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The long golden beaches, the energy of the sea, the lush forests, the temples immovable in time, the exotic atmosphere. There is something unique about the island of Bali, at the heart of the Indonesian archipelago. A popular destination for surfers, bohemians and hippies, artists and jetsetters, it is a land full of contrasts and different souls. The grand resorts with Asian elegance offer pieds dans l’eau stays with dream suites and panoramic infinity pools. The eco-architectures made of bamboo are surprising. Yoga retreats immersed in the jungle invite you to find your balance. The rice fields, Unesco Heritage, tell the history and tradition of the island, with the suggestive terraces and the villages still intact. But the island also consists of trendy beach clubs, worldly restaurants, luxurious clubs and designer shops. Local culture permeates daily life, votive offerings can be found in the streets, temples and ceremonies on every corner, along with an often hectic nightlife.
From the trendy Seminyak to the tranquility of Ubud, the new volume Bali Mystique by Elora Hardy, published by Assouline, leads to the discovery of the magnetism of this land surrounded by the sea. “Bali is a magnetic and alchemical island. Together with an international mix of tourists from all over the world, it has always attracted the most creative: artists, entrepreneurs, writers, artists. People who are looking for something more than a holiday. From remise en former for hedonism, here is an energy that challenges the stereotype of the classic, serene tropical paradise,” writes Elora Hardy, who grew up on the island where she founded IBUKU, an innovative architecture and design studio that uses bamboo to make incredible structures, buildings, houses.
“When the first wave of European artists arrived in the eighties and nineties, among them was David Bowie, a lover of the island and its relaxed, colorful style”. She lived in the villa of Amir Rabik, Indonesian, and Linda Garland, the famous interior designer of the stars from Ireland: they celebrate their parties, always full of eccentric personalities, adorned with eclectic dresses.
“In 2000, the Seminyak Beach area lit up as a center of fashion, music, beauty. Long before there were clubs, there were full moon parties, white parties, red parties, house parties”. But it is also a surfing mecca, so the days begin with meditative moments on the waves or on yoga mats at dawn, between vegan bars, shops or spas. “Sunset is time for beers on the beach or cocktails at Mari Beach Club, the latest and most beautiful addition to the Sunset Strip”. Dinner? The suggestions are many, “maybe to the classic Ku De Ta, which was among the first sophisticated beach clubs to open”. Among the most famous and long-lived clubs it is worth mentioning the Duble Six, which has been open since the eighties, so called because the opening hours are from six in the afternoon to six a.m. “The party they threw there for New Year’s 2000 was so memorable that even the New York Times wrote about it.”
Ten years ago, Potato Head redefined the concept of a beach club, creating a casual, relaxed place with an infinity pool right on the sand, an outdoor area, a restaurant and comfortable beds for relaxing on the beach. Now its founder, Ronald Akili, is launching a new challenge with Desa Potato Head, “a creative village with cosmopolitan vibes”, a gallery space and design hotel designed by the renowned OMA studio.
But above all, there are the beaches, the island’s treasure. It has enchanted surfers since the seventies, and now visitors and tourists from all over the world. They span landscapes and colors at the extremes: pure white coral sand of Nyang Nyang, golden grains of Sindhu Sanur, fine black sand of Keramas and the sparkling volcanic beach of Lipah.
Bali between spirituality and fun, between worldliness and minimalism, luxury and zen atmosphere, Bali challenges every stereotype, a magnetic and unique place, as Bali Mystique tells us, that cannot be found anywhere else.
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