La Joya Biu Biu, Bali, Indonesia
Bali has always been a mecca for surfers and those after the beauty of beaches awash with waves rolling in from the Indian Ocean. Perched high above the ocean on its own secret beach in Balangan is La Joya Biu Biu. In an area of Bali known as the 'Bukit' that literally means 'Hill' but these are cliffs and coves with some of the best waves in the world and concealing white sand beaches and azure seas.
It is still a very much word of mouth hideaway for those who prefer the simple barefoot luxury that comes with the essence of Bali beach life. An enchanting little hideaway with endless views from the infinity pool and an understated island eco chic atmosphere. This is the sister resort to the original La Joya that was one of the first eco beach escapes in Balangan and has been further up the coast for over a decade. This new incarnation has its own exclusive beach but retains the same ethos, style and intimate feel.
A path leads past stylishly scattered beach huts to the pools and one of the most scenic spas on the island. This hidden cliff side retreat defines laid back tropical style and is an oasis in the increasingly modern concrete jungle that Bali is becoming. The sound of waves crashing below and the very secluded spot make this the perfect retreat for a few days to feel the breezes and sound of the sea, saunter down the winding steps for a secret beach surf or just laze by one of the pools and enjoy the endless blue horizon where the sea meets the sky.
Each hut has its own little eccentricities of design and are elegantly elevated traditional thatched beach huts that are scattered throughout the property centred around the views or private gardens. Relaxed muted hues dominate the decor in cooling terrazzo floored rooms and draped beds. Intricate details from Balinese artisans, such as the mother of pearl doors inlaid with shell motifs, add to the thoughtfulness to the decor.
The bungalows vary in sizes from small eco lofts for friends to family houses and are also pet friendly for Bali residents looking for a break. The understated barefoot elegance and views across the ocean really reflect the island style and laid back living that defined Bali and is being gradually corroded by modern chain hotels creeping along this coastline. Luckily development has not enveloped this little outcrop so you can gaze at cows grazing the green hills opposite the pool or from your room.
The grounds of La Joya Biu Biu are an enchanting mixture of bohemian beach chic and a few modern lines to create a bit of Robinson Crusoe mixed with architectural twists for a totally unique experience. The unique spa and neighbouring geometrical 'honeycomb' pool are the epicentre of this little oasis. A massage above the sea accompanied by a dip in the azure plunge pool that clings to the side of the cliff provides views into a blue infinity. Therapists transport you into a totally serene experience suspended above the sea. A geometrical infinity pool in a deep indigo hue compliments the sky and peaceful place to lounge and take in the view.
There is a typical island style restaurant, open with thatched roofs and driftwood, lined by thee half moon pool with a Balinese Bale (pagoda) and chairs with a views across to the Jimbaran side of Bali. The property curls around this part of the island but is built in complete sympathy with both the land and the traditional beach chic style that appeals to fans of the more eco chic beach life that is prevalent in this part of the island and the surf lifestyle. Another small bar and pool lie back from the cliff edge in a small decked bar area. Each one is designed to make the most of just relaxing in this little hideaway and a great selection of local and foreign specialities from the restaurant mean you do not have to leave.
One of the most magical aspects of this stunning enclave is the steps carved down through the cliff to a private beach. A pristine little rocky bay a white sand a crystal waves lapping onto the beach or even crashing as the tide gets higher, this is the perfect spot for surfers to not compete in the line ups further up the coast or just to have a secluded sunbathe and swim in this area of the island famous for its waves, laid back cool and dramatic seascape. An afternoon down at the beach is more like being on a remote island. Its a perfect place to enjoy the dramatically flamboyant Bali sunsets from this spot or head up to the beach bar for an accompanying drink.
la Joya Biu Biu is the perfect hideaway for the ethically conscious traveller searching for an intimate resort with a laidback atmosphere and barefoot luxury. Chic beach huts, incredible design, wonderful service and panoramas of the perfect Indian Ocean encompass this little property. A perfect place for beach and surf lovers to forget time and escape the hustle and bustle of modern Bali for a few days in secluded serenity. A unique and wonderfully unpretentious part of this island paradise.
Words & Photos by Electra Gillies