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If you've been convinced by all the people telling you: 'Everyone should visit Bali ONCE in their lives', go straight to our guru's list of hotel recommendations. If you're still not sure, here are some good reasons to visit, and the best places to stay in Bali to enjoy them.
Beautiful! Warm! Friendly! These are the three things people gush about Bali.
The temperate climate has a gentle humidity to it and everything is lush and green, fuelled by the rich volcanic soil. Rice paddies cut into the jungle give the views a quiet order. And sometimes it feels like there's a temple on every corner; so the smell of incense lingers.
You'll often come across flower petal offerings, or the music and dance of a traditional ceremony. Mountains loom and beaches invite - from the white sand of the Bukit Peninsula to the yellow of busy Kuta and the wild, dark sand beaches to the east.
Bali's beauty and climate has attracted some of the world's most luxurious hotel chains (and these area certainly some of the best places to stay in Bali), and with them you'll find sophisticated restaurants and bars. All with friendly, friendly service.
But traditional life retains its own strong colours, tastes and celebrations. Religious ceremonies hold up traffic when ever they need to, and it may well be that the best food you eat on the island is bought in the market.
Bali is also famous for surfing, diving and beautiful beaches. So whatever you're into there's something for everyone to experience.
Ubud is probably one of the best places to stay in Bali if you're interested in experiencing the colour of her culture. This is museum and gallery central. And a short driving distance from some of the most beautiful of the island's 20,000 temples. This used to be where the backpackers and artists came, but now there are plenty of luxurious options for food, drink and sleep as well. This is also one of the top destinations on the island to see traditional performances - the best of which are held in the old royal residence.
For a beachfront resort
- The Oberoi is Bali's "Grand Dame" of the beach resort. As you'd expect here, you'll find excellent service, fabulous food and direct access to Seminyak Beach.
- Puri Ganesha offers the perfect place to relax. This Bohemian property enjoys a secret hideaway location and boasts some of the best food on the island.
- Jimbaran Puri is located right on Jimbaran Bay. The luxury resort has stunning seaviews and accommodation is in charming cottages and villas dotted around the grounds.
- Alilia Villas Soori enjoys an isolated position away from the crowds and right on a velvety black beach. Interiors are super slick - it truly is a dream spot for the design conscious!
- If you've come to relax then one of the best places to stay in Bali is Uma Ubud. Amongst the beautiful, tropical gardens you'll find plenty of luxury and elegance, but with thoughtful touches - yoga mats in all 29 spacious rooms, for example. They do daily yoga classes and guided walks though the mist of the rice paddies.
- Shambhala is ideal if you're looking for some privacy. Its 30 suites are in nine individually designed villas - each with their own pool and other facilities. It also has a luxury spa and it's a good place for a bit of adventure - they can help organise some trekking, rafting or mountain biking.
For Ubud and traditional Bali
- If you want a taste of traditional Balinese life try Bambu Indah. The accommodation is in traditional Javanese, thatched roofed homes, which have open air bathrooms and large verandahs. And you're right in amongst the rice fields, so you'll hear the chattering of animals at dusk and dawn.
- Uma Ubud is a sophisticated option with just twenty nine spacious rooms and suites. Set amid tropical hillside gardens, you can stroll into Ubud in twenty minutes.
Best Hotels in Bali
Alila Manggis 53 rooms from $153Karangasem, Bali
Secluded seaside resort offering a tranquil stay between the sea and Mount Agung, Bali's most sacred mountain. Offers a spa, restaurant, swimming pool, yoga pavilion and great bicycle rides. Also provides a shuttle bus service into the centre of town, free WiFi throughout the hotel and taichi.Hills & mountains - Bali's most sacred mountain nearbySwimming Pool - Inverted pyramid pool running deeper towards the center.Cooking classes - Check for timings.Spa
The Purist Villas & Spa from $169Ubud, Bali
Villa-resort set in tropical gardens. Each private villa has contemporary decor, with stone walls, sun decks, wooden artworks and some with private pools. Outstanding spa, outdoor pool, yoga pavilion and gardens. Superb Balinese cuisine served in villas. Intimate and luxurious.Hideaway - Enjoy the seclusion of a private villa with pool, 24-hour butler service, the surrounding rainforest and excellent spaLocal markets - Ubud is renowned for antiques and homeware marketsSights nearby - Head into Ubud to visit the many templesSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
Matahari Beach Resort 32 rooms from $190Kab. Buleleng, Bali
Traditional, handmade Balinese bungalows situated on a private beach. As well as outstanding spa facilities, massages and entertainment there is a gourmet restaurant. Receive a warm Balinese welcome and make the most of the luxurious facilities and stunning tropical gardens.On the beach - Private beach areaViews - Great views from hotelSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Spa
The Shaba from $250Jimbaran, Bali
Mansion hotel in coconut mangroves. Opulent rooms have antique teak floors, freestanding baths, chandeliers and silk furnishings. Full kitchen and living area shared by suites. Outdoor pool, spa, library and bar. Great south-asian cuisine, in romantic outdoor dining area. Privacy and elegance reign.Hideaway - Privacy is centre place at this hotel; spa treatments, large kitchen and living area mean you never need to leaveGreat walks - Along the white sand beachSights nearby - Pura Uluwatu templeBarefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Bisma Eight 38 rooms from $262BALI, Bali
A gloriously tranquil jungle property. Design mixes Balinese style with an industrial feel. Rooms boast dark polished wooden floors, luxury bathrooms and large Japanese style glass doors leading onto secluded terraces. A top-notch restaurant run by Aussie chef is a real delight. Roll up and unwind.Hideaway - A tranquil jungle abode designed to completely relax in.Cooking classes - Learn how to make Balinese cuisine by master chefs.Secluded setting - For escaping.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Alila Bud 56 rooms from $220Bali
Luxury resort offers stunning view of Balinese foothills from the comfort of infinity pool, spa and deluxe rooms. Boasts an art gallery, 24 hour in-room dining, and unique Balinese experiences organised by the staff. Built using traditional designs, it is both stylish and culturally fitting.Swimming Pool - Infinity pool with amazing viewsSights nearby - Artistic centre in Ubud.Views - Spectacular scenery.Spa
The Tugu 21 rooms from $285Bali
Colonial pavilions on the beach. Interiors are filled with mahogany four poster beds, antique Balinese furniture, luxurious bathrooms and some with private pools. Outdoor pool, spa, sauna and gym. Five superb restaurants and ballroom bar. Unique, laid back with excellent service.Beach Life - Pavilions on the white sand beach, attentive staff to fetch cold drinks and small water pools to cool off inCooking classes - With chef Ibu SoelastriSights nearby - Tanah Lot templeOn the beach - Canggu BeachRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Kiwi Collection
The Oberoi, Bali 74 rooms from $307Denpesar, Bali
The Grand Dame of Bali, a well-run, traditional resort on popular Seminyak beach. Luxurious Balinese styled villas, some with private pools. Exceptional food served in a romantic setting, and an extensive spa. The perfect beach escape.Honeymoons - Exclusive and romantic villas, with walled courtyard gardens and large private poolss, extensive spa and fantastic food.Spa breaks - A glorious spa with Balinese and Thai massages, mineral mud wraps, Hot Stone therapies and Oberoi signature treatments.Sights nearby - Experience a blessing by a Hindu priest at the Petitenget Temple.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - Frommers, Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels
The Bale 29 rooms from $317Nusa Dua, Bali
Sensational 5* resort. Private villas host private pools, walled gardens, minimalist furniture, and gorgeous bathrooms. Additional outdoor pool, library, spa, saunas, gym and bicycles. Fantastic organic cuisine of Asian and European base. Luxurious and secluded with outstanding service.Surfing - From nearby Geger BeachRestrictions on children - No children under 16Secluded setting - For escaping.Barefoot Luxury - For total relaxation.Recommended by - Tablet, I Escape, Mr & Mrs Smith
Bambu Indah 11 rooms from $276Ubud, Bali
A truly remarkable eco resort nestled amongst lush hills, over looking the Ayung River. The beautifully restored old tribal houses, ranging from rustic to chic, mix traditional Javanese furnishings with eclectic pieces from around the world. An enchanting paradise, that's almost impossible to leave!EcoBack to Nature - Spectacular the views of mountains, rice paddies and hills. guests are lulled to sleep by the frogs, crickets and running water.Great walks - There is fantastic hiking in the surrounding hills, venture out on your own or with a guide.Views - Spectacular views of the surrounding rainforest.Recommended by - I Escape, Frommers
Damai 14 rooms from $270Bali
Stunning hillside accommodation set in a tropical landscape looking out to Bali's north coast. Enjoy the private swimming pool or relax with a massage treatment. Luxurious private villas with balconies and large, air conditioned bedrooms. Forage for exotic fruit in the hotel garden.Private Hot Tub - Garden villas come with open air bathrooms, equipped with jacuzzisSwimming Pool - Outdoor pool. Plus most of the villas have private poolsSights nearby - The city of SingarajaGreat walks - Temple WalkRecommended by - I Escape, Tablet
Elysian Boutique Villa Hotel from $285Kuta, Bali
This village of villas offers first-class hotel services such as a spa, 25 metre swimming pool and room service, whilst simultaneously allowing for true privacy in your own villa. Babysitting, an air-conditioned library and a complimentary shuttle service ensures complete comfort for guests.Private villas - Format is 'village' of villasSwimming Pool - Each villa has it's own pool.Great walks - Good for walkers.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.
Delmango Villa Estate from $295Bali
Relaxation is key in this villa estate, where a 25 metre swimming pool, spa and sophisticated Indonesian architecture ensure a comfortable, luxurious stay. Located just 10 minutes walk from Seminyak Beach. Villas come with kitchenettes, free wifi and private swimming pools.Swimming Pool - Each Villa has it's own swimming pool.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.Spa
The Mulia 111 rooms from $298Nusa Dua Bali
Regarded as one of Bali's best 5 star resorts this is a property sure to not disappoint. Rooms are classically designed with spectacular views, clean lines, all the mod cons and luxurious bathrooms. Spend days indulging in the superb spa and unwinding over a cocktail on the picture-perfect beach.Beach Life - Located directly on Bali's most beautful stretch of white sandy beach.Spa breaks - Boasting one of Asia's largest, and arguably best, spas.Sights nearby - Leave the complex and visit one of Bali's impressive temples for a dose of culture.Romantic - Good for couples.
Uma Ubud 29 rooms from $333Ubud, Bali
An utterly spoiling country retreat, five minutes from central Ubud. Chic and sophisticated rooms come with four poster beds, deep soaking tubs and private verandahs. A luxurious and grown up place to rejuvenate.Back to Nature - Surrounded by lush vegetation and rolling hills with an abudence of bird life, a country retreat within reach of the city.Great walks - The hotel offers simple guided walks among the villages, temples, rice paddies and jungle gorges surrounding Uma.Birdwatching - Victor Mason's Bali Bird Walk is entertaining, interesting and a must for anyone interested in wildlife.Cooking classes - Join a Balinese cooking class, held in the Kemiri restaurantRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet, Frommers, Kiwi Collection
Jimbaran Puri 64 rooms from $454Jimbaran, Bali
Elegant, romantic seclusion in a luxurious beachfront setting. Airy Balinese styled villas with gorgeous bathrooms featuring sunken baths. Direct access to one of the best beaches in Bali. Dine on the beach and sample some of the islands best seafood. Ideal for couples and families alike.Total relaxation - Refresh and relax in this tranquil haven with open air massages, morning yoga sessions and long days lounging by the pool.Romantic Break - An indulgent luxury retreat- sip on cocktails in your outdoor bath or wander hand in hand along the sandy beaches.Local markets - The early morning fish market takes place just up the beach and is well worth checking out.Surfing - Surf at Airport Rights accessible by boat from Jimbaran Village.Recommended by - I Escape, Frommers, Tablet
Katamama 58 rooms from $503Bali
A chic property with stunning sea views encompassing both a laid-back beach dwelling and a lively night spot. Enormous rooms are contemporary in style with clean lines, modern art and exposed brickwork. Boasting an achingly cool bar with cocktails made by a master mixologist. Superb.Beach Life - A chic hotel on a stunning stretch of beach complete with a hip cocktail bar.Views - Great views from hotelLively - Hip and happening.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
The Legian 79 rooms from $536Bali
Stylish 5* resort on the beach. Interiors have parquet floors, cream furnishings, Balinese artworks and contemporary furniture. Outdoor pools, direct beach access, gym, spa, library and kids club. Excellent international dining and choice of ambient bars. Gorgeous, friendly and laid back.Honeymoons - Take a private villa for ultimate seclusion, with private butler, beach views and romantic candle lit gardensSurfing - Dreamland in Ulutwatu and Echo Beach in CangguGreat walks - Botanic Garden UbudOn the beach - Seminyak BeachRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet
Fivelements 9 rooms from $448Bali
Fivelements is a hotel founded on Balinese philosophy, stressing sustainability, wellness and social harmony. The 9 suites are traditionally built in bamboo with private terrace overhanging the sacred Ayung River. A must for anyone wanting to experience traditional therapies and healing.Back to NatureWellbeingSecluded setting - For escaping.Remote - Off the beaten track.
Ubud Hanging Gardens 38 rooms from $560Bali
A luxury hotel set amidst the lush landscape of the terraces of the Ayung River gorge. Light and airy rooms are traditional in style with polished wooden floors, delicately beamed ceilings, muslin draped four posters and private plunge pools. The cuisine is excellent and spa totally spoiling. Bliss.Total relaxation - Luxurious and tranquil villas, complete with private pools, situated in the lush Ayung River gorge.Cooking classes - Find numerous cooking schools in the area teaching regional dishes.Local markets - Explore the lively markets in Ubud.Secluded setting - For escaping.Recommended by - I Escape
Alila Villas Soori 48 rooms from $485Tabanan, Bali
An sustainable eco friendly super slick resort, on the perfect black beach. Villas range from one to ten bedrooms with private terraces, infinity pools, butlers and some with dining rooms. Pamper at the spa, explore the surrounding paddies and immerse yourself in local culture. Totally unique.Surfing - Alila provides surf boards for those who want to get out and brave the Bali waves on Black Beach!Local markets - Alilia will organise trips to local food markets and terrocota tile producng villages.Sights nearby - Only a ten minute drive from the renowned 16th century Tanah Lot Temple.Swimming Pool - Private infinity pools.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, Kiwi Collection
Puri Ganesha 4 rooms from $607Singaraja, Bali
Bali's most secret beachfront hideaway. Just four villas set in their own private gardens and staff assigned for each. Excellent and reasonably priced organic Balinese cuisine. Wonderfully tranquil and private. Ideal for families or lovers alike.Hideaway - Just four secluded villas with private pools, surrounded by lovely lush greenery making this a completely tranquil escape.Beach Life - Situated on the unspoilt north coast of the island with each villa offering direct access to the lovely sandy beaches.Diving - There are daily diving tours off Menjangen Island- make the most of the fish filled waters of this local turtle sanctuary!Local markets - Venture into the local food markets with the expert help of the owners, a truly memorable experience.Recommended by - I Escape, Frommers
COMO Shambhala 30 rooms from $541Ubud, Bali
A wonderfully opulent spa retreat in the rainforests along the Ayung river. With wooden suites and villas, fourposter beds, several infinity pools and outdoor rainwater showers. Everything here seems to have its own natural flow, simplicity meets luxury.Great walks - The resort offers complimentary guided walks through the rainforest, the views are unbeatable.Cooking classes - Cooking classes and demonstrations are available on request.Restrictions on children - Children under 16 can only to accommodated in the villas.Swimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor PoolsRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape, Tablet, Frommers, Kiwi Collection
Four Seasons Jimbaran 156 rooms from $639Denpasar, Bali
A stunning resort with world-class service. Individual villas are luxurious and spacious with Balinese touches in the design. Three excellent restaurants, a beautiful pool, spa and access to a powder white sand beach. Endless activities to keep all entertained. Ideal for families and lovers alike.Total relaxation - Enjoy the sun, sea and complete laid-back island tranquility- along with the private butler and pampering spa treatments!Romantic Break - Couples massages, fine dining under the stars, opulent villas with private pools and of course the crystal clear waters.Surfing - Make the most of the accredited surf instructors at the hotel's watersports centre.Views - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Kiwi Collection
Alila Villas Uluwatu 61 rooms from $785Uluwatu, Bali
The contemporary design and stunning cliff-top position sets this apart from other resorts. Chic villas feature bathrooms with unbeatable views and private pools. Both the seafood restaurant and Indonesian will certainly impress. A trendy hideaway.Eco break - The resort was designed with only locally sourced, recycled and sustainable materials to innovative environmental standards.Honeymoons - An unbelievably trendy and tranquil cliff top hotel with panoramic views, indulgent spa and wonderful cuisine.Total relaxation - Private butlers ready to answer your every whim, miles of sandy beaches, and gloriously indulgent villas.Sights nearby - Visit the spectacular cliff top temple Pura Luhur- you'll be rewarded with unforgetable views.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, Kiwi Collection
Four Seasons Sayan 60 rooms from $787Ubud, Bali
A tranquil hideaway set in lush tropical surrounds. Luxurious rooms feature large glass doors leading onto secluded terraces with epic views. A spoiling spa and outdoor yoga studio help aid complete rejuvenation. Choose from Indonesian or International dishes in the superb restaurants. Bliss.Hideaway - Find complete luxury set amidst lush tropical gardens and surrounded by rolling hills.Great walks - Take a guided walk around the surrounding villages.Sights nearby - Visit any number of the 1,000 temples in Bali.Remote - Off the beaten track.