Gypsy Soul Wandering x Melali Interview

"Melali is the Perfect Tropical Sanctuary in Bingin, Bali"

by Lolita Walters. 

Melali is a beautiful boutique accommodation in the stunning Bingin area of the Bukit (which means ‘hill’ in Indonesian), surrounded by lush vegetation, pristine beaches, the famous Uluwatu surf breaks and an abundance of good food.

Comprised of one private pool villa and two guest rooms, the intimate feel of Melali is central to its charm. Opened at the beginning of June is 2015, it is the lovechild of husband and wife Elise and Liam. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, the couple left their jobs as a primary school teacher and restaurant worker in order to chase down their Bali dream.

Thus was born Melali, which is one of my favourite accommodation gems in Bali to unwind and relax. From the lush Balinese gardens, swimming pools, open-plan dinning and entertainment area, beach-chic decor, beautiful staff, to-die-for breakfasts, convenient location and, of course, the welcoming and friendly hosts, it’s an absolute pleasure to stay.

I chatted to Elise to find out a little bit more about the magic of Melali and pick her brain for local tips! Plus pictures from my stay at the end.


Why did you open Melali? What inspired you?

It was originally Liam’s vision. During his first surf trip to Bali in 2004 he fell in love with the Bingin/Uluwatu area. He saw other expats had built their own villas and thought, ‘Why can’t I do the same?’. Initially it was to be something private, something small, a place to escape the cold winter months. Of course we quickly realised this wouldn’t be possible, we’d have to have an income to support our island lifestyle. So we decided to create a way in which we could live here.

What makes Melali special?

From the feedback we receive from our guests, what makes Melali stand out from other properties is the following:

– Our breakfasts. From our freshly ground coffee and pressed juices to our Smoothie bowls, Chia Seed Parfait and our famous three egg omelette served with the yummiest wholegrain toast, many guests book based solely on the breakfast we include. We pride ourselves on using high quality produce and use organic wherever possible.

– Homely feel. So many guests comment that they feel at home when staying at Melali. We only have three rooms, catering for 6 guests at a time.

– Adults only – To further provide peace and quiet for our guests, we only accept children under 16 years of age if all three rooms are booked to one group.

– It’s in the details – every finish – from the hooks and lamps to the cushion covers, bed spreads, tiles and handcrafted furniture – everything has been carefully considered and chosen. Our guests often remark that they love the little details around the property and feel it gives the place a uniqueness that sets it apart from other accommodation. We try to support the local community as much as possible – other than the wallpaper in our Sunset Suites, almost everything here was made in Bali.


Favourite local cafes/ restaurants?

- The Cashew Tree – A Bingin staple. Super tasty food and drinks served in a laid back garden setting. You’ll find all your favoutire local dishes along with many healthy vegan/vegetarian options. Just make sure you leave some room for their raw treats!

- 3D Warung, – great local food! – super cheap. We eat here a lot!

- The Smoothie Shop, Balangan (which opens for breakfast and lunch) and their dinner restaurant “Saffron”. Vegetarian only. And produce some of the tastiest most orgasmic food in Bali! We love them for their high quality produce, creative menu, amazing service and hidden location. A visit to the Bukit MUST include lunch or dinner (or both!).

- The Bukit Cafe – Consistently serve delicious food, great menu, staff, relaxed vibe

- Lands End Cafe – Super chilled hole in the wall cafe offering delicious, high quality organic food. Perfect spot to drop into after a surf at Ulus or a yoga session at Morning Light Yoga.

- Drifter Surf Shop – they serve the BEST coffee on the Bukit and have just started offering super healthy and delicious breakfast and lunches.

- Yum Yums – high quality very tasty food, cafe style setting open breakfast, lunch and dinner. Within a 2 minute scooter ride from Melali.

- Fat Chow, Temple Hill, Jimbaran! Mouthwatering asian fusion cuisine. Their “Chow Pow”, “Tokyo Prawn”, “Chicken in Pandan”, Rice Vermicelli and Pork Ribs (along with their generous serves of wine) are not to be missed! Definitely in our top three best places to eat on the Bukit!

- Makan Yuuk , Ungasan – Local “Nasi Campur” style food. We love it there so much they catered our wedding!

-  Rung Rheung Thai, Pecatu – Their curries and pad thai are perfection. Thai chef

- Casa Asia, Ungasan- best Pizza outside of Italy!

- Suka Cafe, Uluwatu – a new kid on the block. Their cafe style food is of high quality and super delicious. Great coffee too!


For a special Occasion?

- Dugong Restaurant at the Suarga Hotel – an incredible building constructed from bamboo. Perfect spot to watch the sun set and have a cocktail.

- Sundara at the Four Seasons Hotel Jimbaran – best cocktails on the bukit! Go for happy hour! They also do a fantastic Sunday Brunch.

- The Warung and Cire at the Alila Hotel, Uluwatu. Beautiful food and setting.

- Kayu Putih at the St. Regis Hotel Nusa Dua. Not cheap, but the food and setting are exquisite.


Best nearby spots to visit / explore / hang out?

– Our Local – Bingin Beach is unique in the fact it remains one of the last bastions on the Bukit Peninsula yet to be overrun by big development. It is dotted with quirky beach huts and local warungs offering food, drinks and shelter from the hot Indonesian sun, for tourists, expats and locals alike.
Whether you are seasoned surfer or just learning to surf or prefer working on your tan, Bingin Beach is the perfect spot to waste the day away.

To get there, you traverse the famous stairs and snaking alleyways leading you to the beach below. Its relaxed village vibe is immediately felt as soon as your feet hit the sand. Scattered across the beach watching the world go by are surfers, swimmers, sun bakers and local ‘Ibu’s’ (women) peddling their wares.

As the day crawls to a close and hunger sets in, there are a handful of dining options. One not to be missed is the the nightly seafood BBQ offered by a few local warungs. Their fresh, daily caught seafood is cooked on beach grills, all you have to do is choose your seafood, order a beer, sit back and feel the sand between your toes.

– Other Beaches – From Balangan, Padang Padang, Uluwatu and Nusa Dua, to the up market beach clubs of Sundays and Karma Kandara (and of course all the hidden secret spots in between) – a trip to the Bukit is not complete without negotiating the cliff side steps down to the best beaches in Bali!

– Hit the road – we always recommend our guests rent some wheels (scooter is best) and go and get lost. There are a myriad of laneways and back roads to explore. You will definitely be met with happy smiles from the locals, and who knows, you may even stumble upon a secret beach, or local warung that serves the best nasi goreng on the island!

– Take in a cliff top Sunset – The sweeping cliffs of the south western Bukit Peninsula provide for some of the best sunset views in all of Bali. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sun go down into the shimmering Indian Ocean. Grab a sarong and some “travellers” (take away drinks), find a cliff edge and take it all in. Alternatively, there are numerous warungs, bars and restaurants that offer great views. We recommend checking out Single Fin and Edge bar at Uluwatu, Kellys Warung and Bagus Bingin BBQ at Bingin, El Kabron and the Suarga Hotel. Kick back, settle in and watch the sun go down to the beat of your drum, in luxury or local style.

“Pura Luhur” The temple at Uluwatu – is an important religious symbol for the Balinese people. One of Bali’s nine key directional temples, it’s cliff top location is indeed impressive. Peering out over the vast Indian Ocean can feel like one is sitting on the throne of Bali. Facing west, Pura Luhur is a great place to view the days sunset followed by the nightly Kecak (fire} dance performance.

Can you share any ways in which Melali has eco-friendly / sustainable practices?

We are conscious that we are all visitors to this beautiful island and try to reduce our impact on its environment any way possible. We pride ourselves by using high quality local produce. We buy organic wherever possible. Nearly all of our fresh produce is grown in Bali and neighbouring islands in the archipelago. Our soaps, shampoos and conditioners are ethically crafted here in Bali using only natural ingredients. We recycle and clean all of our waste water which we reuse on our gardens to keep them green, healthy and lush. To reduce our impact on landfill, we recycle all of our plastic, glass, cans, tins and paper and our food scraps are given to local pig farmers.