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Legendary Architect Jean-Michel Gathy Conceives the Interiors of Jumeirah Bali

A Poetic Tribute to the Tranquil Javanese-Hindu Water Palace.

By Lifestyle Editor

Images: Courtesy of Jumeirah Bali

Jean-Michel Gathy, Principal Designer of the award-winning hospitality and design consultancy firm DENNISTON was appointed to complete the interior design of Jumeirah Bali, an all-villa luxury resort sitting gracefully atop the cliffs of Uluwatu. Opened in July 2022 and inspired by colonial Balinese and European influences, Jean-Michel has created a verdant, opulent sanctuary of tropical modernism styled by tactile and natural materials surrounded by luxurious modern comforts to connect the present and past at one of the most coveted locations on the island.

Jumeirah Bali is designed as a palace celebrating the history of Central Java. The identity we have given to this project is a little bit different from most hotels in Bali. We have introduced an Indonesian-Dutch-inspired architectural interior, the European influences in the interior which relate to the colonial times of Central Java is very complementary to the architectural design. We have humbly slipped ourselves in.” comments Jean-Michel Gathy.

Bringing Majapahit Empire’s Legacy to Life

Combining tropical modernism with Bali’s heritage, Jumeirah Bali’s design reflects Bali’s adobe vernacular, as well as creates a seamless flow between the architecture, interior, and landscape. Indigenous tactile, natural materials combine with luxurious modern comforts to transport guests to an authentic Balinese haven of understated elegance with an opulent touch.

As guests arrive, they pass through a grand Balinese gate flanked by two stone protectors known as Singa Ambara Raja. Local culture, full of symbolism, considers gates to be important portals that connect the physical world and the spiritual realm. Overhead, two mythical winged creatures in the Majapahit tradition guard the passage.

Exquisite detailing, such as the intricate wall carvings telling the story of Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic from ancient India, or floral Patra carvings and Majapahit-style swing doors create an ambience that is timeless and serene. Highly skilled Balinese craftsmen were commissioned to decorate the walls and doors with bespoke carvings painstakingly recreated and traditional motifs and narratives, providing a fascinating window into a culture that shaped contemporary Bali. As guests transition between the resort’s public spaces, they seamlessly move between different time periods, each room concealing a delightful surprise that engages all senses.

A Balinese Haven of Understated Elegance with Contemporary Comforts

Jumeirah Bali’s 123 spacious villas are a carefully choreographed composition of light and space.  Starting from 210 square metres, the one- and two-bedroom villas all feature sublime tropical views of the Indian Ocean and offer pockets of private space for concentration and calm. Each villa comes with a private pool, outdoor living area and a landscaped tropical garden for guests to indulge in a spiritual, secluded, and soulful experience. To root villa interiors to the location, outdoor showers and covered pendopo pavilions are incorporated overlooking the sunset horizon into the design, instantly transporting guests to a royal Balinese summer home.

The 4,900 square metres four-bedroom Royal Water Palace marries Balinese, Javanese and Arabian features to create a sense of exclusivity and ultimate seclusion. Technology is also a highlight of the villa, guests will be taken down by a glass elevator through a press of a button to the beach level where a high-tech, temperature-controlled wine cellar converted from a natural cave, houses an extensive collection of fine vintages.

Authentic Sensory Delights

Akasa Gastro Grill, Jumeirah Bali’s speciality restaurant is situated on the topmost level and offers awe-inspiring views across the island’s crystal blue waters and stunning sunset panoramas. As guests settle down for dinner in a venue that tells the story of a royal family entertaining an intimate group of friends, they are offered vivid glimpses of the splendour of a powerful empire long gone.

Jumeirah’s signature Talise Spa pays homage to the majestic influence that the Majapahit Empire experienced shortly before its collapse, bringing with it to the Island of the Gods Turkey’s world-famous bathhouse culture. A 1,705-square-metre heaven of tranquillity, it features Bali’s first royal Turkish hammam; steam and sauna facilities, including a Vichy shower; and five private treatment rooms, where soulful ‘Divine Therapies’ promise tip-to-toe indulgence and energy rebalancing amid boundless panoramas.

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