October 23, 2008 at 6:18 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

The Smart Money Heads South

In days of yore, Bali’s southern peninsula, known as the bukit, was a penal colony, with breathtaking views and beaches. Few Balinese wanted to live in the dry towns there; the villagers were rough and water was a problem.
For most expatriates, it was the use of ‘Bukit stone’ for the courtyard walls of the iconic Bali Oberoi (by übermensch architect Peter Muller in 1973) that was their first taste of the peninsula; outside of their occasional excursions to Uluwatu Temple.

With the construction of the first hotels on the bukit in the early 1980s―the Nusa Dua Beach, The Grand Hyatt and The Hilton, all in the Nusa Dua Tourist Development Zone―the southern-most reaches of the bukit became popular, if not exactly fashionable. These new hotels were sparkling but commercially so; purpose-built for the mass tourist trade. The more discerning tourists still went to hotels and home stays near less-gated and more cultured communities.
In the late 1980s, the bukit’s famous surfing beaches, all with dramatic spectacular locations―Dreamland at Pecatu and Labuan Said near Uluwatu the most famous―were adopted by the young crowd. Bamboo shacks and magic omelettes mushroomed along these ravishing shores.
By the1990s, the quaint little harbour village of Tanjung at the South-eastern most tip of the peninsula―a village famous for its 17 th century Chinese temple and sleepy atmosphere―was deemed ripe for developers to move in. Among the tightly-packed coastal concrete sprawl that ensued a few nice hotels emerged – the Novotel (by regional designers/stars Lek Bunnag and Bill Bensley), the Conrad (WATG) and the Amanusa (Kerry Hill and Associates) ―among the more praise-worthy.
But even the tourist traps had enough ‘Balinese charm’ to keep the punters happy.
In the mid 1990s, the real estate invasion of the bukit started; Hong Kong, Jakartan and Surabayan Chinese felt comfortable in the barren non-denominational surrounds. In fact, since 1991 when Grounds Kent Architects built a stunning all-villa resort on the northernmost shore of the peninsula for the Four Seasons group, the highlands of the bukit had become a development option.




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