Famed for its indulgent, healing massage treatments, beaches, reefs and mountains, Bali is a true piece of paradise, offering the ultimate in luxury along with excellent value for money. Whether you choose to stay in a lush tropical valley, or beside the ocean, you’ll fall in love with the charm and serenity of this island – and it’s sumptuous resorts.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Nestled in the valley of the Ayung River, this tranquil spot is a 15-minute ride from Ubud. The resort feels much like a traditional Balinese village, albeit with attentive gracious service, regal decor and every mod con. Many of its buildings are hidden in the lush greenery and overlook rice paddies, creating a sense of privacy and escape. Healing therapies, yoga, a pool, library, four dining areas, and a choice of five villa classes and suites are all available. Romantic meals for two can be served in the paddies, or in various nooks on the estate, and for families, there’s an action-packed kids’ programme: mini explorers. Be sure to dine in Kubu while you’re there – tables are set in bamboo pods overlooking the river and the Mediterranean cuisine is divine.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
Arrive among the tropical treetops via a dramatic suspension bridge. This stunning property is set on the banks of the Ayung, where guests are blessed with holy water before being taken to one of 60 suites graced with teak and beds draped in white flowing net. Daily activities include yoga, life talks, village walks, cycle tours and traditional Balinese dance performances, plus there’s the infinity pool, Sacred River Spa and two restaurants serving authentic Indonesian and Mediterranean food. For an extra special dining experience, ask for a table by the candlelit water’s edge at the intimate Riverside Café.
The Bulgari Resort Bali
The Italian designer brand has extended its hotel portfolio to this 59 suite glitzy property on the south coast in Uluwatu. Created from local materials including volcanic stone, the interiors are suitably glamorous boasting exotic art, Balinese antiques and moody dark wood with flourishes of textile colour. Its infinity pool offers panoramic ocean views as staff serve drinks ad nibbles at your cabana. You can choose to swim at the hotel’s private beach, dine at one of two restaurants and take an open-air treatment at the spa. Should you need a lot of space during your visit, there are five-bedroomed mansions, with all rooms containing champagne stocked minibars and of course, Bulgari toiletries in the enormous bathrooms.
High above Ubud’s Valley of the Kings, this area was once home to Balinese aristocracy. Its heritage is reflected in the luxury nature of this family-run resort. Guests can arrive by chopper and enjoy Belgian inspired cuisine, old-world elegance, an upscale spa and access to lots of exciting local excursions. The hilltop infinity pool has a back to nature feel with palm-thatched roofs, a swim-up bar, poolside garden and even its own waterfall. And you get your own in-suite private infinity-pool and outdoor lounge, as well as the delights of nightly turndown gifts and kimono robes.
The Oberoi, Bali
This was the first resort to arrive in the seaside town of Seminyak and while it’s close to the heart of the town’s action (a five-minute walk), it’s far enough away to provide complete serenity. The charming 15-acre grounds are littered with bright flowers, carved statues, temples, lily ponds, fountains and trees. There’s a real sense of romance and local authenticity here – you can enjoy afternoon tea accompanied by a live Balinese dance show in the hotel’s own amphitheatre. It has a spa, 74 traditional style villas with original teak features and two restaurants with amazing meat and seafood.
Banyan Tree Ungasan, Uluwatu
This clifftop resort opened in 2010. Its 73 palatial villas enjoy views across the Indian ocean at the southern tip of the island, as well as plunge pools, hot tubs and full-length glass sliding doors to create an indoors-outdoors vibe. Peddle Thorp Architects and Wilson Associates Inc have fused traditional Balinese with contemporary Asian and signature Banyan Tree style. The peaceful outdoor areas take you back to nature, with tropical gardens, two chilled pools, a kids’ club, a full-service spa and three fine eateries. Do take the opportunity of the in-villa barbeque service with your own personal chef.
The St Regis Bali Resort, Nusa Dua
This beach and thalassotherapy spa retreat from the renowned St Regis group is full-on luxe, with less of an emphasis on local authenticity and more on the high-end bells and whistles f an international resort. Expect chandeliers, marble, statement art, 24-hour formal butler service, a cellar of imported wines, wagyu beef and caviar. There’s a champagne bar, two very fancy restaurants, a Children’s Learning Center and a regal penthouse complete with a grand piano. Take a swim in the central lagoon and you’ll discover a submerged sitting room and beach beds in the shape of human silhouettes by landscape designer Bill Bensley.
Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali
This sustainably minded Six Senses property on the Bukit Peninsula was created from local wood, cleverly designed with heat-absorbing lava roofs (no need for air-con). It has 103 rooms made up of suites and villas, two pools, a spa and sleek contemporary decor. The dining options include Japanese-inspired barbecue, sushi, farm-to-table cuisine and a chef’s table offering daily specials. Vegan, gluten-free or detox-friendly dishes are all available. With an emphasis on local links and eco-friendly living, ingredients are organic, mostly grown on-site and bath products come from within Indonesia. Those preferring more casual atmos can head to the Cliff Bar for poolside pizzas and healthy home-made kombucha.