You’ve probably heard of Australians' favourite Bali Dynasty Resort.
It’s a Kuta institution that has been around for over 30 years, but in the remote far north west corner of Bali, the Menjangan Dynasty Resort is a completely different kettle of (luxury) fish.
The eco-friendly resort offers luxury tented accommodation, with striking communal spaces crafted in bamboo and “alang-alang’ thatched roofs.
At the entrance, a grand bamboo structure, you’re greeted by friendly staff dressed in colonial safari attire and the safari theme continues.
Beyond the reception area, an extremely inviting infinity pool that looks out over the bay and the lowland forests of the West Bali National Park.
In the far distance, the towering Mt Ruang in East Java is silhouetted in the afternoon sunlight.
Menjangan is Bahasa for ‘deer’, and across the water we see a few of the island’s namesakes in the shallows at the edge of the mangroves.
Buggies are on hand to whisk us away to our tents, where we find a king size bed made up with crisp white linen, and a choice of air conditioning (flaps down) or fresh air (flaps up with ceiling fan overhead).
No detail has been forgotten in the resort’s safari theme, with the mini-bar concealed inside a vintage-style trunk, wicker laundry and waste paper bins, and bed-side lights that look more like Victorian lanterns.
After freshening up we head to the resort’s restaurant, the Pasir Putih Beach Club, for lunch, an even grander bamboo construction than the reception area, with high vaulted ceiling and thatched roof, looking out over the white sandy beach, dotted with bamboo cabanas and bean bags.
French chef Philippe L’Obry has put together a menu that includes local favourites such as satay, rendang and nasi goreng, as well as some rather fine Western dishes including an excellent Australian beef fillet with herbed mash, and a choice of local seafood.
Being within close proximity to Menjangan Island, a marine protected area, it makes sense for this resort to offer guided snorkelling and scuba diving day trips.
Bali Hai Diving Adventures, a long-term activities partner of the Bali Dynasty Resort, are heading up the dive shop and water activities here.
After lunch they take us out to explore Menjangan Island, a 30-minute boat ride from the resort.
We take the plunge at a spot which is aptly named ‘Coral Garden’, a pretty bay blessed with ridiculously clear water, scattered with coral bommies and teeming with marine life.
The clear water is so warm it’s like taking a bath, however scuba divers are greeted with pleasantly cooler waters at about 10 to 15 metres on a vertical coral reef wall covered in soft and hard corals and enormous gorgonian fans.
The bay is actually quite busy, but not with tourists.
There are several boatload of locals here, who have come to pay their respects at the island’s temple – a grand temple which honours Hindu gods Ghanesha and Ghajamada.
Just around the corner a large white statue of Ghanesha looks out over the water.
The cliffs underneath the temple are dotted with caves and inside the caves, thousands of bats are making such a racket we can hear them (and smell them) over the waves pounding the rocks and the boat’s engine.
Other activities managed by Bali Hai include hiking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding, and further afield, other activities available at the resort include trekking, cycling, mountain biking, bird watching and horse riding.
Back at the resort, those of us that were clever enough to book in advance, head up to the Pasir Putih Spa by Ambiente, for a bit of pampering.
I opt for the 60-minute Balinese massage, which sets me back around $30 AUD – pretty impressive for a luxury resort.
In keeping with the resort’s eco-friendly theme, the complex is designed to blend in with the surrounding environment.
Open-sided communal areas are kept cool by the breeze coming in across the bay and the high-vaulted thatched roofs.
To minimise single-use plastic, multiple water stations have been installed throughout the resort and guests are provided with a stainless steel water bottle on arrival.
Oh – and if you want to be completely indulgent, breakfast is served anytime, anywhere – even in the pool.
For more information and soft-opening deals, visit http://mdr.pphotels.com or www.Booking.com