Carina and Gina are Katamama’s cultural concierges – the welcoming faces that greet you, the custodians of the hotel’s cultural programme and our ‘island insiders’.
A former preschool teacher, Jakarta girl Carina moved to Bali six years ago, claiming it was ‘the best decision of her life’. Finding her balance in Bali, Carina swapped Jakarta’s teeming nightlife for lazy beach days with her dogs and eating out for breakfast every weekend.
Gina grew up playing with the local children of Sumba, where her parents founded one of the most highly regarded hotels in the world, Nihiwatu Resort. Raised in Sumba (and later Bali) by German and American parents, Gina has also called Australia, the USA and Switzerland home and is a relatively fluent speaker Indonesian and German, as well as her mother tongue of English. An explorer by nature, Gina spends her weekends escaping the bustle of South Bali for the quieter scenes of Menjangan or Jatiluwih, further north.
Thanks to much island exploration and plenty of guest requests, these girls know best when it comes to experiencing Bali. Here they share some of their Bali picks, “island musts,” in terms of dining, drinking, shopping and encountering real Bali.
Self-indulgent brunch venue …
Carina: At the moment, love Kim Soo, it sits in a beautiful interior store with all sorts of great local produced finds.
Gina: Starfish Bloo at W, or Boneka at St. Regis for a boozy brunch.
Boutique stocking local designers …
Carina: These are not “boutiques” per se, but my favourite brands are Beachgold, Faithfull the Brand and Paloma.
Gina: Biasa and Magali Pascal.
Spa treatment unique to Bali …
Carina: Gooseberry flagship store is known for its stunning French lingerie and has a very nice salon on the first floor where they do a great mani /pedi. They give really good service, the staff are all experienced and they offer you a glass of wine while your nails are drying.
Gina: Five Elements, Ubud. It’s a holistic healing and spa destination drawing on the ancient wisdom of Bali.
True Balinese experience …
Carina: Nothing compares to Nyepi as that’s when you feel the true serenity of Bali – my favourite time of the year.
Gina: Traditional blessing at Puri Sebatu.
Restaurant with a view …
Carina: Metis has a nice ambiance and is still one of my favourites.
Gina: La Lucciola in Petitenget with its grassy lawns and ocean view.
Hidden beach …
Carina: There are a few close to Bingin beach (Uluwatu) that I’ve been to and nobody else was there.
Gina: Thomas Beach, the secret beach near Green Bowl.
Local food must-try …
Carina: I always recommend Made’s Warung or Jimbaran for seafood.
Gina: Pak Malen Babi Guling – the best traditional spit-roasted pig in Bali.
Great coffee …
Carina: Revolver. Best on the island!
Gina: Revolver, it was one of the first boutique coffee shops on the island, and still one of best.
Place to people-watch ….
Carina: I don’t party anymore these days so it has to be the gym Soham and Canggu Club. I love my workout as much as I love looking at the motivation walking around the gym!
Gina: Old Man’s, beachfront in Canggu.
Sunset Cocktails …
Carina: Potato Head Beach Club of course.
Gina: Potato Head Beach Club, 707 - Batu Belig, The Lawn in Canggu.
Kid-friendly excursion …
Carina: It’s great to take kids to one of the many waterfalls around the island, Tegenungan waterfall near Ubud is ideal even for smaller children.
Gina: Day trip to the islands (Lembongan, Ceningan, Penida).
Activity for adventure lovers …
Carina: Exploring Ubud or Nusa Lembongan, or trekking in Jatiluwih.
Gina: Banyumala waterfall.
Live jazz …
Carina: I’m not really a jazzy person but I’m keen to check out the newly opened Paris Cat Jazz Club in Petitenget.
Gina: Ryoshi in Seminyak has jazz nights three times a week.
Bespoke Bali souvenir …
Carina: Our beautiful sarongs, they are a must-have and the perfect present to bring home!
Gina: Akademi’s tailored cocktails.
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