We all go to places with a pre-conception in our heads of what our experience will look like – and with Bali, floating breakfasts in the pool and flower petals come to mind for me. Alaya Deduan Kuta made all these imaginings come true for me. On the first day, we got chia pudding and granola, and were thrilled when it came on a surprisingly sturdy bamboo tray complete with pastries and fruit. I was super excited to make Jason try more spiky bright red exotic fruits (rambutans are actually fabulous). The illusion is that I was actually not tall enough to reach the tray comfortably in the main part of the pool – so we pulled the trays over to the daybeds and ate our brekkie sitting on the edge of the water. I only realized this past weekend that brekkie is a word nowhere except for Australia.
Speaking of Australia, Kuta is filled with Australians taking a quick jaunt over to Bali to enjoy the tropical weather and Bintang beers. The summer and schoolies crowd don’t always garner the best reputation due to the wild parties and reckless scooter riding, but it takes me back to college days in Sydney.
Jase and I went for a walk and grabbed a beer (for him) and a coconut (for me, and I was severely dehydrated as usual) as well as some satays which came on a mini grill. The food options here are more a mixture of Indonesian street food and pizzas and burgers mixed in with what I would consider 3am post-bar fodder, rather than the organic cafes of Ubud and the expat owned Instaworthy cafes of Seminyak.
I totally stubbed my toe on raised edge of the sidewalk – so in hindsight perhaps I should have worn sturdier shoes than my flip flops. Traffic can be difficult to navigate ,and sometimes the paths can get quite narrow, so make sure to wear comfy shoes for weaving in and out of alleys and through cluttered storefronts.
We had arrived to a pot of petals on the bed along with a welcome letter and one of my bucket list items for Bali was to take a flower bath. A perfect way to relax after a totally strenuous breakfast 😉 Just kidding, but the tray floated away mid-bite a couple of times when we forgot to hold onto it.
We had an incredible foot massage at the DaLa Spa, and it felt amazing on my sore muscles after all the walking I had been doing in the past few days. I am not one to fall asleep during massages usually, for some reason, but it was so so relaxing. After the massage, we showered off and went straight to bed – we aren’t huge party animals and were pretty exhausted after the day.
Jason commented that he actually loved that the shower was indoors, as we had been gnawed away at by mosquitos at some of the other properties we had stayed at, and it was a welcome relief to go to the bathroom without having to remember to apply insect repellent first. The shower is ceiling to floor glass on the side facing out so we could still see greenery. And plus, the bathtub was still located on the opposite side of sliding doors outside our bedroom, facing directly out onto the pool.
What I had been looking forward to the entire trip was the Thousand Petals Romantic Dinner that we had scheduled for that night. A thousand petals is not an exaggeration and I was like a kid when two hotel staff came to our villa before our dinner with giant bags filled with petals. If the flower bath was my petal dream, this was next level.
I am always such a big fan of the relaxing music that we can play from our living room area that floats out to the pool area if we leave the door open. Again, like many hotels and private homes in Bali, the living room area is separate from the bedroom in their deluxe villas, but I kind of enjoy that as it makes the entire space seem bigger.
I remember being at the home of one of the cast members I was on shoot with a few years ago, who was based in Bali. She offered for us to shower and freshen up in her son’s room, which was entirely stand alone from the main house, and each piece of furniture fit the circular wall structure perfectly, including the bed. His bathroom was completely outdoors with a giant black stone bathtub, and I remember thinking how incredible it would be to grow up in a room like that.
I had a moment where I realized that a year ago, I hadn’t dreamed I would be here surrounded by this beautiful set-up, with someone I had no idea I would meet. When I started the blog, I had no idea where it would take me and what experiences I would manifest into my life. The petals and the dinner aside, I was just ecstatic to have my favorite human to myself for an entire week.
I had never seen this many petals in one place, and a part of me just wanted to swirl around in them American Beauty style. We did try to recreate the shot later, but it is a surprisingly difficult position to hold in the water (or maybe I just can’t remember all the swimming lessons I took as a kid – “bellybutton to the sky” doesn’t seem to work as well as when I was less than 3 feet tall). 😂
I would be remiss not to mention the two cutest bobtailed cats that joined us for dinner that night. According to the hotel staff at Alaya, they were not owned by the hotel, but were regulars, as guests tended to like to feed them scraps from their meals. They were adorable and sat quietly nearby until we opened the door for them so that they could leave at the end of the evening. At first, we thought maybe something had happened to their tails, but were told that cats in that region actually didn’t have long tails like their counterparts elsewhere in the world!
Afternoon tea is served daily, and you can sit on bamboo mats under umbrellas on the main lawn in front of the restaurant, or choose to enjoy your treats in the privacy of your own villa. I am kind of loving the afternoon tea ritual in Bali. I had been curious and asked a local about whether that was a Balinese tradition – it did not originate from local practices, however almost all the hotels offer it in some form now. The library has a whole selection of books/magazines and DVDs to enjoy, and I almost wish we had more downtime to just relax. I feel like there are different types of trips – ones where you are determined to fit in as many experiences as possible, others to languidly relax and find spaces in the minutes as they tick by on a remote location. where responsibilities are the last thing on your mind. This trip was one of the former, but I definitely appreciated the availability of magazines showcasing local restaurants and bars to help inform our choices.
Kuta is pretty central and you can easily catch a cab to Seminyak or any of the surrounding areas for food options and to visit the many clothing boutiques around.
We visit Bali Boatshed where we picked up a dress and a few shirts, and ate at the restaurant owned by the same people Neon Palms. They same people actually opened Sea Circus, just down the road. The food is as good as that at Balibo.la which we had gone to a few days prior, and to finish off our Seminyak wanders, we went to one of my favorite lingerie stores with its flagship store in Bali: Gooseberry Intimates. Its great to be able to try on the stuff, as it is usually $30 for them to ship to Los Angeles where I live.
For our other dinner, we checked out Aya Street for beautifully plated Peruvian food and great drinks. The location is also gorgeous with plenty of photo ops. For more detailed food recommendations visit my Bali dining guide!
Thank you Alaya Hotels for spoiling me rotten and fulfilling all my wildest flower petal dreams. It is definitely a haven in the middle of busy Kuta. Once inside the grounds, you can only hear the sound of nature and splashes coming from neighboring pools. Check them out here and here! ❤