Did you know that Sanur was the landing point of The Dutch Invasion in the early 1900's? Or that it was the epicentre of commerce of the island and was classed as the Kota (or central business district) until Denpasar took it's place? One of the first hotels built on the island that stood higher than a palm tree, was The Bali Beach Hotel, by the former President Sukarno and it still stands today as the tallest building on the island.
So what happened to Sanur? And why did she give up to Seminyak, as the hip happening place?
OR DID SHE?
We all know what happens to trendy places. They give way to trendier ones. The chic lose their sparkle, they get old and forget the lick of paint and before you know it, it's out of flavour. It's not a new concept. What is clear though when you look at the beach at Sanur Vs the beach in Seminyak and Kuta, is that Sanur....is blissfully white-sanded and has a lazy Sunday morning feeling, but like EVERYDAY. It's the place you want to walk down to the beach, bleary eyed and fall into a cafe and grab eggs benny on toast. You don't spend an hour getting ready and put on a full face of make-up to visit, or your pretend yoga or jogging gear. Everyone is too busy watching the bobbing local jukung boats, to care about your style.
Sanur has a style of it's own.
Imagine life as a fisherman here. Early morning sunrise, the place to yourself, (apparently in the top 10 in the world), the light dazzling off your glistening net, as you cast 1,2,3 times, silence in the reef-protected waters; barr the only sound; a whip through the air of your neighbour, casting his line off into the distance. By 9, it's time to move toward the shore, sell your catch and sleep till lunch. In the late afternoon, don your cooler weather wear and hit the shallows for white bait, pipi's and mussels. I'd throw in the towel for a net and bait....that's for sure, if I could wake to this everyday and be 'happy' doing it.
But most of us aren't because we always want more.
Sanur became the bore to the younger crowd, because like the fisherman moving in and out of the reef everyday, nothing changed....it was old people hanging out playing chess and reading books. But this stuck like glue to her and she became a wall flower in many tourists eyes, through lack of 'new' information about the area and hugely appalling tourism sales reps who couldn't make the commissions in Sanur, that they could in Kuta.
Sanur Style is a thick soup made up of the talented kids of older Bali families, who have come up the ranks, gone to art or culinary school, had a dream, taken a bit of family land and made it theirs. Mix that with a few foreign entrepreneurs too old in the tooth for the boogie in Seminyak, but still happy to dip their toes into her seduction once in a while, who have carved their piece of the pie and brought a bit of gentrification to the area.
Grass roofed little cafes with hand painted signs line the main beach, in between languid walks to the 5 star hotels like The Fairmont and The Hyatt (opening after refurb this year) and cute little guest houses like Kembali Lagi and The Kolonnial in the streets leading off. Dusk Blue for a mix of cool Moroccan flavours and a white-washed beach house look, caketastic selection of puds at Cafe Batu Jimbar (with the red umbrellas on the main street) and the latest add to the hood is FireFly (upstairs at Fire Station) in Jl Danau Poso, for a bevvy of tasty tapas plates and cardamon whiskey sours.
Shopping is a mix of resort easy wear style, with a fresh cut of ideas from Clarabella (https://clarabellabali.com/), Ghostbird, Biasa and Koa clothing boutiques lining the main drag. Spa senses can be inspired at Aroma Beach-side Spa Retreat and Leha Leha (award winners) and newcomer Nest.
If you don't like shopping, grab a gelato at Massimo's and stroll down to the beach, sit and contemplate your naval.
Sanur is Bali's best kept secret....shhhhhh........