Katamama review: Craft cocktails, hipster coffee and haute tapas at Bali's coolest new hotel

A new design hotel in Seminyak manages to stay cool, calm and collected amid the Bali buzz

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The Independent Travel

When the team behind Bali’s legendary Potato Head Beach Club opened a luxury hotel, it was never going to be a getting-away-from-it-all kind of place on a secret beach somewhere.

Right in the heart of buzzing Seminyak, Potato Head is the place to see and be seen, whether you’re sipping cocktails at the swim-up bar or dancing to the sound of live DJs after dark. And while its little sister, Katamama, which opened just a few steps away last spring, isn’t a party venue in itself, it’s certainly no shrinking violet, with a destination restaurant and bartenders who’ll come and make you a cocktail in your room.

Yet, it’s not all about hedonism. This is perhaps Bali’s best hotel for those serious about design, from the angular brick mass of the exterior to the beautifully curated rooms and the thoughtfully designed indoor-outdoor corridors. 

Hotel guests can book day beds at Potato Head without any minimum spend (normally around £30 per party), but for a much lower-key experience, Katamama’s own pool sits within a pretty, secluded raised garden atop the complex’s oh-so-cool coffee shop and boutique, which stocks stylish – but pricey – trinkets.

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Katamama hotel is serious about design

If you have a hankering for Balinese cuisine you might be disappointed that the hotel’s only dining option is an outpost of Aussie-based Spanish joint MoVida – but you shouldn’t be. Local ingredients are cooked to perfection, with highlights including tender calamares in squid ink dressing, and a modern take on patatas bravas. Even breakfast is delicious; there’s no buffet – everything is made to order, from the juices and smoothies to dishes such as shakshuka-style baked eggs served with sobrasada toast.

Location

Seminyak is by no means the most picturesque part of Bali, and its beach was in need of a serious clean on my visit (a fair bit of rubbish had washed ashore, apparently because it was rainy season), but if you’re looking for a resort with plenty of bustle, and a bit more class than Kuta, it should do the trick.  

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The Katamama Suite looks out to sea

Between the slick bars and banging clubs you’ll find some lovely places to eat, including Biku, which offers Indonesian dishes in homely surroundings, and The Halal Boys, a food truck serving Middle Eastern fare. For surfy vibes and better beaches, venture slightly north to the laidback town of Canggu.

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Aussie tapas joint MoVida provides the dining

Comfort

The smallest – but still spacious – rooms are the Island and Pool View Suites, while the largest, the Katamama Suite, has two bedrooms and panoramic windows looking out to sea (and, unfortunately, the stadium-like Potato Head building).

Practically everything you see, from the bare brick walls to the wooden furniture and beautiful terrazzo tiles in the bathrooms, has been locally made using top-quality Indonesian materials, but you’ll also find a few mid-century originals designed by the likes of Arne Jacobsen and Le Corbusier.

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Rooms are stylish but comfortable

The attention to detail has really paid off – the décor is incredibly stylish, but comfortable too. The bed in my Garden Suite was vast, and looked out towards double doors leading on to a small private courtyard. The huge bathtub and monsoon shower had the same view through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Other nice touches in the rooms include books you can borrow (running the gamut from F Scott Fitzgerald to Irvine Welsh) and a cocktail-making kit, complete with recipes. Though ingredients, along with the rest of the minibar, are chargeable, each guest gets a free welcome cocktail – one quick call and someone will be over to make it for you.

Essentials

Katamama, JL Petitenget No 51B, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia (00 62 361 302 9999; katamama.com). Doubles from US$270 (£217), B&B. Malaysia Airlines (malaysiaairlines.com) flies from Heathrow to Bali Denpasar via Kuala Lumpur.

Wifi: Free

Access: No specifically adapted rooms but all are large enough for wheelchair users, and ramps are available around the hotel

Rooms: *****

Service: *****

Value: ****

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