10 Spots to Stay at in Bali
This Indonesian isle has everything from humble bungalows to plush seaside villas. Here are T+L’s top choices on where to splurge or save. By Holly McDonald and Jen Lin-liu
A collection of wooden houses transported from a number of Indonesian islands, refurbished and now nestled amid lovingly tendered gardens, eco-friendly Desa Seni (Jln. Subak Sari 13, Pantai Berawa, Canggu; +62 361 844 6392; desaseni.com) is an enchanting place to stay. Healthy cuisine, much of which is sourced from their own gardens, and an airy yoga studio with plenty of classes seal the deal.
Get right off Bali’s beaten track and head to the Organic Farm Bali (Munduk Lumbang; +62 813 5337 6905; theorganicfarmbali.com) where you’ll stay on your own private mountain for a night. Meals are prepared using the farm’s own produce and your ablutions will be with the locals at nearby hot springs skirting some rice terraces. A bonfire at night keeps the chill at bay before you retreat to your own bed and warm duvet—or sleep under the stars.
One hour north of Seminyak by taxi, the cozy, ocean-view bungalows at the Alila Villas Soori (Banjar Dukuh, Desa kelanting, Kerambitan, Tabanan; +62 361 894 6388; alilahotels.com) offer top-of-the-line luxury and peace on a black-sand beach framed by palm trees. The modern units come with plenty of indoor and outdoor lounging spaces, not to mention a plunge pool that snakes around the bedroom, a spacious bathtub and an Apple TV unit stocked with movies and music.
If you prefer the hubbub of Seminyak, W Retreat & Spa (Jln. Petitenget, Seminyak +62 361 473 8106; whotels.com/baliseminyak) is the hottest new resort, with good reason. Don’t bother springing for a villa, the ocean-facing rooms have all the comforts you’ll need. Each comes with a balcony facing the sunset and a spacious bathroom decked out with Bliss products. The sprawling breakfast buffet, the enormous lagoon-like pool and the beachfront Woo bar will keep you entertained from morning to late at night.
Southeast of Ubud there's a taste of old Java at Bambu Indah (Banjan Baung, Desa Sayan, Ubud; +62 361 977 922; bambuindah.com), where the 150-yeqr-old teakwood homes and a series of bamboo structures sit in a tranquil setting on the Sanyan Ridge. Guests are surrounded by rice by rice paddies, and there's that defining feeling that you are in Bali.
Three Brothers (Jln. Legian Tengah, +62 361 751 566; threebrothersbungalows.com) doesn’t exactly offer luxury, but few guesthouses can beat its rock-bottom prices that attract a steady following from backpackers and Asia-based expats alike. The well-kept grounds include a pool and the rooms—opt for one with air conditioning—are a tad dark and Spartan but perfectly adequate if you’re looking for a base from which to explore Bali.
The panoramic ocean view from the open-air lobby sets the luxurious tone at the Ayana Resort (Jln. Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran; +62 361 702 222; ayanaresort.com). Formerly a Ritz-Carlton property, the resort has made considerable upgrades—including the awe-inspiring cliffside Rock bar and a luxurious Thermes Marins spa. Set on 77 hectares of tropical gardens with five swimming pools, and 18-hole putting course, tennis courts and 12 dining venues and bars, the Ayana is the perfect getaway if you’re looking for a self-contained holiday.
If you want to feel like a VIP, the COMO Shambhala (Banjar Begawan, Desa Melinggih Kelod, Payangan, Gianyar; +62 361 978 888; cse.como.bz) with its sprawling lush grounds suspended over the Ayung River, is the perfect place to indulge. You’ll be assigned your own personal assistant, while the elegant rooms with classy colonial-style furnishings come with a pool and communal open-air living and dining room. The resort offers a range of award-winning wellness programs that focus on cleansing, exercise and stress management.
Also known for its stunning service is the Samaya (Jln. Laksmana, Seminyak; +62 361 731 149; thesamayabali.com), conveniently located in the heart of Seminyak. The modern, newly renovated oceanfront villas come with private plunge pools and thoughtful complimentary extras like afternoon tea, a mini bar and laundry service. A second location in Ubud (Banjar Baung, Desa Sayan; +62 361 973 606) is equally stunning.
The Menjangan (Jln. Raya Gilimanuk, Singaraja Km. 17, Desa Pajarakan, Buleleng; +62 362 94700; themenjangan.com) in the confines of Bali’s largest national park in the north, offers luxury, seclusion, and an excellent base for some of Bali’s best snorkeling and diving. Choose from newly built beachside villas or renovated lodge accommodations. The resort’s reception and dining takes place in a four-storey-tall tree house, a stunning piece of architecture where you can take in panoramic sunset views.