Top 10 best luxury hotels & resorts in Bali

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (September 24, 2018): Top 10: most luxurious resorts in Bali (Indonesia). 

Located between Java and Lombok, the Indonesian island of Bali – often called the Island of the Gods – is a world-acclaimed island paradise for a reason, although its popularity has taken its toll in certain areas. The varied volcanic landscape of rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, and verdant rice terraces provides a picturesque backdrop to Bali’s colourful, deeply spiritual and unique culture. Bali’s five-star resorts rank amongst the most exclusive in the world, with most of them located in Nusa Dua, Seminyak and Ubud. Ubud’s hotels cater to those who prefer spas and cultural pursuits, while surfing and other beach activities can be found at the sophisticated beachfront communities of Nusa Dua and Seminyak. I hereby present you a list of my 10 favorite luxury resorts in Bali.

There is more info below the slide show. Think I missed one? Share your favorite Bali resort in the comments section, or take my poll below!

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10. BANYAN TREE UNGASAN, ULUWATU

Banyan Tree Ungasan sits 70 m (230 ft) above sea level on the southern tip of Bali, close to the famed Uluwatu Temple, overlooking a gold sand beach and the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Most of the resort’s 73 palatial villas enjoy a view of the sea and they all come with a plunge pool, outdoor hot tube, and plenty of retractable floor-to-ceiling glass, instantly turning bedrooms into open-air cabanas. Traditional Balinese accents and modern Asian decorations are fused throughout the interiors, and occasional carvings or statuettes tweak the well-honed Banyan Tree aesthetic. The property features several excellent dining venues (although the in-villa barbecue prepared by a personal chef is not te be missed) and a world-class spa.

BANYAN TREE UNGASAN, ULUWATU


9. AMANDARI, UBUD

Inspired by a traditional village, Amandari is framed by jungle and rice terraces in Bali’s cultural heartland. Alang-alang-thatched houses – some with pools, all with private tropical gardens – cosset guests under bamboo ceilings, their suites elegantly decorated with teak and coconut-wood. The grounds of Aman’s Ubud outpost are both sacred and essential to local families: children attend dance classes here, and religious processions pass through regularly, leading down the steps that spill below Amandari to a 7th-century stone tiger – a motif repeated throughout the property. Guests can follow the road out of the village to hike or bike the emerald-green landscape; or head further afield for artisan villages, hidden temples, and the palaces and boutiques of Ubud.

  • Hotel website: Amandari
  • Other accolades: Amandari also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Ubud.
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and one lunch or dinner for 2).
  • Review: read my review of Amandari here.


8. BVLGARI RESORT BALI, ULUWATU

The Bvlgari Resort Bali, at the time the second hotel opening by the prestigious Bvlgari group, is located on top of a 150 m (450 ft) high, jaw-dropping cliff cascading down towards the Indian Ocean. A pristine private beach, suitable for long walks along the oceanfront and featuring a private beach club, is reached via an inclined elevator. The 59 individual villas, freestanding and private, all include an open-air pavilion, terrace and private plunge pool, with the ones on the first row enjoying spectacular ocean views. In all villas, every natural element is polished to a shine: Indonesian wood floors glow, natural lava walls are neatly bricked, and floor-to-ceiling glass walls reveal manicured tropical plants.

BULGARI RESORT BALI, ULUWATU


7. THE ST REGIS BALI RESORT, NUSA DUA

Radiating beachfront elegance, the St. Regis Bali Resort is a spectacular destination offering outstanding opulence and award-winning refined luxury to the world’s most discerning travelers. The property is located in Nusa Dusa, a prestigious resort enclave built for the purpose of providing tourists a comfortable area for carefree holidays. Spacious luxury defines 123 beautifully appointed suites and villas, each appointed with handcrafted Balinese art, inviting balconies and marble bathrooms. All accommodations have access to calm, swimmable lagoons and private signature St. Regis Butler Service. Award-winning dining venues, bars, the distinctive Remède spa, fitness center and a children’s learning center are also on-site.

  • Hotel website: The St Regis Bali Resort
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, round-trip private airport transfers, one time afternoon tea for two at King Cole bar, and a 60 minute Aqua Vitale pool treatment for up to 2 persons).

THE ST REGIS BALIS RESORT, NUSA DUA


6. ALILA VILLAS ULUWATU

Alila Villas Uluwatu is located in the dry savannah landscape of the Bukit Peninsular in the south of the island. Poised on an elevated plateau that meets with limestone cliffs sweeping down the Indian Ocean, the view from the hotel is nothing less than breathtaking. Blending in with these spectacular surroundings, the architecture of the hotel combines the delights of traditional Balinese pavilion architecture and rural landscapes with modern dynamic treatment of space and form. The spectacular yet serene, open-plan rooms with minimalistic interiors are designed to impart comfort and space.

ALILA VILLAS ULUWATU


5. FOUR SEASONS RESORT BALI AT SAYAN, UBUD

Voted #1 hotel in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2018, Four Seasons Resort Sayan encapsulates Bali at its philosophical and soulful best: a sublime hillside haven where man, humanity and nature unite with purest intent. Only a ten-minute drive from the stylish boutiques, artist ateliers and atmospheric eateries of boho-chic Ubud, Four Seasons Sayan is an inspiring base from which to explore Bali’s cultural heart or to retreat into nature’s meditative embrace. Guests arrive via a dramatic bridge, beneath which the Ayung River valley spreads its tropical arms. From the gravity-defying rooftop lotus pond, the property cascades down the hill to the two-tiered swimming pool, cantilevered over the river, through an enchanting forest that cocoons just 60 suites and villas.


4. SIX SENSES ULUWATU, BALI

The newly opened Six Senses Uluwatu Resort is set in Pecatu in the southernmost tip of Bali which is the home of “Pura Uluwatu”, the sacred temple considered one of the island’s core spiritual pillars. The beautiful cliff-top Balinese-inspired Uluwatu resort offers uninterrupted ocean views from every angle. The resort comprises 103 suites and villas, inspired by local design, embracing nature and offering every creature comfort. The Six Senses Spa features locally inspired specialty treatments, multi-day integrated wellness programs and complimentary morning yoga sessions. The resort features multiple swimming pools, an open air event venue, function space, three restaurants including a chef’s table, a cooking school and an extensive organic garden and farm.

SIX SENSES ULUWATU, BALI


3. MANDAPA, A RITZ-CARLTON RESERVE, UBUD

Deriving its name from the Sanskrit word for “temple,” Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, stands as a tropical shrine dedicated to the self. Fronting the Ayung River near the Ubud jungle, the hotel replicates a traditional Balinese village, complete with working rice paddies. Showcasing the architecture and craftsmanship of the area, each of the 60 luxury suites and villas features a private outdoor space (some of them with pools) with views of the river or surrounding scenery. Four restaurants serve health-conscious cuisine sourced from the organic garden, although you can also arrange a romantic dinner overlooking the river or rice terrace. The spa offers a variety of programs focused on physical and spiritual well-being.


2. FOUR SEASONS RESORT BALI AT JIMBARAN BAY

Designed as a traditional Balinese village, this luxurious all-villa enclave spreads across 14 hectares (35 acres) of oceanfront in Bali, giving resort guests direct access to the beach right at sea level. The resort offers 147 villas set amid lush tropical gardens. The luxurious villas – each with a private plunge pool – terrace down a hillside woven with brilliant flowers and Balinese temples. Here, you can steep yourself in local island culture, unwind with holistic spa treatments and enjoy a wide range of dining options, including the beachfront Sundara restaurant. More sensory delights await at open-air Taman Wantilan restaurant, where theatre-style dining is presented by a brigade of specialty chefs at nine culinary exhibitions or show kitchens.

  • Hotel websiteFour Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
  • Other accolades: Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Indonesia.
  • Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD spa credit).
  • Review: read my review of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay here.


1. AMANKILA

Mount Agung provides a dramatic backdrop for Amankila (peaceful hill), a secluded seaside resort overlooking the Lombok Strait and managed by Aman, the world’s most exclusive hotel brand. The 34 free-standing thatched-roof suites offer exceptional views from their hillside locations, and are connected to the resort’s facilities by raised walkways. Guests can relax around the signature three-tiered pool or at the beach club on Amankila’s beach, with its silverblack sands and turquoise waters. What separates Amankila from other luxury Bali hotels is that it is situated in Karangasem, one of Bali’s most traditional regencies, offering easy access to untouched rural countryside, local crafts and the region’s royal past.


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10 Comments

  1. It’s hard to rate them as there are different points to each resort (e.g. a resort in Seminyak/Jimbaran serves a very different purpose to Ubud etc).

    However, some key ones missing in the top 10:
    – The Legian
    – Chedi Club
    – Soori Bali
    – Viceroy Bali

  2. Never mind. I now see Mandapa in your list of hotels in the poll. I don’t know why this resort doesn’t get more love. The villas are amazing and well-priced.

  3. The Oberoi should definitely be on here. The list is just his opinion on what the best is and I respect his opinion. However, I do think the best hotel in Bali is Bvlgari. It’s also clear that most people agree that Bvlgari is the best based on the poll results. My personal top 3 is Bvlgari, Four Seasons Jimbaran and Amankila.

  4. Legian is amazing and belongs in your top 10, is superior to St. Regis except that beach isn’t as good. St. Regis is much more generic.

    Was underwhelmed by Amandari, the setting and food is wonderful but the service and rooms were very basic for the price. Some rooms have pools but are only semi-private.

    One concern I have about Mandapa is that during the day all the rafters going by yelling and screaming make it a less serene environment.

  5. COMO Shambhala Estate in Ubud should have been in the top 10 list. It is the only Shambhala property by COMO in the entire world and it halpens to be my favourite of theirs! They even have two other properties in Bali: COMO Uma Ubud and the newly opened COMO Uma Canggu.

    Otherwise, I am patiently waiting for Rosewood Tanah Lot, Waldorf Astoria Pandawa Beach, Waldorf Astoria Ubud and The Langham Pecatu. Truly some exciting times ahead for the hospitality industry in Bali!

  6. How is Six Senses in Uluwatu? Have you already stayed there? Very curious about it but since it’s so new not sure how it is! Thanks!

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