With its picturesque temples, trio of majestic volcanoes and lush tropical beaches, Bali is a magnet for Instagrammers.
Its luxury hotels are irresistible lens-bait, too.
Californian travel photographer Josh Edelson stayed at the island’s coast-hugging Amankila resort by elite chain Aman and took mesmerising pictures and drone footage of its jaw-dropping three-tiered infinity pool, lush tropical grounds, his £3,000-a-night suite’s private pool and the breathtaking views to active volcano Mount Agung.
Amankila resort by elite chain Aman has a jaw-dropping three-tiered infinity pool (pictured) overlooking the Indian Ocean
Photographer Josh Edelson visited Amankila with his wife, Megan Merrill (pictured in the infinity pool), after she completed her yoga teacher training in the region
Josh’s wife Megan having a leisurely breakfast at one of the cabanas atop a ridge at the Amankila resort, with active volcano Mount Agung in the background
Like many of the Aman resorts, Amankila was designed by the U.S-born architect Ed Tuttle, who specialises in luxury hotels and elegant private residences that reference the location’s cultural context
Josh and his wife Megan thought the Amankila Suite’s private pool, pictured, was large enough to be the main hotel pool
The serenity of Bali has inspired travellers for decades, and the Amankila resort makes the most of the location along the Lombok Strait
Nestled on a lush hillside along the Lombok Strait the resort comprises 34 guest villas. Below, waves lap ashore a private 500-metre-long (1,640ft) black-sand beach.
‘There’s luxury, and then there’s Amankila,’ explained 41-year-old photojournalist Josh who was blown away by the property during his recent stay with his wife, Megan Merrill, 33.
‘The highlight of our villa, dubbed the Amankila Suite, was definitely the massive private pool, overlooking the ocean. It would have been impressive if it were the main pool for the resort, but it was all ours!
‘At night, the staff would line the pool with candles as a romantic touch. Swimming in the warm water on a hot, tropical night, watching the stars glimmer and candles flicker, we found ourselves wondering if we were actually awake, or if we had drifted off into a dream in the plush bedding in our villa.’
Amankila means ‘peaceful hill’ – self-explanatory given its location on the green hill of Indrakila, near Manggis in the Karangasem Regency in eastern Bali
During their stay, Josh and Megan were whisked away to a nearby marina, where they boarded a speedboat, equipped with a giant, bed-like sundeck perfect for lounging and tanning on the Indian Ocean.
‘Our captain offered us beverages and towels while we ventured to a nearby reef,’ said Josh. ‘Once we arrived, we hopped into the warm waters, exploring the surprisingly healthy reef and huge variety of colorful fish.
‘The staff were happy to point out the many interesting creatures they found, including blowfish, eels and clownfish. It was like swimming in an aquarium!
Drone photography of the beach club pool surrounded by palm trees in dappled sunlight captures the tranquillity of the resort
Rice paddies and Mount Agung seen from atop a ridge at Amankila. The remote location in East Bali ensures a sense of stillness
The Amankila Suite’s private pool is the perfect spot for an afternoon of reading. The hotel has an extensive library where guests can pluck a book for the purpose
Lounge chairs beckon guests at the main pool. The sun loungers are placed in different areas so that guests can opt to sunbathe or relax in the shade
Josh’s wife Megan enjoyed some downtime at Amankila after completing 300 hours of yoga teacher training in Bali. Josh said that at night staff would line their private pool, pictured, with candles ‘as a romantic touch’
The entrance to the Amankila Suite’s main villa. The suite also has two adjoining private villas – perfect for larger families
‘After a dip in the pool, you may find a fresh glass of ice water and an oversized pool towel waiting for you. Somehow, the staff at Amankila manage to serve up exactly what we wanted without us even having to ask.’
Privacy is a key feature at the resort.
Because it is so expansive, there are plenty of opportunities to find your own secret hideaway. If you want a change of scenery from the three-tiered pool, there’s an even larger pool at the bottom of the hill near the beach club.
Surrounded by palm trees, flowers and stonework that would dazzle even the most experienced Instagrammer, this idyllic beachfront pool is perfect for reading poolside with a glass of wine. Books and magazines are also available from the mahogany-filled library to enjoy. And when you’re ready to head back up you won’t have to walk the steep road – a driver will take you back up within minutes.
Josh’s wife Megan is a dating coach and newly qualified yoga teacher who has previously lived in Indonesia for two years. She’s pictured here at the beach club pool
Holiday perfection: The palm-fringed beach club pool is a tranquil spot to unwind at and an Instagrammer’s dream
Amankila is designed with expansive layers of artistically etched stonework. One of the loveliest things about Aman resorts is that despite their popularity they never feel busy
And breakfast can also be just as much of an experience, according to Josh: ‘My wife and I were driven up to the top of the ridge to a special cabana where we were served a made-to-order breakfast while taking in the views of the Indian Ocean on one side and the cloud-capped Agung volcano towering over a valley of rice paddies below.
‘The staff will stay out of sight to give you privacy, so when you want their attention, you bang on a piece of bamboo and they’ll come running up the hill to serve you or clear your dishes.
‘At this level of luxury, you’ll find special touches throughout the resort. Golden bells sit on a private poolside dinner table for guests to ring for attention. If you opt for a private dinner, expect to first have a meeting with the executive chef so they can custom design a menu to your heart’s content. Literally anything you can come up with is available to you.’
Josh, who just returned from Amakila, told MailOnline Travel: ‘The weather was hot! Extremely humid (80-90 per cent), about 88 degrees Fahrenheit and surprisingly dry for the rainy season’
Stays at Amankila start from £675/$883 per room per night including tax
The villas are furnished with locally wood-carved furniture, sliding doors and blinds and kitted out with high-end bedding and nice touches like little gifts left on the bed each night.
‘They even put a bedtime story and gift on your bed during the turndown service,’ commented Josh. ‘One evening, we came back to find a set of beautiful chopsticks on the bed for us to take home.’
He added that Amankila is by far one of the most luxurious resorts he has experienced to date and that he and Megan are keen to explore more of the Aman resorts.
He added: ‘Given the fact that Aman has a whopping 32 properties, it begs the question – how much better can it get?’
Stays at Amankila start from £675/$883 per room per night including tax. Stays in the two-bedroom Amankila Suite start from £3,050/$3,993 per night including tax. To see more of Josh’s amazing work, visit his Instagram profile.
The hillside location ensures fantastic ocean views and photo opportunities for guests – which Josh Edelson made the most of
The main hotel pool overlooks the Lombok Strait, which is often dotted with cargo ships
The write stuff: The hotel library is a smorgasbord of burnished woods and ornate mirrors
Guests at Amankila can keep on top of their fitness regime in the outdoor jungle gym, which is made out of bamboo and features coconut dumbells
Privacy is a key feature at Amankila, and the villas even come with a ‘private’ sign that guests can place at the entrance in case they want to enjoy their pool undisturbed