Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali
Situated in a tiny village on Bali's northeast coast, Spa Village Resort Tembok, Bali is a secluded and quiet hotel, with only 31 rooms. With a beautiful blend of traditional Balinese architecture with modern western style, the resort offers plenty of local character.
One of the main focuses of the resort is the ancient Balinese remedies and lifestyle, and guests can enjoy a 50-minute spa treatment as well as a range of activities tailored to guests' requirements.
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There are 31 simple yet elegant rooms that give the hotel a calm and relaxing air. They have used Balinese wood, neutral fabrics and local handicrafts to make a haven perfect for switching off.
Tea and coffee making facilities and iPod docks are welcome touches, and the balconies are ideal for sitting and watching the sea. The larger villas have their own plunge pools that overlook the water. In keeping with the peaceful, relaxed atmosphere, rooms do not have a television. There is no internet in the rooms but Wi-Fi is available in the lobby.
The hotel has a particularly peaceful location, and there are no nearby shops, restaurants or bars. The black sand and pebbles of the beaches, and the backdrop of volcanic mountains and palm tree covered hills provide beautiful and relaxing surroundings.
Food and drink
Wantilan perches above the sea, with open sides and a high thatched roof, allowing great views out over the water while you dine. Cooled by the sea breeze, and furnished with rattan and teak tables and chairs, it has a casual, Balinese feel.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant has an à la carte menu, featuring locally sourced ingredients: fish come from the sea in front of you, and fruit and vegetables come from the surrounding farms. The food is a mixture of Indonesian fusion and western, and there is a special menu that changes daily, and offers some of the resort's most innovative dining.
The resort does not have a bar, but guests gather every evening at 6:30pm for pre-dinner drinks at Taman Gili, the hotel’s meeting place by the pool.
This resort is not suitable for children, and only those over 16 are allowed.
Facilities and activities
The resort's pool is lovely for a spot of relaxation, but if you prefer more activity, you can join morning exercises in the gym, led by the hotel’s in-house instructor. Yoga swing classes show you how to add an extra dimension to normal yoga routines. Pencak silat classes, an Indonesian martial art, are held on the beach by a local expert, exercising you mind and body.
If you're interested in learning local craft skills, you could join cookery classes run by the hotel’s chefs, weaving classes led by villagers from Tembok, or wood carving classes from a local craftsman, who passes on the skills of creating the intricate decorations you'll see livening up the local doors and windows.
You can take a day trip from the resort to visit three outstanding diving sites for both novice and advanced divers: Tulamben, Amed Coral Garden and Menjangan National Park.
Tulamben is 30 minutes by car from the resort. Off the coast, you'll find the wreck of the Liberty, a 120 m (393 ft) long cargo ship. It was torpedoed by the Japanese in 1942 and now lies encrusted in anemones, gorgonia and coral, surrounded by dense concentrations of vibrant fish.
The easy water conditions of the coral garden at Amed make it suitable for both novice and experienced divers alike. You can expect to spend the day bobbing among smaller marine creatures such as gobies, shrimp, anemones and clownfish, as well as larger underwater inhabitants such as schools of barracuda, moray eels and wobbegong sharks.
The walls of the Menjangan dive sites offer the greatest diversity of gorgonian fans in Bali. Starting at 10 m (32 ft) down, you'll find a kaleidoscope of fish and gentle conditions, with a backdrop of swaying fans and sponges combining to make this a particularly picturesque dive site.
A number of tours can be arranged to see local sights of interest and visit local markets.
The Art Village Tour explores the local area, where craftsmen still practise Balinese traditions. Penglipuran gives an insight in to old Bali, while tours to Tegalalang and Kintamani combine visits to warehouses and shops - full of local ironwork, woodwork, mirrors, mosaics and other craftwork - with relaxing walks and views of volcanic Mount Batur.
A full-day visit to Titagangga Water Palace will show how Balinese kings once relaxed, and swam in the pools now open to the public. One of many temples honouring Saraswati, the Balinese goddess of wisdom, can be found at Pura Gunung Kawi.
In the same day trip, you can visit Ubud, the cultural centre of Bali, which contrasts ancient traditions and architecture with trendy bars and stylish shops.
This resort is great value and highly recommended for couples wanting to escape the crowds.
It is worth being aware that there is only one restaurant, and no bar; drinks can be taken in any of the romantic settings around the property, but the restaurant will generally close when the last diners have finished.
Finally, this is a no-smoking property, and the only designated smoking area is a spot on the beach.