There are few places in the world which leave me speechless. Places where I don’t want to write about for fear that everyone else will come and it will no longer be my little secret. And Samabe Bali Suites & Villas, from herein shortened to Samabe (pronounced “Summa Bay”), is one of those magical places.
After our visit to Grand Mirage in the prime location of central Nusa Dua, Samabe invited us to visit their luxury resort. It sits at the southern end of Nusa Dua tucked down a long, sparse street that can only be described as the Beverly Hills of Bali. Enormous, lavish resorts separated with jungles of privacy and long manicured driveways.
Upon arrival our bags were collected and whisked to our suite, while beautifully fragrant frangipane leis placed around our neck. Already we felt like VIPs and we hadn’t even checked in yet! We were offered a seat on a comfy lounge overlooking a tranquil man-made lake for the check-in process. It was the beginning of a utopian holiday that you could only imagine in your wildest dreams. Fortunately this place is completely real.
Walking Is Optional
Samabe is a prestigious 5 star luxury resort surrounded by lush tropical gardens and perched high on a cliff overlooking the endless turquoise blue ocean. On the sea-facing border, 120+ stone steps lead down to the white sandy private beach. 81 suites and villas are spread over 8 hectares – all endowed with spellbinding ocean views.
As you can imagine finding your suite amongst 8 hectares can be a step in the wrong direction of relaxation, but that’s okay because golf carts are on hand to save the day. These are Josh’s favourite method of transport ever since it was our only option for getting around Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Near the lobby several carts with drivers were waiting to take us wherever we wished. And when we left our hotel room, we simply called the Butler (yes, Butler, I will get to that) and he organised a cart to come and collect us within just a couple minutes.
Exceptional Service Is NOT Optional
The friendly lobby staff were just the beginning. Each room includes it’s own personal butler. The butler attends to all your needs and desires from calling you a golf cart, to unpacking your luggage to organising your laundry (which was free!). I’ve never had a real butler before, what was I to do with him? Samabe provided a whole list on what the butler can do. I imagine this is what it feels like to be obscenely rich or perhaps a king/queen of a small country.
The staff all around the resort from the reception desk to the poolside bar to the housekeepers knew our name. It really was like family. Unfortunately they thought our surname was “Erin” and so we were Mr and Mrs Erin the whole weekend. I secretly smiled upon hearing them call Josh, “Mr Erin” (I’ll admit, it’s been a deep, dark fantasy of mine since we got married! LOL!).
Limited Privileges - on a budget
Not only were the incredible staff part of the service, but the actual offerings of the resort really set it apart from the pack. You can choose Limited Privileges, which includes 24-hour butler service, snacks and beverages all day long, daily mini bar replenishment, free flow of juices and soft drinks, fruit platters and afternoon tea from 3 to 5pm.
Unlimited Privileges - pure indulgence
As the name suggests, if you want absolute zero cares on your luxury holiday choose an Unlimited Privileges package. This covers 24-hour selection of gourmet and organic cuisine in all restaurants, room service, evening cocktails, plus activities.
There are so many activities to choose from: painting, shopping, sea walker, costume dressing, snorkelling, spa treatments and cooking, just to name a few. The Unlimited Privileges package includes 1 activity per day which is plenty to keep you active, and still have enough time to relax by the pool or beach. You can guess which ones jumped out at us:
Mia and Caius wanted to go to the kids club so Josh and I seized the opportunity to learn how to prepare authentic Balinese cuisine. The setting was incredibly scenic with the pond surrounding our floating kitchen and the ocean sparkling on the horizon. Our expert Chef was remarkable. The intoxicating scents filled the atmosphere and, of course, we got to eat the delicious meal once it was prepared.
With the kids never wanting to leave the kids club, Josh and I celebrated Valentine’s Day early with a couples’ massage. We choose our own scented oils and settled in for the ultimate relaxation. Boy, did the tension dissipate… I may have even slipped in a quick nap!
Choosing A Room
With so many picturesque villas and suites to choose from it’s a hard decision. Do you want a private pool? A lounge room? Multiple bedrooms? The Ocean Front Family Suite was a perfect choice for us.
The suite offered the most incredible ocean views – floor-to-ceiling windows looking directly over the ocean and golden sunrise every morning. The suite consisted of a spacious bedroom with 2 large king beds, a large lounge room with a very comfy couch, solid wood dining table and entry hall. The bathroom housed a colossal bath, a double-head shower room (that’s right, “room”) and 2 separate toilets. Not to mention double vanity - always handy with a family of four. The staff had also setup a third bed by the window, which Mia was quick to claim. Lucky girl.
What Do Kids Do In A Luxury Resort?
What can’t they do? The Lumba-Lumba Kids Club was a favourite for both us as parents as well as the kids. The organised schedule meant that we knew what activities would be occurring - it wasn’t just a babysitting service. The kids created crafts, played games, decorated cookies, and really enjoyed being in there.
On 2 of our days there we collected them after lunch in our zippy golf buggy and headed straight to the swimming pool for an afternoon of family fun.
If there was one negative about the resort that I had to knit-pick it would be the pool depth. Clearly designed for leisurely adults who wish to casually wade around and enjoy a cocktail. It wasn’t particularly deep so we had to warn the kids about their energetic leaps and jumps, but they managed to make it work and they loved the 3 different levels of crystal clear infinity pools.
It was also not a particularly shady pool, so be careful of that hot Bali sun. Bring the sunscreen and camp under the large umbrellas by the poolside. The pool staff were more than happy to move the deckchairs and umbrellas so we were constantly enveloped in shade.
At 3pm every day near the pool, a couple therapists from the spa offered complimentary poolside massage treatments. Who could say no to that?
Will You Be Bored In An All Inclusive Resort?
With so many included activities, a divine infinity pool (or three), on-site award-winning spa, an incredibly spacious and functional suite, why would I ever need to leave?
Even if we didn’t choose to take an off-site tour to Tanah Lot, we could have easily filled up several relaxing days around the resort. So if you are trying to balance an adventure holiday with relaxation and a bit of culture, then this is the place just for that. Combine a Seawalker experience with an evening Devdan Show. Everyone’s happy.
Food, Food, And More Food
On top of the memorable activities there were 5 different places to eat around the resort. We never got a chance to try the TE.JA.Co. Lounge & Bar but we did try everything else.
Ring of Fire Pool Bar – a solid family favourite. The food was hot and fresh. It was such a relaxing place to eat, and combined with a view I could stare at all day. The kids were in and out of the pool, I was reading my Kindle and the food and drinks provided the perfect accompaniment.
Rempah–Rempah (Main Dining Room) – also very good. Our breakfast was served here which included a choice from the buffet (complete with chocolate fondue – our kids were in heaven) plus any sort of egg creation from the menu and more.
Unfortunately my eggs benedict was cold and rubbery, like the egg came out of the fridge and they poured warm, delicious béarnaise sauce all over it. After sending it back the second egg was not much better. But Josh’s omelette, the kids pancakes and French toast was spot on.
Each morning at breakfast they also supplied us with the juice of the day, plus 4 juice shots to get your body going. Josh, always willing to try new foods, loved this; the rest of our family couldn’t quite manage to gulp down the spinach or beetroot juices.
The lunch and dinner options were very refined and usually hit the mark, with dishes such as thick Black Angus striploin, and fresh guacamole that was created in front of our eyes at our table.
Crystal Blue - simply outstanding. Black Angus beef served on a hot lava stone, lamb cutlet trio, and my new favourite cocktail, The Bahamas Mojito. Quite possibly one of our favourite meals in Bali so far.
If you are looking for a unique once-in-a-lifetime holiday that your family will remember for many years, then start saving your pennies because this resort is worth every cent. By it’s very nature, it won’t attract low-budget holiday-markers with its unapologetic luxury. But I’m confident that if you do make it here, you will not regret it. And you will have made my Bali secret yours as well.
Samabe’s motto is “Arrive as a guest, depart as a friend and return as family.” It is always a pleasant surprise when a hotel can deliver, actually over-deliver, on their maxim. We truly experienced a family holiday in which we connected with the most understanding, compassionate staff possible, and departed as firm friends. Waving goodbye as our taxi pulled away, I looked over my shoulder, completely speechless, as many fond memories replayed in my mind… Next time we will have to come back as family.