Where to Stay on Bali, Indonesia, for a Local Experience

Book an ocean-view villa at the Four Seasons Resort in Bali for unrivalled views of Jimbaran Bay
Book an ocean-view villa at the Four Seasons Resort in Bali for unrivalled views of Jimbaran Bay | Courtesy of The Apurva Kempinski Bali / Expedia.com
Alex Robinson

Sundowner cocktails on a balmy tropical beach, valleys stepped with rice terraces, waterfalls, smoking volcanoes, shadow puppet shows and sandalwood-scented temples – Bali ticks all the boxes for an unforgettable holiday in Asia. And the luxury hotels on the island are among the best on the continent – check out our selection of the top places to stay in Bali for a local experience and then book with Culture Trip.

1. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

Hotel, Luxury

The outdoor pool, wooden deck, chairs and sun loungers looking towards the ocean at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay / Expedia.com

Quieter than Kuta and more serene than Seminyak, Jimbaran Beach is every bit as broad and golden as both – and it’s equally well-positioned for Indian Ocean sunsets, as well as for the airport. The faux-Balinese villas at the Four Seasons sit on a bluff at the quietest end of Jimbaran. Oceanview villas come at a premium price, but this is the place to book them – with the entire bay (and that sunset over the ocean) at your feet as you sip a cocktail on your sundeck, toes in your personal plunge pool.

2. Wapa di Ume Sidemen

Luxury, Boutique Hotel, Resort

A bed with white curtains, floor pillows and a small table in a hotel room at Wapa di Ume Sidemen
Courtesy of Wapa di Ume Sidemen / Expedia.com

Bali’s not all about ocean sunsets. At Wapa di Ume, there’s a magnificent rural view at every turn: marvel at rolling rice terraces and rainforests from your four-poster bed or plunge pool, and, from the open-sided restaurant, enjoy the view of the smouldering cone of Mount Agung rising moodily against the sky. Sidemen village is remote even by Balinese standards – around a 2-hour drive from the airport – so, you’ll find more islanders than tourists here and more buffalos than cars: a lovely local touch.

3. Amankila

Resort, Hotel

A waiter walking with a glass of wine at the outdoor pool area with couches, lit up with candles with a view of the ocean at sunset, at Amankila
Courtesy of Amankila
Basking beautifully just beyond sleepy Candidasa town at the feet of the volcano Mount Agung, Amankila sits at its own beach, where two oceans meet. Clinging to the steep hillside, the villas fuse Indonesian with Amalfi design: they are decked out with woven palm-thatch, intricately carved hardwoods and rich marbles and flooded with light from wooden screen windows that open entire walls to the outside. You could soak forever in the private swimming pools perched at the cliff edge, your gaze hovering over the ocean.

4. Hotel Tugu Bali

Luxury, Chain Hotel

The pond with lilypads and greenery, and the buildings lit up in the evening, at Hotel Tugu Bali
Courtesy of Hotel Tugu Bali / Expedia.com

Set on a surf beach on the edge of a sleepy resort town, the Tugu is the antidote to the anodyne, corporate-designed luxury found elsewhere in Bali. It’s as quirky and individual as a Victorian collector’s hoard – crammed with Asian curios gathered over a lifetime of travelling by the owners. Snarling naga dragon-serpents hover over the giant copper bathtubs in the teak-wood cabins, intricately carved temple doors serve as headboards, stone Buddhas meditate next to bar stools in the ocean-view bar, and window shutters recovered from ancient Javanese painted houses open onto a garden of lotus ponds and frangipani trees.

5. COMO Uma Ubud

Luxury, Chain Hotel

The outdoor pool, with red cushioned wooden couches and tables, at COMO Uma Ubud
Courtesy of COMO Uma Ubud / Expedia.com

Once Ubud was a quiet, temple-dotted Balinese village in the island’s rural centre. Then, Julia Roberts came to eat, pray and love. At COMO, it’s still peaceful, thanks to its location in a forest, a 10-minute shuttle ride from the bar and restaurant hurly-burly of modern Ubud. The villas are so quiet that you can hear tinkling water and birdsong. All are kept in a minimalist white and bathed in light from open construction. Some have private pools. And, if you choose not to eat or pray in Ubud itself, the hotel has a tranquil low-lit Italian restaurant and provides free yoga mats.

6. The Slow

Independent Hotel, Hotel

A couch, table and chair in a hotel room with floor-to-ceiling windows at the Slow in Bali
Courtesy of The Slow / Expedia.com

The Slow works hard to be effortlessly cool. Every tiny detail has been carefully thought through: notice the arty black-and-white underwater nudes on the raw-stone walls, which match the matrix-grey counterpanes and the industrial concrete perfectly. In the bedrooms, you’ll find Asian-wicker Eames-style chairs to relax in. When you step outside the front door, you’ll find yourself in the backpacker-rushing, taxi-tooting whirligig of Canggu Beach’s main street.

7. The Anvaya Beach Resort Bali

Resort, Hotel

A bed, chair, yellow lamps and floor-to-ceiling doors opening to a balcony in a hotel room at he Anvaya Beach Resort Bali
Courtesy of The Anvaya Beach Resort Bali / Expedia.com

Most Balinese beach hotels target couples. The Anvaya is for families. Kids stay for free, and the hotel offers babysitting, a kid’s club, a huge menu of family activities (including shoreside cycling, with children’s bikes available) and several swimming pools with toddler-friendly shallow ends. Rooms include big family suites, and there’s a tropical garden, with plenty of family-friendly restaurants nearby. The small beach is far from Bali’s best, but it’s right on the doorstep.

8. The Apurva Kempinski Bali

Hotel, Chain Hotel, Resort

The outdoor pool, with a covered dining area and main hotel building lit up in the evening, at Apurva Kempinski Bali
Courtesy of The Apurva Kempinski Bali / Expedia.com

With interlinked villas climbing a cliff to a monumental main building, the Apurva looks like a postmodern reworking of the Triumph Palace in Moscow. But, while it’s more Bolshevik than Bali on the outside, interiors are soft and serenely Asian – with warm colours, honey-hued polished stone and Indonesian wood carvings. And, if you book a Cliff or Ocean Front villa or suite, there are beautiful views – out over plunge pools and broad, sandy Nusa Dua Beach onto the open ocean.

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