Nothing encourages soul searching quite the way traveling does. Opt for a more meaningful summer and open your mind to what the world has to offer and your heart to new experiences with this travel guide of some of the best places to stay in Bali, Indonesia.
Photos and text by KARL CHUSUEY
Songs have been sung about such mystical islands, just visible on the horizon, but out of reach. But the Balinese paradise is real and just a short plane ride away, made even more magical with resorts that are out of this world.
For the complete list of our top resort and hotel picks in Bali, check out the full article in PeopleAsia‘s February – March 2017 issue.
The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas
(Mulia Resort & Villas’ imposing sentinels guarding the paradise)
Located at the Nusa Dua area, this 745-room resort is arguably one of the biggest in Bali. The resort is divided into three parts: the Mulia, which consists of 111 suites; the resort which has 526 rooms, including lagoon access rooms; and the 108 private villas. What makes this place one of the best is its sheer size, opulent interiors and generous open spaces, not just outdoors but indoors as well. The interiors are modern classic with a touch of Balinese. It has everything from multiple outdoor pools, a club, a kid’s activity center, various food and beverage outlet selections, a very large beachfront area, a luxury spa, a fitness center, two kinds of unique chapels for weddings and a number of gardens for outdoor occasions. This place really does have everything you need for the perfect sophisticated getaway. It was also voted the best beach resort in Asia and one of the best resorts in the world by Conde Nast Traveler. Need I say more?
Ritz Carlton, Bali
(Puttin’ on the Ritz in Bali)
The Ritz Carlton brand existed way back on the property of what is now the popular Ayana Resort & Spa. Just last year, the Ritz opened a new and amazing resort in the Nusa Dua area. Everything is spanking new, vibrant and of course, luxurious. Perched on top of a cliff overlooking the incredible Indian Ocean (approximately 11-12 stories high), it has some of the most spectacular views anywhere. The lobby and some specialty restaurants and bars are located on the cliff, while the rest, such as the suites and villas, are located below it. What makes this resort one of the best are the suites, featuring a compartmentalized bathroom, the partition of which you can switch depending on the need, with a bathtub with a TV, separate shower area and separate toilet and a foyer with a vanity area. The suite is beyond generous when it comes to size; the balcony has its own lounging area and that’s just the lowest category! Imagine the bigger suites, villas and sky villas. This resort is generally quieter than the rest. The beach grill is the perfect venue for private family time since the tables are scattered throughout a huge compound and are semi private. And let’s not forget that signature Ritz Carlton service that is second to none.
W Retreat & Spa, Bali
(Poolside at the W)
W has always been unique throughout the world. It has a younger, sophisticated vibe about it and it’s no different in Bali. It has a pretty unique design direction as well, like its “rice terraces” influenced cascading pools, eclectic art decors and fancy but fun equipment. The rooms are also some of the best; they feature an open bathroom concept, but if you don’t like that you can close it. There are Bose surround speakers in the room, which come with a Bose player, and a W playlist CD produced by Sony Music exclusively for them. All the amenities also feature a fun and hip side to life such as your very own Boston shaker, gummy bears for treats, the surprising condom and many more unique things. The interior design is pretty much trendy all throughout. I love the breakfast; everything seems very well thought out. My favorite place is the WOO bar by the Seminyak beach. This bar has a view of the sea and that alluring Bali sunset.
Ayana Resort & Spa, Bali
(The Rock Bar at Ayana)
This resort used to be the Ritz Carlton of Bali until they re-branded. This place has been here for a long time, so the design is Indonesian modern classic. Much like most resorts, this one has a luxury spa complex, multiple pools, a beach area, a tennis court and a golf course. Hands down, this resort is one of the most popular in Bali, as it features several food and beverage outlets by the very famous and picturesque Rock Bar. This bar is my favorite so far and I tell you, it is not over rated. What makes this bar unique is the ambience. The hard crashing of the waves against the dangerous rocks is quite a sight and it’s interactive. Some seasons, the wind is so strong you get soaking wet when sitting on the edges. Let’s not forget that sunset! Imagine yourself sitting on the edge of the cliff sipping champagne, hearing the waves break beneath your feet while staring at a beautiful golden ball across the horizon. Well, it makes everything worth it.
The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali
(Cool off at the Westin | Photo courtesy of The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali)
This resort is the first one that I stayed in many years ago. If there is something unique in this place, it’s the lobby. I think it’s the only air-conditioned lobby in all of Bali! It’s a tropical country and yes, I love my air conditioner. Aside from the lobby, of course, the Westin signature bed is to die for. The location is actually not very private as it is found along a strip full of other resorts, which is good in a way, because you’re located at the heart of Nusa Dua, so it can get pretty fun at night. There’s a lot you can visit and not just be stuck in one place for several days. You don’t even have to hire a car to get around. The traffic in Bali is horrible, by the way; I don’t even dare go out of one area unless I really have to. But here, everything is within reach. They have yoga cabanas that you can use every sunrise, the beach strip has a path where you can do your morning jogs and meet a lot of people along the way.