Top 10 luxury hotels in Bali
Of the 17,508 islands in the Indonesian archipelago, it’s Bali that gets all the love for its glittering beaches, exquisite temples, sculpted rice terraces, and mighty volcanoes. We travel to the fabled Island of the Gods to discover 10 fabulous hotels that stand out for their glamorous location, high level of service, and effortless luxury.
Alila Seminyak, Seminyak
The scene: A prime position at the quieter end of the ultra-hip Seminyak Beach sets the scene at this swanky five-star boutique gem. Not only will you have the dazzling Indian Ocean right on your doorstep, but you’ll be just minutes from the fashion boutiques, organic cafés, hip bars, beauty salons, and Instagram-worthy restaurants in Bali’s chic little neighbourhood of Petitenget.
The sleep: All of the minimalist and contemporary-style rooms and suites tempt with classic Balinese stone, chocolate-hued woods, and wheat-coloured soft furnishings. There’s also glass doors leading to private terraces, flatscreen TVs with digital channels, glamorous bathrooms with organic toiletries, and dressing areas filled with free-to-use yoga mats and beach bags.
The stay: Setting the bar high for island stays, there’s five infinity pools lined with comfortable sunloungers, a globe-spanning restaurant with communal seating and cosy tables, and a cool beach bar with oversized chairs, made-to-order cocktails, and chillout music. You’re spoiled further with a great selection of excursions (temple-hopping, shopping, cycling tours) as well as a fabulous spa for Balinese massages, revitalising facials, and free morning yoga sessions.
More information and to book: Alila Seminyak
Kamandalu Resort & Spa, Ubud
The scene: The green hills of Ubud - the artsy and bohemian hub in central Bali synonymous with Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love - provide the backdrop at this five-star resort for the luxury-minded. The vibe here is incredibly chic, with the all-villa accommodation blending seamlessly into a ravishing landscape filled with rice paddies and tropical forests.
The sleep: The look in the 56 grass-topped villas is one of grown-up Balinese glamour. Following a top-to-toe makeover in 2011, each features a four-poster king-size bed (or twins), a private bale bengong (outdoor day-bed), a terrace overlooking the lush valley of Ubud and the Petanu River, bathrooms with outdoor and indoor showers, and all mod cons.
The stay: There’s a huge free-form pool (one of Bali’s largest) with a swim-up bar for exotic cocktails, a sublime spa for a wealth of Indonesian healing treatments and therapies, and a wealth of activities (white-water rafting, elephant safari, quad-biking, canyon tubing) for those who can’t sit still. Equally impressive are the dining options, including the award-winning Petulu Restaurant that serves authentic Indonesian cuisine paired with fine wines.
More information and to book: Kamandalu Resort & Spa
The Samaya Bali Seminyak, Seminyak
The scene: A blissfully secluded spot in two hectares of peaceful gardens, this unfailingly luxurious five-star resort offers direct access to Seminyak Beach’s famous volcanic black sands. The setting is perfect; just a short hop from the Seminyak and Legian areas should you fancy stocking up on arts and crafts from the local markets (a free shuttle is available for guests).
The sleep: Accommodation is offered at two locations: beachside for the Pool Villas and Royal Pavilion Villas, or a quiet village courtyard setting for the Royal Courtyard Villas (only a few minutes away by golf buggy). All have private pools, four-poster beds, smart bathrooms, and stunning terraces overlooking the turquoise-tinted sea or landscaped gardens.
The stay: The pièce de résistance at this high-end property is the spa - an ocean-facing sanctuary complete with relaxation area, beauty salon, and two private treatment suites kitted out with Jacuzzis, showers, and saunas. Elsewhere, there’s free yoga classes on the beachfront sundeck (Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday mornings), a superb fine-dining restaurant, and a laid-back eatery for Indonesian cuisine fused with international flavours.
More information and to book: The Samaya Bali Seminyak
Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali, Tejakula
The scene: It’s impossible not to be wowed by this get-away-from-it-all boutique hotel overlooking the dramatic volcanic landscape on Bali’s northeast coast. The clue is in the title - and you’d be hard pushed to find a more Zen-inspired spot for spa-lovers. Best of all, it caters only for grown-ups (and those who don’t mind going without a mobile phone in public areas).
The sleep: Spiced up with intricate Balinese woodwork, neutral fabrics, lashings of dark woods, and plenty of creature comforts, all of the 31 rooms, suites, and villas have wonderful terraces or balconies overlooking the gardens or the glittering ocean. The more splurge-worthy villas have their own private entrances, lovely outdoor pavilions, and plunge pools.
The stay: Well-deserved adult time can be spent lazing on the beach, relaxing in thatched bale (pavilions) by the main infinity pool, and blissing out at the showstopping spa - a seven-room oasis offering mindfulness sessions, wellness workshops, natural health practices, and much more. There’s also an open-air restaurant for all-day dining, a gym for indoor yoga and fitness classes, and a choice of free activities (cookery, candle making, weaving, woodcarving, dance).
More information and to book: Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali
Maya Ubud Resort & Spa, Ubud
The scene: Just a 25-minute stroll from the heart of artsy Ubud, this adults-orientated riverside resort perched high above the Petanu River Valley offers overblown views of the cascading rice paddies, the ravishing hillside gardens, and the tropical greenery. Given the beautiful surrounds, it’s no wonder that guests feel at one with nature from the very moment they check in.
The sleep: A classy mix of Balinese woods, ultra-modern décor, and bright hues brings a sense of playfulness to the rooms and villas - all of which have private terraces overlooking the rice terraces or river valley greenery. Nice touches include king-size beds, flatscreen TVs with satellite channels, and great bathrooms with deep-soaking bathtubs and overhead showers.
The stay: There’s a huge push on holistic harmony at the award-winning spa - an adults-only space right by the river. Further facilities that make this place five-star worthy include the alluring infinity pool, the fitness centre with dedicated yoga studio, and the floodlit tennis court. On the wining and dining front, there’s two excellent restaurants for international and Asian cuisine and a laid-back café by the river that’s perfect for light lunches and daytime grazing.
More information and to book: Maya Ubud Resort & Spa
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Uluwatu
The scene: Commanding a dramatic position on the 100-metre high cliffs of Bali’s rugged Bukit Peninsula, this ultra-modern hotel delivers with heart-stopping views of the turquoise-blue Indian Ocean. It also has plenty to lure green-minded folk (it was the first Indonesian hotel to receive Green Globe’s highest level of certification for Environmentally Sustainable Design).
The sleep: All of the 30 sumptuous, secluded, and seductive open-plan villas have private pools, sunbathing cabanas, giant day beds dressed with batik cushions, pre-loaded iPods, and spa-style bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs, indoor and outdoor showers, and locally-made toiletries. You’ll also be assigned a butler who will cater to your every whim at any time (day or night).
The stay: Drag yourself away from your luxe lodgings and you’ll find a 50-metre outdoor pool overlooking the ocean, a library with free-to-borrow books, a divine spa with yoga pavilion (complimentary classes take place every morning), and a gallery showcasing contemporary Indonesian art. There’s also two excellent restaurants for Western comfort food and authentic island fare, a lovely bar for end-of-day cocktails, and an excellent 24-hour room service menu.
More information and to book: Alila Villas Uluwatu
Alila Ubud, Ubud
The scene: Perched up high in luscious jungle-shrouded hills in the central foothills of the Balinese village of Payangan, this retreat is irresistibly secluded, giving the space an air of sophistication, exclusivity and tranquillity.
The sleep: Overlooking a sweeping valley and verdant rice paddies, each room’s large windows offer a stunning view no matter whether you go for a Deluxe Room or a Terrace Tree Villa. We’d opt for a Valley Villa – the views from the wraparound deck are wonderful, or add a little extra with a Pool Villa.
The stay: Naturally, with such a beautiful setting, a stay at Alila Ubud is all about taking it slow and soaking in the serene ambience. Grab a complimentary bike and explore the valley, or saunter along to a zen-fuelled yoga class. In the evening, indulge with a quiet drink at the Cabana Lounge.
More information and to book: Alila Ubud
The Pavilions Bali, Sanur
The scene: Setting the luxury benchmark high for boutique sleeps in the seaside town of Sanur, this swish all-villa resort effortlessly blends Balinese influence with state-of-the-art amenities. Located in the southeast of the island, you’ll be within just a three-minute walk from the beach (a free shuttle is provided) for an eyeful of brilliant white sand backed by Indian Ocean waters.
The sleep: The 25 villas spread across the tropical gardens are uniquely-styled. All come with attractive Balinese design flourishes, plenty of indoor and outdoor living space, and en-suite bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs and rainfall showers. There’s also flatscreen TVs with DVD players, tea and coffee-making facilities, and anytime access to the services of a private butler.
The stay: While the stunning lagoon fringed on one side by a reef and on the other by a long white sand beach may occupy much of your time, the hotel doesn’t skimp on any requisite luxuries. You’ll find a peaceful spa for Indonesian beauty rituals, an open-air studio for private yoga sessions, a refined restaurant for authentic Balinese cuisine, and a list of exciting excursions such as temple-hopping, shopping, cruising, surfing, diving, and golf.
More information and to book: The Pavilions Bali
Komaneka Ubud Monkey Forest, Ubud
The scene: What began as a residence for contemporary Indonesian and Balinese artists working at the Komaneka Gallery is a now part of a revered five-star boutique collection (it made it straight onto Conde Nast’s Hot List when it launched in 2009). Most standout is the resort’s central location on Monkey Forest Road - one of Ubud’s main shopping streets.
The sleep: All of the artisan-crafted suites and villas have modern décor replete with plush furnishings. Expect king-size beds (or twins), flatscreen TVs with HDMI-ready input, and huge bathrooms with hot and cold showers and separate bathtubs. For an added touch of luxury, there’s also well-sized terraces with day beds (the swankier villas have plunge pools).
The stay: You can choose to be left alone - or else make the most of the facilities: indulgent spa, on-site art gallery with gift shop, main swimming pool, and intimate open-air restaurant. Given the location, be sure to factor in a visit to the Sacred Ubud Monkey Sanctuary (also known as Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana) - the island’s beloved nature reserve is home to 700 long-tailed macaques, around 186 species of trees, and three holy temples dating back to the 14th century.
More information and to book: Komaneka Ubud Monkey Forest
Anantara Seminyak, Seminyak
The scene: Nestled along the pristine sands of Seminyak, this retreat offers a trendy stay along one of southern Bali’s most stylish beaches. Famously beautiful sunsets, contemporary décor and luxury suites makes this a very popular getaway.
The sleep: This is an all-suite resort, offering everyone a luxurious stay. Each suite boasts elegant décor and expansive balconies, but you could even go one better and indulge with a Pool Access Suite, giving you a little extra privacy and close proximity to a semi-private pool.
The stay: A stay here is bound to feel glamorous. If you’re not busy taking a dip in the stunning infinity edge pool, make your way up to the rooftop for a serene afternoon in the Anantara Spa, or grab a zesty cocktail and delicious Asian cuisine from Moonlite Bar & Kitchen. Chilled live music and gorgeous beach views set the scene.
More information and to book: Anantara Seminyak