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“Almost Perfect”
Review of Amankila

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Amankila
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Manggis
Certificate of Excellence
JAKARTA
Level Contributor
183 reviews
136 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 647 helpful votes
“Almost Perfect”
Reviewed 30 April 2012

Aman Resorts are a collection of small luxury boutique resorts located throughout exotic locations in the world. The brand has garnered near cult like status among it’s many fervent followers, known as Amanjunkies, so much so that a stay at an Aman is regarded as an experience of a lifetime for many people.

Established by it’s visionary founder and hotelier Adrian Zecha, Aman strives to provide an intimate and relaxing environment for vacationers, with emphasis on personalized service, beautiful surroundings, culture, fabulous food and ultimate in comfort. So it is no wonder that I have very high expectations for my first stay at an Aman resort.


Arriving

Right from the get go, Aman distinguished itself in the service department. While other resorts in Bali have an airport staff that pick up guest at the terminal exit, Aman provides meet and greet service at the airport as a standard. After exiting my plane, I met up with the Aman airport representative carrying a sign who helped me with my luggage. Then another staff ( greeter? ) showed me to my car. The encounter with the greeter was rather comical. Perhaps he was new, or he has yet to learn more variety of welcoming phrases, he bided me welcome and repeated the same sentence in English “Thank you for choosing Amankila Mr Lee! It’s a great honor to have you stay with us!” at least 3 times while we are waiting for the car. Well, I supposed I at least have to compliment him for trying. :D

The car is a Toyota Kijang, a common utility van popular in Indonesia, but was not known for it’s ride quality, and it shows. The ride to the resort was nearly 2 hours long due to traffic jam and it’s jerky and occasionally uncomfortable with bumps on the road. To the resort’s credit, they do try to make the journey as comfortable as possible, with cold soft drinks, snacks, iPod and Wifi connectivity and comfortable pillows in the car.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by my welcome party, with a chorus of smiles and welcome and promptly shown to my accommodation. I booked an Ocean suite and had earlier requested the resort to give me one with the best possible ocean view. So I was quite glad to be assigned the famed and much sort after Suite #37. Perched high up the resort, it offers the best panoramic view of the ocean and has both sunrise and sunset views. It’s more like a villa, with it’s own private terrace, minus the pool.


The Suite

The Ocean suite #37 in short, is fabulous and it’s not just the view. It’s arguably the nicest resort villa I have ever stayed, both amenity and design wise. One thing that strikes me first thing first is the amazing design. Designed by Ed Tuttle, there is a natural flow in the suite, with all things in their proper place. The bathroom, mini bar, walk in closet are perfectly integrated in a seamless and timeless design.

Walking into the suite, the high ceiling immediately conveys a generous sense of space. There is of course a comfortable 4-poster king size bed, a large day bed by the window with ocean views, dual vanity areas, rainforest shower, large soaking tub by the window, and a first for me, dual closets. A gourmet coffee machine is provided that features excellent coffee, as well as a Bose iPod dock and an iPod with preloaded music. Snacks are provided complimentary as well. The outdoor terrace also has a large sofa bed to enjoy the view and a workdesk. Wireless internet is free to use throughout the suite and resort. There is no TV in the room though I requested the resort to setup one for me. In short, nothing is missing or overlooked.

Overall, the emphasis here is understated luxury that is both elegant and comfortable, with near unparalleled attention to detail. The materials used are of the finest quality, with a strong Balinese influence and I would have never guessed that this resort is actually already 20 years old! That is a testimony of how well the resort has been meticulously maintained throughout the years. The interior area is fenced by a series of intelligent sliding windows to keep out any insects or unwelcomed visitors at night. The suite is well lid at night. Even the knobs and taps on the vanity area were custom made. It’s also great to sleep to the sound of ocean waves. Overall, It’s a supremely comfortable place to stay and just relax.



Common Areas

The resort only has 34 suites so it is very boutique in nature. It does not boast the vast expansive compound or numerous facilities the larger resorts have. There are only two restaurants, one serving breakfast and lunch, one serving only dinner and there’s also a beach club that serve snacks. The resort can also organized private dinning at the beach or in the privacy of the suite.

The signature feature of Amankila is the famous three tier infinity pool. The view overlooking the ocean from the pool is beautiful, but unfortunately spoiled by some oil tanker vessels that parked at the sea. There’s also a library with a large collection of books and magazines. There are some bales located around the swimming pool area to enjoy the view.

The beach club is located some distance from the resort and accessible by a long flight of stairs ( 5 mins walk ) or by buggy which the resort can arrange. There’s another larger swimming pool at the beach club. Walking further, one can access the beach front. Unfortunately, the sand is of a very dark greyish color and soggy, so neither visually appealing nor great for walking. There is nothing of interest nearby and there are some bales along the beachfront which one can get the beach staff to set it up. The place was rather deserted when I was there. It is not a very attractive beach front to be honest and I didn’t felt like lingering and left shortly. The three other resorts I have been to, namely St Regis, W and Four Seasons Jimbaran all have nicer beaches in comparison.




Amankila Food

F&B is often touted as a strong point for all Aman resorts and the Amankila is as well, with one glaring exception. As a foodie myself, I was looking forward to see how the resort measured up in this aspect. I had most of my meals at the resort for the 2 days of my stay and food quality is generally exceptional, and well presented. One should definitely try the Indonesian food, which is fresh, authentic and very well prepared. The resort also features a great selection for in-room dinning, with western and Indonesian choices and the prices are reasonable. The best meal I had is easily the duck ( Bebek Bukaka ) in coconut curry source, a local Balinese delicacy. Also, the kitchen is obliging to meet special request. While having a beer at the beach club, I suddenly craved for fried chicken wings wasn’t in the menu. The staff at the beach club was nice enough to get the kitchen to make for me. It goes without saying that it’s very delicious.

The glaring exception is the breakfast, which measured against the high standards set by the Amankila on other aspects, becomes in comparison, downright mediocre. The breakfast concept is generally well executed, ie one can order anything off the breakfast menu and they will prepare it Ala Carte to ensure freshness. However, I had breakfast once in the terrace restaurant and once by in-room dinning and both times failed to be impressed. Food quality was just OK, not outstanding. For example, despite specific instructions, they couldn’t seem to get my omelet done right ( I prefer it “runny”, they served it overcooked ). The chicken porridge was tasteless. The croissant wasn’t flaky. The pastries didn’t taste like it was freshly baked. It just didn’t taste as fresh and delicious as the other meals I had. Also, I asked for waffles and they don’t have ( huh? ), and only the most basic type of jams are available ( I asked for blueberry jam which was not available ). Perhaps if I had complained on the spot, they might have got it done right, but I rather prefer they got it right the first time.



The Service

Many Aman guests have raved about Aman’s service and it is not difficult to see why. First, of course all the staff are very well trained, smile a lot and always helpful. There is also the convenience of not needing to sign any bills after meals or after using any of the service. The staff does a great job to remember and address me by name. So no complaints when come to service. It’s just that perhaps my expectation is higher than usual after hearing so much from other travelers about Aman’s near legendary services that I actually find the Aman’s service not exactly up to my high expectation. What I mean is that the staff are always helpful and nice, but there is nothing particularly outstanding compare with hotels and resorts that also excel in good service. In other words, there is a lack of that extra “wow” factor that impressed a discerning traveler like myself.

Perhaps I should have made some very complicated request and see how they perform but then, I was there for holiday and relaxation, not to test the staff on how they perform. Still, there should be things that I thought the Aman staff could have taken noticed if they are up to the job to perform distinguished, personalized service as per their reputation. For example, during my stay, the the weather was hot, and I tend to sweat easily, I always asked the staff for cold towel whenever I go during my stay at the Amankila, so perhaps they can be provided automatically without me asking? That will be an example of good service. Or when they could have noticed that I only ate the bananas from the fruit plate and didn’t touch others, a really smart housekeeping staff that knows what’s good service will put an extra replenishment of the fruit that I liked. These are not expected, but this is what I mean by the “extras” that defines exemplary service and appreciated by the guests.

I did use some of the additional services provided by the resort including a 2 hour trekking activity and a one hour massage. The trekking was fun as I got to see some local Balinese villages and met with the villagers. The guide was very knowledgeable about the local village culture.

Only one thing that kind of bother me is that the welcome and greeting can be rather excessive and the staff at Amankila can at times, tends to over-do it. The “problem” is, to access any of the facilities in the hotel, like the restaurants, pool or the beach, one has to walk through the lobby, and there’s no “escape” from the army of greeters stationed at all times at the lobby, ready to greet me or any other guest for that matter by name good morning / afternoon / evening and asked how’s my day and did I enjoy my stay. It’s nice for the first few instances to see they are so friendly and cheerful but becomes really a bore and repetitive by the second day when I was asked for the umpteenth time in the same way how’s my day and if everything is fine. Maybe a simple smile and a quick “Have a good day sir” will suffice?

Overall, the service is good, but as I said, it’s just that I was expecting something out of the ordinary, something extra to make a difference and it didn’t happened. However, there is nothing to fault about the service.

A word of thanks to the GM of the resort, Ms Tracy. I was having problems making the reservations thru their reservation email and she promptly intervened to make the reservations, addressed any concerns I had and also ensured all my requests were met. Her response is always fast, friendly and efficient. I have rarely encountered a more hands-on GM in my travels.


Conclusion


So here concludes my first Aman experience. Overall, it’s great. Is it perfect? Not really, due to the some of above mentioned concerns. The accommodations and the resort’s design are stunning. The views are great, the environment serene and peaceful. The food quality, except the breakfast, is generally outstanding. The service is warm and attentive but I was expecting something better by Aman’s high standards.

For any less fussy person, this resort would have been outstanding for them. Being the perfectionist that I am, I will grade the resort a high 4 out of 5. This score should not distract from the fact that the Amankila is a great property, possibly the best resort I have tried in Bali so far and I would not mind to return in future. Meantime, I am also keen to try the other Amans and continue my search for the perfect Bali resort. Or perhaps the Amankila can aspire to perfection in my books if they just improve on those aspects I mentioned. It certainly isn’t far behind.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled solo
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12 Thank BENLEE123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
61 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2012

With memories fading of a miserable experience at the hotel two years ago we decided to roll the dice and give it another go, chancing that our past negative experience was a freak event. The seamingly endless chorus of positive reviews that Amankila receives gave us the confidence to revisit. In short I am thankful that we did. We had a fantastic time second time around enjoying the lush surroundings, exquisite food and attentive service. The BBQ on the beach experience is not to be missed but book ahead as only one lucky couple gets the beach to themselves. The GM, Tracey runs a tight ship, and we were blown away by the pre-emptive service. I am so happy that we returned and we will be back. One small gripe, the property lacks a decent gym; the fitness pavilion is too sparce. Great experience otherwise and would HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Topcat212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2012

Setting 5 stars, service was excellent with very friendly and efficient staff. We ate dinner each evening in the hotel and the quality and choice of menu was superb. We also took an half day tour - great driver/guide with excellent knowledge - not rushed.

Room Tip: All rooms were marvelous with great sea views and privacy
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank frank r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tonawanda NY
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2012

This hotel exceeded all expectations. The service was superb. The setting is beautiful and on a mountain side in the country. While there are steps, they did provide golf car service to our suite as well as assistance on all steps. We were up=graded to a suite with an infinity pool that overlooked the Indian Ocean, What could be better!!!

Room Tip: Know that there are stairs. If you are young or "stairmaster" users you will love the exe...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank mcavanaugh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 February 2012

Me and my husband stayed there for six nights recently in villa 7. It is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in and I have stayed in quite a few. Apart from the great views of the ocean the 4 pools and the great villa itself this hotel has things that other 5 star ones do not. The staff is very helpful and know their jobs and the manager told us that some people work there for 20 years since the resort opened which shows that building loyalty is a good thing. The food at the restaurant was excellent something very hard to find and we also met the chef who mentioned that he could make off the menu stuff we liked. Try the beetroot risotto I had it twice!
One of the best things was not having to sign the bill everytime we ordered something in the bar, restaurant, poolside bar as they have their way of notifying each other where you are and what villa you are in. Another great thing was the absence of western taped music which I find really tacky in quite a few resorts that think that all their customers listen to ballads or lounge music non- stop. They had a few locals playing nice and discreet gamelan music in the evenings which is traditional Bali stuff. They also had a larger orchestra accompanying dancing groups sometimes but again it felt like the real thing!
Villa 7 seemed quite private compared to some others mentioned in reviews and I would go for it again. It had an ocean view when sitting outside and lovely jungle view when inside. The view to the jungle was equally impressive and very nice to watch the rainy season storms from your bed. Mind you this is the jungle and if you sleep with open windows you will have plenty of crawling insects visiting so we kept things closed (they have nets in the windows but it was not enough). There is a good aircon in the room so this is not an issue. When we were out we found a few dead insects which is nothing given the location of the place. I reckon they spray it a lot even if it doesn't smell and that is the reason. But as they have a poster kind of bed you won't find anything on the bed just on the floor.
I am not into having a separate spa necesarily and people that do might find it upsetting. They had this bale bed type of thing in the jungle close to the beach but it wasn't a spa. However you could do massages at the room and the one I had was one of the best ones it was the shoulders and back with Mrs Ning. They tend to be firm which I like but you can let them know. They had some yoga classes in some other area which I didn't go to as I am a pilates person.
The three tiered pools are amazing but it can get quite hot up there and if you want something more refreshing you can go to the enormous pool in a garden by the beach really impressive and it gets more shadow. You can either walk a 7 min walk down there with quite a few steps or arrange them to take you by car. We don't ming walking and we never used the car. If I want to be objective this is not a great place for disabled travellers as there a few steps if you want to go from the three pools to one of the restaurants.
They also arrange walks, hikes, snorkels, dining by the beach kind of thing. We did a treck which was decsribed as very scenic along eastern bali and it was very good and the guide very nice and friendly. If you are scared of dogs beware as they tend to bark a lot when walking in villages. I was bitten once in Cambodia and if the same thing happens to you in Bali a flight to Singapore and anti-rabbies treatment is a must as they had a big rabies problem a few years ago. I managed ok though despite being scared. The snorkel was good but not amazing but this was the rain season so the sea was full of stuff (plastic mainly) at places.
They arrange trasport from the airport and have in mind that while the distance is normally 1.5 hours allow yourself extra time as the roads could be closed so alternative routes are used or due to traffic. Have a walk to nearby Mangis village close to the place it's worth it for the real experience.
In all an excellent experience one of the best!

Room Tip: No 7 is very private.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank trueLondoner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seoul
Level Contributor
136 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 January 2012

We arrived on January 21 and I am writing this review from Villa 21 (where the prior reviewer also stayed). Many of the reviews made references to the insects, so I will start with this. Yes, there are ants on the floor of the villa. While I would be shocked at the same number of ants at a room in Manhattan or Tokyo, this is, after all, deep in the East Bali jungle. If they really bother you, they already have bug spray and repellant (organic) in your room.

All of the remaining aspects of the room were so flawless, even the ants didn't bother me. I stayed at Amanpulos several years ago, and I was looking forward to my second stay at an Aman. I was not disappointed. I was met at the airport after getting out of my gate and before passport control. We were whisked through visas and baggage with no problem (my flight got in at 1 am but there was no issue with Aman). We were quickly checked in and found ourselves in our room no problem.

The location of the resort is unique. The villas are literally draped over a cliff, with walkways set atop piers about 20 feet over the jungle. I would not sweat over getting an ocean view, as you are perched about 100 meters above sea level (it's a walk down to the beach).

Breakfast is ordered a la carte and there are no buffets. Which was great. My very first breakfast, I think I started to get the zen of Aman. It's not that Aman restaurants have some famous rock star chef. But you can taste, see, hear and feel this uncompromising and awe-striking attentiveness and attention to detail that just takes your breath away and wonder why no other hotel can do this. And all this came from a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon. The eggs were whipped perfectly...I could go on and on but I am sure others have said enough. The entire staff from the Manager on down really care about the guests and somehow they have not ended up jaded. I have spent three days here and I would recommend it to everyone.

The location is a bit different -- unlikeNusa Dua or Jimbaran, this is not a typical beach destination. The beach itself faces east, so there are no picturespque sunsets. But there is something to be said for being at an ultra-luxe hideaway resort at a part of Bali that no one has really heard about.

The excursions on offer are fine, I did the scuba thing also, but focused more on the fishing for my six year old son. All of the staff were very helpful, and they were trained very well. No one was making it obvious they wanted tips.

Here's one innovation I really appreciated. At all of the meals, and for all of the excursions, there was nothing to sign. No blanks for the tips to fill in on the receipt. I really like this idea. I am going to tip of course, but not having to sign something at room service or for the breakfast, etc., was really refreshing, and something I think all hotels should and could adopt really easily.

My unconditional compliments to Ms. Tracy Atherton, the General Manager, and her unparalleled staff. You have all of us wondering why all the other hotel chains in the hotel just can't "get it" like you guys do.

Room Tip: If you are not up for the stairs, it may be worth asking for a room which is more readily accessible...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Mohammedyu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cyprus
Level Contributor
72 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 January 2012

Absolutely beautiful, secluded villa resort of highest standard. Never been to an Aman resort before, but we were most impressed with all aspects: location is beautiful in a rainforest area, close to a secluded beach (own watersports staff with no doubt many activities available), our villa was large, wonderfully furnished and above all service was exceptional and very friendly, as is often the case on Bali.
Would definitely recommend for couples, families, honeymooners...

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Pet-ontheroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Amankila

Property: Amankila
Address: Manggis | PO Box 33, Manggis 80871, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Bali > Manggis
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Manggis
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Amankila 5*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mount Agung provides a dramatic backdrop for Amankila (peaceful hill), a secluded seaside resort overlooking the Lombok Strait. Spacious stilted villas offer exceptional views from their hillside locations amongst frangipani and bougainvillea, and are connected to the resort's facilities by raised walkways. Guests can relax around the signature three-tiered pool or at the Beach Club on Amankila's beach. Amankila also offers easy access to untouched rural countryside, local crafts and the region's royal past. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Amankila Hotel Manggis
Amankila Hotel Karangasem
Amankila Manggis, Bali

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