By Rhiannon Taylor, February 2017
Seminyak's newest addition, Katamama, bucks the trend by catering to the curious traveller. Despite being in the hub of Bali's burgeoning tourist scene, Katamama has carefully sought out local artisans, designers, traditions and produce to create a community focused hotel.
Established hospitality group Potato Head, known for their collection of restaurants and clubs throughout Asia, commissioned over 1.8 million Balinese bricks made by hand for the hotel. A process which took over 4 years, the bricks are used throughout the entire building, from exposed walls to flooring and balcony structures. The result is a space that is dark and moody with glimpses of light through breeze-blocks.
The rooms are clean with mod-inspired furniture and slick large bathrooms. There are tubs, rainshowers and double vanity's in each room and all come with a balcony with views over the pool. The pool is a quiet oasis with plush daybeds that sit under thatched Balinese umbrellas and food and drink service is prompt and fresh. There really is no need to leave the hotel unless it's to head next door to Bali's premier beach club Potato Head.
While the general public are unable to reserve daybeds at Potato Head, guests of Katamama are given exclusive access and food and drink can be charged back to your room. If you're after an authentic Indonesian dining experience, Potato Head's new restaurant Kaum has opened upstairs and overlooks the beach.
Kaum has an incredible commitment to sourcing produce locally and ethically and serves up traditional dishes from various regions of Indonesia. The warehouse-style space uses overflowing pot-plants and hanging flowers for a jungle vibe. The long communal table creates plenty of atmosphere and drinks are best taken out on the front patio with beach vistas framed by swaying palm fronds.
The menu is a combination of smaller and larger plates, designed to share. Lamb satay is a real highlight, which is minced and wrapped in stomach lining that is served on a sizzling plate and melts in the mouth with a house-made palm-sugar soy sauce. Gado Gado is fresh and cleansing, with peanut sauce that is made-to-order. Save room for dessert because a serve of cashews in sticky caramel is delightfully salty, sweet and creamy all at once.
If you can muster up the energy, grab a seat at Potato Head and chill out to tunes by an international DJ while the sun sets. Alternatively Katamama's lobby-bar, Alchemy, is a quiet space that serves up cocktails with a focus on their house-made syrups and spirits such as Lemongrass Gin. Each month Alchemy adds a cocktail case study to the menu which is a drink inspired by a single local ingredient and incorporates its various parts. It's an interesting project and really reflects Katamama's philosophy of sharing the local Balinese community with it's guests.
THE TURN DOWN
ACCOMODATION CATEGORY: Boutique hotel.
ROOMS: The basic room category comes with all the comforts one needs. If you want to splurge, check out the pool suites that come with their own plunge pool on the first floor.
MINI BAR: Katamama really gives guests a full bar, with a complete set of house made syrups and spirits and cocktail making kit. There's also a basket with treats that are all locally made and guests get a complimentary welcome cocktail prepared in-room on arrival.
POOL/GYM/SPA: There's a fully equipped gym and pool on the ground level. Spa treatments can be ordered in-room from an external therapist or the hotel can arrange transfer to one of the many spas in the local area.
TURN DOWN SERVICE: Yes, bottled water is refilled daily as well as a snack from the kitchen such as eclairs, charcuterie board or chocolates.
LOCATION: The heart of Seminyak, Bali.
RESTAURANT/BAR: Movida Bali is the hotel's restaurant. It provides a complimentary breakfast for all guests which draws on Movida's Spanish roots with dishes such as churros and spicy eggs. There's also Balinese style options like nasi goreng and black rice with mango. Dinner service is completely Spanish with tapas and sharing dishes.
RATES: Starting at $420 AUD per night.
FEEL: Deep, dark jungle.
GOOD TO KNOW: The hotel is located right next door to Potato Head beach club. On the weekends, the club can be noisy right in to the wee hours of the night. Either join the fun or bring ear plugs.