With its ancient temples, exquisite crafts, and luxury resorts, this Indonesian island paradise has far more to offer than just gorgeous beaches
Thirteen years ago, Italian-born, New York–based jewelry designer Guy Bedarida got an interesting call. Bedarida, who was then head designer for Van Cleef & Arpels, picked up the phone to hear from another jeweler, John Hardy. Hardy was a not-so-reformed hippie art student from Canada, who had moved to Bali during the 1970s to study the island's centuries-old jewelry tradition. In 1989, he launched an eponymous line of exquisite silver baubles produced on the island by Balinese artisans. Hardy was calling with a job offer. "It was a bit unbelievable at the time," Bedarida says with a laugh. "I was very happy in New York working at Van Cleef, and here this guy was inviting me to move to the other side of the world to work for him." Bedarida ended up telling his boss about the call. "Figuring it was a lark, he told me to take the free trip to Bali," recalls Bedarida, who was instantly captivated by the island and the people who inhabit it. "I came back to New York, gave notice, and moved to Bali," he says. "It was as simple as that."
For people with an addiction to beauty, a trip to Bali is the ultimate high. The island's sandy beaches, terraced rice paddies, lush jungles, mist-covered mountains, and volcanic cliffs are legendary. The Balinese are so dedicated to their Hindu beliefs that they engage in ceremonies every day at the more than 1,000 temples that dot the island (hence Bali's moniker, "Island of the Gods"). And it's this marriage of sheer physical beauty and pervasive spirituality that lends the place an otherworldly character.