From a special family break near Manggis to a romantic escape for two in Canggu: The top 10 places to stay in Bali
- Here’s our guide on where to stay in Bali – the Indonesian island renowned for its stunning scenery
- Katamama in Seminyak is a magnet for millennials with its DJ turntables and hipster cocktails
- For a health overhaul, head to Revivo wellness retreat in the hills above Nusa Dua in the far south
The Indonesian island of Bali in the Indian Ocean is a dream destination, renowned for its stunning scenery.
Nature-lovers are drawn to its marine life – fantastic reefs are home to 2,000 species of fish. And for those who want to relax, most hotels have a spa.
But whether you’re looking for a special family break or a romantic escape for two, it can be hard to choose from so many perfect locations. Here are our top ten choices of where to stay…
Luscious: Bali is renowned for its stunning scenery, including its rice paddy fields (pictured)
1. BEST FOR COUPLE ON A BUDGET
If you want to find the magical Bali you imagine, go to Ubud, a town in the centre of the island where ancient temples (and tourist shops) are surrounded by terraced rice fields. At the Bambu Indah hotel, you’ll feel Bali’s mix of the ancient and modern most acutely. The greenest hotel on the island, most of the buildings are made from bamboo. The result is clever, fun, romantic and well-priced. Tiered swimming pools overlook the River Ayung and the restaurant serves mostly organic food. No two rooms are the same – some have air-conditioning, while others are open to the elements.
Price: Rooms from £75 a night.
USP: Bamboo in every shape and configuration (you won’t find plastic straws here). bambuindah.com
2. THE ALL-ROUND VALUE CHOICE
Serenity: A beach suite at Alila Seminyak, which has 220 spacious rooms with a ‘modernist feel’
The former fishing village of Seminyak in south-west Bali now features tourist markets, smart shops, bars and restaurants, all muddled together. A series of small lanes take you to one of the island’s best beaches and the posh hotels that line it.
Built around a 200-year-old Hindu temple, the Alila Seminyak is a modern, serene hotel set on the beach. There are 220 rooms but they are spacious, thoughtful and pleasingly spare, with a modernist feel, balconies and gardens. The Seasalt restaurant is known for its healthy juices in the mornings, while there is a Japanese influence to dishes for lunch and dinner.
USP: Vintage camper vans take guests surfing and sightseeing.
Price: Rooms from £228 B&B a night. alilahotels.com/seminyak
3. A MAGNET FOR MILLENNIALS
A hotbed of sustainability, the Katamama is situated next to the Alila. Staying in this boutique hotel is like being at a residential Ted Talk – it’s full of ideas, DJ turntables, hipster cocktails and locally sourced food. Cooler and younger in feel than Alila, Katamama is an earthy combination of wood and brick, and the 57 suites are stuffed with 1950s retro furniture. The hotel has a small pool and guests also have access to the larger one at the nearby Potato Head Club, which can get busy (although hotel guests get priority with the sun loungers).
USP: The cool design.
Price: Rooms from £228 a night. katamama.com
4. A HAVEN FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS
Chilling out: Enjoying a massage at the Desa Seni spa. The resort is vegan-friendly and good for solo travellers
Three miles up the coast from Seminyak, a discreet entrance brings you to a collection of antique wooden Javanese houses owned by a Canadian/American couple. Surrounded by rice fields and small farms, the Desa Seni is beautiful, with small vegetable patches next to each house. There is a yoga pavilion that hosts regular retreats and spa treatments, while the beach is just a short cycle ride away.
Desa Seni is great for solo travellers and is vegan-friendly. Most guests are happy to relax by the pretty pool.
USP: Antique Javanese houses that feel woven into the community.
Price: Rooms from £118 B&B a night. desaseni.com
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5. BEST FOR A ROMANTIC RETREAT
Surfers discovered the village of Canggu, a 20-minute drive from Seminyak on the west coast, about 20 years ago and now it’s Bali’s trendiest village. A few hotels have started to open and there is an increasing number of restaurants, but the Hotel Tugu is the most beautiful. With superb beach views, it’s delightfully romantic – the 22 rooms and suites are stuffed with antiques. The owner is an avid art collector and it’s a world away from Bali’s more minimalist hotels. The bar and restaurant, serving haute Chinese food, are by the beach. You’ll also find an expansive pool, koi carp-filled ponds and a spa.
USP: The serious art collection.
Price: Rooms from £183 B&B a night, including a spa credit. tuguhotels.com/hotels/bali
6. BEST FOR COUPLES WITH CASH TO SPLASH
High drama: One of the rainforest retreats at Capella, complete with plunge pool
Nestled in a lush forest, the Capella, which opened in July, is a camping experience like no other. You’ll reach your tent via a rope bridge and the accommodation features batik-covered walls, four-poster beds, copper baths and lashings of wit.
The place is designed to feel like an explorer’s camp from the 1880s. The pool is shaped like a cistern, hurricane lamps combine with cocktail cabinets, and should you not feel blessed enough, the Capella has its own healer and seven members of staff for every guest.
USP: Camping on a luxury scale.
Price: Tents from £731 B&B a night. capellahotels.com/en/capella-ubud
7. FIRST CHOICE FOR FAMILY LUXURY
Mesmerising: The tiered pools at the luxury Amankila resort look out to the Lombok Strait
In the less touristy and more rural part of Bali, near Manggis in the east, is the luxury resort of Amankila. Overlooking the Lombok Strait, this hotel – the name means ‘peaceful hill’ – opened more than 20 years ago and has the only private beach in Bali, plus a famous tiered swimming pool.
The vast estate has only 34 villas and staying here is eye-wateringly expensive, but if you have children you can take out some of the sting because under-12s stay free.
The two-hour spa treatments take place in private villas.
USP: Peace and tranquillity.
Price: Rooms from £703 B&B a night. aman.com/resorts/amankila
8. SERIOUSLY GOOD FOR SPA LOVERS
Most of the hotels in Bali have spas, but the one at Six Senses Uluwatu has all the tricks. The hotel entrance has a fortress feel, and it opens into a series of courtyards and pools, including a studio surrounded by a moat that is fitted with equipment for gravity yoga, where you practise positions in a fabric swing.
Ten treatment rooms deliver everything from guided meditation to power massages.
The hotel’s location is spectacular, too, set on top of the cliffs at Uluwatu in the far south, close to one of Bali’s most famous ancient temples. The restaurants mix theatre with locally caught seafood and vegetables from the hotel’s farm.
Compared to the rest of the hotel, the 103 villas don’t feel as special, although breakfast is delivered on a floating tray to your plunge pool, which is good fun.
USP: Floating breakfasts.
Price: Rooms from £445 B&B a night.sixsenses.com
9. BEST FOR NATURE LOVERS
Far from the surfy, soul-seeking crowds of tourists in Bali’s south coast, the 22-room Menjangan resort is tucked away in the West Bali National Park.
It’s a four-hour drive from the island’s only airport, but you’ll arrive to wraparound nature and activities including kayaking and riding horses on the beach.
Creature comfort levels at Menjangan are strong and the prices are reasonable.
Take a gentle stroll through the grounds and you will discover a small spa and two restaurants, one in a wooden tower just above the tree canopy that garners the best views of sunsets.
USP: Take a course in Balinese cooking and prepare four courses.
Price: Rooms from £117 B&B a night.themenjangan.com
10. TOP FOR A HEALTH OVERHAUL
The Revivo resort is a wellness retreat, which offers treatments such as detoxes and those aimed at improving sleep
If you’re serious about rebooting your fitness levels, head to the exclusive Revivo wellness retreat in the hills above Nusa Dua in the far south.
With just 16 rooms and a big focus on privacy, all the suites have their own gardens or swimming pools, and all the solitude you could ever wish for.
A stay here is so immersive that guests are provided with a yoga-based uniform to wear.
Treatments include detoxes and those aimed at improving your sleep. Staff will also tailor programmes to suit your needs.
USP: The in-house nutritionist.
Price: Rooms from £339 B&B a night, including airport transfers. Alternatively, from £570 including wellness consultations, spa treatments and all meals. revivoresorts.com
- Flights from the UK to Bali start at £889 with Cathay Pacific (cathaypacific.co.uk).
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