Hotels & Resorts

Review: Conrad Bali

It’s a new look and a new, holistically healing mindset for Conrad Bali, where we checked in after a four-year renovation.

Conrad Bali Aerial View

Conrad Bali Aerial View

By Megan Leon

Aug 9, 2022

CONRAD BALI HAS BEEN a mainstay in Nusa Dua for the last 18 years and fresh off a four-year renovation, the classic resort pulses with new life, bringing a string of revitalizing experiences from breezy rooms to soul-nourishing discoveries.

Fresh, sea-salty Bali air fills my lungs as I enter the grand, open-air lobby of the Conrad, soothing my nerves after the madness of traveling again post-pandemic. After the hours-long check-in queues in Bangkok, delayed flight and snail-paced immigration line at Denpasar Airport, the 20-minute drive to Nusa Dua is literally a breeze

Golden hour over the 350-meter-stretch of beach, Conrad Bali
Golden hour at Conrad Bali

After a swift check-in, I meet general manager Kevin Girard and mention offhand that I’m in dire need of caffeine. He brings me straight to the East Lobby Lounge and, to my surprise, they have an excellent gourmet coffee selection highlighting locally sourced and roasted coffee beans from Dapur Kopi Bali. This piques my curiosity as I’m a sucker for locally grown anything and Kevin explains that Conrad Bali is all about working sustainably and with its community, giving a platform to local suppliers and farmers, and that I’ll be able to discover the intricate lattice work that is woven in most elements of the resort’s offerings. Before I can dig further, I remember I am booked for a sound healing session, so I bid Kevin adieu and head out on foot across the property with the instant caffeine kick that’s hit me. 

Deluxe Lagoon Access, Conrad Bali
Deluxe Lagoon Access

Six-point-eight secluded hectares of tropical gardens and lagoons await. I pass the glistening main pool dotted with carefree travelers taking in the ocean breeze that provides cool respite from the blazing sun. One of Bali’s largest lagoon pools, lined by lush greenery, surrounds the main area, snaking around the pathway, right along the deluxe pool-view rooms and all the way up to the Azure Bar that has housemade gelatos and fresh coconut water. I stride almost childlike on the path that leads me straight to the ocean and, because it’s golden hour, the warm light gives off a glittery, mesmerizing effect over the 350-meter-stretch of beach that runs along the hotel. Although not private, it feels like it could be as there is no other property in sight and though temptation gnaws at me to take a dip in the slow waves, I continue my journey to find the Infinity Chapel, location of my sensory meditation.  

On an elevated platform surrounded by a tranquil reflective pool, the asymmetrical marble-and-steel wedding venue meets a pathway in a way that feels almost transcendent. The Art of Sound healing, part of the new Conrad Bali-curated series of Signature Sensory Odysseys, is meant to release energetic blockages in a holistic manner. 

Infinity Chapel, location of Sound healing session at Conrad Bali
Infinity Chapel, location of the sound healing session

The candlelit chapel floors are lined artistically with floral artwork, as well as mats laid for each guest. With the floor-to-ceiling windows allowing the blue light of dusk to take over the room, the sound healers instruct us to lay down, marking the beginning of the one-hour session based on ancient meditative practices using a variety of instruments and sounds to activate the body’s natural healing system and to focus the mind on specific thoughtforms such as mantras or affirmations. Through sound and vibrations from instrumental Himalayan bowls and gongs, you feel an instant sense of tranquility as each beat connects you with the earth below and further into a meditative state. 

The Sensory Odysseys also include Olfactory Perfume-Making, a collaborative effort with a local expert perfumer that highlights the history and unique scents and flowers found across Indonesia; and the Purnama (full moon) Celebration that happens once a month, beginning with canangsari making, a Balinese offering, followed by a traditional ritual at the resort temple where you bask in the full moon for spiritual purification and to cleanse negativity from cleanse body and soul.

Forest Bathing Experience with Conrad Bali
Forest Bathing

My personal favorite experience is the Forest Bathing and Speakeasy Foraging. Vintage off-road Land Rovers await for a 6 a.m. departure, which is truly the best way to avoid Denpasar’s notorious traffic, where we go right into Bali’s UNESCO World Heritage Site of the panoramic Jatiluwih Rice Terraces before reaching Lake Beratan. We make our way to Bedugul forest, canoeing across the stoic lake, passing the famous Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple. Our guide, Mr. Ram, who is known as ‘the son of the forest,’ along with Bali-based sustainability and closed-loop-farming advocates Little Spoon Farm, takes us under the shade of the Rasamala trees into thick rainforest where native biodiversity, edible plants, survival-skills education and so-called age-defying waterfalls converge. If reconnecting with oneself is what you seek, you will find it here. 

Back at the hotel, I spend some working time in my room where the updated palette features lighter, more natural earthy tones of cream, taupe and hints of blue that pair well with the dark-wood furnishings and cozy lighting. Ever-so-chic Swedish parfumerie Byredo has taken over the bathroom amenities, with Mojave Ghost being the chosen scent.

Azure at Conrad Bali
Azure

Breakfast and lunch are spent at the hotel’s main restaurant, SUKU, which specializes in pan-Asian dishes. The breakfast buffet turns out to be a wonderful way to explore Indonesian curries alongside their homemade granola, yogurts and various local honey.  

Dinner turns a touch upscale at the al fresco, beachfront Eight Degrees South, which highlights only locally caught seafood, turning them into unique dishes that touch on Japanese, French and local cooking techniques. Think Chawanmushi or a dreamy meuniere prepared with the fish of the day.

I spent my last day getting pampered at  Jiwa Spa, a two-story haven. I’m a simpleton when it comes to massages but I’m also obsessed so I choose a 90-minute Balinese massage and even though my body is the most relaxed it’s been in months, I manage to ease even further into an unclouded state of mind.

Sponsored by Tourism New Zealand
Meditation at Water Garden, Conrad Bali
Meditation at Water Garden

As one who finds it difficult to disconnect from the world and my devices, Conrad Bali has some majestic power over me, somehow alleviating the stresses I carried in. I find myself feeling more energetic, lighter, dare I say, free. This energy pulses through from the moment you enter the hotel throughout each staff member and never fades.  

conradbali.com; deluxe doubles from Rp 3,040,000.

All photos courtesy of Conrad Bali.

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