There’s so much more to Bali than backpackers and beers, writes Laura Brodnik.

I recently embarked on my maiden voyage to Bali and to say I was expecting basics over beauty is the greatest of understatements.

Everybody knows that the best part of going on holidays is the opportunity to subtly slip your travel details into conversations where they really have no business being.  “Oh, I can’t do lunch next week, I’m heading to Bali” (insert heavy sigh) is the way my co-workers were answered when they approached me to borrow pens.

photo (8)

Laura’s private pool access at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua

This humblebrag opportunity, however, was taken from me when I eagerly told friends and family I was packing up my bags and heading to the island paradise. “Make sure you wrap up your luggage” and “ew, don’t go anywhere alone” were amongst the chorus of ominous warnings that greeted my travel news, but as it turns out these naysayers couldn’t have been more wrong.

Click through the gallery to see Laura’s Bali photos.

The luxury started when I boarded one of Jetstar’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and flew direct to Bali in just six short hours. The flight included a three course gourmet meal (with a few glasses of bubbles) and a simulated in-flight sunrise, designed to gently wake-up us up as we descended.

My Bali home was the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua and I could have happily spent my entire trip there without batting a well-rested eyelid. My room had all the trimmings you’d expect from a five-star hotel but the stand out element was my private pool access. From my bedroom door I could wade into the glistening pool that snakes through the resort and easily float to the swim-up bar for a cocktail or paddle to the main pool and slide onto a sun chair. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to being a mermaid.

Bali may be known for sun, sand and adventure but in the luxury land of Nusa Dua it’s all about the food.

The Sofitel’s Kwee Zeen restaurant has an Indo-French blend of tastes and textures and comes with both buffet and à-la-carte selections. Best of all, it’s dived into a labyrinth of separate rooms. Where else in the world can you say you’re off to visit the dessert room, the sushi room or the little nook of Japanese cuisine? Also on-site is CUT CATCH CUCIN, which features a fresh seafood grill, a New York City style steakhouse and a modern Italian osteria. Along with their delectable degustation menu, their stand-out feature is the newly introduced Sunday brunch. I even took a cooking class with some amazing chefs, although my efforts didn’t exactly produce the same level of cuisine.

bali 2

Pasta making at Seminyak Italian Food at Double Six Luxury Hotel

After enjoying a traditional Balinese massage in the Sofitel’s decadent spa and a spot of reflexology by the pool while sipping a cocktail it was time to escape my relaxation cocoon.  I visited Bali Collection, nestled in the heart of Nusa Dua, and found a treasure trove of boutiques where I picked up a few higher end purchases destined to last slightly longer than the items I bought while adventuring at the Seminyak Square markets.

Just a leisurely stroll down the esplanade from the Sofitel I found Pirates Bay Bali, a pirate-themed open-air venue with a sand-bound ship you can dine on. It was here that I scaled a rickety ladder to the very top of a three-storey tree house and enjoyed a cold Bintang Beer while watching the sun set over the ocean.

After just a few days in Bali I formed the humble opinion that it is severely underrated as a foodie paradise.Around every corner there is a new restaurant springing up with menus overflowing with treats and one of those is the new Seminyak Italian Food at Double Six Luxury Hotel. In this funky venue diners can overlook the beach as they feast on Italian classics created from local seasonal produce. The Seminyak Italian Food’s bar also serves up an extensive selection of specially sourced Italian wines and a variety of cocktails. You can even watch your pasta being made on-site before you devour it.

So if you’re looking for a place to indulge your taste buds and senses, may I suggest Bali? You won’t regret it and you may never come back.