tiled pools, all framed by palm tree and bamboo laden tropical gardens. Bliss.
I guess it is the sort of thing we have all come to expect of Balinese accommodation.
If there is one thing that I love more than tropical islands, sunshine and being within close proximity to the ocean or a pool, it is individuality. I am immediately drawn to the non-predictable – the people, places or things that shun pop culture and stand out on their own merits. So it should come as no surprise to you all when I say that I was immediately drawn to quirky and colourful Luna2 Studiotel.
UK designer, Melanie Hall, has thrown a wildcard into the Balinese accommodation landscape with the distinctly mod, nostalgic and futuristic aesthetic of Luna2. Taking inspiration from things such as Monopoly and the Rubix cube (and I will put it out there… there is definitely an Austin Powers vibe to some spots!), the boutique space – of just 14 rooms – isn’t afraid to be a little fun… heck, they even have a movie theatre and underground nightclub! So, there is no Instagram perfect, sprawling infinity pool for you to take a photo in front of with your straw boater, but the colourful pool and towering mural are just another notch to Luna2’s ‘belt of individuality’.
Be unpredictable, do the unexpected… be unique
Something I absolutely was not expecting from Luna2 was the impeccable quality of the food (and drinks menu!). While the general standard of hotel food has increased substantially over the last 5-10 years, the menu at Orbit was far superior to that of anywhere else I have stayed in Bali. Let’s just say, the head chef made me stand up and pay attention with her cold celery soup (it was so moreish!) and salmon ‘magnum’ dishes. Luna2’s resident mixologist, Helmut, puts as much innovation into his cocktail list as the head chef does into her menu. Sure, you can get a standard pina colada or mojito if you please, but trust me, it is far more fun testing out new territory with a wasabi martini while watching the sun set over Seminyak beach.
If there is one lesson that all those inventive sunset cocktails, the SMEG ‘maxi bar’ (a mini bar on steroids with things like Pez, lollipops, full sized bottles of bubbles, cards and even phone covers), the airport pick up complete with choice of alcoholic beverage, and all the other added details at Luna2 taught me, it is that straying from the crowd is so darn rewarding. Sure, doing something a little unpredictable – like choosing the themed hotel over a more traditional Balinese resort – might be a little daunting at first, but being able to say that you tried something different is always an amazing feeling.
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