Our one year wedding anniversary was here! Wow how time flies when you are having a ridiculously grand old time. In our first year of marriage we had travelled to 28 countries and way too many cities to recount. Lord only knows how many different beds we had slept in. At this point in our journey we came to the collective conclusion that a year of world travel was coming to a close too quickly and decided to extend our travels for an undetermined amount of time. We didn’t want to put an expiration date on globe trotting.
I was thrilled that our travels put us in Indonesia for our 1st anniversary celebration.
Indonesia is easily one of my favorite countries with it’s jaw-dropping natural beauty, perfect weather, good Hindu energy, and the generous kindness of the locals.
Peter felt that our first anniversary was a good time to stay at a resort-chain that he had been dreaming about for almost a decade – the elusive Aman resorts. The Aman resorts are an uber-luxury brand that brings minimalist decor into untouched natural settings in some of the most pristine places on the planet. The goal of the Aman brand, with its 30 resorts in 20 countries, is to create an environment of serenity in space, peace in design and service and elegance in understated decadence. All resorts have less than 50 rooms and there are 4 staff assigned per guest making the service absolutely top notch. It’s really hard to get a job at an Aman resort – the people working on the grounds are at the top of their respective tourism field.
At the time the two Aman resorts in Bali —Amankila and Amandari— were offering a special that offered 2 nights at each property. This was such a great opportunity to experience both word class resorts. I felt so grateful and humbled to be celebrating our one year together at not one, but two Aman properties. Is this real life?
A driver from the resort picked us up from Temple Lodge where we had been staying in Bingin Beach and brought us to our first Aman Resort—Amankila.
It’s located in East Bali on the Lombok Strait and takes advantage of the sea to set up one of the best pool settings known to man. A three tiered infinity pool that offers dazzling sea views as far as your eyes can travel. This was one of the first features of the resort we were treated to and we were stupefied. The minimalism design is something we both very much love about the Amans.
At Aman resorts all rooms are privates villas which allows for a secluded and quiet environment. We got checked in and were both deliriously happy with the accommodations.
On our first day we decided to explore the grounds and take advantage of all the resorts offerings.
We spent time dipping in the charming pools.
We had the staff drive us down to the beach via golf cart where we enjoyed some fresh coconuts and tasty food.
Both evenings we enjoyed the resorts ocean view restaurant over candlelight. The food has a focus on fresh, organic, local products. And the menu offered a list of good red wines! Something not always easy to come by while traveling in Bali.
Our second day was a little more of the same. Pool lounging and relaxing combined with staff delivering cool towels and treats. I wonder if that’s even a glimmer of how Beyonce gets treated while on vacation.
We were offered a traditional Balinese marriage blessing set for early evening. Figuring a marriage blessing is always a good idea, we obliged.
Before the ceremony we were delivered clothing to change into. Here’s what we were given.
Pretty outstanding right?
The ceremony is performed to purify and welcome good spirits. We were escorted to an alter where were instructed to kneel while the blessing commenced. During the ritual we were sprinkled with holy water, chanted sanskrit, offered fruit to the spirits, and lastly rice was placed on our foreheads for prosperity. We enjoyed it. Especially the enthusiasm and sincerity of the locals who took us through the blessing.
When we woke up on our third day it was officially our 1 year anniversary. Happy Anniversary to us! We had a beautifully planned out day. It started with a healthy breakfast delivered to our room that we enjoyed on our terrace. Then it was off to catch a morning boat cruise.
We enjoyed our day on the sea where we were able to snorkel, eat lunch, and enjoy the spectacular views. We were joined by an extremely delightful couple from New York who were on their honeymoon and were “Aman junkies” themselves. They only enhanced the day for us.
After a wonderful morning spent on the sea we were off to our next Aman resort—Amandari in Ubud.
It was a little over an hour of driving that would bring us to Amandari which is nestled in by thick jungle and rice paddy fields. The property is designed as a traditional Balinese village and offers a zen like energy upon arrival.
This was our room.
This is how Peter felt about it.
I particularly liked the outdoor patio setting.
After getting settled in we gallivanted over to the spa which was set in a sanctuary of zen, filled with lily pods and positive vibes. We both agreed afterwords that it was one of the best massages ever.
We retreated back to our room where we opened up a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and toasted to a very happy and successful first year of marriage and to many many more. Inarguably the best thing I ever did with my life was to convince Peter to marry me.
As we sat on the patio sipping our favorite champagne and reminiscing about our travels, I noticed that Peter had put on my favorite Dave Matthews Song—#41. I thought this was especially sweet since Dave Matthews is my thing and always raises my spirits. He then began to speak, “I put Dave Matthews on for a reason. You’re anniversary present is tickets to go see Dave Matthews at the Gorge.” I was thunderstruck! My favorite band. At a venue I had never been to, but had heard such marvelous things about. This was such a perfect gift and I was thrilled, happy, grateful, and as always humbled by Peter’s thoughtfulness.
For Peter I had done a tone of research on his favorite city—Bangkok—and had put together an assortment of things for us to do together while we were there. In a couple days we were leaving for Bangkok and we would be calling it home for the next couple of months. It ended up being really fun and took us out of the comfort zone of things we fall back on doing while we are there. And we discovered some new favorite spots. Each of our gifts aligned with the tradition of paper being what is exchanged the first year.
We had made plans for a special dinner at the restaurant, but ended up deciding to order pizza from room service and watch the long version of our wedding video. It was perfect. We had saved the video to watch specially on our anniversary. We drank champagne, ate delicious pizza, watched ourselves get married. I cried. The video brought us back to the magic and happiness of that day.
Our next day was our last at Amandari and Bali. That morning we ventured off the property where we enjoyed a guided trek though the jungles and rice paddies of Ubud. Our guide is a local villager who has been working for and on the property ever since construction began in 1988. He regaled us with stories of celebrities he has guided, including Julie Roberts while she was in Ubud filming. It was a pleasant morning spent with an affable guide where we were able to better experience the charm of Ubud.
That afternoon we relaxed at the infinity pool which offers some of the most stunning and unique views I have ever had the pleasure to experience while lounging poolside.
We finished off our last night with a lovely quiet dinner at the resort restaurant. When we arrived back to our room we were delighted to find a surprise in the bathroom. They had drawn us a bath in our outdoor tub which included candles and flowers. Aman has reached cult-like status for many travelers for a reason.
And that was our close out on Bali. It was off to Bangkok in the morning.
I am so humbled and grateful to go through and share life with Peter. Here’s to one anniversary down and to as many as we can possibly fit into this lifetime. Cheers!