Falling dusk. Local women setting candle lights along lily ponds and pathways. The smell of frangipani flowers and sounds of croaking frogs filling the air. These are the moments in which we’d be reminded just how perfectly Amandari encapsulates the essence of Bali.
It has been now a few times that we experienced Aman hospitality. We keep coming back because we absolutely love how it puts us into a relaxed gear, from the welcomes to good-byes.
It’s what binds all Amans because the resorts can be very different: Amanbagh is majestic and sophisticated, Amanruya classically monumental, while Amankila—the Amandari’s Balinese sister resort—it has a touch of glamour. A very different atmosphere has Aman-i-Khas, an exclusive safari camp.
By contrast, Amandari is rather intimate. A simple, narrow road turning off a busy street on the outskirts of Ubud (blink and you’d miss it) leads to the hotel reception, which looks like a patio of a large private residence rather than a resort.
It is fashioned after the wantilan, a traditional local meeting place. This is not accidental of course, as the whole property is designed to resemble a Balinese village. And in fact, it is surrounded by one.
This is the second hotel ever opened by Aman Resorts, back in 1989. Since its inception it hasn’t changed much, resisting minimalistic fads and the pressure to redesign every few years.
Its interiors have plenty of timber and open spaces, and without sharp angles and sleek surfaces, they feel almost rustic and look rather modest. They do not boast the latest high-tech: don’t expect a tv set in your villa (yes, really).
Rather than focusing on keeping up-to-date, Amandari spends energy on maintaining a strong link with its traditional setting. Meticulous maintenance and gardening over the years help here, making the resort feel well established and organic.
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Sense of luxury
All this fits very well with Aman’s concept of creating an atmosphere akin to visiting a friend’s holiday getaway.
For a friend’s holiday home, Amandari is supremely elegant and luxurious, but the sense of luxury does not come from golden faucets or from abundant facilities. The Amandari luxury lies in the availability of personal space, in the unmatched service, and in the authentic Balinese experience, and tranquility.
Amandari can be translated as “peaceful spirits”. The “spirits” part may well refer to the ruins of an ancient temple buried in the jungle at the bottom of the valley.
Accessible from the resort, the ruins are a revered place. Local villagers have been bringing offerings here for hundreds of years.
The resort is not as old as the temple, of course, but in the rat race of luxury resorts, it might as well be. And yet it carries on, maintaining the consistently high level of excellence for more than twenty years now, confident in the well-honed formula of the uncompromising level of service blended with an intimate atmosphere and a touch of sophisticated cultural experience.