I used David O. to book this hotel. Even though he is a Virtuoso agent, there were no major freebees thrown in (such as a meal or a massage). This is because we booked the “Bali Beach Break” package that was already discounted with an “experience” thrown in (a morning snorkeling cruise in this case…) He was, however, able to get us a nice upgrade from the “garden view” bungalow that I booked into an “ocean view”. This upgrade was worth approximately $200 per night. He was also able to get an additional two breakfasts thrown in that we were able to use for our kids.
I booked this hotel primarily because it is located in East Bali which is away from the tourist hoards in the typical resort areas in Southern Bali (Kuta, Nusa Dua, Semaniyak etc.) It is located on a cliff side setting overlooking a cove with a black sand beach. It also offers included kayaking, hobie catting and boogie boards amongst other things. I have two boys and a husband that have a difficult time sitting still, so I thought that this would be perfect!
Amankila is a beautiful resort. The location is stunning. The main part of the resort is at the top of a cliff overlooking a perfect horseshoe bay. There is a beautiful three level pool overlooking the ocean with umbrellas, comfortable lounge chairs and private bales to sit in. While at the pool, an attendant will bring over iced water, cool towels and sunscreen. The pool was completely empty during our time there.
There were also some activities at the main pool. Every afternoon, Amankila invites young Balinese students to demonstrate how to make offerings. My boys were thrilled to make some new friends. Also, there was a villager by the library with Balinese snacks and tea.
This is a photo of the beach pool. To get there, you have to take a golf cart ride down a steep cliff. There is a nice restaurant and bar service there. The beach is just a few meters through a palm grove. Once at the beach, there were several private bale's to sit in.
The volcanic black sand beach
Our room was amazing, as is expected with an Aman Resort. We had a beautiful view of the cliffs and ocean. There was a large covered sofa with pillows and a rattan desk if you wanted to work with a view. Inside was a king bed and desk. The kids beds were set up in two different places. One was by the front door and the other was next to the toilet door (which I thought was a bit strange, but hey…it worked!. On one of the kids beds was a canvas “Amankila kids” bag that included an Amankila coloring book, colored pencils and markers. Other thoughtful touches included sun hats and flip flops in the correct sizes for everyone in the family, a giant tower of tropical fruit and a beach bag.
The king sized master bed.
A nice bowl of welcome fruit from the Manager. Included are mangosteens (my favorite!!) and the special Balinese snake fruit.
This is one of the two extra beds that I requested. One really nice thing about the Aman Resorts is that they did not hassle me or charge me extra for four in one room (one of the few hotel chains in Asia not to give me any issues with it!)
This was the other extra bed. My son loved the mosquito netting. He pretended that he was camping in a tent...Little does he realize that most camping is not done in a 5 star hotel ...lol!!
The master bathtub.
This is the cushioned lounge that was outside overlooking the beautiful view.
The amazing view from the patio! Oh yeah...and the ocean isn't bad too!
After showing us our room, we were presented with welcome drinks.
One of the strongest aspects of the Amankila resort is the food. The executive chef is Shane (from Australia) and he was amazing! We had the opportunity to meet him and his enthusiasm for all things culinary just bubbled over! The plates coming out of his kitchen were by far the best hotel cuisine of our trip. His lobster ravioli was out of this world. He also managed to take traditional Indonesian cuisine and turn it on it’s head. My youngest son ordered a simple scoop of ice cream and it came inside an “ice igloo”. This was literally a teardrop shaped vessel of ice (you have to see it to believe it). When my kids were amazed, he took them into the kitchen to show them how it was done. Amazing! The food at Amanusa and Amanjiwo paled in comparison to his.
Getting a demo on how to make an ice igloo from Chef Shane. So amazing!
The finished product.
Another strength of the Amankila resort was the General Manager, Sandra Watermann. She was accessible and proactive. When she discovered that we were unhappy with the closed beach situation (which I will get into in a moment), she bent over backwards to try to make us happy.
Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with us during our visit. While the sky was bright blue with only the lightest breeze, the ocean was extremely rough. I was very disappointed as I made a point to book this resort during the dry "high" season to maximize the chances of great weather. The issue may possibly be the actual shape of the bay and the fact that there is no offshore reef to break the waves. The beach was closed the entire time that we were there. This meant that all of the activities that I was most excited about (the hobie cat, boogie boards, kayaks etc.) were unavailable. We were able to boogie board for a short time at our arrival only after literally begging the beach staff to let us. As any parent knows - to watch your children stare miserably at the water and not be allowed in is not a very good vacation.
The problem with the closed beach was just insurmountable. After just one night listening to my kids boredom and disappointment at the beach being closed, we wound up leaving Amankila (we were supposed to be there for four nights). Again, I must say that Sonia did everything possible to make us happy and the reasons for leaving is not reflective of something that Amankila had any control of. She made arrangements for us to transfer to the Amanusa resort in Nusa Dua where we were able to have beach fun for the rest of our vacation. In addition, she somehow managed to arrange for a very nice upgrade once at Amanusa.
I would still love to go back to Amankila at some point. My husband is still sad that we had to leave.