Christelle Scifo doesn’t limit herself to just one job title. That’s only appropriate, since the Sydney-based creative consultant, stylist and art director founded Fleurette, an equally multi-disciplinary outlet for her many creative passions. The business sources and styles flora and objects for weddings, parties, homes and more.
With a background in both floristry and fashion journalism, Scifo is perfectly at ease moving across those categories. Her holistic approach carries over into her personal life, especially when she travels. Rather than follow the typical tourist itinerary when visiting overseas destinations like Bali, she puts in the time to discover the best-kept secrets and most rewarding getaways alike.
“I’ve been going to Bali for the past 10 years, with many of the early trips for weddings [or] with friends, and saw the westernised clichés of the island,” she says. “More recently my trips have become more regular, since being introduced to the beauty, culture and people at the heart of Bali.”
Her first step is to bypass the well-trodden main towns and tourist traps. “Bali to me is the sights and smells of the early-morning offerings and flowers through the streets,” she says. “Fresh and local produce piled up on the sides of the roads … food carts and beach-shack bars with the best beats at sunset.”
We asked Scifo to share her picks of the most immersive and restful destinations on the island, which all share one thing in common: the quality (and sometimes also quantity) of their pools. Because while everyone wants to stretch out under the radiant Bali sun, not everyone wants to do on a loud and bustling beach.
This aptly named getaway in the popular surf spot of Canggu invites visitors to unwind among native greenery while soaking in a fusion of art, music, design, food and drinks. Tunes are curated throughout the various spaces to suit the mood and time of day. There’s even a concept store stocking the arty new label Non-Type, which is run by Scifo’s partner, designer Gareth Moody. Calling it her “home away from home”, Scifo says, “it’s very cool, very in-demand [yet] intimate and ever so chill, which is what you want. But with only four pool suites, you have to get in early.”
Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.97, Canggu, North Kuta
Amankila, meaning “peaceful hill”, is a hilltop resort perched on Bali’s east coast in the island’s historic Karangasem Regency, but modern touches like a three-tier infinity pool are just as much of a draw. Scifo recommends it for “romance, beauty and nature, away from the hustle and bustle of usual spots”, as well as for the sweeping ocean views and gorgeous candlelit evenings in the lush natural surrounds. As for the suites themselves, they’re set on stilts among the trees and styled as Balinese beach houses, complete with private terraces. “Take the road less travelled, and with better waves,” says Scifo.
Jl. Raya Manggis, Manggis, Karangasem
“Luxury, elegance and architecture” is how Scifo describes this resort, nestled atop limestone cliffs overlooking the ocean. “One of my very favourite sunsets was from right here in the pool, with cocktail in-hand. The striking and symmetric design of the pools and landscape allow you to see out for miles to the sea, and the horizon feels so close you can touch it.” As if that wasn’t enough, Alila is just kilometres from both Karma Beach and the Uluwatu Temple and offers free yoga classes plus dining options blending western and Indonesian cuisine. When you’ve retired from the shared pool, you can slip right into the private one in your room and enjoy the resort’s personal butler service.
Jl. Belimbing Sari, Tambiyak, Pecatu, Kuta Selatan Pecatu Kuta Selatan, Pecatu, South Kuta
A spa resort situated on a secluded estate next to the Ayung River and its adjacent rainforests, Como Shambala is all about finding tranquillity. “There’s no better place to reconnect, escape the business of the main towns and take a lesson in self-care,” says Scifo. She recommends “the ultimate yoga and spa experience, with a swim to follow in your own private pool villa [and] the sounds of the rapids that run down in the valley below.” Yet for all its peacefulness, it’s still just 10 kilometres from Ubud and includes all modern amenities, from internet to satellite TV. Once you’ve gotten to know the resort itself, strike out into the wilderness on one of the regular guided hikes on offer.
Banjar Begawan, Melinggih Kelod, Payangan, Gianyar
Aman Villas at Nusa Dua
Sitting on the island’s southernmost peninsula, these villas are steeped in frangipani trees and traditional Balinese art and design. But for Scifo, the primary appeal is the sheer size of the pool. She describes it as the biggest pool she’s ever swum in, “more like a bath fit for kings … it sure left an impression, surrounded by great large urns that dwarf you as you swim past”. Surrounded by stone and marble walls, it’s like immersing yourself directly into Bali’s storied past. “Decadence, history and tradition”, summarises Scifo.
Jalan Desa Sawangan Jl. Nusa Dua, Benoa
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