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Bali Highs

For something more rustic—a place where the wood feels weighty and rough-hewn—visit Balex, a workshop and showroom located on the dusty road between Kuta and Jalan Raya Kerobokan. The Dutch-born owner, Alexander B. C. Hoek, creates bench-crafted furniture using traditional Japanese and early European joinery techniques. His family-sized kitchen tables and daybeds, made of recycled timbers, would fit nicely in country houses from Sonoma to Saratoga. Jalan Raya Kerobokan, Banjar Campuan, Kuta; 62-361/415-867.

JEWELRY Some 20 years ago, Jean-François Fichot landed on the white shores of this island to sell his necklaces on the beach. A native Frenchman who also joined the ranks of photogenic hippies in India during the late sixties, Fichot is as eccentric as the jewelry he designs. Serious collectors can call his office (62-361/974-601) for a private viewing of some larger pieces influenced by his travels to Cuba and Southeast Asia, but a fine selection of his work—pink-tourmaline and gold necklaces, Burmese jade pendants—is also available at Treasures, a gallery in Ubud showcasing five other local jewelers. Main Street, Ubud; 62-361/976-697; www.dekco.com/treasure.

Across town, John Hardy and his wife, Cynthia, produce sparkling semiprecious and precious jewelry, as well as black palm-wood-and-silver objects for the home. A few years ago the duo signed on French designer Guy Bedarida, formerly of Van Cleef & Arpels, whose passion for rare gemstones (peach sapphires and cinnamon diamonds) shaped the new Cinta collection. Some hotels will organize a tour of the Hardys' compound, a tightly run aggregation of small workshops and organic agricultural developments; there is also an on-site gift shop. Hardy plans to open his first U.S. boutique this Christmas in New York's Nolita district. 1 Jalan Baturning, Abiansemal, Mambal; 62-361/469-888.

CLOTHING Many of the finer fabrics in Bali are imported from India, which may explain why you sometimes feel you're in Delhi instead of Denpasar. Some of the designs are straitlaced reproductions of Indian clothes, but others are delightfully daring. Paul Ropp's beaded dresses, boleros, and fitted silk pants come in eye-popping shades of pink, purple, blue, and orange. Anyone who appreciates the flashiness of Versace—minus the revealing thigh-high slits and microminis—will want to save some space in her suitcases for Ropp. 1X Jalan Pengubengan, Depan LP Kerobokan, Kuta; 62-361/730-023; www.paulropp.com.

On the trendy stretch of Jalan Raya Seminyak stands Biasa, a two-story boutique reminiscent of the sporty elegance of Nicole Farhi. Design highlights include bias-cut skirts and tailored pantsuits in citrus linens, extra-long scarves in cool cottons, low-slung woven leather belts, and St.-Tropez-style beaded sandals. It's also worth taking a peek upstairs at the rack of crisp cotton pajamas for men and women. 36 Jalan Raya Seminyak, Kuta; 62-361/730-308.

By far, the most exquisite hand-painted and woven scarves are to be found at the Warisan Gallery, an exhibition space attached to the upscale Kafé Warisan, in Kuta. You'll find a tasteful mix of antique and contemporary objets d'art, including silver bracelets, opalescent bone spoons, and fanciful accessories by various local designers. In the center of the room stands a large round table with neatly folded silk scarves, some hand-dyed with ballerina pink, baby blue, or lilac stripes, others woven into multicolored, gold-threaded Missoni-style wraps for an un-Missoni-style price, $90. 38 Jalan Raya Kerobokan, Banjar Taman, Kuta; 62-361/730-710.

ONE-STOP SHOPPING As more and more tourists seek the Balinese "experience," resourceful entrepreneurs have developed a new retail concept. "I call it warung chic," says Jane Hawkins of her store Asia Style, one of the growing number of island boutiques offering beautiful products from across the region. Hawkins borrowed the term from the small street stands that sell everything from fruits to flip-flops. Asia Style carries a well-edited sampling, with its delicate bone spoons, ornate frames, and embroidered antique throws. 52 Jalan Raya Sayan, Sayan, Ubud; 62-361/970-056.

Pass through Palanquin Bali's elephant-tusked doors and you'll find a more Westernized selection, including leather and wood chess sets, square gold-lacquered plates, and reproductions of 1950's Balinese tourism posters. The thematic approach is amusing, but not altogether authentic: a collection of vintage windup ducks labeled DISCOVERED IN JAVA was MADE IN CHINA. 8 Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, Simpang Siur, Kuta; 62-361/766-555; www.palanquinbali.com.

MELISSA CERIA has written for Vogue, Departures, and the New York Times.


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