Beautiful Bali: 3 stunning Balinese resorts
EDGAR’s choice of the most idyllic places to stay on the paradise island.August 30, 2015
Offering lush green rainforests, cliff-top villas and secret uncrowded natural beaches, the idyllic Indonesian island of Bali seems like a world away. However, since Emirates launched daily flights from Dubai to Bali earlier this summer, the trip couldn't be easier or more convenient.
With the travel sorted, all you need is the perfect hotel, and Bali certainly has no shortage of those. Here are three of the best:
The relentless heat of summer in the Gulf is enough to make you pine for almost anywhere else - but why choose anywhere when you could immerse yourself deep in the lush green rainforest of Bali's Ubud region?
To be fully immersed in anywhere is not easily achieved. Yet to be wrapped up in the surroundings like you are at the Hanging Gardens is to feel absolutely at one with the beauty of nature.
Luxury here is not invasive. Dotted along a lush green forest valley and linked by vintage funicular system, it is the stuff of Secret Garden fantasies. Gazing back from the opposing side of the valley, you would be hard pushed to spot anything beyond the main reception. And even that, with its soft colours and open plan, is chameleonic.
A two-tiered infinity pool at the heart of the Hanging Gardens - ranked officially among the world’s best - creates a lasting visual that is truly outstanding. Designed to mimic the iconic rice paddy fields of nearby Tegalalang (around 20 minutes away), it provides views in both directions which are utterly uninterrupted and unspoiled.
The thatch-roofed villas - with four-poster bed, jacuzzi bath and bay window overlooking a private pool - appear shielded from one another and the rest of the resort, enveloped in the Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom landscape.
If you can tear yourself away from the poolside, guided tours of the local village are available, and encouraged. With many of the hotel's staff coming from the surrounding area - around 160 people call Payangan home - they are very passionate about the culture and landscape of their homeland.
Details: For more visit hanginggardensubud.com
The life of a surfer is one of freedom, which goes some way to understanding why the Anantara Uluwatu is as it is. Standing as an outpost of luxury in the traditionally understated southwest tip of Bali, it is, despite its relative compactness, a wonderfully open resort that breathes in the fresh air of the pulsating ocean it overlooks.
Set back from the main road that feeds one of the most popular surfing stretches of coast outside Australia, it is an ideal hub from which to explore the southernmost tip of Bali, home to some of its most interesting attractions. From the area around Single Fin, a ramshackle but utterly intriguing collection of cliffside huts for the surfing community, to the magnificent Pura Luhur, one of Bali’s oldest temples sitting precariously on a 250-feet plateau jutting out onto the water, this little corner encapsulates the spirit of the whole island.
Entry to the Anantara is through a vast cavernous reception on the brow of a small hill, a space that affords stunning views in both directions. From here, rooms, some with private infinity pools and all with outdoor Jacuzzi baths, cascade down towards a pool deck and the ocean or upwards in a four-story block.
Perched high above The Impossible - the name affectionately given to the beach below by surfers who undertake a treacherous climb down to tackle the awesome waves - is the hotel’s design masterpiece; a glass cube framed in powerful wood beams that overhangs the cliff edge and plays host to numerous weddings throughout the year.
Within the complex but detached from main buildings - enhancing the tranquility - lies the spa, perfect to recharge after a hard day out on the water. Or simply watching.
Details: For more visit bali-uluwatu.anantara.com
‘With beach access’: one of those common travel brochure phrases one discovers is often used with varying degrees of reliability. To describe the newly opened Ritz Carlton Bali, however, it is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, despite the main reception and dining spots being perched on the side of the cliff.
Set along the Indonesian island’s equivalent of London’s Kensington Palace Gardens, Indian Creek Island Road in Florida or Paterson Hill in Singapore, this resort in Nusa Dua stands out not only for its extreme luxury but also for the stunning architecture that helps link it all together; a giant glass elevator careering down the precipice.
At sea level, the winding serpentine of tree-lined pathways are serviced by a 24-hour buggy service, though walking is encouraged in order to enjoy the small but beautiful sunken garden, from which the resort flowers out symmetrically.
Around the centre are 18 bungalows, complete with their own pool, outdoor bath and shower, sun deck and private cabana. The angles of each ensure privacy from any neighbours.
Elsewhere, ground level apartments have stepped access direct from their terraces to a sweeping lagoon swimming pool running alongside the building. It may be ‘shared’, but the distinction is clear with individual sun steps and small landscaped pods jutting out between rooms. Penthouse suites crank up the exuberance with their own infinity pools.
These six blocks - three each side - flank the resort and, with the dramatic combination of the landscape and architecture at both ends, help create an overarching feeling of seclusion. Sound from the outside world amounts to the waves lapping against the beach.
For those who like the community feel, you’ll find multi-level pools with relaxation blocks, platformed cabanas and beachside beds; take up residence on these at dawn and witness the spectacle of sunrise over the Indian Ocean.
Of course, the best views are provided on higher ground. Dining at the signature Indonesian restaurant halfway up the crag is an experience enriched at night by the powerful glare of moonlight that worms across the water towards the resort from the horizon. Mother Nature and design providing awe in equal measure.
Details: For more visit ritzcarlton.com/bali