A M A N Y A R A
The Amanyara resort offers the ultimate in luxury, sophistication and service on this beautiful island. Its user-friendly size makes for personable service from the hotel’s numerous employees. Located amid scrubby vegetation in a nature preserve on Malcolm Beach, this is at the far west end of the isle, away from the hubbub of Grace Bay (if you can call it a hubbub). The resort is reached by a bumpy dirt road intentionally unpaved to preserve the resort’s seclusion.
This sublime Zen-like resort, part of the Asian Aman chain, is infused throughout with a calming Balinese motif and unabashed sophistication. It sits atop a craggy iron-shore (eroded limestone) terrace with splendid views over pearly white sands, with turquoise shallows and pristine reefs beyond.
Arrivals are met in the reception pavilion—like the entire resort, combining light wooden frames and acres of sliding glass walls—with a refreshing drink to begin their relaxation after being whisked from the airport with the complimentary transfer service. The same transfer is available to nearby grocery or shopping areas, but for a small fee based on the distance.
Views from reception are of a lovely reflecting pool that draws guests to want to see what lies beyond. The gardens are exotic, and a cool breeze wafts throughout the place, mimicking the feel of a Hawaiian resort.
The restaurant and bar is a casually enticing place with a surprisingly basic menu of Asian fusion and Mediterranean fare. Outdoor seating is perfect during spring days, but air-conditioned tables inside are preferred during the summer heat.
Diners enjoy ocean vistas beyond the infinity-edge swimming pool lounge area made of Indonesian volcanic rock and complete with chaise lounges and umbrellas for shade seekers.
There is no official dress code anywhere on the property, and guests are encouraged to be comfortable, but most arrive for dinner dressed in latest chic resort wear.
A circular bar with soaring ceiling and glazed travertine floor is an irresistible space for cocktails, which can be enjoyed on the adjoining deck. Cigar smokers are encouraged and the finest of smokes are for sale. The beach club keeps sunbathers well fed with lighter fare and frozen drinks.
A library with books, newspapers, magazines and music is a popular choice for shaded afternoon bliss, and a screening room features sumptuous leather seats. Complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access is available throughout the property.
Non-motorized sports are included in the rates, and those wishing to expend some energy can use the two lighted tennis courts nearby. A fitness center is also on hand, complimentary morning yoga is offered, and the 164-ft-long infinity pool is great for anyone urged to do a few laps (it also has shallows for lounging).
Guests in search of pampering make reservations for a massage, scrub, wrap or beauty treatment in the Serenity Villa spa. Yoga and Pilates classes also take place in the villa. An upscale boutique sells beachwear, designer clothing and chic accessories.
Accommodations are in shingle-roofed bungalows overlooking the breeze-swept, rocky shoreline below or more tranquil reflecting ponds. Direct beach access is not the norm, and walks to the sand can be lengthy from the furthest of bungalows. Sliding glass walls on three sides allow for plenty of natural light in what are surely the island’s sleekest guest rooms, all boasting sand-colored polished terrazzo floors with teak inlays and sisal matting, plus modern furnishings, and outdoor terraces with sofas and day beds on all three sides; one terrace has a dining table.
King-sized beds are on low-to-the-ground platforms and offer the finest linens and plumpest pillows. Electronic pleasures include flat-screen TVs, DVD players, stereo systems, free wireless high-speed Internet access and clever lighting. The traditional amenities are also present: complimentary minibars (only the spirits cost extra), safes, writing desks and breakfast tables. Terraces offer private space for lounging or can simply be enjoyed through the immense floor-to-ceiling windows while inside the air-conditioned comfort. Pool pavilions also have their own private pools and cost slightly more than those without pools. Units 120 and 125 are especially popular thanks to their private plunge. The two-bedroom pavilion suites are the best choices for those that want adjoining rooms. Ocean pavilion 115 is one of the most requested for its marvelous views and the sand cove that sits directly in front of the room.
Baths are equally unique with freestanding tubs, ottoman, dual vanities, shower stalls, WCs and excellent storage space, plus a separate alfresco rain shower.
In addition to the hotel pavilions, there are 20 spectacular, privately owned two- to five-bedroom villas, most in the rental pool. Each boasts its own swimming pool of black volcanic rock. The local and Asian staff is discreet and doting to meet every whim with a smile and air of confidence no matter what the request. Be aware that those tempted to record the beauty with photographs will be politely requested to pack the cameras away. The policy is to protect the flow of celebrities that often stay here, but staffers typically look the other way if no people are in the direct direction of the camera lens. Pets are also not permitted. This amazing spot is meant for those used to the high life and who don’t mind staying put for a few days, and that’s easy to do at this ideal island paradise. Nothing else on the island compares, although Parrot Cay is the closest competitor and offers a similar away-from-it-all sophistication at lower prices.