Life's A Beach

The Island of the Gods is perhaps best known for its breathtaking beaches and pioneering entrepreneurs have been quick to seize the opportunity, creating venues that are surreally beautiful, ethereally sublime and always fun to be a part of. In this news explores six top beach clubs in Bali.

nammos beach clubWhen word first got around in 2008 that a new slice of heaven had just arrived, namely a beach hideaway jealously guarded within the sprawling, all new, ultra luxurious Karma Kandara Resort, the news sparked an immediate sensation. All of a sudden, people were making the trip to Southern Bali's Bukit Peninsula just to gain access to this private beach, which can only be reached from Karma Kandara Resort via an inclinator lift that ferries people 100 metres up and down a sheer cliff face. The Nammos Beach Club now charges s fee to enter its totally concealed beach area, but back then, it was first come first served. Come on any day and you'll be welcomed by spectacular white sands lapped by blue turquoise waters, grass roofed daybeds, private pavilions, and, best of all, only a handful of people lounging around in this tranquil lagoon. The Club's gentle mix of Mediterranean ambience and tropical languor is best experienced via the Mediterranean inspired menu (which includes selections from a well stocked oyster bar), raised bamboo decking, and two manicured lawns complete with sun lounges.


kudetaAh, KU DE TA. Who hasn't been here before ? A long time fixture on Bali's hip and happening scene, KU DE TA still matters after all these years (it's been over a decade now). A winning combination of a sound business strategy, an indomitable marketing machine and a fantastic location have kept KU DE TA high on the must visit lists of hardcore party goers and casual walk ins looking to catch a great sunset while sipping on some great cocktails, if there is any available space left that is ! But for all of this, KU DE TA's biggest strength has been and will always be its superb beachfront location and impressive interior and layout. Even people who aren't big on KU DE TA will admit this restaurant cum-club certainly has these factors going for it. That, of course, and the Saturday night debauchery and its accompanying crowd. Food wise, KU DE TA may be kudeta seminyakjust passable, but in any case, most come here for the sunset and cocktails. For first time visitors, there's nothing more sublime than arriving at the unassuming KU DE TA entrance and making your way through the relatively narrow hallway, only to emerge seconds later into a wide open courtyard where uplifting dance music pumps loudly as international DJs spin their wheels of steel and rock the crowds. Look beyond the enormous reflecting pool gracing the centre of the courtyard and the DJ booth however, and you'll find yourself presented with a 180 degree, unobstructed, panoramic ocean vista. It is only then that the realization that you're in Bali fully hits home.


cocoon beach clubLocated in the somewhat dodgy yet ever popular Double Six area, Cocoon Beach Club may just be the redeeming gem amongst the glut of beachfront properties in the vicinity. This multi dimensional venue seems to have everything right going for it : a Spanish inspired dcor and atmosphere with a bit of Riviera flair thrown into the mix for good measure, attentive service, excellent music, an extensive wine list and tapas menu, and surprise ! some seriously edible food. Other beachside venues may score highly for their style, hipness and cocktails, but neglect things such as customer service, which gets kind of lost in the busy melee. Cocoon seems to be able to balance both sides fairly well though, and customers also rave over such dishes as blue swimmer crab salad, mushroom bombas and tuna tartare. Indeed, Cocoon seems to have played all of its cards right, with ambient music that isn't too loud, an atmosphere that makes you feel as if you are in Ibiza, gorgeous lighting, a nicely laid out interior, and elegant dcor in the main dining area that flows fluidly to the poolside area where you can laze around in a plush deckchair. Cocoon beach clubWhether or not Cocoon can maintain its popularity remains to be seen, but for now, this respectable little venue has definitely upped the ante in the Double Six area.

oceans27Located behind the Discovery Mall in one of the rowdiest areas on the entire island, Oceans27 has no problem attracting customers and has built up a loyal clientele. Its biggest advantage, without doubt, is its location, and even I have to admit that its strategy position in the centre of things has aided me in my all night party missions on more than one occasion. Aside from the fact that the beach club is located within the vicinity of some of the island's best and busiest shopping and restaurant venues, getting into and accessing Oceans27 is also decidedly easy. There's even an underground parking space that links directly to the club, making it a hassle free venue to get to. On weekend nights, the place positively buzzes with life, and electric excitement and anticipation ripples through the air.
oceans27 Despite the fact that the club lacks the sort of allure that has socialites, jet setters and high rolling members of society flocking to its higher profile competitors. Oceans27 is still a perfectly viable venue in which to party your heart out and is consider ably less claustrophobic than some of Bali's other popular beach clubs. Speaking of which, Oceans27 is completely open air and very spacious. The venue spreads over three levels with the option of intimate gazebos, courtyard style seating or comfortable beachfront sofas. The dcor and furnishings, as well as the colour scheme, are all pleasant on the eye and, as with most other beach clubs in Bali, are infused with some serious Mediterranean style flair. A small pool with a sunken cocktail bar sits in the middle of the courtyard, and live jazz music has also helped to ensure the bar's continuing popularity.


potato head beach clubThe newest hip hangout has been beamed onto Bali straight from the minds of the people who brought us Jakarta's popular Potato Head. Potato Head Beach Club opened in December 2010 in Seminyak and was an instant hit. As with its Jakarta sister venue, everything here, from the huge, artfully designed interior to the menu to the cocktail list to the general ambience and furnishings, has been carefully put together. Only the Eko Nugroho alien murals on its walls are missing. potato head beach clubSpend some time here though and you'll warm to Bali's newest party hotspot and its gorgeous beachfront location. Perhaps more pertinent to Pothead Beach Club's ongoing success though, is the club's smart realization that beyond the cosmetics, a basic requirement must first be satisfied namely service. Patrons more fastidious than myself have declared the service here to be excellent, with drinks arriving promptly and correctly and food generally being on a par with the kind of money that Potato Head Beach Club is charging. Whether or not this hip new hangout will stand the test of time remains to be seen, especially with the W Seminyak opening up next door. So far so good though.


envyThe ENVY Chill Out Bar & Restaurant, which is located inside the Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali in Tuban still remains one of the best and most laid back beachfront bars in all of Bali. What makes ENVY so pleasurable is its delicious, uncompromisingly laid back feel. Some of the beach clubs mentioned previously require a classy approach, however at ENVY, you can leave all of your pretences at the door, as walking into its beachfront location is a hassle free experience. Guests can just casually stroll in knowing full well that the staff, dressed in Rat Pack style straw hats, subdued batik shirts and tailored shorts, will quietly acknowledge your presence and greet you with a subtle nod of the head, instead of the usual over the top, genuflecting. For best results, arrive just a little before sunset, plop into one of the plush chaise lounges, order up an innovative signature cocktail and some finger food and await the breathtaking sunset. EnvyENVY serves up some pretty serious food and drinks, too, which far surpass those found at certain other over hyped venues. Stick with comfort food such as Yemi's fully loaded 180 gram beef burger or the ENVY pizza and you will be very well taken care of. This is not to say that you should shy away from the venue's higher end menu though, which includes items such as the 200 gram US Angus sirloin and some naturally juicy and tender steaks. There is much to like about ENVY's innovative cocktails as well, and the cocktail menu was designed by Sydney based Bar Solutions exclusively for the beachfront property, and hence certain items here cannot be found anywhere else in the world.