Boom to bust: How Bali has changed forever
The United Nations peak tourist body announced recently that Bali had aced COVID-safety practices and was ready to throw the doors open to tourists.
A delegation from the UN's World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) made the assessment after pouring over the holiday island's health and safety protocols.
The UNWTO's director for Asia and the Pacific, Harry Hwang said that Bali's COVID measures were 'excellent, if not the best there are.'
"I am extremely happy to see Indonesia and Bali so well prepared to open for tourism. I wouldn't be surprised if the government announced that Bali is open before Christmas," Mr
However, the economy of the popular holiday destination is in tatters with more than US$1.5 billion ($A1.98 billion) worth of hotel investments for sale.
A very different island awaits with swathes of top restaurants such as Metis as well as hairdressers, day spas, cafes, nightclubs and fashion labels closed for good unable to trade through the pandemic.
Windows are papered over and stock has been removed from thousands of shops from Kuta to Canggu, Nusa Dua and Sanur.
A quick walk to the ubiquitous minimart for a bottle of water and snack can turn in to a two kilometre trek on the ghostly main roads that once thrived with the business and 1.2. million Aussie tourists a year.
The owners of a plethora of rarefied five-star luxury palaces in Bali have come under pressure as economies spiral south and dozens of investors list some of the island's most beautiful hotels for sale.
One of Bali's top choice hotels among Aussie families - Discovery Kuta Plaza - has a price tag of $42 million. It has hosted throngs of Australian tourists for decades and was adored for its pristine beach, fun kids club and multiple restaurants, bars and pools.
Nearby on deserted shopping strip of Kartika Plaza the more modest and now closed Edelweiss Hotel is for sale for $10 million. Another popular spot for holidaying Australians is the old school Balinese style resort Alam KulKul, which is available to purchase for a cool $124 million.
The up-market stretch of Legian beach has the Marriott Group's contemporary The Stones Hotel - Autograph Collection ready to buy for $139 million. It is a hot wedding spot for wealthy Australians to splash some cash and a pretty investment bauble.
Next door the Pullman by Accor, which is a tad pricier at $140 million, is a 360-room spread across 2.4 hectares that is opposite the Indian Ocean.
As one of Bali's newest five-star hotels, the super chic Hotel Indigo in Seminyak is also closed for business but not for a buyer who will need deep pockets to the tune of $335 million.
Zest Hotel by Swiss Bel in Legian's popular Padma street is asking $6.8 million while in Seminyak The Royal Beach Hotel, managed by Accor Group, has an $15 million price tag.
The Haven in trendy Canggu is up for grabs for $28.5 million.
In the tourist compound of Nusa Dua, the stylish French managed Sofitel in Nusa Dua rings in with a hefty $327 million asking price, however, it is trading with dramatic promotional packages where a year-long stay costs $30,000, including breakfast daily and free weekly spa therapies.
The future of dining and partying in Bali instantly became bleak with the coronavirus.
Not only did some of the island's most famous restaurants such as Sarong, Metis and Sardine close immediately until further notice.
McDonalds in Kuta shut for keeps as did the perfect people watching diner Tiger Palm in Seminyak Square. Now the sales have begun with Legian's ocean front Blue Ocean restaurant, a must-visit for thousands of Aussies, for sale $252,000.
Slippery Stone - a popular place for Victoria's Greek community and a wild Ancient Greek-themed fantasy is available for $3.5 million. The funky Mirror nightclub in Seminyak comes with a figure of $540,000.
Warisan - the restaurant and not the adjoining furniture store - looks bereft as it languishes empty with agents looking for a buyer. King Kebab - a long-time Seminyak gathering place for late night snacks - and the French diner Sip have followed with the owners walking away.
In Kuta only half of the enormous beer barns and fresh seafood restaurants will reopen and Steak Grill and Warung Steak and Shake are closed.
The Beach House restaurant in Sanur has thrown in the towel, as has the popular sports bar and restaurant Casablanca, which is for sale for $1.7 million.
SPAS AND SALONS
The temple of beauty in Seminyak - Bodyworks - that provided hundreds of mani-pedi's, massages and facials to Aussies every day of summer has shut up shop.
While some other of up-market days spas are attempting to trade their way through the coronavirus crunch, Manik, the 12-year-old Aussie owned hair salon in Seminyak, is listed for sale.
Scores of others have simply closed down and sold off their equipment. Balinese day spa chains - Carla Spa, Kimberley Spa and Crown Spa have closed dozens of salons with plans to reopen just a fraction of their outlets when tourists return.
For beauty treatments such as Botox and filler, Nu Mi Aesthetics has disappeared and The Luxury Day Spa, with upscale treatment rooms and saunas and jacuzzi rooms, on Kuta's main street is for sale.
Celebrity Tattoo's has closed its Kuta branch and shelves plans for a Canggu operation.
Locally owned studios have been closed since March with owners returning to their villages and forgetting business for the moment.
HOMEWARES, FASHION AND RETAIL
The Indonesian retail giant Matarhari is set to say goodbye to its Kuta flagship store while well-loved Aussie owned homewares store Toko Emporium in Seminyak has already closed for good.
Owner Janet Ashenden relocated her business to Noosa after seven successful years in Bali.
Next to Toko, the textile and bedding retailer Apostrophe has gone permanently and the hip fashion house Religion has emptied at least one of its Seminyak stores.
In Legian the massive accessories store Magic ceased trading while legion fashion chains including Magali Pascal and Miss Milne - both favoured choices among Australian brides and serious fashionistas - have closed their to outlet shops to focus of the flagships.
The Indo-chic Biasa closed its north Seminyak shop and resort wear purveyor By The Sea will not reopen all four Kuta shops. Top surf brands including Rip Curl, Roxy, Surfer Girl, Slam 69 - which have multiple heavily discounted warehouse-style outfits plus cool surf shops from the airport to Canggu will reopen with dramatically fewer locations.
Don't expect to see your favourite CD seller in the same location. They have all closed and returned to their villages - but when demand comes back they will bloom again.
Bali beach clubs became the hottest business ticket in town about five years ago.
They spread like water along the endless kilometres of beach from Kuta to Canggu and on to Mengwi.
Cafe del Mare was the boy on the block when it opened its doors late last year. But the huge club, which has a 700 square metre pool and built to entertain thousands of people, is now tipped to stay closed.
In Nusa Dua, Manarai Beach club failed to take off and remains shuttered.
Sugar Sand beach club in Seminyak is on the chopping block with the sale of the Hote Indigo.
The much spruiked Tropicola between Seminyak and Canggu, was immediately closed when the virus hit and its owners Adrian Reed and Leah Simmons Reed returned to Sydney.
Mrs Sippy, another Sydney-owned beach club, had a shot at reopening after the Bali lockdown, but it quietly closed again. Given that the cash cow sister in Sydney's Double Bay is closed, the Bali arm in unlikely to relaunch anytime soon.
Originally published as Boom to bust: How Bali has changed forever