Every month, we check into a hotel showing high eco-credentials to bring you an in-depth review. This month we travelled to Bali and visited The Legian Seminyak.
Ever since Bali Governor Wayan Koster announced on December 24th 2018 that the island would be banning single-use plastic in 2019, holiday goers have breathed a sigh of relief.
Despite its beautiful lagoons, perfect surfing beaches and spiritual culture, Bali has struggled to overcome its plastic pollution problem in recent years. Because of this, some of the islands leading hotels have taken up the responsibility to lead the way in sustainability by incorporating materials and practices that are kinder to the paradisal environment.
One such hotel is The Legian, which is nestled along Seminyak’s beachfront. Family owned, this welcoming luxury spot has made a pledge to go plastic free in 2019.
Unlike some other properties in the area, there’s no corporate sheen here. You’ll be greeted like an old friend as many of the guests are, indeed, old friends. They have visited the hotel year on year since its opening and developed a relationship with the staff, who rarely leave in search of other work.
Everything is designed to make guests feel as comfortable as possible. From the natural tonic welcome drink to the facial spritz, cool towels and icy water you’ll be greeted with on arrival at the pool.
There’s no denying that this is a haven away from the upbeat chaos of the surrounding streets and that guests arrive in search of a slower pace, and a little peace and quiet.
The Legian’s eco credentials are seriously impressive. Not only have they implemented a zero plastic policy - so that means no plastic straws, brooms or hair brushes, amongst other things - but they’re also in the process of developing their own water bottling system. This will see them use glass bottles instead of plastic that have been specifically designed for reuse.
Spa products are being created from the hotel’s very own herb garden, which grows local herbs as well as lemongrass, ginger, aloe vera and lime. Staff also ‘beach clean’ each day and the hotel is working with local environmental agencies to ensure the protection of hatching sea turtles.
The wow-factor at the Legian is the rooms. Each one of the 67 suites is sea facing, so whether you book into The Beach House, which comes with a private pool and butler, or a Boutique room, you’ll be rewarded with the same uninterrupted horizon and woken each morning by the sound of lapping waves.
Decked out in marble, walnut wood and white linen, the rooms are a vision of laid-back elegance, with the cappuccino colour palette blending perfectly with the sand on the beach.
In the pantry you’ll find a range of complimentary snacks - the cassava chips are dangerously delicious - and drinks, which are replenished daily. Each morning you’ll also be greeted with the day’s newspaper and fresh, seasonal fruit.
It’s easy to sleep well here - the king size beds, which are shrouded in muslin drapes, are expertly turned down each evening and the cavernous baths, complete with natural salts and candles, offer the perfect way to unwind after a day outdoors. Guests can even choose between the staple Aqua di Parma products or local, organically made, natural remedies to enjoy in their rooms.
Food is a pretty big deal. Breakfast is buffet style and offers up everything from American style pancakes to steaming bowls of congee - all of which will be served with a dazzling smile, a strong cup of coffee and an ocean view. Book in for dinner to enjoy a delicately balanced fine dining menu, which can be tailored to any dietary requirements. Being a vegetarian, it was refreshing to be served up dishes that felt like the main event, rather than an afterthought.
Thanks to the uncomplicated combinations, such as quinoa, corn, asparagus and grilled vegetables or butternut pumpkin soup with edible flowers, every ingredient’s flavour were celebrated through an expertly balanced array of spices. Combining this with expertly paired wines from the charming sommelier and the beautiful playing of a concert pianist at the grand piano, dinner becomes something of a ceremony and encourages guests to put down their phones, enjoy the moment and fully pay attention to the incredible food in front of them.
Of course, if you’re holidaying in Bali, it’s highly likely that you’re looking to keep strenuous activities to a bare minimum. A visit to the spa is, therefore, a must. Though there is a jacuzzi, sauna and plunge pool available to all guests, your overwrought limbs will thank you for booking on to one of the Signature Rituals.
The Legian Indulgence - which offers two hours of pure heaven in the form of a facial, massage and body scrub - will melt away any stubborn stress you’ve brought over with you from work.
There’s also a fully equipped gym for those who feel they’ve overindulged and each morning is kickstarter with a session of yoga directed by the in house instructor, who combines breathing techniques with Hatha to help release tensions.
The sense of love and care - for the guests, for the island and for the staff - that the Legian offers is rarely found amongst luxury hotels these days. You get a real sense that each guest is truly valued and their commitment to the environment around them is serious. This is a hotel you can feel proud to stay at, knowing that you’re contributing to this paradise island’s fight against plastic pollution.
Writer: Bianca Barratt