The concept of “boutique hotel” doesn’t scream luxury, especially on the majestic island of Bali. Long dominated by immense hotel developments, however, the demand for a different type of tropical getaway has risen in the past few years, which have seen newer hotels come up with distinctive concepts for discerning travellers.
Katamama is the first hotel under the PTT Family’s umbrella: the same group who also brought to Bali the legendary Potato Head Beach Club. In fact, the Katamama hotel is located on the same plot of land behind the beach club, secluded enough yet only stone’s throw away from the crowds and the prestigious oceanfront district.
With a mission to connect guests to Indonesia’s culture and heritage, PTT Family collaborated once again with Potato Head architect Andra Matin, with interior design by Singapore-based company Takenouchi Webb, and built a boutique hotel that embodies opulence as well as tradition.
This vision is writ large from the first time guests set their sights on Katamama’s entrance: a huge canopy made of teak shelters the wide walls, which are themselves made of Balinese bricks with dozens of staircases below, giving the hotel a sophisticated ambiance. Other traditional design elements see the hotel dominated by red bricks, dark woods and hand-made tiles. The construction took PTT Family’s team three years to complete and used one-and-a-half million handmade bricks in the process.
Staying true to its bespoke concept of “handcrafted hospitality”, Katamama houses only 58 all-suite rooms in a five-storey building. Each room boasts a serene atmosphere and features comfortable beds, a marble bathroom, large living spaces, and an in-room cocktail bar packed with choices: look out for the aged bottled of arak. Elsewhere, stacks of novels can be leafed through while sitting on a chair crafted by local Balinese artisans.
Each room is also decorated with curated artworks by Indonesian artists as well as from owner Ronald Akili’s private collection, plus with handpicked furniture and other collectibles, such as Borneo rattan bags and organic bath amenities. All the suites have stunning outdoor spaces, be they balconies, secluded gardens or individual pools, which makes Katamama an ideal choice for families or group travellers.
The fifth floor of Katamama houses seven Rooftop Suites and one Katamama Suite, covering 268 and 320 square metres, respectively. Meanwhile, the crowning glory of these rooms are the spiral staircases to rooftop areas that are completed with dining table, daybed, Jacuzzi with garden surrounding, and stunning views overlooking the Indian Ocean.
For its F&B outlets, Katamama teamed up with MoVida, the acclaimed Spanish restaurant group from Australia founded by Frank Camorra. As the group’s first overseas outlet, MoVida Bali boasts a spacious, high-ceiling area decorated with brick columns and artistic lamps transforming the restaurant into an exotic setting. Helmed by Chef Jimmy Parker, the restaurant serves modern and traditional Spanish cuisine like tapas, raciones and arroz, the popular Spanish seafood and saffron bisque wet rice. The restaurant also offers mouth-watering desserts along with an impressive cocktail menu based on four types of sangria and a wide range of Spanish wines.
Katamama’s lobby bar, Akademi, is also a must-visit for its curated libations list. The unique interior features four shades of terrazzo tiles, a blue-tiled ceiling with box-shaped bar shelves that flaunt distilled Balinese arak made from coconut, rice and cane. Created by award-winning British bartender Dre Masso, the bar’s menu focuses on using local tropical ingredients, dissecting and transforming them into different drinks every month. Akademi also serves as a learning lab that welcomes a roster of international mixologists to create concoctions for patrons as well as to help train local bartenders.
Capitalising on its vibrant Seminyak location, Katamama forms a community of like-minded businesses with local establishments including Potato Head Beach Club, Alchemy—the island’s first 100 per cent raw vegan cafe and juice bar—and Canaan, a swanky home and living gallery selling artisanal products from Indonesian and Japan.
PTT Family is also planning to build two more hotels on other beachfront locations. The second property project see a partnership with world-renowned architecture practice OMA, headed by the legendary Rem Koolhaas, which is slated to open in 2018; the third will follow shortly afterwards in 2019.
Photo by Katamama Hotel & Umesh Bhagchandani