While planning our one week vacation in Bali, we had wanted to see a different side of Bali, away from the southern beach areas of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Sanur or Nusa Dua - and thought of Amed, which was probably as far east as it gets in Bali. However, we were unsure of the area, and decided to just plan in a recce trip of one night only away from the south to see what Amed was all about. If we liked it, we could then return in future for a longer holiday.
We wanted a hotel by the beach; but it was high season and accommodation options were limited. Palm Garden Amed immediately captured our attention from the reviews here on TripAdvisor but unfortunately they had a minimum 2 night booking policy, while we had only 1 night to spare on our itinerary. Fortunately, e-mail correspondence was quick and promptly responded to and they gladly accommodated our request for one night as they had availability. Payment was made upfront through the hotel website with no issues - but curiously quoted in Swiss Francs. The reason for this was that the resort is owned and operated by a Swiss couple, who we actually met later during our stay.
The trip to Amed by car had spectacular scenery, especially once pass Candidasa, with views of the brooding Gunung Agung in the distance as well as rice paddies. The turn-off into the narrow road into Amed is an eye opener. Amed is actually only the name of the first village in a series of fishing villages along the east coast. As we drove through the fishing villages with names like Jemeluk, Bunutan and Lipah, we could feel immediately that the area was very rustic, basic, rural, authentic and had a relaxed vibe totally different from the overly populated crazy touristy areas of Kuta with its shops and many distractions in the south. This was the real Bali.
When we finally arrived at Lean village and saw the Palm Garden we were totally impressed. Certainly from what we saw along the road, the Palm Garden was probably the most upmarket resort in the area. It was certainly pretty, and with only 10 units of accommodation, a charming cosy and intimate resort in neatly manicured grounds. Check-in was a breeze, in fact all staff interaction we had throughout our stay was pleasant and great. We were even given sarongs to be worn if we chose to, which was a nice touch.
We were brought to our villa, which was the closest one to the swimming pool and restaurant, and immediately like what we saw. The villa had a traditional Balinese thatched roof with an outdoor patio but inside it was all modern, comfortable, new and decorated with teak furniture. With only five villas on the property, these were certainly the ones to go for. Although the oceanfront bungalows were great with its own plunge pools, these villas are so close to the beach anyway - the savings in the rate you pay are well worth it.
The villas come complete with a king-sized bed, air-cond, fan, safe, refrigerator, hair dryer and thankfully no television. Wi-Fi was available, and the password could be obtained from reception at no additional charge.
The semi-outdoor bathroom was spacious with rain-shower complete with hot water. It is certainly always an experience in Bali to be bathing outdoors under the stars!
The resort is located on a working fishing village, and the black sand beach is always full with the pretty traditional jukung fishing outrigger canoes lined up on the sand. We were sceptical of claims of snorkeling being possible on Bali beaches, but here in Amed, the water is indeed clear and calm, at least when we were there. At the headland right in front of the resort, you can indeed snorkel and although much of the coral is bleached, there is still enough to keep you occupied and colourful fish to see.
That night we tried out the resort spa, and the two local masseuses were very good. It was a totally relaxing experience with the cool night sea breeze tinkling the wind chimes as the massage was in progress. Would highly recommend the spa experience. Once or twice, the sound of motorcycles from the village next door did punctuate the bliss of the massage - but this is no big issue.
We didn't really get to try the restaurant food other than the breakfast, so we can't really comment on the food. We had read some previous mixed reviews of the breakfast, but we found it to be fine.
All-in-all, one night was really much too short a time to spend here, and before we knew it, our time in heaven was up. Would we return to Amed? Most definitely, and certainly it has to be the Palm Garden Amed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Palm Garden Amed - Beach & SPA ResortSituated on the north-eastern coast of Bali directly on the black sand lava beach lies our built PALM GARDEN AMED BEACH & SPA RESORT. Amidst dozens of shadow- providing coconut palm trees it is harmonically embedded in the crescent-shaped bay of Lean.Away from the mass tourism, you will find the original and authentic Bali with its unique cultural flavour and the traditional lifestyle of its local people. Every day you will witness the spectacle of the local fishermen on their picturesque outrigger boats returning home from their morning routine. Waiting ever so patiently for he catch, the women with their children welcome their husbands on the beach.A cool refreshing bath in the large open swimming pool is complemented by a spectacular view overlooking the crystal-clear, turquoise ocean and the nearby coral reef beneath. The 28 degree warm water its fascinating underwater world guarantee you a splendid time with unforgettable impressions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Palm Garden Amed Beach & Spa Resort Bali