The Quiet Elegance Of Griya Santrian

June 24, 2016

 

The magnificent Griya Santrian Resort sits within acres of lush tropical gardens leading out to the sea. It is also located in the heart of Sanur, which happens to be one of my most favourite places in South Bali, so when I received an invitation for a night’s stay at the resort, I happily accepted.

 

Based on my layman observations, Sanur carries with it an elegant old-world charm without being too showy. It is relaxed yet classy, and completely devoid of loud noises from blaring speakers, rowdy crowds and passing traffic with plenty of cafes, shops and artistic outlets to visit on a breezy beautiful afternoon. It is the perfect place to seek peace and tranquility. The roads leading into Sanur are lined with tall, graceful trees that must be decades old, their large leafy branches reaching out across the roads. The trees followed us all the way to the gates of Griya Santrian, which was manned by a strict but friendly security guard who smilingly showed us into the large expanse of shady avenue leading into the resort’s grounds. I was happy from the get-go, the lush green grounds and stone walkway setting the mood for a relaxed and calming atmosphere.

 

Friendly staff greeted us at the entrance to the lobby, a beautiful symphony of modern minimalists combined with traditional Balinese features; a medley ofwhite marble and sandstones in the shapes of modern bricks, with dark polished timber roof and finishing. The lobby was designed as an open pavilion, bordered by koi ponds and overlooking an astonishingly verdant tropical garden with exotic Balinese carvings, statues and ornate Balinese gates leading towards the rooms. Here we met with Ibu Dewi Sanjaya, Front Office Manager at Griya Santrian who obligingly took me on a tour across the resort’s grounds where I met many staff members and saw with great interests the fiery pride and passion that they have towards their role in making Griya Santrian the perfect sanctuary for its guests.

 

The Grounds and Rooms at Griya Santrian

 

While touring the resort’s grounds, I felt honest sincerity from the staff members in reflecting the owners’ desires for creating a magical, calming and serene retreat without being overly competitive or showy. It is what it is; a beautiful replica of a royal Balinese dwelling at the pinnacle of its performance and the best in its league. Most are Balinese, with the oldest staff member having served 44 years at Griya Santrian.

 

We walked through acres of gardens dotted with koi ponds, flora and fauna and Balinese statues. I learned that the resort is a family-owned establishment which was first opened in 1972. It recently celebrated its 44th anniversary and had just undergone a facelift. It was closed for a while to accommodate the renovations but has now reopened with new, upgraded interiors. I also learned that the Santrian owner is a descendant of Royal Balinese family, the current prince being the 14thgeneration of the bloodline. His designs are also reflected within the new upgrades of the hotel; he also happens to be the chairman of Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (Persatuan Hotel and Restoran Indonesia / PHRI) Kota Denpasar, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Bali and Bali Tourism Promotion Board (Badan Promosi Pariwisata Bali/BPPD) Kota Denpasar.

 

 

The resort has 12 Santrian Suites, 59 Deluxe Rooms, 20 Beach Wing Rooms and 37 Garden Wing. The Garden Wing and Beach Wing bear beautiful classical Balinese designs and carvings on its exterior façade. The Deluxe Rooms feature a more contemporary outlook with rooms overlooking the pool. My large Deluxe Room was decorated in a modern contemporary style with dark timber flooring, a large sunny balcony that came with seats, an amazingly luscious bed, flat screen TV with international channels, coffee & tea making facilities a safe deposit box and a hairdryer. The bathroom was amazing! Imagine black stone walls and floors, hidden backlights, a large mirror with a large white sink, and plenty of space for toiletries. There are three swimming pools for each wing, all built on raised stone platforms with a roofed dais on one end and lined with trees and sun beds. The pool near the beach wing is the largest and nearest to the beach, and sits in between the resort’s two restaurants; the Wantilan and the Griya Beach Corner.

 

Those who are interested, the resort also offers a myriad of activities for its guests including Balinese cooking classes, Balinese offerings, cycling, yoga and nature walks. There is also an art gallery within the resort, featuring the latest works of talented local Balinese artists. For love birds, do explore the resort’s wedding packages, with ceremonies usually held near the beach or at the hotel’s garden area.

 

Dine on the Beach at Griya Santrian

 

Dining at the Wantilan is such a pleasure. Designed as a large open pavilion and decorated with sheer curtains and candlelight, it sits directly facing the beach allowing guests to enjoy the gentle sea breeze as they dine. The menu offers a mix of traditional Indonesian and International favourites; and for dinner we chose the Prawn Salad, Soto Madura, Classic Chicken & Egg Sandwich and the signature Crispy Balinese Duck. Everything was delicious! The Wantilan also hosts breakfasts every morning, offering a wide variety of local and international choices, including a live egg station. The Griya Beach Corner, which sits directly opposite the Wantilan across the pool and facing the sea, is perfect for lunch with a mix of Asian fusion, Indonesian and Traditional offerings.

 

We were very happy with the fresh Vietnamese Spring Roll, the Kani Wakame Bowl; seaweed salad with crab, cucumber, tomato and yuzu dressing - very refreshing and zesty with the right balance of sweet and sour. For the main course, we chose the Fruiti De Mare Pizza and the Japanese Bento Box of chicken teriyaki with mixed salads, steamed rice and sliced fruits. There’s also a selection of sushi rolls, pastas and main courses available. Both outlets offer selections of fresh juices, cocktails, Balinese cocktails, premium wine and liquor as well as coffee and tea, all perfect for gazing out onto the famous Sanur boardwalk and the open sea.

 

 

Just steps away from the two restaurants, you’ll find the beach. With gentle rolling waves and sparkling white sand, it is the ultimate spot for those who love the sun, surf and sea. Plenty of sun loungers are available. Meanwhile, the sea in Sanur is perfect for swimming and paddling in, the waves break far from the beach, making it safe for swimmers of any age and ability. The Griya Santrian is also host to a bi-weekly Jazz session called “Sunday Mostly Jazz” that takes place right on the resort’s beach.

 

The New Rama Sita Spa at Griya Santrian

 

The highlight of my stay at Griya Santrian had to be the decadent spa treatments I received at the Rama Sita Spa. Comprising of 3 spa villas in the Alengka Pavilion with double rooms; The Rama, The Sita and The Laksmana, this sanctuary offers spa rituals, body & face therapies. While the separate Ayodya pavilion provides areas for consultation, reflexology, and hand & foot care. Carrying the concept of Romantic Balinese Royal Family, each villa is prepared with Balinese Songket as the massage bed cover, Balinese bokor and recycled wood with natural colouring accessories.

 

At the Ayodya pavilion, I met with the Spa supervisor for a short briefing on the treatment that I was about to receive while I enjoyed a refreshing homemade chilled lemongrass tea. The Royal Palace ritual would take me on 210 minutes of pure bliss; with a foot ritual, a green tea body scrub, green tea body mask and a citrus bath. This would be followed by a Balinese Massage, and an instant glow Jade Stone Facial before the treatment ends with a fruit platter and infused water. I chose the oil for my treatment from a selection including Flower Blossom, Energizing, Purifying and Serenity.

 

Soon, I was ushered to the beautiful Alengka Pavilion where the spa ritual would take place. The contemporary design of Rama Sita Spa was originally adopted from the legendary love story of Ramayana, exuding a sense of relaxation, inviting guests on a journey of rejuvenation. The spaciousness and soothing ambience create the impression of stepping into an oasis of serenity. Aromas from essential oils, incense aromatic sea salts and flowers fill the spa suites and uplift the senses as soothing music is played in the background.

 

 

The ritual began with a foot ritual using sea salts, citrus and rose petals, before continuing with the green tea exfoliation to remove dead skin cells for refreshed and renewed skin. This was followed by a nutrient-laden green tea body mask combined with avocado, which was applied all over the body using a brush, leaving a cool, tingly feeling on the skin. After the mask was removed, my therapist filled the large bathtub in the room with warm water, orange slices, pandan leaves and rose petals before inviting me to sink into total unadulterated ecstasy which I enjoyed for a good 20 minutes while she served me with hot lemongrass tea and coconut biscuits.

 

The second phase of the treatment continued with a one-hour Balinese massage and a Jade Stone Facial, using real Jade Stones. After thoroughly cleansing and moisturizing the face, Jade Stones were gently rolled all over my face for a refreshed and uplifting effect.

 

I must say that this is one of the most thorough and extravagant spa treatment I had ever experienced. Throughout 3 hours I alternated between a state of conscious happiness and barely conscious bliss as the therapists moved about their tasks diligently and expertly. I was disappointed when my treatment ended and I had to leave the Rama Sita spa, but I looked forward to an exhilarating night ahead dining at the Wantilan and exploring the grounds of the immaculately beautiful Griya Santrian Resort, Sanur.

 

To find out more about the breathtaking Griya Santrian Resort, please visit www.santrian.com/griya