view across jungle valley to hotel made up of tented suites at dusk
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Capella Ubud

Capella Ubud is an extraordinary luxury tented experience tailored for couples and is easily one of the most special in Bali.

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Exterior - Sunset Cabana at Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia

Alila Villas Uluwatu

Alila’s Villa Uluwatu outpost seems as if it was planned by a fleet of cutting-edge architects, who happened to also know plenty about creature comforts. Designed by Singaporean-based WOHA architects, each villa has its own plunge pool and peaceful outdoor lounge areas with plenty of privacy. Palatial bathrooms come with huge showers and stone tubs, and bedrooms exude Zen calm with Balinese touches. Using only local, recycled and sustainable materials like bamboo and lava rock, the resort has also become a model for eco-luxury in the region. The designated butlers—completely discreet but helpful—are a highlight of the property, and can plan everything from daily excursions to babysitting when parents head to the spa or a yoga class.

The backdrop for endless photo-ops, the central part of the resort sits on the cliffs more than 300 feet above the Bukit Penisula. There is an epic infinity pool and a wood-slatted bar that juts out above the ocean (the prime spot for sunset cocktails). Of the two restaurants, Warung, the Indonesian-focused eatery is the more low-key spot. Cire, with its open kitchen, has a more Western slant and serves a fabulous breakfast.

Although the resort is a bit of a drive to many sites, its distance also adds to the feeling of being completely off the grid. There is still, however, lots to do—this part of the Balinese Coast is famous for its surfing breaks, the Uluwatu Temple remains one of the island’s most beautiful religious landmarks (but crowded with tourists) and the coastline is home to beaches and clubs.

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Room at Amandari, Bali, Indonesia


Bali has seen its share of glamorous resorts since Amandari opened in the village of Kedewatan, just outside Ubud, in 1989, but this pioneer still reigns as the island’s true landmark property. Perched on the edge of a river gorge and designed by architect Peter Muller, Amandari was inspired by the layout of a traditional Balinese village, with river-stone walkways, thatched public spaces and high stone walls. Guests may stay in one of 30 freestanding suites outfitted in local teak and coconut wood, a number of which overlook the verdant valley and offer private pools. Families should consider booking the Amandari Villa, a three-bedroom complex that includes a separate living room and kitchen.

While small, the charming spa boasts two open-air bales, a beauty room, sauna and marble steam room. Couples can arrange a traditional Balinese massage side-by-side overlooking the Auyung River gorge. The hotel’s restaurant serves an array of Indonesian and international dishes, and features ingredients sourced from local organic farms and exceptional views. (Travelers not staying at Amandari should be sure to stop by for lunch.)

One of the main reasons to choose Amandari is the plethora of activities and special experiences that the hotel can arrange. These include trekking and biking in the rice fields (ending with a masterfully arranged picnic), white-water rafting and a private visit at John Hardy’s jewelry studio, oftentimes with the designers themselves.

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hotel on coastal cliff


Aptly named “peaceful hill,” Amankila is perched high above the Sea of Bali in the island’s picturesque eastern corridor. Here's our review.

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Ayana Komodo

Ayana offers a comfortable and convenient land-based option for exploring the Komodo National Park: a game-changer for luxury travelers.
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Bulgari Resort Bali

Bulgari Resort Bali, the brand's second hotel which opened in 2006, has been renovated continuously to maintain its fresh, contemporary and, above all, elegant feel. The serene experience on the island’s southwestern tip feels worlds away from the bustling traffic and backpacker tourists of Bali (even though it’ only 30 minutes from the international airport). Bulgari Resort Bali’s warm service, unparalleled setting and notable dining leave many guests wishing they could return again and again. A stay here is a great start or finish to any longer Indonesia itinerary, but it is also an ideal stand-alone relaxing getaway.

No room feels “entry-level” here. The resort is an all-villa property, and each has its own plunge pool, patio, garden, indoor and outdoor shower, dreamy bathtub and varying degree of ocean views. There are also five mansions ranging from three to five bedrooms, some with private spas, gyms, two-tiered pools and outdoor gazebos.

The property’s contemporary design includes rich Javanese mahogany, hand-cut locally-sourced volcanic rock and coral bukit-stone to blend with the surrounding environment. Guests can wander through the tropical garden landscape with bright flowers and fragrant Frangipani trees which attract butterflies and birds. Given the sharp incline of the property and thoughtful architecture (villas and amenities were built into the cliff allowing for optimal ocean views), most guests choose to get around by golf carts driven by the resort’s butler team.

A typical day at Bulgari Resort Bali is filled with a series of decisions: Breakfast at the hotel’s cliffside restaurant or in one’s private villa garden? Relax at the main pool, private villa pool or beach club? Have a private yoga or workout session, a specialty spa treatment or a traditional cultural purifying ceremony with a Balinese priest? Many might argue you can’t go wrong with any choice.

The culinary options are a highlight, eliminating the need to venture off-property to dine. Il Ristorante - Luca Fantin, a fine dining Italian restaurant, serves a delicious tasting menu with an extensive wine list. Plus, when the chef returns from Italy during truffle season, there are special menus for one-night only with his treasured finds. Sangkar is the resort’s all-day Indonesian restaurant, which has international options as well—don’t miss the lobster Nasi Goreng. Grab lunch at La Spiaggia, the beach club restaurant, where tuna tartar and grilled beef skewers with black garlic are menu stand-outs. Aperitivo Hour at the Bulgari Bar is included in rates and gives guests a front-row seat for colorful sunsets over the ocean with classic cocktails, mocktails and light Italian bites. Stay longer for traditional bar fare in a relaxed atmosphere.

While the setting, food and beverages, design and experiences are all top-notch, the best part of a stay here is the service, which feels extremely genuine, thoughtful and personalized.

infinity pool with a thatched roof day bed at sunset

COMO Shambhala Estate

COMO Shambhala Estate's guesthouses are situated in one of five themed residence clusters named Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Forest.

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pool surrounded by chaise lounges and jungle

COMO Uma Ubud

Located on a main road in Ubud, this boutique hotel looks like nothing special from the street, however a magical, lush and vibrant rain forest awaits guests beyond the gate. Built on the concept of a Balinese village, there are no straight lines, elevators or corridors on property.

Only a five minute drive from Ubud’s center, COMO Uma Ubud's layout of tucked-away rooms and open-air, thatched bale structures overlooking a long pool and landscaped gardens, makes it feel much farther from the main tourist fray. Each room only adds to that impression—once inside, views of the forested valleys or onto the green countryside give the feeling of being in one’s own private Balinese hideaway, albeit one with the Como Resorts’ signature contemporary design of white finishes and clean lines. There are 23 guest rooms and 23 villas (each with a private plunge pool) on-property.

Note: The villas offer more luxury and privacy, with the three pool suites having particularly epic views over the valley.

There are a number of dining options: Kemiri, housed in an open-air pavilion, serves Indonesian cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner; the pool bar, with plenty of healthy choices and fresh juices, is open all day; and Uma Cucina is the stylish Italian option for wood-oven pizzas and homemade pasta. In addition to the offerings at the phenomenal spa, complimentary activities like guided walks through the rice fields, and morning and afternoon yoga in a studio that looks onto the river Oos, give the hotel an added health and wellness aspect.

COMO Uma Ubud is situated on the main road and within walking distance to some lovely boutiques, excellent local restaurants such as Naughty Nuri’s and the Neka Museum which focuses on Balinese culture.

patio with a plunge pool looking out on the ocean

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

A flower blossom–filled bath awaits guests upon arrival at one of the island’s most popular family-friendly resorts. The expansive property, located 20 minutes south of Bali’s international airport by car, includes 147 thatched-roof villas, framed by gardens lush with bougainvillea. Guests rarely leave the resort; instead, they make use of the private beach, tennis courts, infinity pool and the 10,000-square-foot spa. A particular highlight is the Lulur Jimbaran treatment that includes a mask and scrub of herbs and spices rinsed with a yogurt mixture, followed by a jasmine or rose petal bath.

If you do leave the property, it will be to eat. The one consistent criticism here is that the no-more-than-decent restaurant fare is overpriced (though no one complains about the extensive à la carte breakfast). Perks like the excellent service, babysitters, kid’s club and the fact that children under twelve can stay in their parents’ villa for free draw lots of families.

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thatched roof cottage with a plunge pool looking out on a green jungle

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan

This Four Seasons is a fantastic Ubud area resort option for families with children seeking a full-service hotel.

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large pool lined with loungers and a pagoda style lounge building

Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

The entrance to Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve property on the outskirts of Ubud, is forgettable: after driving for nearly two hours north from Denpasar, Bali’s capital, the car suddenly turns left and navigates down a narrow alleyway flanked on both sides by high stone walls. After driving through a checkpoint and down a steep hill, you arrive at a courtyard shaded by towering trees and are greeted by a slew of gracious staff members and given a traditional Balinese bracelet that is believed to offer protection. Look up and you’ll see why the stunning property was placed here, on the edge of a cliff that leads down to the Ayung River and facing another cliff on the rushing water’s other side.

Mandapa boasts 35 suites and 25 pool villas, the latter being the far superior rooms and absolutely worth the additional rate. Villas differ only in their number of bedrooms (between one and three) and with their views. All have Balinese gardens, private pools, separate living rooms and very spacious bedrooms and bathrooms. The Mandapa Three-Bedroom Pool Villa also boasts a steam room and sauna as well as a nearly 2,000-square-foot pool. Décor feels both contemporary as well as traditionally Balinese, with sleek lines, sexy dim lighting, hand-woven textiles and vibrantly colored murals depicting rainforest scenes. While the best rooms are river-fronting as they provide great views and an open sense of space, guests should be aware that the river is typically busy with whitewater rafting excursions, and excited shouting can be heard from the passengers.

The cuisine on property is excellent all around, from the breakfast, which can (and should) be taken in-villa beside the private pool, to the picnic lunches provided around the property and on excursions and dinners at Kubu, the property’s signature riverside restaurant that features highly refined continental offerings like Jerusalem artichoke with black radish and kaffir lime jus. Couples should request to dine in one of the romantic private cocoons.

The spa, with eight treatment rooms (half of which are outfitted for couples), also faces the river and there is a yoga studio, lap pool, gym and sauna. There is an impressive kids club with a two-story slide, animals, Indonesian shadow puppets, instruments and masks.

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villa patio with an infinity pool and lounge chairs at sunset

Raffles Bali

It’s hard to believe that this peaceful and verdant getaway is just a 20-minute drive from one of the world’s busiest airports.

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Suarga Padang Padang

Suarga Padang Padang is the invention of Frederik Wittesaele and his wife Karolien Verschelden, who vacationed in Bali regularly for years. They fell in love with the island’s tranquility and laid-back lifestyle and decided to move there permanently. The couple made it a goal to protect the surrounding environment, so they began building a hotel out of purely sustainable materials. Frederik and his team traveled throughout Bali to collect bamboo and wood from forests and abandoned structures, always asking permission from the local villages and making sure to obtain the necessary allowances from authorities. Today, the Suarga Padang Padang creates a new standard in hospitality with luxury lodgings and an eco-friendly ethos.

The boutique resort features 36 breathtaking rooms, pavilions and villas, each made with natural materials like recycled hardwoods, bamboo, thatched roofing and hand-picked stones from the island of Sumba. Each accommodation boasts a modern and minimalist aesthetic with panoramic views of the ocean or gardens.

On property, there is a large infinity-edge pool, a spa and fitness center and the Dugong restaurant that serves traditional Balinese cuisine. Off property, guests can surf at the nearby Padang Padang surf break, trek to one of Bali’s most sacred mountains, dive to coral reefs and shipwrecks, visit temples, boat to nearly islands and enjoy wildlife experiences.

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