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Bali Day 4 Part 2 – The Layar, Amo Spa, Biku

This post is part of our Bali 2014 Trip Report

In my last post we checked into our new resort in Seminyak: The Layar, which means “sail” in Indonesian. This is evident in the modern sloping roof design of all the villas. We were not initially booked here, but due to a scheduling conflict from the owner of our original resort, the Hu’u villas, we were moved to The Layar just two weeks before our trip. It ended up being fine though, we made it work for us despite the last minute scramble, especially because Bali is an amazing island and we were just happy to be there.

I showed a sneak peak of The Layar in my last post and here’s the rest of my review. We were in Villa 2B, which is one of the closest to the main entrance, which made walking in and out very easy. The compound does go pretty far back so I can see how if you stayed in the furthest villa you’d probably be tired of the trek, especially when hauling bags of groceries. However, I did see taxis drive in and pick up/drop-off guests all the way to their door as long as they check in with the security at the gate.

layar front

The front office at The Layar, complete with security officers. The long walk to the villas in the back of the resort.

All villas have their own lot and are separated by high stone walls. Each villa seems to be slightly different based on the pictures on their website. We got one of the few 1-BR villas, but they also have 2 and 3-BR villas. Upon entering the villa you first notice the large pool and spacious living area. It looks like the house you’ve always wanted to have, if you lived in a perfect-climate world. The pool was the best feature of the villa. It was wide. Wider than our pool in Ubud (but a few meters shorter) – which made swimming really fun. The depth was about 5 feet which was about the same as our pool in Ubud. They also had these wide shallow steps which made for easy entry into the pool, as well as a nice place to sit in the pool without totally submerging yourself.

The Villa

The wide pool

The large platform-like steps make it nice to cool off your feet without getting too wet, or to just lounge on.

A large two-person chaise lounger was on the deck area of the pool, right outside of the bedroom. Since it didn’t provide much shade I didn’t use it much since I’d much rather be in the pool when it got really hot.

Modern chaise lounge for two.

The living area was quite nice, because it was very roomy and blended nicely with the pool area. I liked the effect of the high ceilings, but because there are walls around the villas, there aren’t much in terms of breezes. It could get hot because it wasn’t air-conditioned either (but this is common in many villas). There were roll down shades to help with the sun, but in all honestly we were too lazy to even bother with them, because you had to hand-wind them up and down! The decor was modern and it incorporated wood and earthy elements combined with some local artwork. There are 2 TVs, one in the living room and the other in the bedroom. There is also a cd/dvd player and speaker system in the living room and a dvd player in the bedroom as well. The sofa was quite deep and comfortable.

View of the living room to the pool.

View into the Living room. Notice how we got some bright sun during certain times of day? You had to manually crank those roll-up shades up and down to block/reveal the sun.

The split dining area was located next to the living area but a step up. I liked how this created a separate dining space while still maintaining the open-concept of the villa. Here’s a panorama of the dining/living space.

Dining/living space panorama. I took this from the kitchen.

The dining area sits 4 comfortably.

The kitchen was small and triangular but it was fully stocked. There was a small (hidden) fridge as well as a wine cooler.

Small angular kitchen. I liked the modern, simplistic design.

The bedroom was the only room that was fully air-conditioned. It was quite large, with ample space for storage, sleeping and sitting. The low-lying king sized bed was pretty comfy and there was a small desk area. The entrance to the bedroom was through a door off of the living room, through the glass doors leading to the pool, or through the back entrance to the bathroom.

Door on the left and sliding door on the right are two of the entrances to the bedroom.

The large air-conditioned bedroom with king-sized bed.

Plenty of storage in the closets. The closets held robes, slippers, an umbrella, and some bug spray.

Convenient access to the pool, and such a pretty view.

Towards the back of the villa is where the bathroom is. This villa also came complete with a separate area for a soaking tub, which is located behind the dining area. This soaking tub was massive, it took us a good half hour just to fill it! It looked like it weighed a ton though as it was carved out of a solid piece of stone! The tub sat in a very zen-like garden space. The floor of this space had little white pebbles, which looked cool, but could be painful if you were to step in it barefoot! Luckily they had a stone pathway, although when you are fumbling around in the dark, it could be hit or miss.

The giant stone tub surrounded by little white pebbles.

The zen-like space where the tub is. To the left is a window into the kitchen.

The bathroom was through another doorway, and there was 2 sinks, a toilet and an open shower. Definitely very open concept!

Here’s Steve doing a walk through of the bathroom

The semi-outdoor shower with rain shower head.

The Layar made a good first impression in terms of space and aesthetics. In terms of practicality, it would flomax online pharmacy probably not be my personal preference. The bathroom on the back of the villa means you’d have to trudge from the pool through the living/dining, or the bedroom to get to the bathroom, leaving wet footprints along the way. The living room often got a lot of bright sun, which is good for the sun worshipers, but not so good when you’re trying to watch TV. The open space and high ceilings gave it a wow factor but it also allowed us to hear everything from the other villas surrounding us. Music, splashing, kids, loud conversations; we overheard a dad give his son swimming lessons in the villa next door one morning for an hour. Also bugs and critters will be present. In fact, there was a little lizard which popped by frequently. It almost landed on Steve as he was opening a kitchen cabinet! Talk about freaked out! (Me, not him).

Speaking of bugs, on our first day there, as we were checking out the villa, we heard a loud buzzing sound, and then a cloud of smoke coming up over the walls of our villa. There was also a strong smell of burning gasoline. I knew that they did the mosquito spraying a few times a week but they didn’t inform us that it was today when we checked in. So we ran into the bedroom and closed the doors and windows. It was crazy how the smoke kind of enveloped everything, but I guess was the point. A phone call to the front desk confirmed that it was indeed their designated spraying day, but a little warning beforehand would have been nice. Definitely make sure to note when the resorts are doing this especially since it’s quite common in Bali!

The smoke from the mosquito spraying wafting through the villa. It was stinky but made for some really cool pictures!

The location of the villa is ok – it is about a 10 minute rather sweaty walk to the main road called “Eat Street” where there is a ton of shopping and restaurants. Overall, the location is fine, but I would have liked to have been closer to the main road so that walking out for a bite to eat wouldn’t be so tedious. In any case, we took taxis everywhere because they were so cheap and it was too hot to walk!

Service at The Layar was good, aside from the little flub about not telling us of the mosquito spraying. Yes every villa had a “butler” but I found that to be the case at most resorts we looked at anyways. The breakfast service was great (I will show that in my next post), and they all seemed to be very helpful when asked. I thought that the service was more reactive rather than proactive, but that could also be because we had beyond amazing service at the Komaneka Bisma and we were used to people anticipating our every need. Aside from these minor cons, there wasn’t anything major to complain about at The Layar. Note this was not my first choice of resort, but I think it’s a very beautiful villa complex that will work for a majority of vacationers, especially those with families who want a bigger space.

The pool is definitely my favorite part of the villa. The trees surrounding the pool would drop these pretty flowers in. It was much better than twigs and leaves!

Flowers dropped into the pool daily

Later that day, after the smoke had dissipated, we took a taxi to another part of Seminyak, where the W hotel is located (and close to our original resort, the Hu’u Villa). Across from the W is a little spa called Amo Spa. We booked appointments for a massage for Steve and a pedicure and another hair cream bath for me. The prices were very reasonable, probably a bit higher than Sang Spa in Ubud, but the facilities are more high-end. I really enjoyed my pedicure and hair cream bath (they use L’oreal products which are better quality). For the nail polish you can choose from a selection of regular essie or OPI polish or upgrade to designer polishes such as Deborah Lippman, Marc Jacobs and even Chanel. I opted for one of my favorite colors, Chanel’s classic Dragon red for a couple of bucks more.

2nd hair cream bath of the trip!

After Amo Spa, it was already evening so we went to get something to eat. We knew that Biku was a few doors down so we ventured there. Biku is a shabby-chic spot with a local and Southeast Asian-influenced menu in a comfortable setting. It’s popular for it’s afternoon tea in addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner. We got seated outside so it was rather humid, but that was all they had. It’s a popular restaurant! They also have an extensive drinks menu including a juice bar. I ordered a green smoothie, and one of the specials they had that day, a braised pork knuckle served with veggies and rice. Steve got a chicken curry and an iced tea. We got a Thai-style crab cake appetizer too. Prices were very good. (Actually I’m going to say that about every meal in Bali as it’s so much cheaper than the US!). The food was yummy and the portions were large! I wished we got a chance to go here again during our stay but there were so many places we wanted to eat at that it was impossible to eat at the same place twice.

Our entrees. The portions were huge! At least mine was.

Eclectic interior of Biku, there is a small gift shop on the left.

We took a taxi from Biku to the Bintang Supermarket on the other side of Seminyak where we picked up a few necessities for the rest of our stay, and then took another taxi back to The Layar. Taxis are everywhere and very easy to get, but the streets can be quite jammed due to the narrow roads and sheer number of cars on them.

Bach at the Layar, we were greet with the luminous glow of the pool, so we jumped in for a late night swim before calling it a night!

Our villa pool at night.

Stay tuned for more adventures in Seminyak, Bali!

Read more about our Bali 2014 Trip of a Lifetime.

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