With 17,000 islands, stretching from Bali to Java and unspoilt Sumba, there’s an archipelago’s worth of thatched jungle resorts and blissed-out beach villas to choose from in Indonesia.
Indonesia’s refined arts and crafts traditions lend themselves particularly well to the country’s boutique hotels, many of which are decked out in rich teak, pitched beneath pavilion-style roofs and dotted with hand-carved curios – though there are plenty of modern, minimalist offerings, too. From cultural hangouts in the jungles of Bali to retreats on the surf-washed beaches of Sumba, this Southeast Asia archipelago has spoiling stays for all. Here are the best places to stay in Indonesia.
Rustic relaxation is the order of the day at this delightful resort, set between the forested hills and fabulous beaches of Bali’s remote North Coast fishing village and beach of Pemuteran. Beautiful wooden carved beds and sculptures adorn the rooms, set in pavilion-roofed villas around an outdoor pool. Traditional Balinese massage is on offer at the spa, while yoga classes offer more opportunities for wholesome relaxation. The food is similarly nourishing, with juicy rambutans and freshly baked dark bread among the breakfast offerings.
Set on a former coconut plantation, and now alive with tropical flowers, the setting of this luxurious resort near Bali’s Jimbaran Beach is hard to match for beauty – but the rooms give it a close run, with their elegantly faded wooden shutters, antique furniture and traditional Indonesian textiles. The Asam Garam restaurant is the perfect place to try exquisite Indonesian dishes, and with no fewer than three pools and an indulgent spa menu to choose from, there’s no shortage of ways to relax.
Ubud is Bali’s beating cultural heart, and this spectacular hideaway combines the area’s best features: a natural setting in thick jungle (with views best enjoyed from the infinity pool), traditional wooden architecture and a supremely laid-back atmosphere. Ramp up the relaxation even further with yoga and a Balinese massage, and feast on local cuisine at the Pakerisan restaurant – the Balinese satay and roasted pork come highly recommended.
There’s no need to choose between a camping adventure and hotel luxury at the superb Capella Ubud, where extremely comfortable tents, decked out with metal screens and wall art depicting scenes from Balinese mythology, are spread among the jungle terraces. And what better way to pass a balmy evening than at Mads Lange restaurant, feasting on Balinese barbecue while enjoying a traditional storytelling performance around the campfire.
This stylish hotel combines trendy modern design features – polished concrete, minimalist furniture – with the rustic-chic aesthetic that Ubud is famous for, with wooden screens and shutters and a lovely courtyard rich in native bamboo. The Mandala Spa offers treatments using organic Balinese ingredients, a philosophy which also extends to the Copper Restaurant, where the food is a modern take on island classics, such as the gulai ikan (squid, snapper, mussel and prawn curry).
The lesser-visited island of Sumba truly feels a world apart, and Lelewatu distils the things that make the place special: the thatched-pointed roofs, for example, which crown the luxurious guest villas, and the rich Sumbanese cuisine at the clifftop restaurant, where menu highlights include papaya and seared fish salad and grilled cuttlefish. A range of tours are on offer to help you explore this unspoiled island, including cycling to traditional villages and hiking the hills.
Lombok is Bali’s quieter, more laid-back sibling, and the minimalist suites and villas of Lombok Lodge exude the island’s characteristic easy charm. Superb pasta dishes and refreshing cocktails are on the menu at the L’Osteria restaurant, while private jetty dining, perched above the ocean, is an ultra-exclusive option. Boat-hop to the popular Gili Islands to the north of Lombok; or, better still, head over to the lesser-known Secret Gilis to the south to dodge the crowds.
The ninth-century Borobudur temple – the largest in the Buddhist world – is one of Indonesia’s cultural wonders, and sits just 3km (2mi) from this collection of luxe villas, which overlook jungle, rice paddies and smouldering volcanoes. Tours to the temple are on offer, as are other cultural experiences such as Javanese cooking classes. When it comes to exploring the great outdoors, rafting on the Elo River and hiking in the Menorah Mountains are among the adventures that await you. Return after an adrenaline-fuelled day to soak up the calm of the resort’s all-inclusive villas, many with heat-slaking private pools.
If diving’s your thing, the Raja Ampat Islands are one of the best places to stay in Indonesia, with world-beating corals, coastal caves and endless marine life (including rays, sharks, turtles and more) to explore. Dive packages and courses, whether you’re a seasoned diver or a total beginner, are on offer from this stylish resort, where comfortable, contemporary rooms, a spa and a pool, and a games room with darts, ping pong and pool are all on offer in a spectacular spot overlooking a mangrove forest.
Keraton at the Plaza keeps Indonesian cultural elements relevant within the modern and metropolitan Jakarta by presenting its own distinctive and creative take on the fascinating culture through concept, architecture and design. The hotel accentuates its Indonesia-inspired character by combining lifestyle with culture; tourists can experience the best of both worlds. Like an oasis in the middle of the bustling capital city, visitors can expect a great balance between the vibrant city atmosphere mixed with the calm and serene ambiance of the intimate and lavish hotel. Also boasting a strategic location, many of the city’s main tourist attractions are within walking distance, including museums and shopping malls.
Among the many things that can make a stay at Adhisthana Hotel remarkable, the hotel’s tasteful design and decor are high on the list. Staying true to its Javanese vintage theme, the hotel chooses traditionally inspired pieces of furniture and ornaments, from wooden windows to batik cushions, put together in each room to create a homely and nostalgic ambiance. Located in the Special Region of Yogyakarta, known for its lively ancient cultural heritage, the Adhisthana Hotel is a perfect choice to complete anyone’s cultural travelling experience.
Embracing Bali’s ever-growing contemporary dynamics while cherishing the island’s cultural heritage, the Tijili seamlessly merges the two worlds into a well-defined concept hotel located in the heart of the bustling Seminyak neighbourhood. Tijili itself is a Balinese traditional design that portrays Dewi Sri, the rice goddess believed to be a source of prosperity and fertility, a motif and concept that graces the hotel’s corners in abundance. Visitors will find the work of local artists in the form of furnishings, art pieces, installations and more.
Acting as an extension to the spectacular and adventurous beaches in Bali, this hotel is dedicated to passionate surfers who just can’t bear to leave the ocean. Embellished with whimsical, surf-inspired design elements, the whole hotel reverberates with every surfers’ excitement to explore and conquer the waves on this incredible island. Even the pool is styled as an opulent lagoon – an excellent spot in which to laze the day away between wave-riding and beach safaris. Surfers can also find virtually every piece of surfing equipment they’ll ever need at a charming shop located right in the lobby.
It’s hard not to spot the eye-catching building of ARTOTEL amid the surrounding stern concrete in the capital Jakarta. Stepping inside, the ambiance only gets more lively with dynamic artworks from local talents. Successfully merging art with lifestyle, visitors can expect an exciting, distinctive experience during their stay. Every floor has a different artistic theme, presenting an elaborate and comprehensive aesthetic experience. Located in the heart of the bustling Thamrin area of Jakarta, many cultural, shopping and lifestyle destinations are within walking distance.
Summerbird cherishes every guest with its delightful rooms, all of which are unique with different design features, from French to Scandinavian, rustic to minimalist, chic to vintage. Thoughtfully arranged and designed, tourists can enjoy a pleasing aesthetic in every corner, from the lobby to the corridors. Many couples choose the venue for a pre-wedding picture session, a testament to its astounding beauty. An important part of the gorgeous establishment, the Summerbird Brasserie adds a marvellous appeal and functionality with an impressive menu and laid-back atmosphere in which to dine and relax.
Perhaps the only thing that matches this hotel’s architectural elegance is its cultural and historical value. The building itself, established in Surabaya, dates back as far as 1910, when Indonesia was still colonised by the Dutch for its rich natural potential. A stay at this lavish, intimate hotel will induce an experience otherwise reserved only for the ancient Javanese royals. In fact, at various points during its long history, the hotel has hosted the world’s royals and public figures. Furnished with a grandiose pool area, meticulously maintained garden and lavish ornaments, this is nothing short of opulent – undeniably one of the best places to stay in Indonesia.
Edira Putri contributed additional reporting to this article.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.