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Built into a cliff on the relatively unknown east coast of Bali, Amankila (meaning “peaceful hill”), overlooks the serene waters of the Lombok Strait against a dramatic backdrop of Mount Agung.
The 34 suites have been elevated amid the surrounding trees connected by walkways. Designed in traditional Balinese design with a contemporary twist, all rooms have expansive decks to maximise the spectacular ocean views whilst six of the villas also have private pools.
Amankila's ocean-view restaurant focuses on everything fresh. Local boats deliver the day's catch, ducks are reared in the resort's free range farm and herbs are plucked straight from the garden. For the ultimate privacy, guests can tuck into a picnic at Tirta Sari Bale, located in the hills of East Bali overlooking rice fields, banana trees and Amuk Bay.
Guests can explore the surrounding jungle scape for Goa Lawah, hidden in a bat cave, or enjoy a private tour of the Romanesque royal palace. The resort also features two traditionally designed fishing boats which can be privately chartered for excursions. After a day of exploration , guests can unwind in the spa, which focuses on traditional Balinese treatments using natural ingredients. The resort also features a focal three-tiered pool offering panoramas of the coast, a yoga pavilion and a floor-to-ceiling library.
The flaw in this hotel is, however, the lack of on-site dive centre. The main diving area can be reached via a 20 minute taxi and 25 minute boat.
Dive amongst the giant Oceanic Sunfish and mantas, and even stay on for a night dive and spot the extraordinary Spanish Dancer - the stunningly coloured swimming Nudibranch so named because of the whirling swimming motion and vibrant red colouration reminiscent of the skirts of its namesake.
If diving is the main objective for your holiday, Amankila is probably no the hotel for you, but if you fancy a couple of days' worth of diving during your stay, it's a fantastic option.
This is one of the only places in the world we know of where you are virtually guaranteed to get up close and personal with the elusive giant Mola Mola or Oceanic Sunfish, albeit that the season is limited to a few months between July and October.
Nick, Original Diver