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Hotel Highlights

  • Indian Ocean-facing spa, with outdoor Jacuzzi, staffed by talented therapists
  • Spacious, multiple-bedroom villas with indoor and outdoor space for sprawling
  • Undiscovered rugged pleasures of the Bukit Peninsula, far from the clamour of Kuta

Overview

Bali's Karma Kandara hotel elevates relaxation to a new level with floor-to-ceiling windows offering cliff-top vistas of the cerulean Indian Ocean off the Bukit Peninsula. Nestled among lush emerald gardens, the spa is exceptionally soothing, the restaurants first-class and the beach club sexy at this laid-back luxury retreat.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Karma Kandara with us:

A wine appreciation session for two

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Karma Kandara

Karma super offer: 50% off Super early-bird rate: 55% off

Facilities

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Karma Kandara Hotel – Bali – Indonesia

Need To Know

Rooms

46 pool villas, spanning one to four bedrooms, except the Grand Cliff-front Residence, which has five.

Check–out

12 noon, but flexible subject to availability, and a 50 per cent charge up to 6pm. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $759.50, excluding tax at 21 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include welcome refreshments, a fruit platter and Continental breakfast. Non-motorised watersports at Karma Beach Bali are free for hotel guests.

Also

Look out around the resort for the fruits of Karma Kandara’s artist-in-residence programme, which nurtures the talents of painters, sculptors and musicians then try the healing hands at clifftop Karma Spa.

Hotel closed

No arrivals or departures are allowed on 21 March 2015, when Bali observes Nyepi Day (Day of Silence), although stays are still possible. Bali’s airport also closes for the day.

At the hotel

Private beach, spa, swimming pools, gym, restaurants, bars, kids’ club with pool, beach club, games room, library, boutique, gardens, concierge, free WiFi throughout. In villas: flatscreen satellite TV, CD/DVD player, iPod dock, minibar, SMEG-equipped kitchen with stocked refrigerator, tableware, microwave, oven, dishwasher, pillow menu, own-label natural toiletries, private pool, courtyard garden.

Our favourite rooms

Inspired by Balinese garden compounds, each thatch-roofed, white-washed villa offers pavilions set around a private courtyard and plunge pool, with one to five ensuite bedrooms, semi-alfresco bathing, and generous living and dining areas. Elegant contemporary decor spans a palette of cream, cocoa, ochre and russet. For particularly pleasing ocean panoramas, request the Four-Bedroom Grand Luxury Pool Villa or Three-Bedroom Cliff-Front Residence. The three-storey Five-Bedroom Grand Cliff-Front Residence (Villa Maria) has unrivalled views, a cinema room, gym and spa pavilion.

Poolside

Two levels of freeform salt and chlorine pools sit just below the di Mare restaurant. The lower-level, shallow pool is ideal for little Smiths. All villas come with private pools; with Cliff-front villas, you get an infinity pool.

Packing tips

Eres and Odabash bikinis are the swimwear of choice at Karma Beach Bali. Add a good sunscreen to your kit as the strong sun’s natural glare is enhanced by the resort’s white-stone façades.

Also

There is a compulsory New Year's Eve dinner, priced at US$375 a head (50 per cent off for under 12s). Smoking is allowed on balconies only.

Children

Smiths of all ages welcome. Villas with a third bedroom include twin beds. Cribs are free; extra beds cost US$90 including breakfast for kids age 12 or over; 50 per cent less for under-12s. A free kids' club, for two- to 12-year-olds, operates daily.

Read more

Pet‐friendly

Sorry, you have to leave Fido at home.

Eco‐friendly

The resort monitors water and energy use, and is exploring renewable energy options. It recycles avidly and an outreach fund, Karma Cares, supports Balinese children's charities.

Food & Drink

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Karma Kandara Hotel – Bali – Indonesia

Hotel Restaurant

Main restaurant di Mare is a high-ceilinged, airy, whitewashed space above the pool. Executive chef Steven Grande serves a Mediterranean menu featuring dishes such as salt-baked whole red snapper with a shaved vegetable salad and truffled chicken breast with mushroom tortellini. It’s all grilled seafood and pizzas from the brick oven at the laid-back, veranda restaurant at waterside Karma Beach Bali down on the sand. Veritas has an addictive tapas menu.

Hotel Bar

Fruity concoctions, wine and ice-cold beers can be found at Karma Beach Bali, but serious oenophiles will enjoy Veritas, the resort’s glass-clad wine bar overlooking the coastline. Sink into plush, dark-velvet club chairs, and sample chardonnays and pinots from Bali's first Enomatic wine dispenser (just help yourself to a glass with your own access card), or take advice from the sommelier. Sun-kissed Temple Lounge & Bar, on the roof above di Mare, is another dreamy drinking hole with Moroccan styling and great ocean views. Graze on Middle Eastern small plates, then kick back with a fruit-flavoured shisha pipe.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am to 10.30am, lunch from 11am to 4.30pm, and dinner from 5pm to 10.30pm. Last orders is at 10.30pm at di Mare, Veritas and Temple Lounge & Bar; Karma Beach Bali pours drinks until 11pm.

Room service

Available 24 hours. Enjoy salads, Balinese specialties such as ayum bumbu (coconut-milk braised chicken with Balinese yellow bumbu and stir-fried water spinach) or classic burgers and pastas.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Strictly flip-flops and beachwear at Karma Beach Bali; take the glamour up a notch after dark at Veritas and di Mare – although summer-casual prints suit the mood better than dressy labels.

Top table

Book ahead at di Mare for a perimeter table for two with eagle-eye views of the peninsula. The communal central table is a sociable option; we’re also drawn to the back wall’s elevated padded banquettes for their broader ocean views.

Local Guide

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Karma Kandara Hotel – Bali – Indonesia
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

One of Bali’s most revered Hindu temples, Pura Luhur Uluwatu (Uluwatu Temple), is just a 10-minute drive away – time a visit with one of the nightly kecak dance performances at sunset, but mind the cheeky wild monkeys. Karma Kandara’s little beach is perfect for sunning, sandcastles and the monthly full moon party. Surfers will want to explore the peninsula’s legendary breaks at Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Dreamland and Balangan. Karma’s concierge will happily arrange island-wide activities, including local deep-sea fishing for trevelly, dog-tooth tuna and barracuda or sailing to neighbouring island Nusa Ceningan to snorkel its kaleidoscopic reef. Further afield, if you don't mind the schlep, there's elephant trekking in Bali’s mountainous heartland, white-water rafting along the holy Ayung River or swimming with dolphins in Lovinia along the island's north shore.

Local restaurants

For cliffs and culinary heights, Cire (+62 (0)361 848 2166) is a contemporary, Western restaurant at Smith-approved Alila Villas Uluwatu, on Jalan Belimbing Sari, in Desa Pecatu. Chef Brandon Huisman commands the open kitchen at Faces at the Balé (+62 (0)361 775 111). This intimate Nusa Dua eatery, on Jalan Raya Nusa Dua Selatan, is acclaimed for its modern Med meets Indonesian fare. At Jimbaran Bay, pick of the seafood warungs is Bagus Cafe (+62 (0)812 390 7681), second from the end furthest from the Four Seasons resort. Also in Jimbaran at 18 Jalan Wanagiri, is Pepe Nero (+62 (0)361 704 677) – a little gem of an Italian restaurant in an unlikely location with ocean views.

+ Enlarge
Dramatic cliffhanger

Karma Kandara

Jalan Villa Kandara, Banjar Wijaya Kusuma, Ungasan, Bali, 80362

Karma Kandara is on the coast of the rugged Bukit Peninsula, Bali’s southernmost point and home to famous clifftop temple Pura Luhur Uluwatu, as well as some of the island’s best surf beaches.

Planes

Fly into Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport (www.baliairport.com), south of capital Denpasar, served by carriers including Garuda Indonesia, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Air Asia and JAL. You can buy a visa on arrival, if required, which costs US$25 for 30 days payable in cash (just make sure your iPod is charged to accompany your wait in line).

Automobiles

Karma Kandara is a 30- to 40-minute drive south from the airport and provides transfers for US$36.30 a car for up to four people each way. You can rent a car at the airport but, frankly, traffic can be terrifying and the roads aren’t always smooth sailing (the hotel offers free parking). Fortunately, you can hire well-maintained cars with excellent drivers for as little as US$30 a day.

Reviews

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Karma Kandara Hotel – Bali – Indonesia

Anonymous review

by Amy Cooper , Seen-it done-it scribe

How good is that moment at the start of a beach holiday when you spot the ocean for the first time? It doesn’t matter if it’s the Bahamas or Bognor – that initial glimpse of blue always makes me grin. So, as our golf buggy winds its way from reception through a pretty maze of walled limestone lanes, over little humpback bridges and past splashes of hibiscus and bougainvillea, I…
Read more

Karma Kandara

Anonymous review by Amy Cooper, Seen-it done-it scribe

How good is that moment at the start of a beach holiday when you spot the ocean for the first time? It doesn’t matter if it’s the Bahamas or Bognor – that initial glimpse of blue always makes me grin. So, as our golf buggy winds its way from reception through a pretty maze of walled limestone lanes, over little humpback bridges and past splashes of hibiscus and bougainvillea, I’m craning for a look at the Indian Ocean.

At a sunshine-yellow door we descend stone steps into our Luxury Pool Villa. I’m absorbing its vast proportions when Mr Smith emits a squeak of astonishment. I spin round – there, at last, is the sea. I squeak too, because this isn’t just the sea. It’s an epic, eye-popping, mind-drenching, soul-serenading expanse of big blue. It is the ocean and the sky and the gleaming infinity pool that flows to the cliff’s edge and seemingly beyond. It’s up and down and side to side and forever. It’s blue without frontiers.

This is Bali’s southernmost tip, at the end of a limestone peninsula that extends over the ocean like a ship’s prow, providing the all-embracing blue view. A vertiginous 150 metres below is Ungasan Beach, site of a sacred cave temple. This spot, uncommonly gorgeous even on an island that excels at gorgeous, was identified by a feng shui master as Bali’s most powerful location. Energy apparently flows inland from the ocean through a deep green ravine around which 46 villas, all with private pools, are dotted. A sceptic might say that whatever the energy, you simply couldn’t go wrong with a setting like this. Staring into that vista is like inhaling pure contentment.

The blueness winks and flickers through bamboo trees as I traverse a stone bridge to Karma Spa. (Mr Smith has elected to remain in the villa to keep an eye on the three bedrooms, outdoor shower, pool deck and kitchen with everything from a microwave to Häagen-Dazs ice-cream in the freezer.) For the next half-hour, I’m to relax in the spa’s infrared detox sauna. It is tucked away in a glass-fronted cabin on a rocky outcrop, clinging to the brink as if it’s about to abseil down. There’s an oval pool, also cliffhanging, where you’re simultaneously enveloped in warm Himalayan saltwater and suspended, god-like, high above the surf. This is life on the edge as it should be. Inside the cabinet, the heat has my circulation singing while I gaze at the horizon. Words for blue float through my mind: cobalt, sapphire, azure...

This ever-so-slightly tripped-out state is very Karma Kandara. The spa specialises in holistic hedonism. ‘Pleasure is part of the cure’ is the mantra on a menu offering a his ‘n’ hers Moët and Manicures treatment alongside more deeply soulful therapies from world-renowned healers. The Ultimate Oxygen Infusion facial even has plumping properties recommended by Madonna. The Karma group’s owner John Spence, an ex music-biz Brit who was once Boy George’s agent, encourages a ‘five-star hippie’ vibe. He loves a party and they happen frequently at Karma Beach Bali, at the bottom of the cliff, where you can be a lounge lizard by day, social butterfly by night. A Karma Chameleon, if you like. (Spence enjoys this gag, but swears he didn’t name his resorts after the song.)

With the white, blue and focus on fun, I reckon this place channels Mykonos. ‘It’s Hellenic!’ I declare, re-entering the villa with glowing skin and clear eyes. ‘I don’t agree,’ says Mr Smith. ‘I think it’s lovely.’ Bless him, he’s still tripping on blue. We’d better eat.

Di Mare, Karma’s restaurant, is a sun-drenched – or moonlight-bathed – white semicircle on the cliff edge, with fabric ceiling and open front. The Mod Med/Asian menu takes full advantage of the catch from down below. Between courses, I’m lured from our table by Veritas, di Mare’s climate-controlled wine treasure trove. Pop a plastic card into a slot and you can access samples of eight different tipples by the glass, kept fresh by Bali’s first Enomatic dispenser. A wine ATM? Now, that’s very good Karma.

Mr Smith is missing the next morning when I wake in our floaty-curtained four-poster. I locate him in Karma’s main infinity pool, outlined against water and sky like a stuntman on a blue screen. ‘I’ve been riding on the inclinator,’ he says. ‘It’s great! I’ll show you.’ In the little white box we drop slowly down the green-clad cliff. At this time of day, Karma Beach Bali is a picture of snoozy decadence. A four-poster day-bed beckons, and then the tide turns making it the perfect time for a snorkel on the reef. Later, hours vanish as we watch the resident monkeys swinging through the trees.

On our last night, we stroll hand in hand to the spa, where two massage tables await in that cliffhanging courtyard. With waves for music and the moon for light, we’re rubbed into heaven by two amazing Balinese therapists. Afterwards we bask, just the two of us, suspended in the night air with the world at our feet and the stars overhead – I can see why this is a major scene for proposals. We top off the evening with a movie down at the beach, snacking on popcorn in padang leaves and grilled seafood (the Odeon, this ain’t).

Following a few final rides on his beloved inclinator, Mr Smith joins me in our pool. We are wallowing contentedly when we spot a kingfisher – a bright blue bird on an endless sky-blue canvas. By now we’re not even sure if it’s real, or yet another psychedelic side effect of Karma Kandara’s blue-induced bliss. Feeling blue never felt so good...
 

 

The Guestbook

Reviews of Karma Kandara from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The clifftop setting is absolutely stunning. The views from the infinity pool are breathtaking. We had a welcome massage at the spa and again the setting is amazing. The staff was attentive, particularly down at the beach. We loved eating down at the beach – good food and a laid-back atmosphere. Music is played all day at the beach, which at first we thought might be annoying but it actually adds to the chilled atmosphere. Villas are spacious, clean and to a high standard. We booked a one-bedroom villa but were given a huge three-bed one. Villas are private and gardens are well maintained, as are the grounds generally. It was a totally relaxing holiday. We stayed out of high season and it was very quiet.

Don’t expect

The first villa we were given was absolutely stunning, but we discovered next morning that a new hotel is being built next to Karma and our villa was right next to the noise of the construction – but, the staff acted as soon as we complained and within a couple of hours we had been relocated to a peaceful villa in a different area. Dinner at Di Mare seems to be trying to be something it's not – European, upmarket, a bit formal – and we would have preferred more fresh, local cooking. The staff was lovely though!

Rating: 10/10 stars