Comprising over 17000 islands and straddling the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Indonesia includes countries such as Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Bali, parts of Borneo and New Guinea. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from April to October, although you’ll find the climate is at its best for travelling during July and August. The natural beauty and tropical lifestyle enjoyed here ensure that Indonesia consistently receives tourism from across the globe. And while it may involve a long-haul flight, the sense of escape that’s gained from a holiday here, is well worth the time.
The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa
Surrounded by lush gardens beside a white sandy beach, with seven lagoon-style pools, this resort feels like a true oasis. The hotel in Nusa Dua has received a recent makeover, bringing it even further up to date and upping the barefoot luxury stakes. Rooms all come with around-the-clock butler service and some have direct access to the lagoon. And guests can book alfresco massages on the plush poolside cabanas. Dine on Western and pan-Asian cuisine at Banyubiru, fresh seafood at the ocean-side Arwana, lighter meals at the poolside Kul Kul Bar, with signature cocktails mixed at the Cascade and Sapphire Lagoon bars.
Modelled on a Javanese-Hindu water palace, this villa-only resort places a strong focus on wellness, with organic farm-to-table cuisine, personalised moon-based programmes and a traditional hammam. The hotel grounds incorporate historic Majapahit ruins, a pavilion kids’ club, fountains, a sunset pool lounge and a dining terrace. The outdoor area is enormous, with a sweeping pool area butting right up to the beach and lapping sea. Guests here are lavished with Arabian-Balinese hospitality, a personal butler service and luxury airport transfers. This is a place to reconnect with yourself, enjoy being pampered, immerse in a little history and take a bespoke wellness journey surrounded by breathtaking scenery.
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 a 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, a 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, and 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 homemade kombucha.
Mulia Resort – Nusa Dua Bali
Choose one of 526 intimate guest rooms, lagoon pool rooms and grand suites with apex ceilings, for your stay at the Mulia Resort. Here you’ll have access to many restaurants serving pan-Asian, Chinese, Japanese and French cuisine, multiple lavish bars, a spa, four swimming pools with cabanas (including one by the sea and one for families), a fitness centre, a tennis centre, a games room and a kids club with a packed schedule of activities. And it enjoys a setting as glamorous as its amenities, perched on the white sandy beach that’s dotted with palm trees and comfortable loungers.
Grand Hyatt Bali
The Grand Hyatt’s meandering low-rise style ensures it blends in seamlessly with the natural surroundings; public spaces are contained within pagodas, leafy trails lead to the seashore, there’s an emerald Balinese pool and a longer thinner pool winds river-like through the trees. Yet despite this haven-like atmosphere, the resort manages to accommodate 636 bedrooms, more pools besides the ones already mentioned, a kids’ club, three tennis courts, mini golf, Kriya Spa and The Bay Club Fitness and Health Centre. Dining options include the Nampu Japanese restaurant, a buffet surrounded by fountains and freshwater pools and an eatery set up like a local night market.
Kayumanis Nusa Dua Private Villa & Spa
Exclusive and secluded, this all-villa resort provides private accommodations, each with its own walled garden framed by banana plants, a pool and dedicated butler service. It caters to an adult-only clientele, with a spa, two restaurants, an alfresco waterside bar and beach access. Kayumanis Nusa Dua has a wealth of options for those wishing to pick up skills or try something new while on holiday; take a dance class, go scuba diving, join in with water aerobics and play tennis. Or just kick back, do nothing and allow the staff to wait on you as you sip cocktails in paradise.
Supremely elegant, Jakarta’s Raffles property is found in the city’s central business district. It displays a signature design across its 173 bedrooms, which was inspired by the renowned Jakartan painter Hendra Gunawan. Guests staying here benefit from butler service and amenities including an outdoor jogging track, a gym, a palm-flanked outdoor swimming pool, a kids’ club, two restaurants and the award-winning Raffles Spa. Those staying in a suite also have the option of access to the Raffles Club, an exclusive lounge serving breakfast, afternoon tea, evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
The Ritz Carlton Pacific Place
A brand synonymous with European luxury, the Ritz-Carlton’s home in Jakarta links into the same building as the Stock Exchange and an upscale shopping mall. The Pacific Place houses the city’s largest ballroom, along with a spa offering organic treatments and an all-day restaurant, Pasolo, serving artisan food. As you might expect from this brand, the afternoon tea is something very special, and you can opt to book your own BBQ Butler for private poolside dining with a difference. Bedrooms come with floor-to-ceiling windows and sunken marble baths, and if you’re in town for an extended period or need more space, you can reserve an apartment.
Mandarin Oriental Jakarta
Instantly recognisable on Jakarta’s skyline by its iconic fan emblem, the Mandarin Oriental is a big hotel with a boutique ambience. Dine on international cuisine beside an urban tropical garden at the all-day Cinnamon eatery, sample Chinese fare at Li Feng by night, and snack on lighter bites along with deliciously dynamic cocktails at MO Bar, accompanied by live entertainment. Bedrooms come with pillow menus, custom-designed furnishings, working desks with multi-hubs and bathrobes. Guests can also go for a dip in the outdoor pool, book spa treatments, go jogging on the hotel’s track and hit the gym.
Grand Hyatt Jakarta
Check into the Grand Hyatt on the Plaza, where the culinary options are plentiful. Here you can feast on the afternoon tea buffet served in the Fountain Lounge; try Indonesian specialities at The Grand Café; order steak at C’s and snack on sushi at Sumire. There’s also a Seafood Terrace beside the lagoon-shaped pool, which is surrounded by a Balinese garden. Club Olympus is the hotel spa; it offers traditional Javanese massages and is equipped with whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms and cold plunge pools. Guests can also play tennis on site or take advantage of the fantastic shops within the Plaza.
Four Seasons Jakarta
Conveniently placed on a through-road (cutting down your time spent in traffic), the Four Season pairs a central location with an oasis-like vibe. Designed by Cesar Pelli, it takes some cues from Regency style, mixed in with Asian country motifs. Bedrooms (which are serviced twice daily) are equipped with Illy coffee machines, Bose sound bars, pull-out drinks fridges, Alexandra Champalimaud-designed large work desks and marble bathrooms, balancing luxury and practicality. Take a seat on a green velvet chair beneath crystal chandeliers and quaff champagne in Palm Court, eat Italian food at a restaurant 20 floors up, and sample fine French baked goods at La Patisserie.
The Ritz-Carlton Mega Kuningan
If you’d like to stay in one of the most spacious rooms in the city, book one of the suites in The Ritz-Carlton’s second property, the sister hotel to the property on Pacific Place. Even the standard grade occupies 63 square meters with seating and work areas, a marble bathroom, an iPod dock and either one king or two larger twin beds. There are two eateries; Asia Restaurant and Lobo Italian Bistro, as well as wine tastings, special brunches and chef-led events happening frequently. The spa is found among the tropical gardens, comprising 19 treatment rooms, including the city’s only four spa villas with private outdoor soaking tubs.
Standing tall and unbeatably handy for the financial and business districts, the Fairmont in Jakarta is a foodie’s dream. It hosts a lobster night, a shopaholic afternoon tea and decadent Sunday brunches; it has a halal Indonesian restaurant, a steak bar, a deli, a ‘culinary theatre’ buffet with Wagyu nights, a CoComelon Café for the little ones and several other dining establishments. 380 bedrooms feature Japanese spa-inspired bathrooms and stylish New York Le Labo bath products – upgrade to a suite for Club Lounge access, daily drinks and hors-d’oeuvres and butler service. The Fairmont also has a swimming pool, a spa and three bars.
The Westin Surabaya
Stay in East Java’s highest hotel, with unmatched views that take in the tops of skyscrapers down to the network of canals (cocktails at sunset in its Sky Lounge are a must). Attached to Indonesia’s biggest mall, it’s a paradise for shoppers. But there’s also a strong emphasis on retreat at The Westin, with a wellness programme and spa services, along with a peaceful outdoor pool surrounded by trees and overlooking palace grounds. Guests can dine in Magnolia restaurant on an array of international cuisine, and enjoy large bedrooms and impeccable service.
JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya
Take a cooling dip in the long, river-style freeform pool at the JW Marriott, or laze on a lounger beside a palm tree at its side. Everything here feels lush; from the generously planted little man-made island within the pool to the conservatory-style Pavilion dining room with indoor trees and plants. Another restaurant has a live cooking station, and there’s a health club, salon and a gym onsite. King-size, twin, one and two-bedded suites are available, with teepees provided for younger families, adding a little magic for tots’ stays. The top-end Chairman Suite boasts incredible views and its own grand piano.
Just 20 minutes from the airport and in the centre of town, the Shangri-La is a great choice for those travelling with children, but in need of some sophistication. A sizeable freeform pool has a slide (for use by kids and big kids), and there’s a playground and a programme of activities to entertain younger travellers. The hotel has three tennis courts, multiple dining outlets, cabanas, a full-service spa and its own nightclub, so you never need to leave, other than to explore the many historic sites on the doorstep. Book a club-level room for access to the club lounge.
The Royal Surakarta Heritage Solo – MGallery by Sofitel
This elegant 150-bedroom property with antique furnishings and Javanese decor is evocative of a bygone era. Located a short drive from the palaces and close to excellent street food markets, it’s well-placed for tourists on the main artery of Surakarta. There’s an indoor/outdoor pool with the Tirtotedjo pool bar, catering for both the peak and wet seasons and the Mustika Spa. The Royal Surakarta Heritage has an all-day Srikandi Restaurant that serves a mix of western, Chinese and Indonesian dishes. King-sized and twin bedrooms are available across its superior, deluxe and executive categories.