The Top Art and Culture Hotels in Indonesia

Bali's Alila Villas bring the island's rich arts scene to the forefront
Bali's Alila Villas bring the island's rich arts scene to the forefront | Courtesy of Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali / Expedia.com
Photo of Daniel Stables
24 June 2021

In-house art galleries, Balinese cooking classes and East Javan surfing expeditions set you up to explore Indonesia and its rich cultural traditions at these creative places to stay.


Indonesia’s arts and cultural traditions are among the most vibrant in Southeast Asia, from classical music and dance to a buzzing contemporary art scene. Every island and city has its own traditions, which is why we’ve put together this list of the top art and culture hotels in Indonesia, from exquisite Balinese spas to modern artist-led properties in Yogyakarta.

Kemang Icon

Boutique Hotel
Kemang Icon
© Kemang Icon Hotel / Expedia.com
Every inch of this South Jakarta hotel – a former caravanserai (roadside rest stop) – is suffused with artistry. The 12 suites are all paeans to sleek, contemporary design, woven with nods to traditional Javanese culture. From indigenous sculptures to wall hangings depicting keris daggers, Kemang Icon always puts Indonesian art first. The rooftop infinity pool is the perfect place to watch the sun go down over Indonesia’s capital whilst poolside restaurant The Edge is highly acclaimed for its sop buntut (oxtail soup). The in-house Icon Art Curio space exhibits everything from paintings to sculptures and there’s a slew of art and antique galleries on the doorstep.
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Ayodya Resort Bali

Resort
Sunset Pool
Courtesy of Ayodya Resort
The Balinese cherish art and culture, with the island boasting a rich history of dance, architecture and musical tradition. The beautiful teak pavilion-style design of Ayodya’s rooms are classic Balinese luxury, while the Waterfall Restaurant showcases the best of Indonesia’s delicious cuisine – try the lontong sayur soup. When evening falls, classical Balinese theatre and dance are performed on a traditional outdoor stage.
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Kayumanis Jimbaran

Luxury, Resort, Hotel, Spa Hotel
Kayumanis Jimbaran
Courtesy of of Kayumanis Jimbaran / Expedia.com
Sitting in the peaceful Balinese fishing village of Jimbaran, Kayumanis is another resort that pays homage to the Indonesian island’s artistic traditions with its gorgeous teak-wood villas, which open onto private pools. This is also a place where you can learn for yourself some of the secrets of Balinese cuisine, with a tour to the local seafood market followed by a private cooking lesson from a resort chef.
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Tanah Gajah

Hotel, Luxury
Tanah Gajah
Courtesy of Tanah Gajah / Expedia.com
Ubud is the cultural capital of Bali, a town where the island’s traditional arts and crafts have evolved over the centuries. Here you can enjoy a fascinating performance of kecak dance by firelight (a form of Hindu dance and music drama), join a purification ceremony in the jungle, or take in a traditional herbal bath ritual. After a day’s cultural adventures, relax in your beautiful Balinese villa at Tanah Gajah, decorated with museum-quality local artworks and with experiences that let you paint your own Balinese masterpiece and more. By night, savour the grilled barramundi fillet cooked in Balinese spices from the Tempayan Restaurant, which sits perched overlooking rice paddies.
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Hotel Tjampuhan Spa

Spa Hotel
Hotel Tjampuhan Spa
Courtesy of Hotel Tjampuhan Spa / Expedia.com
Welcoming painters, poets and writers through its doors since 1928, Hotel Tjampuhan Spa is the kind of place that stirs the imagination. A beautiful Balinese building beside a river in a green valley – close to Ubud’s scenic Campuhan Ridge walk – it features large rooms decked out in teak with pitched pavilion roofs and top-class Balinese food – try the bebek goreng (crispy duck). The spa pavilion, carved with scenes from Balinese mythology and overlooking the river, is a spectacular place for a massage.
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Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

Hotel, Luxury
e676e065
Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay / Expedia.com

Combining the quality and luxury we’ve come to expect from Four Seasons with traditional Balinese stylings, this oceanfront hotel features gorgeous villas with private pools and sun terraces overlooking the golden sweep of Jimbaran Bay. If you can tear yourself away from your private garden and sun terrace, head to the Sundara Beach Club, where bamboo-cooked lobster is among the ocean-fresh seafood offerings. For Balinese culture of a different kind, join a class at the on-site cooking academy or charter a helicopter to take in East Java’s world-class G-Land surfing break.

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Hotel Majapahit Surabaya

Hotel
Hotel Majapahit Surabaya Managed by AccorHotels
Courtesy of Hotel Majapahit Surabaya / Expedia
This century-old, Surabaya city stay sits amid manicured lawns dotted with gnarled, ancient trees and tinkling fountains, giving this elegant hotel the look of a Mediterranean villa. The old-world European feel extends to the traditional, luxurious rooms and suites but the food at Sarkies Restaurant offers something different with gourmet Chinese offerings such as dim sum and Peking duck, both of which come highly acclaimed. There’s also The Maj pub on-site, where a live band soundtracks drinks and dancing until well into the night.
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Artotel Sanur Bali

Hotel
Artotel Sanur Bali
Courtesy of Artotel Sanur Bali / Expedia.com

Sanur is the relaxed, upscale face of Bali’s south-coast tourist hub and Artotel Sanur brings together the same blend of vibrancy and relaxation typical of the neighbourhood. Five local artists have designed the rooms along the theme of the Bali Kite Festival – held in July in the Padang Galak area of Sanur Beach – with beautifully colourful murals on the walls. There’s also a contemporary art gallery on site which showcases the work of Balinese artists on a rotating basis.

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Artotel Yogyakarta

Hotel
Artotel Yogyakarta
Courtesy of Artotel Yogyakarta / Expedia.com
Indonesia’s cultural capital, Yogyakarta is a city beloved of aesthetes of all stripes. Artotel draws on the area’s famous Javanese folklore traditions but filters them through the creative lens of seven local artists, who have given the rooms a vibrant contemporary design. As befits such a stylish hotel, the on-site Slide Bar is a hip spot for enjoying cocktails and music through the evening.
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Viceroy Bali

Independent Hotel, Suite Hotel
bali-deluxe-terrace-champagne-pool Viceroy villa with private pool
Courtesy of Viceroy Bali / Expedia

Viceroy Bali invites its guests to indulge in the serene location of Bali’s Valley of Kings. Gaining its name from the lineage of Balinese Royalty who lived in the area, this hidden tropical treasure provides a gorgeous natural backdrop and a relaxing yet awe-inspiring atmosphere. This resort is family-owned and run, not to mention filled with beautiful designs inspired by Bali’s culture and traditions. The hotel is close to Ubud, one of the major art and cultural centres of Bali.

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  • Alila Villas Uluwatu

    Resort, Hotel
    Alila Villas Uluwatu
    Courtesy of Alila Villas Uluwatu / Expedia.com

    Cutting-edge design inspired by the area’s natural majesty is at the heart of the Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali. The hotel stands on the edge of a plateau, allowing visitors unbroken views over the ocean from a cliffside vantage point. The hotel was designed by the award-winning WOHA, the esteemed architectural firm behind the School of Arts in Singapore. The resort prides itself on its Weddings at the Edge of The World – ceremonies set in an overhanging cliffside platform with sumptuous views. For those seeking adventures, Alila Villas also organises tours that take visitors to the best natural and cultural spots around the area.

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    Amanjiwo Resort

    Resort, Hotel
    Amanjiwo Resort
    Courtesy of Amanjiwo Resort / Expedia.com

    Amanjiwo Resort is a unique spot surrounded by vast nature and incredible culture. The resort faces the Unesco World Heritage Site of the 9th-century Borobudur Buddhist sanctuary and is surrounded by other spectacular sights such as Menoreh Hills and the Kedu Plain. Giving the sensation of leaving the modern world behind, the hotel is set in a stunning circular limestone monolith that blends in perfectly with its surroundings. Amanjiwo prides itself on organising expeditions to many of the culturally rich areas of Java, such as temples, villages and mountains.

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    COMO Shambhala Estate

    Resort, Spa Hotel, Hotel
    Como Shambhala Estate, Bali
    Courtesy of Como Shambhala Estate / Expedia

    COMO Shambhala Estate is a health spa retreat in Bali that combines a relaxing atmosphere, incredible food, stunning design and much more. The resort was brought to life through the architectural work of Cheong Yew Kuan and the design of Koichiro Ikebuchi. The aesthetics are a fusion of tradition and contemporary design, with both Asian and European influences on show. Throughout the estate, beautiful handmade furniture can be found in addition to Indonesian artefacts and artworks that encapsulate the aura of the area. Focusing on health, the estate offers a range of services and activities beneficial to visitor’s spiritual and physical wellbeing, whilst the restaurant serves food that is both nourishing and delicious.

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    The Bali Purnati Center For The Arts - Adults Only, Bali

    Hotel
    The Bali Purnati Center For The Arts
    Courtesy of The Bali Purnati Center For The Arts / Expedia.com

    Providing accommodation across four stunning Balinese rice barns (or Lumbungs), The Bali Purnati Center for the Arts exudes an authentic, relaxed aura. The mission of this organisation is to create collaborations between people, traditions and cultures through art residencies, with the intention of furthering understanding and artistic growth. Engaging in various art fields, past participating artists have created unique works that fuse Asian traditional practice with contemporary artistic thought. Guests can interact with the artists during their projects and at the end of their time Purnati puts on a display of their work for the local community. Visitors are also encouraged to take part in yoga and art activities during their stay.

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    Regantris Hotel Surabaya

    Hotel
    Map View
    Regantris Hotel Surabaya
    Courtesy of Regantris Hotel Surabaya / Expedia.com
    The vibrant, arty Regantris Hotel is sure to be a hit with creative types, who will love the colourful murals that adorn its bedroom walls. If that’s got your imagination firing, be sure to check out the nearby Emmitan Ca Gallery, where the works of local artists are exhibited. There’s even a barbershop on-site, so you can make sure you’re looking your best before taking to the bars and restaurants of Surabaya.

    Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge, Kalimantan Tengah

    Hotel

    Located on a jetty in the middle of a forest, Rimba Ecolodge can only be reached by boat. The lodge’s location is perfect for travellers who want to explore the surrounding rainforests and Tanjung Puting National Park either by foot or wooden boat (klotok). The lodge also organises many tours that allow visitors to meet the animal inhabitants of this natural territory, as well as conducting night tours showcasing the glowing mushrooms and fireflies of the area, while the feeding stations offer animal enthusiasts the chance to meet orangutans and other primates face to face.

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    The Temple Lodge

    Resort, Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    The Temple Lodge
    Courtesy of The Temple Lodge

    A serene and secluded environment of immense natural beauty, The Temple Lodge is located atop Bali’s southernmost tip – the white cliffs of the Bukit Peninsula – with a thatched roof and tropical design that matches perfectly with the surrounding area. From its raised perspective, visitors can admire the waves that attract surfers from around the world whilst yoga courses, massages and a menu full of organic ingredients ensure body and soul are taken care of.

    Andrew Kingsford-Smith has contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on June 24, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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