Nusa Dua is the ideal destination for travellers seeking a more ‘grown up’ Bali escape. With no hawkers on the beach and a refreshing absence of ‘party animals’ roaming the hotel corridors, it is easy to sit back and relax. While Nusa Dua has long been famous for its upmarket resorts like The Mulia Bali, the real Bali is never far away. We arrived on the night of the full moon when ceremonies are held in Hindu temples throughout Bali. Our Royal Suite Ocean Court room had a spectacular view of the resort’s ocean front pool, the glistening white sand of Geger beach and Pura Geger, a temple on the end of the headland.
As the light began to fade we watched Balinese families walk along the beach carrying offerings of food, fruit and flowers. Later they would be blessed by performing rituals using holy water, incense smoke, petals and rice grains. There is also a temple inside the resort which belongs to a local family. The Mulia Bali opened a little over 12 months ago and is actually three hotels in one. There is the Mulia Bali Resort which is competitively priced and aimed primarily at families; The Mulia is a boutique all-suite hotel and the 108 stand-alone Mulia Villas all come with a plunge pool and butler service (as does The Mulia).
We stayed at the Mulia Bali Resort which has 500+ rooms. While these don’t come with a butler the service was impressive. Whenever we called for anything it was delivered in double-quick time with a smile that was as big and bright as the blue sky outside. The Mulia Bali Resort is home to myriad dining options. Breakfast is served buffet style at The Café with a dazzling array of choices: think Peking duck, eggs any way, Indian curry, Hainanese chicken, miso soup, fresh yoghurt cups, mie goreng, freshly rolled sushi and platters of tropical fruit.
Our favourite spot to sit was outside overlooking the pools. It tends to get busy from about 8.30am onwards so arrive early if you can. Soleil serves a mix of Mediterranean and Pan-Asian fare and is home to a lavish Sunday seafood brunch. Another popular option is The Cafe which changes from a breakfast venue to a lunch buffet with every imaginable cuisine. The Mulia Bali buffet is so huge that it’s almost mind boggling. Don’t miss the dessert section which has an ice cream ‘roulette wheel’. Everyone is a winner with this one.
For something more sophisticated there is Table 8, an interactive buffet restaurant serving Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine as well as Indonesian Chinese sapo which involves a chef cooking ingredients to order in a Sa-Po (clay pot). I tried the sapo prawns which were excellent. One of the highlights of dining here was watching the tea master prepare the restaurant’s signature flower tea. A tight ball of what looks like herbs is placed in a tall glass by the tea master who then performs a series of balletic kung fu moves before pouring hot water into the glass.
The ball expands to reveal chrysanthemum and jasmine flowers which infuse the water to create a cleansing tea. Even if you aren’t a big tea drinker it is worth ordering a glass so you can enjoy the show. We also enjoyed the Edogin buffet which offered a unique way to enjoy high-end Japanese cuisine. Along with the usual sushi and sashimi there was an interactive teppanyaki area where diners could select from a wide range of raw produce and hand it over to the chef to be cooked.
It was quite decadent being able to choose all of my favourite, high end ingredients like scallops, prawns and enoki mushrooms and have them cooked just for me. I also loved the ice-cream station where the chef mixed and layered ice cream to create amazing desserts. Even if you aren’t hungry it is worth dropping into the Mulia Deli to see the elaborate cakes. A lot of people stop in here on their way home to buy sweet treats like dainty macarons or éclairs in every colour of the rainbow.
A short golf buggy ride away from the restaurants you will find the Mulia Spa. It has 20 treatment rooms and plenty of bells and whistles like a colour therapy steam chamber and Asia Pacific’s only ice fountain room. We loved the outdoor hydrotonic pools which are reminiscent of a luxurious Roman bath house. Allow half a day to truly relax and revel in all the facilities which are some of the best we’ve seen at any Bali spa.
Despite the size of the resort, we never had trouble getting a sunlounge by the Ocean Pool where a grand row of statues watch over guests. There is also a swim up bar serving whole coconuts to sip for A$2.50. If you don’t feel like swimming at this pool there are four others to choose from depending on your mood. The pool in the middle of the resort has private cabanas which are free to use with a modest minimum spend on food and/or drinks.
Art works feature heavily throughout the hotel and the bright, open design makes the most of Bali’s sunshine. Our favourite spots were relaxing in the pool on a deckchair (yes, there are deckchairs in the pool) and on our balcony overlooking the ocean. If you can afford it, it is worth paying for a room with a view of the beach which is one of the best I’ve seen in Bali. Unlike some other parts of the island, it was clean and good for swimming.
Rooms at the Mulia Resort are generous in size with a comfortable couch and king size bed piled high with pillows. We loved the shower which was dubbed ‘the carwash’ due to the multiple water jets. There is a good writing desk and plenty of sockets to charge your camera batteries which you will definitely need. The Mulia Bali is so visually stunning that a stay can turn into one big photo opportunity. If you want to impress your Facebook friends with your holiday snaps, this is the place!
Even though the property is large there was no danger of getting lost. Loads of security staff are stationed throughout the resort to assist guests with directions or anything else they might need. We found this took a little getting used to as it felt like we were also being watched on occasion. However, the extra security would no doubt be an effective deterrent when it came to non-guests trying to sneak into the resort. And who wouldn’t want to try to come inside? The Mulia Bali looks incredible, especially from the beach. The Mulia is a classy resort with a strong focus on service and some of the best dining in Bali. You won’t want for anything here. Except perhaps a good place to hide when it is time to go home. Read on to find out which section of The Mulia Bali is right for you.
The Mulia Resort
The Mulia Resort has an upbeat, happy holiday vibe with a view that practically shouts ‘tropical island holiday’. The resort is large at 500+ rooms but never seems to feel crowded, even when it is running at a high occupancy as it was during my visit. There is a program of free activities like yoga and aqua aerobics to keep the adults entertained and children can enjoy supervised activities at the Mulia Kidz Club. Guests are an international mix of couples and well-mannered families who drift between the pools and the excellent restaurants.
Quiet serenity envelops you the minute you walk into this suite-only boutique hotel. Every suite comes with a butler and the lobby lounge area has a lovely view of Geger beach. Breakfast is served in the lounge every morning and is a high end a la carte affair. Only guests staying at The Mulia can dine here and breakfast is almost completely silent except for the quiet hum of conversation. Couples would love it at The Mulia but families may feel less comfortable. It is very peaceful and romantic – and very, very quiet.
If you are travelling with children and want a more high-end experience, the Mulia Villas are perfect. Each ‘room’ is actually a stand-alone villa with its own pool and a generous outdoor entertaining area. There are no real views from this part of the hotel but all of the villas are surrounded by walls and lush vegetation so this is of little concern. Breakfast here is exactly the same as The Mulia but the atmosphere throughout this hotel is more lively.
Disclosure: The writer travelled as a guest of The Mulia Bali.
We’ve got plenty of hints and tips for travelling in Bali and also some great hotel and resort suggestions. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, we’ve reviewed the Ritz-Carlton Bali Resort, Peppers Seminyak Resort, Apurva Kempinski Bali, Bulgari Resort Bali, Aria Villas Ubud, Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, The Mulia Bali, Merusaka Nusa Dua, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, Anantara Seminyak Bali, the InterContinental Bali for couples and those travelling with kids. We’ve compared the Singaraja and Club rooms at the InterContinental Bali and found the best luxury family hotels in Bali and the best honeymoon hotels in Bali.