Swept away to the eastern shores of Bali’s Karangasem Regency, I found myself in the small, tucked away town of Manggis. This was not the Bali I had known — there were no built up streets and the jungle still very much had its roots. Coming into town, we made a quick right turn onto a small road that wound its way up a hill surrounded by towering trees. Atop, the turquoise waters of the Lombok Strait in the distance greeted me. I had arrived to a coastal retreat and my home for a few days at the Amankila.
Amankila, meaning “peaceful hill,” blends perfectly into the hillside. As is true with all Aman Resorts, the carefully designed rooms and buildings feel natural to their surroundings and never intrusive. With elevated walkways connecting 34 suites, the hotel’s design pays homage to Balinese beach houses with natural tones and clean lines, perfected for guests to soak in the views. As part of Kiwi Collection’s curated collection of luxury hotels, the Amankila awaited for a stay unlike any other.
Overlooking the ocean, the manicured, frangipani-lined driveway gave way to the reception, where a cold towel and warm welcome awaited. The walkway through the open-air room led to the steps to the view I couldn’t wait to lay my eyes on — the three-tiered pool, plunging down the hillside like cascading rice terraces. Below the serene pool, a short walk or quick golf cart ride away, is Amankila’s beach club on a private stretch of beach. The sandy shores brush up perfectly against the silken lawns that lead to another 41-meter pool. With it’s own cafe and a plethora of beach activities to choose from (think paddle boards and more), it was hard to decide where to sojourn for the day.
The suites are sprinkled throughout the green hillside, connected only by lifted walkways. Inspired by the royal water palace of Ujung near Amlapura, each are crafted to be perched up on concrete stilts and offer unparalleled sea views. Alang alang thatched roofs cover the sandy-colored stone walls of each suite, which feels like its own private villa. Inside the Indrakila Suite, the luxurious design set with Balinese charm combines seamlessly the rattan chairs, coconut-shell tables, and plenty of daybeds. Spacious yet thoughtful, the interior of this 2,680 square foot suite has no corner overlooked. A gift of rich-toned sarongs greeted us, a reminder of how often it’s the little details you physically and mentally take home with you. The bathroom is set with twin vanities and closets, a bathtub whose window opens to a koi pond, and a shower that can open up to the terrace. Just outside the canopied king-size bed, the terrace has its own private pool and outdoor bale (or pavilion) overlooking up and down the coastline. I found myself starting the day with coffee in hand, soaking in the early rays of the Balinese sun and listening to the sound of the crashing waves.
Set over the three-tiered pool, the restaurant and bar sit opposite of each other, with only the spilling steps between. Minimal and chic design blend in with the ocean views, where the cool breeze starts and ends the day in the open-air rooms. Breakfast hosts a wide-range of local fruits and dishes. Trust me when I say you can’t go wrong with their donuts paired with a fluffy, espresso cream. Whether it’s at the beach club or poolside, the lunch options quench any morning’s adventure, like their soft shell crab tacos or juicy burgers. As the day slows down, afternoon tea is served just outside Amankila’s library. Pick a chair near the pool, how strong you want your tea, and steep in the last hours of light.
By night time, the resort transforms with glowing lights. Making the way to the restaurant, a mandatory pitstop for a cocktail made with fresh, tangy tamarind starts the evening. The nightly dinner features fresh fish, brought daily by the local boats. Ingredients are sourced from Amankila’s own garden and nearby farm, ensuring each plate perfected as the melodies from a Balinese musician fill the room.
Early one morning, we headed out on an adventure with Amankila. Taken to the serene rice terraces near Kastala, we followed our guide through the green fields. Learning about the lives and homes of the locals and explaining the importance of the vegetation with Mt. Agung in the background, one thing dawned on me — we’ve yet to pass another traveler and its nearly 11 am. An insight into Bali’s untouched culture and very alive traditions rang true as we trekked through the rice fields and jungle, descending down into Tenganan village. Ending the trek in one of the oldest villages in Bali, we got a taste for what life still looks like today, rooted in Balinese traditions.
It was time to return back to the Amankila for final goodbyes and preparations for the journey home. As the team wrapped a black and white bracelet around my wrist for farewell, I stopped to take one last mental picture of this blissful haven.
Bon Traveler’s Tips For Staying at the Amankila in Bali
- Book with Kiwi Collection to receive room upgrade upon arrival based on availability, a special welcome amenity, and a late check-out when available.
- Amankila can arrange curated, guided tours — whether its on ocean or land, be sure to check in with them to help plan your stay in the region.
- Dinner at the hotel is not be missed. Try the fresh catch of the day where a whole fish is prepared how you like, with spices and sauces alongside.
Get in Touch
Jl. Raya Manggis, Manggis, Karangasem, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali 80871, Indonesi
*Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest of Amankila and Kiwi Collection. As always, all opinions are own. More Indonesia stories here.