I have always been a big believer in immersing yourself in local customs and cultures when travelling, whether it be domestically or internationally. I just like the idea of having a connection with the local people and to seize the opportunity to get a different outlook on life and the way of someone else’s world. Not everyone has the inclination to travel that path and of course, each to their own.

When embracing a 5 Star property vacation the ability to connect with the local way of life can certainly be a little more elusive as, well let’s face it, many punters just want to sit by the pool or beach, sip cocktails and devour delicious cuisine. I for one certainly don’t see a problem with that!

Still wanting my cultural fix and all that comes with a 5 Star affair I headed to Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua (www.sofitelbalinusadua.com) with the aim of getting the best of both worlds.

I absolutely love the Balinese people and their gentle and caring nature, it’s the real deal and the cultural experience I had within the walls of Sofitel’s on-site temple “Pura Manik Segara” typified just that. A morning spent with the local Priest, Mr Mangku Gula was enlightening, educational and certainly spiritual. The ways of the Hindu lifestyle and beliefs left me with a beautiful feeling of clarity, almost like I was lighter and the weight of the world was not as heavy as it seemed. It may for you as well?

The beachfront location that the hotel possesses is possibly the best on this strip of Nusa Dua’s waterfront position. With adjacent hotels not coming into play and Sofitel seeming to have its own private beach and clean inviting waters just metres from your own sun soaked private cabana.

Lovers of foodie experiences should definitely take part in one of the cultural cooking experiences that are available in this magical setting.

You will be guided through a personal culinary class with the inhouse chefs on the beachfront, bare feet in the sand, the shimmering sea as your backdrop, while learning the art of preparing, then devouring a local dish that you yourself have created.

The range of accommodation choices that are available to you are comprehensive and diverse. Catering for all possible scenarios whether you are holidaying with family, a group of friends or on a romantic retreat. From the standard luxury room which at 48 square- metres in size is bigger than most base level entry rooms to one of the 18 Private Villas containing from one to three bedrooms, the latter just perfect for the family to go big with.

Sumptuous 420-square-metre villa blends with separate living and dining area, private terrace, a private 5×8 metre pool, as well as a marble bathroom with separate bathtub, rain shower and Hermès Bathroom amenities. Inviting right?

My favourite and one that I certainly recommend for a romantic couple connection would have to be the pool access rooms where you can step from your private balcony straight into a fern covered estuary that leads you into the main lagoon style pool area. Super spacious with a well thought out design, with 52 square-metres of a charismatic mix of modern French flavours with a splash of local Balinese accents. Massive open styled bathrooms and the added bonus of a separate wardrobe, dressing room which are often missing from standard accommodations.

The bed, is inviting king sized comfort and when you are spent after a day swimming, sunning, sipping and feasting there is nothing better than slipping between the luxury sheets while resting your head on heavenly pillows and dreaming of doing it all again the following day.

On top of those choices, depending on which way you go, you may find yourself with your own private butler! Go on, get out of here!

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