Checking in, never leaving: Katamama, Seminyak, Bali
A class of its own
While some Bali regulars might have moved on to the relatively quieter areas of Canggu and beyond, Seminyak still reigns supreme in my books as location of choice when holidaying in Bali. Here's where some of my favourite restaurants are located (Bambu, Sangsaka, Merah Putih, Kaum, and more...), and where you can find chic clothing boutiques alongside homeware stores, cute coffee spots, and the best beach clubs and bars for a sundowner, or three.
In the midst of bustling Seminyak, however, lies a gem of a hotel, an oasis of calm that is Katamama. Part of the PTT Family that also owns Potato Head Beach Club next door, Katamama is worlds apart from its sister property. Where Potato Head Beach Club is constantly busy and always up for a good party, Katamama is serene, thoughtful and laidback.
About a year and a half old (the hotel opened in March 2016), the 58-suite boutique hotel is PTT Family's first hotel in Bali. Katamama places genuine emphasis on using locally sourced materials that celebrate Balinese culture and heritage—Indonesian architect, Andra Matin designed the hotel, while the interiors were done by the owners, in partnership with Singapore-based design company, Takenouchi Webb. Upon arrival, the hotel's terracotta brick façade immediately strikes you; all 1.5 million Balinese bricks were hand-pressed and hand-finished at a nearby village, which took some three years to create.
The generously-sized suites boast Indonesian materials including terrazzo made on site, teak, and hand-made tiles from Java. More than 100 pieces of contemporary Indonesian artwork fills the hotel, many of them originally part of the owner's personal collection. It's the details that I truly appreciate—the beach backpack provided, Katamama's version of the Anjat basket, is hand-woven from naturally-dyed rattan strips, the deep indigo hand-dyed, hand-woven cloth and cushion cover that decorate the suites, and the in-suite cocktail bar complete with local arak and Balinese ingredients, and ceramic cups from yet another neighbouring workshop. Everything is so carefully thought of, and boasts an artisanal touch that serve to make guests appreciate Balinese culture a whole lot more.
If the interiors of your suite so inspires you, head down to Canaan, a well-curated boutique that sells quality products made locally by skilled artisans. Next door lies One Fifteenth Coffee, which serves up specialist house blends (and your favourite coffee) using select Indonesian beans. Further ahead is the very fashionable Escalier, a multi-label boutique that carries brands ranging from Jacquemus to Simone Rocha—I even saw a few Gocha Rubchinskiy x Levi's pieces on the racks.
Food-wise, Katamama houses the first MoVida restaurant outside of Australia. Focusing on Spanish cuisine, there's a wide range of tapas on the menu, complemented by an extensive selection of wine, and charcuterie that's carved to order. If it's Indonesian food you're craving, head on over to Potato Head where Kaum is located, but do book in advance as they're very popular. Dishes are served family sharing-style—we loved the grilled fish fillet wrapped in banana leaves, and the pork sausage fried rice. Whatever you order, be sure to have a sambal selection on the side.
If you've overindulged, the hotel gym is open 24/7, and has a personal trainer available on request. There are also yoga sessions held by the swimming pool, its shimmering turquoise green colour from the locally made Batu Sukabumi tiles. Post-workout, head over to Nila spa, where treatments are inspired by jamu, traditional Indonesian herbal remedies.
A fine balance of traditional heritage and contemporary design, Katamama is luxury Balinese living at its absolute finest.