Balé, Balé

It seems to me that travel accommodation is just as much a balance between luxury and highstreet as ZARA and Margiela.


I’m an easygoing traveler. For my past few short years of intense traveling (give me those frequent flyer points, baby), I’ve predominantly been a rental apartment regular – indeed, Wimdu has gotten me out of many a sticky situation. And there is a gloriously independent method behind the madness of locating the key, finding your own way around somebody else’s home and trying to pretend that you know the neighbourhood inside out in a lame attempt at traveling like a local. I try, I try.

Further, there’s something almost repressive about hotels in the Western world, but perhaps mostly due to all of us constantly in need of a good whine to the next man and his dog. Every damn day. It’s true, we complain when the surrounds are too opulent and the staff too keen, and yet it’s just not good enough when the rooms are too basic and the staff not proactive. Particularly in capital cities, I make a habit of plastering ‘Do Not Disturb’ to my room door, so that I don’t have to worry about unsuspecting room service staff being horrified by my apparently multiplying suitcase contents, my disproportionate quantity of coconut oil, and my thousands of appliances and cables plugged into every powerpoint under every desk, chair and bed in the room. I mean, I’m not even there to explain that the online retail tabs open on my computer are actually market research. Right? Right? Needless to say, eye contact with passing linen trolleys each morning is intolerably awkward, and the concierge is surely asking the porters why I’m in and out of their rotating doors, five times a day in different outfits.

It seems to be a different situation in South-East Asia – perhaps, as somebody pointed out while I was in Bali, because hospitality and tourism makes up a much larger segment of the industry, and so many more citizens’ livelihoods depend on it. There is something more reassuringly genuine about everything from the architecture of the properties, to the way your rooms are presented, to the way . Nothing is so exclusive that you feel uncomfortable or intrusive using the service or space, but there is still a sense of privacy and calm away from the crazy outside that all guests have surely come to escape from. Of course, this is not to say that there aren’t the Vegas editions, so to speak, of Asian resorts and hotels (I’ll be the first to admit that), but The Luxe Nomad certainly chooses the right ones to share flash sales on.

The Balé in Nusa Dua is one of the boutique resorts we stayed at, and is probably the best case in point here. The property isn’t sprawling, but it’s spacious and well planned. There’s nothing you’d be scared to be knock over, but its tiered and clean white lines make it aesthetically accessible for those who spend their days pounding pavement in metropolis CBD. The staff are infinitely informative and approachable, but let you lounge and awkwardly shoot photos in floral onesies by their perfectly tranquil pool should you wish to – and on a shaded bed that is flawlessly incorporated into its surrounds.

And so it seems the travel accommodation is just as much a balance between luxury and highstreet as this get-up well spent by the pool… or ZARA and Margiela. Certainly, I’ll always love a bed and breakfast with a little rough tumble around the edges, but it’s nice to know that a bit of polish isn’t too many dollar steps up.

A bit like 500 Euros to spend on Luisa Via Roma. Capiche?

P.S. pardon my swollen left eye – I am the one in a room of a thousand that a mosquito will hunt down and consume the most conspicuous body part of…

Reformation Jumpsuit – Seafolly BikiniThe Balé booked via The Luxe Nomad – Nikon D600 and 85mm from DigiDIRECT

Photos by Camille Charrière; edited by Margaret Zhang


Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese director, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Margaret has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, UNIQLO, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Margaret’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NYLON, Marie Claire, GRAZIA and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for the past four consecutive years. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim.

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