Paradise must be eco-friendly.
It’s common knowledge that Bali is no longer the hidden spot Elizabeth Gilbert talks about in her book “Eat, Pray, Love”. Many beaches are overcrowded and resorts commercial. Well, that depends on where you go. My mum and I deliberately ventured towards Amed in East Bali on our little scooter, far from Kuta, Ubud and the like. If you are looking for a hidden eco paradise off-the-beaten path, let me take you with me.
Little did we expect when we were on our final stretch to Balila Beach Resort. A small dirt road led us away from civilization to the middle of nowhere. After ten minutes of bumping and shaking, we were rather sceptical of our choice of accommodation. But let me just tell you this up front: all doubts were gone within minutes.
Once arrived, our breath was taken away immediately. And that was not due to the steep stairs leading up to Balila, but due to the views. Birgit, the owner of Balila, chose her location with care: away from the masses, set on top of a hill, watched by majestic Mount Agung on one side, overlooking the deep blue sea on the other side.
But it’s not only the location that makes Balila Beach Resort special. It is their protective eco-philosophy and commitment to live in an environmentally friendly way. “It is our goal to make the area clean and green”, Birgit explained as she led us to our room. And what a room it was: it features reclaimed ship wood and hand-crafted furniture from up-cycled materials. An air-condition is not needed, since buildings were constructed in such a clever way that they are naturally cooled. Also the bathroom is an adventure on its own. You feel like you have your own private garden with a rain shower Needless to say that toilets and showers are water-saving. In addition, all lamps are either solar-charged, or fitted with energy-saving LED bulbs. My favourite: no-energy bamboo speakers for cell phones in the room. Who thought eco could be so cool?
But enough of the room, let’s see what’s beyond. Hungry from our long journey, my mum and I ventured past the stunning garden (permaculture, watered with grey water from the hotel of course) to the restaurant. My heart skipped a beat when I read the menu and two when the food arrived: plates full of Balinese bliss. All food is sourced from the local markets or neighbors to support the local community. The fish is caught in the stretch of see that you see from your bedroom. You can literally taste the goodness that goes into the food.
Our next days are spent exploring the surrounding on our scooter, enjoying massages, swimming in the beach that is directly below the resort – featuring no other tourists, just fishermen – and really connecting to nature.
During that time we also learnt about other principles of Balila Beach Resort. They foster having a positive impact on the local community and surroundings. For example, beach clean ups with locals and guests are regularly organized and staff is employed as well as trained from the local village.
My learning of the trip: Eco hotels are not just good for our planet, but also for us. Each day that passed at Balila, I felt more relaxed, more connected to nature, less distracted. Upon our departure I did not even notice the shaky road anymore.
If you want to read more about Balila’s eco practices, here is a detailed description.
Have you ever visited any other eco resort? Let us know your experience!