Tropicola Is What It Felt Like

By Luke Hughes  Photography Alexander &CO.

Found on the idyllic and vibrant island of Bali, Indonesia, Tropicola is Seminyak’s newest, hippest beach club and the biggest project to date from the team behind Bali-favourite Motel Mexicola and Sydney’s Bucket List on Bondi Beach.Sean Connolly at Dubai Opera is a contemporary brasserie featuring what they describe as an ‘uncomplicated and produce-driven menu’ that offers up a selection of succulent steak and seafood dishes for its guests.  The 350-person restaurant-bar boasts a variety of dining locations with particular highlights being the chef’s table, an intimate space adjacent to the open kitchen, and a rooftop terrace where guests are spoilt to an impressive view of the Burj Khalifa. 

“The challenge […] was to have something in each drink that would make people curious. The drinks at Tropicola are fruity, refreshing and colourful. I’ve got to play with ingredients that are only available in Indonesia. All these spices, herbs and fruits provided a huge opportunity to get creative and come up with local twists on the modern classic.”
- Denny Deluca Del Paso

Opened in August 2018, Tropicola is a multi-stage beachfront development on the Golden Mile of Bali’s Seminyak beach. Offering sweeping panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, Bukit peninsula and Tanah Lot, it is a beach club, restaurant, rooftop bar and hotel that offers affordable and accessible luxury.

Designed by Creative Director, James Brown – also the creative brains behind Mexicola, Africola and Bucket List in Bondi – Tropicola is a playground of clean lines, bright colours, and cascading plants. Purposefully designed to evoke nostalgia from another era, Tropicola is an 80s leaning pool club – open from 11am until midnight everyday – with memories of Miami, Acapulco, Palm Springs, Tulum and Playa Del Carmen woven into its décor. Brown’s vision was to create ‘an oasis laden with Bougainvillea … a paradise by the sea’. 

Led by Beverage Director Denny Deluca Del Paso, the club consists of three animated bars found scattered across the different levels. Since 2012 when Denny won the coveted World Fair Bartending Tour he has performed in master classes and trade shows around the world. Intending to master ‘the art of entertainment’ in union with ‘balanced, good looking drinks’, Denny’s drinks list seeks to showcase his vast knowledge and expertise whilst drawing on his travels. 

“The menu is full of fresh seafood, grilled meats and simply handled vegetables. Nothing too heavy or overdone, just great produce handled simply in an environment purpose-built for lounging and grazing day and night.”
– Executive Chef Steve Skelly

Favourites include Tropicolada, which uses jackfruit instead of pineapple; Arak N Roll with the finest Bali Arak infused with Kintamani coffee beans and mandarin peels to create Tropicola’s take on an espresso martini; The Tulum Bliss, a super refreshing poolside classic with Tequila, grapefruit, pimento and lime; and The Jungle Bird, a delicious mix of dark rum, Campari, pineapple and lime. Denny’s menu also includes an eclectic mix of house-made Tropisodas, freshly squeezed juices and elixirs, coolades, freezies, shakes, cocktail jugs and ‘lageritas’. 

British-born Chef Steve Skelly, responsible for the award-winning food at Mexicola, Da Maria and Luigi’s Hot Pizza, has taken charge of Tropicola’s open-kitchen. With a menu centred on wood-fired grills and ovens, Steve has used his familiarity with the island alongside his vast travels to create the Tropicola dining experience.

The menu, designed to focus on clean, light and colourful food choices, includes a super green salad with cos, pistachio, zucchini, edamame and spicy leaves; baked squash with burrata, zucchini flowers and macadamia; the Tropicola “3 cut” Burger which features an Al Pastor pork taco, spit roasted from a traditional el trompo spit roast with fresh pineapple, onion, coriander and jalapeno salsa; fresh grilled prawns with chilli and herb dressing; a selection of wood-grilled whole market fish or lobster with parsley and lemon; and a dry aged 1 kg Tomahawk steak with fermented chili butter and watercress salad. 

this place must have existed.
in another time and in another place.
coconut oil melting in the sun.
the vivid blue of the water.
the blinding white of staff on bended knee.
languid hands on frozen drinks.
the sizzle of shellfish over wood fire.
laughter and splash and chatter.
a paradise against the sea.
it was just another mansion.

– tropicola is what it felt like.

To complete the meal, guests can find desserts such as a banana split with milk chocolate ice cream, toasted peanut praline, whipped cream and toffee sauce; a passionfruit pavlova; or “simply” a selection of alcoholic or non-alcoholic ‘paletas’ (icey-poles). 

Tropicola is about creating a mood that transports its guests from other times and places to the shores of Bali. This mood is enhanced by the club’s music scene, which is orchestrated by Juan Ego from the Yutacan peninsula in Mexico. Having played in all of the biggest beach, villa and hotel parties since the 80s, his Tropical sound system seeks to transform every Tropicola sunset into ‘a pandemonium of celebratory good times’.

Tropicola is a big, beautiful place from another time, a paradise by the sea for everyone - the perfect day, the perfect night.