Bali Hai

Continued (page 3 of 3)

My final stop is back on the coast, at the famed Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay. One of the first all-villa resorts in the world, it continues to set the standard. On arrival I'm met by two lovely young Balinese girls in brightly colored silk costumes. They smile, bow with the traditional gesture of hands in prayer pointed toward the heart, and hand me a banana leaf "vase" filled with fresh flowers. It's a rehearsed moment, but the warmth and the simple beauty is genuine, something I'm told always strikes first-time visitors to Bali.

My villa is spacious, and the decor is elegant, complete with plunge pool, outdoor pavilion with daybed and a bathtub filled with frangipani blossoms. Every villa faces the majestic arc of Jimbaran Bay, where traditional wooden fishing boats in sorbet colors greet each dawn and dusk. Having experienced several amazing meals in Bali—from five-course gourmet feasts to simple grilled fish dinners on the sand at the candlelit beach restaurants that dot the waterfront—I make it my mission to re-create the taste sensations at home by enrolling in a Four Seasons cooking class, where students can learn to make dishes such as Balinese spiced snapper in banana leaf.

Afterward, I chat with a honeymooning couple from San Francisco, who, after just three days here, are beaming with a sort of otherworldly glow. I'm not surprised by their expressions; I'm pretty sure I look the same. When Bali weaves its timeless spell, resistance is useless.

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, villas from $630, fourseasons.com/jimbaranbay.

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