Four Seasons Hotel, Jimbaran, Bali, a little piece of paradise

The gecko is staring up at me and I’m staring back. I’m sitting on the bed under mosquito netting in a villa suite of one of the most highly rated hotels in the world, the Four Seasons in Jimbaran, Bali and I’m afraid to get of the bed. This tiny muddy looking animal with its dark brown beady eyes is having a contest with me. Mentally, I know these tiny lizards are harmless, equally terrified of me and indigenous to the area.

I’m jet lagged, it’s 4AM, wide-awake and my only activity is moving to the other side of the bed in this superbly Balinese decorated accommodation only because I have a phobia about creepy crawly things. To distract myself, I turn on the TV with the handy remote. But soon I’m looking again at this small monster hoping he’d take the hint and move on. But he’s still there. Leaping lizards!

I ‘m taken with the hand painted door then I realize that because of a well placed full length mirror I can see the smartly designed bathroom with its freestanding tub complete with little feet and the duo set in stone sinks. I know behind the marble wall is the perfectly designed shower with a level floor that, amazingly, doesn’t flood into the other areas. It’s a design triumph.

Thinking that a glass of water would be just the thing, the reality is that the bottle is on the counter of the large dressing area located between the bedroom and the bathroom facilities. But I’ll never make it around this creature that seems to grow in size whenever I look down.

If only I could get outside to the thatched roof, opened- sided living area with a cozy seating arrangement and mini bar maybe then I could I could snuggle into the inviting Balinese designed sofa. But can I get off my bed even to scamper to my secluded walled- in terrace to watch the sun set. Not in my dreams. I’ve written the script. The liner notes will read –‘found withered and starving to death, one Canadian scribe’.

So, will a white knight in armour, in this case, the perfectly uniformed member of the very efficient cleaning staff, save me from this fiercesome animal? I’ll just have to wait.

Even though it’s raining, it would be sort of wonderful to hop into the villa’s private plunge pool with its water-spouting statue just outside my bedroom window overlooking Jimbaran Bay. It may just be the perfect tranquilizer.

As dawn arrives I finally fall asleep only to be awakened by a rooster somewhere off in the distance. When I look down at the floor, the gecko is gone and I’ve return to my senses and laugh out loud about the absurdity of the situation.

Now I’m ready to take on the world and call for my first meal of the day. Although it’s drizzling, the weather is warm enough and I opt for the private out-door shower in my very own secluded courtyard. All the villas are completely private with high walls surrounding them.

During my morning ablutions, breakfast arrives and the smiling friendly staff member, who travels the hilly road with a small open vehicle, opens the villa’s front gate with a master key. He unobrustively sets out the food on the outdoor dining table. As I drink my freshly squeezed mango juice, he greets me with the broadest smile. I quickly learn that the Balinese are the kindest people with the philosophy that life has a divine and balanced order.

. It’s still early so I walk around the large property before my spa appointment. This village style hotel is great for romance. Honeymooners never have to leave their suite. Except they’d miss the beach, watching surfers and local fisherman, aromatic flowering trees and flowers and the shimmering pool. The stretch and aerobic class I had signed up for, is cancelled so I head to the gym. Weights, treadmill, step machines and up to the minute facilities are expected in most Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and this one has the added appeal of overlooking the bay and oriental structures set in the midst of tropical greenery.

Time for my massage. I follow the hewn stone path leading to the new spa, away from the main area, up a hill. The walk is exhilarating .The 10,000 square foot spa has nine very private treatment rooms. I’m shown to the waiting area where there is a pitcher of jamu-a healthy herbal beverage. Off to one side is a “quiet room” with a well-appointed space created for “peace and solitude”. Sugita tells me that there’s a standard where guests never have to wait longer than 5 minutes. I’m shown to the lockers and given a robe then, within seconds, lead into a room scented by aromatic candles. Taped Zen-like music quietly plays in the background. There’s a tray filled with colorful small dishes containing aromatic herbs and spices grown in the hotel’s garden which are combined with various oils for massaging – exceptional treatments for skin and body. Sugita tells me the names and reasons for these indigenous ingredients. Many are made into creams, for sale at the terracotta-pink colored reception area. My body treatment includes ginger, lime and honey that have been warmed. The facial is equally well thought- out and after being exfoliated and massaged for 20 minutes, the final step is a herbal mask. Sugita never leaves the room- another must-do at this spa.

The sun tries to break through so I meet up with a colleague and we decide to eat at the outdoor restaurant Taman Wantilan. The fish and salad are perfect. On the way back to my villa, and since the on- property Ganesha Art gallery is just across the road from my villa, I see the exhibit, this one by an expat artist who sculpts modern art. But I want to learn as much as possible about Balinese art. I’m told there aren’t any words for art or artist since the Balinese pride themselves on skill and perfection, as part of everybody’s everyday life. The gallery has monthly exhibitions. I mention to the man in charge that I admire the paintings in my suite and I’m told that every piece of art in the public areas as well as the rooms is for sale.

This is a great segue since my plans today include going to the artisan village, Batuan. Even though I don’t expect to be away for more than a few hours, leaving this lush resort of which fantasies are made, I depart with some hesitation.

The traditional Balinese painting and furniture of Batuan, are intricate. Everyone shyly smiles as I pass his or her outdoor work area where they sit cross-legged. Intricate carving is left to the men, while the women work on the finish and polishing. The Batuan style picture is known for several unrelated detailed scenes.

I leave Bali and Jimbaran’s Four Seasons Hotel and Resort fully refreshed in both mind and body knowing the “Island of the Gods”, has very good karma. Even the gecko will always have a special spot in my memory.

There are spa suites with oversized outdoor baths for couples.

There are 147 luxuriously appointed 200 square foot villas nestled among colorful foliage. Three are Balinese style pavilions.

Tennis courts and water sport facilities are all complimentary

Complimentary transfer between the beachside Jimbaran Bay Four Seasons to the newer Fours Seasons in Sayan