I try to not let summer go by without going to the beach, not to swim but simply to revel in the idea of soaking in the sun while in reality I’ll just be scoping the relaxing scene with a book at hand to keep me occupied. So I was actually quite excited to go to Balesin (www.balesin.com) even if I had no idea what I was in for. As my one and only beach trip for this summer, scheduled at a time when I had so much on my plate, I was itching for a pause I know I needed.
For once, I did not mind waking up very early on a Saturday to make it in time for our flight. We had the Cessna plane to ourselves so my fear of flying, I was still a bit scared even if I knew we would only be in the air for around 25 minutes (4000 Php round trip), took a backseat to the endless catch-up chatter. We were on a roll but as the sight of the runway came into view we forgot what we were talking about and got giddy at the sight of the pristine blue waters.
After hastily finishing the refreshing welcome drinks, we went to the clubhouse for breakfast and check-in where the welcome kit filled with beach essentials were waiting for us. The clubhouse is also where we all get together, as there were times we do our own thing, for meals. Their menu abounds with delicious Filipino food and the fresh lumpiang ubud is our favorite. We were told that once the other villages are open, they would be serving their own island specialties.
We couldn’t wait to get to our respective villas. Two of my friends ran up as close to the water as soon as we were dropped off and because of the extreme thrill, we immediately posed for the mandatory jump shot. Each villa (10000 Php per night) is ideal for a family of four but since we’re all adults we only had three roommates per villa. It was spacious and has everything you need from a coffee maker to a golf cart for transportation around the island. The open plan bathroom is quite peculiar that we kept suggesting they put doors. Even so, the bathroom itself is huge with two showers – indoor and outdoor. Our beachfront veranda’s best feature is of course the view but it also has a Jacuzzi.
I privately wondered how many books I can finish. I reckon that with such ambiance I can easily cover the three paperbacks plus the F1 magazine I brought with me. Of course that did not happen, instead we had a morning swim and once it was too hot for us we hopped on to our cart and explored the other parts of the island.
Balesin is only one of six themed villages that are being built. The other five are Bali, Mykonos, Costa Smeralda, St. Tropez and Phuket. From the existing structures and terrains, we can already imagine how great all this will be but for now we enjoyed just cruising along the almost untouched paths to the different locations and saying hello to the locals who seem oblivious to the wonderful time we are having.
Our other friends who took the later flight arrived in time for the sunset cruise. On our first day, we swam in a cove near the area where the Phuket Village is being built and once we got back to the boat we had some hor d’ouvres and wine. The next day we did the same thing but this time on the other side of the island and we waited for it to get a bit dark before returning shore to have the best view of the Supermoon. Later that evening, we took advantage of the bright light emanating from the moon to engage in a fun golf cart racing on the runway which turned out to be comical since we preferred waiting on each other instead.
Another highlight of the weekend was horseback riding on the shore. The last time I went horseback riding was ages ago so while I know I will like this I was a bit wary that I will no longer take pleasure in it as when I was younger. True enough we only lasted for about 45 minutes before giving up because the heat was just too much to bear nevertheless I am glad we did it.
For me the two best features of Balesin are the way they developed the resort all the while preserving as much of the original state of the island and because it is a members only (details on how to be a member are in the website while non-members just need to have a sponsor member) resort you also know that you will always have that sense of serenity you cannot get from other over crowded beaches.
The breathtaking surprise and excellent luxurious service that welcomed me that weekend plus the great company of some of my closest friends and the strangely happy thought of being semi-deprived of connection to the outside world (there was only wi-fi but no Globe signal so we had to rely on iMessage) make up for a perfect recipe of an unmatched weekend getaway…so far. - CJR