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Honeymoon in heaven

By Craig McIntosh (China Daily)

14:18, May 27, 2013

The W Retreat&Spa is a trendy hideaway.(Photo/ China Daily)

The Indonesian island of Bali is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Craig McIntosh discovers the delights of the popular holiday spot as he road tests five luxury resorts.

I've never read Eat Pray Love, and I don't intend to. Yet for a long time that book - or rather the people who had read it - shaped my view of Bali. Listening to these people talk, I was left with the image of a place where you can't go five minutes without tripping over a medicine man or a rich 50-something "taking time" to find a meaning to life. Not something that appealed, to be honest.

My wife was the one who talked me round to choosing Bali as a destination for our honeymoon. "It's a great place to relax," she promised. And after only a few hours into our holiday I found myself doing something I rarely do - I agreed with her.

For me, most people who come to Bali can be separated into two categories: Those who like to make noise and those who like to escape it.

For the former, there's no better place to be than Kuta. We started our stay at the Sheraton Bali Kuta, a relatively new five-star hotel that sits opposite the famous Kuta Beach and right next door to the even newer Beachwalk shopping mall.

I was wary of heading to Kuta, given its reputation as an "Ibiza for Aussies". Yet although surrounded by bars, restaurants and alley markets, all of which contribute to the area's party atmosphere, the Sheraton, with its marble decor, ocean-view pool and spa, is classy, comfortable and family friendly.

It also hit the right romantic note. On arrival, the sounds of traditional percussion instruments filled the lobby, as dancing girls placed flowers in our hair. A night did not go by without a knock on our door from a steward bearing "surprise candy," as my wife put it: A selection of jams one night, and on another, a white chocolate cup smothered in dark chocolate sauce.

Step outside and head south, and in 10 minutes you are at a street filled with big-name brands; walk the other way and you arrive in the relatively less developed Legian where beach vendors hawk satay skewers and rice cakes for just a few rupiah.

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