Planning a trip to Bali? The sheer amount of experiences and hotels you can choose from is overwhelming, so to help you along, here’s a selection of a few standouts next time you’re on this side of the world and need a place to stay.
The St. Regis Bali Resort
Take Bali, put it through a strainer, and what you have left, is Nusa Dua.
Because once you go through the gates of this luxury compound, you’re leaving many of the tropes associated with the island- the wild nightlife, the crowded streets, and the tuk-tuks- behind.
Nusa Dua is Bali’s only gated tourist enclave. Here, cocktails on the beach, sightseeing, and water sports are the norm, and decadent parties are left on the other side of the wall. Some might consider it a little bland, but many families love its relative quiet.
There’s also the fact that one of Asia’s best hotels, The St. Regis Bali Resort, is found here.
The suites in this beachfront hotel look like contemporary New York condos with a touch of Bali’s exoticism, and they’re massive (92 m² is as small as it gets).
If you’re traveling in numbers, or are willing to splurge, the resort offers exquisite villas that can host up to six guests in complete comfort and privacy, and come equipped with private pools, sun decks, gazebos, and the convenience of direct access to one of the best swimming beaches in Bali.
It’s impossible to be a Bali luxury resort worthy of the name without an excellent spa, and on that front, The St. Regis delivers with aplomb. The Remède Spa’s ethereal décor and signature treatments are among the best on the island and are sure to smooth out any worry lines or travel stress in no time.
The Legian Bali
Seminyak is Bali’s South Beach. The glamorous, the bold and the beautiful, and anyone into Bali’s hectic tourist lifestyle flocks to the famous clubs such as Ku De Ta, Potato Head Beach Club and Mint Bali after a day out in the surf.
The Legian Bali, one of the island’s best luxury resorts, is also found here. And surprisingly, it’s nothing like what you’d expect from a Seminyak resort.
A stay at this Bali luxury resort is like having your cake and eating it too. On one side, there’s the fun-filled atmosphere of Bali’s nightlife calling out to you, and on the other, is an enclave of peace, which, if you decide to stay in its midst, could be one of the most relaxing hotel experiences around.
The hotel seems to channel Seminyak’s laid-back attitude to create an exclusive but relaxed atmosphere for its guests to enjoy. There’s an unmistakable aura of romance that permeates the hotel, thanks to a three-tiered pool, mood lighting, and common areas that encourage you to mingle with fellow guests with an Indian Ocean sunset as a backdrop. In other words, it’s a honeymooners paradise and one of the best we’ve come across.
The resort’s staff are also like mind readers, guessing your needs before you even knew you had them, and the excellent private butler service will leave you wondering how you ever managed without one before. You’ll miss it once you’re back home.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
Few of Bali’s luxury resorts capture the island’s spiritual side quite like the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan.
Overlooking the waters of the Ayung River, at the heart of a dense tropical jungle, and found alongside undulating rice fields, the Four Seasons is a luxury enclave carved within the landscape and it’s impossible not to fall in love with at first sight.
For a start, you enter the resort via a sky- bridge flanked by open jungle, which leads to a water lily pond, suspended over the tropical canopy and the fast flowing waters of the Ayung. It’s a unique moment you’ll think of long after you’ve left, and no matter where the travel bug takes you next, you’ll never re-live anything quite like it.
The resort’s limited room count of only 60 suites and villas also means that a sense of seclusion and exclusivity is guaranteed. The expansive grounds – filled with palm trees, frangipanis, bougainvilleas and rice paddies – add to the sense of isolation and connection with nature. Even when the resort is at capacity, it’s more than possible to feel completely alone when going on nature walks within the compound.
Like guides on a spiritual journey, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan’s spa therapists and visiting practitioners, are masters in the fields of massage and yoga. Offering advice as well as exceptional treatments, it’s impossible not to leave their care feeling like a better balanced you. The resort even goes so far as introducing you to Balinese spiritual healers and a priestess if you so wish.
To round off the experience, Bali’s cultural and artistic center, Ubud, is only 10 minutes away from the hotel and is the perfect example of why Bali is hailed as a haven for international travelers with a taste for alternative lifestyles. Creative, cultural and – more importantly – serene, if you’ve only experienced Ubud through the pages of Eat, Pray, Love and liked it, the real thing is unmissable.
This Bali luxury resort makes a strong claim for being the sleekest and sexiest one out there.
The Bulgari Bali’s designs echo the group’s first luxury hotel offering, the Bulgari Milan, and concessions to Balinese culture come in the form of traditional bamboo roofs in the rooms and local antiques around the hotel.
But no matter how good the designs are, looks are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this resort.
Located on a cliff on the Bukit Peninsula, the view of the Indian ocean from the hotel’s infinity pool is the stuff of dreams, and the Uluwatu temple- where you can catch a traditional fire dance at sunset- is only minutes away.
For a unique wow factor, jump on the hotel’s private funicular, and travel down 100 meters to a secluded patch of beach for some alone time in the middle of the ocean.
Not that you’d need it. The resort’s villas and mansions are limited to only 59. Extremely spacious and equipped with plunge pools, massive black granite bathtubs and with picture-perfect views of the Indian Ocean, you’ll be returning to a temple of serenity every time you return to your room.
Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
The Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a newcomer to Bali’s luxury resort scene, but it’s got the looks, location, and service to make you look past its lack of rep and stay for a few nights and book again next time you’re in town.
Named after the Sanskrit word for temple, the Mandapa a Ritz-Carlton Reserve was always going to draw from Bali’s spiritual nature to create a unique experience for its guests. And thanks to its location and reverent approach to slow travel; it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Surrounded by rice paddies- the resort is found on one- and home to one of the most beautiful spas in Bali, the Mandapa is a balm for the soul you never knew you needed.
Alila Villas Uluwatu
The Alila Villas Uluwatu is intent on knocking the air out from your lungs and keeping you breathless throughout your whole stay. But don’t worry, you’ll love every second of it.
Oxygen deprivation puns aside, to witness, let alone stay, in a resort as stunning as this ought to give a jolt of excitement even to the most jaded travelers.
Because the Alila Villas Uluwatu delivers wow factor after wow factor, and just when you think it’s played all the cards in its – very full – deck, it somehow manages to pop out another. It’s like magic, and that’s the difference between a great holiday and one you’ll never forget.
Perched on the cliffs of the Bukit Peninsula, there are amazing views of the Indian Ocean to see if you ever manage to tear your eyes from the resort’s beautiful designs. A challenge in itself.
Then, of course, the resort’s infinity pool seems to be one with the Indian Ocean, and its mirage-like effect is the first thing you’ll see from the lobby.
It’s so mesmerizing you’ll feel bad for anyone who walks in here and isn’t checking in.
Pavillions made by what looks like a design savvy Robinson Crusoe jut out over the ocean, and are the most distinctive and photographed features of the resort. That’s unfortunate. Because, the room’s contemporary designs and open views take the cake in our opinion, but you’ll have to check-in to find that out.