Catherine Whitworth has specialized for many years in travel to Southeast Asia. Here she shares her trip with us.
May 26th: Singapore Raffles Hotel This is one of my favorite hotels in the world! It is still gorgeous. Located right in the middle of Singapore, the gardens are not to be missed! The rooms could be straight out of colonial times, with high ceilings and beautiful furnishings. My favorite area is the Palm Court suites- the sitting room is separated by a wall with open windows.
Be sure to see the Raffles Museum! An outdoor mall is attached to the property.
May 27th: Carolyn Tyler’s Villa I went to look at this beautiful property. It is not completed but it will have two pools, a second house on property and 4 bedrooms in the main house. The gardens, however, are all ready complete and worth seeing! There is a river running along the front of the property. It will be a great rental villa!
May 28th: Hotel Visits
Viceroy– This five-star property has large villa-like rooms with plunge pools AND heli pad. It is located near Ubud on the Ayung river, where you can view authentic grass rooftops.
Amandari– This is the queen of Ubud! Glamorous, with large, bright rooms. Perfect with plunge pools and the restaurant is divine. The Spa is small but good!
Chedi Club- A moderate alternative in Ubud, the rooms were beautifully done, they are big and the property has gorgeous gardens.
Uma– Another good moderate property this health-oriented property’s rooms have just been redone. It is all very bright and pleasant with a beautiful spa!
Begawan Giri- This property is absolutely stunning. You will share four/five bedroom villas with others. The gardens are amazing- situated in the Ayung valley looking right down into the gorge.
Ubud Hanging Gardens– About 20-minute north of Ubud, perched on a very steep mountain- so steep it has two funiculars (trains), is the Ubud Hanging Gardens. It is good for honeymooners who want to relax and chill. The views are beautiful. I liked it!
Four Seasons Sayan- This is where I stayed. It was lively and beautiful. You descend to the entrance for your villa. With terrific Four Seasons serivice, it was five-star all the way. The restaurant and bar have stunning views of the river. The rooms were huge, the bathrooms were huge! All very private, with a beautiful spa.
May 29th: Bali West Coast and Beaches
Hotel Tugu– This dramatic lobby is done by a collector of Indonesian and Chinese Antiques. The pieces are everywhere. When you get to the beach here- you know you are in Bali! It is a good moderate alternative for beach on the west coast, near Canguu. The cooking school is outstanding!
Legian Club– Located on the west side of Bali- across the street from the beach. Attached to the five-star Legian Resort. The club has access to all Legian facilities. The rooms were beautifully decorated, clean and contemporary.
Oberoi– This property has been recently renovated. It is a good alternative on the beach side of Bali. It has a great restaurant with big beautiful pool, gorgeous gardens, and excellent service. It is near the hot restaurant KU DE TA in Canguu.
Intercontinental– This Jimbaran hotel is huge! People were milling everywhere. It looked like a convention facility to me. Honestly, you could be anywhere- there is nothing special about the rooms.
St. Regis- Located in Nusa Dua. To me, Nusa Dua is not Bali, but it certainly has a lot going on lately. There were a lot of meetings and conventions going on here. Everyone on our flight seemed to be going to Nusa Dua. The St. Regis came highly recommended by clients. They loved the rooms, dining, and public areas. Plus, it is brand new.
Four Seasons Jimbaran- This is still the queen in my book. The service is impeccable and the villas have the perfect size plunge pools. The living area is open and the bedroom is closed for air-conditioning. The gift shop is the best. There are three restaurants: PGs by the water, the facility by the pool, and an Indonesian restaurant and cooking school. The spa is one of the best on the Island.
Bulgari- What a spectacular surprise! Bulgari is located at the bottom of the island. It would be a long drive to get to Ubud, but great to just chill down there. The property has plenty to do for 2-3 days. Glamorous and gorgeous, the bathrooms have tubs as big as some place’s plunge pools. The bedrooms have glass on three sides, with fabulous drapes to close. It felt like I was in a cocoon. This was the most beautiful hotel I saw on the Island. Security could handle visiting royalty AND HAS. It is perfect for a destination wedding, or a honeymoon starting point. The spa was amazing–prettiest on the island. The restaurant and bar were great. The food was imaginatively done. Excellent! I want to go back!
Six Senses- This is more oriented to the health crowd. The rooms were small, but it was crowded, so someone loves it! The restaurant was delightful. However, it probably would not be my first choice.
Napasai- This was a fabulous moderate alternative and a happy surprise. Jeremie, the GM, recently came from Le Residence in Laos. He is passionate about this property. You will get great service. The pool is gorgeous. He has made a huge beach out of thin air. I hear it is the largest on the Island. They are newly done, and very very comfortable. They were redoing the spa while I was there.
Four Seasons Koh Samui- This is by far the most glamorous property on the island. No comparison if you have high end clients or honeymooners. Truly, it was fabulous and beautiful. Service was as with all Four Seasons- impeccable! Everyone says hello and wants you to be so happy! The spa is expensive but awesome. The views from the property are spectacular.
The W and Banyan Tree are not open yet, but supposed to be wonderful.