The very word Bali, evokes visions of paradise and luxury, and the reality lives up to that reputation. It is packed with incredible upscale experiences, from hotels, to dining, to spas, to tours.
Planning a visit to Bali and want to make sure you take in the best of the luxury experiences that the island has to offer? Read on for our guide on where to go, what to do and what to see.
Where to stay
You’ll find outstanding luxury hotels just about everywhere in Bali, but some of its beach towns score a little higher up the luxury scale than others.
Seminyak is just a short hop from the surfers’ paradise of Kuta, but has a very different feel. While Kuta is brash and colourful, Seminyak is calm, collected consciously upscale. Seminyak’s sweeping golden beach is lined with some of the best hotels in Bali.
Take a wander down Seminyak’s sand and you’ll walk past a long line of beautifully designed hotels that sit elegantly on the beach, looking out to sea. One of the best is The Legian Bali, boasting private pool villas and a fine restaurant. Away from the beach, Seminyak offers some of the island’s best luxury shopping.
Jimbaran is similarly packed with luxury resorts, including many well-thought-out spa hotels. Jimbaran has a more laid back feel than Seminyak, and offers more in the way of authentic Bali, still a working fishing village at its core. You’ll find colourful traditional fishing boats lining the beach and a fish market every morning. In the evening, head to its beachfront seafood restaurants, eat fish caught that morning and watch the sun go down over the ocean.
Nusa Dua is another great choice, with most of its hotels being well-designed luxury all-inclusives where all you need to do is kick back and enjoy your stay in paradise.
Away from the beach, inland Ubud is well-worth a visit, especially if you can spare a few days. It boasts a number of upscale hotels overlooking the paddy fields, cooling upland breezes, a monkey sanctuary and some of the best dining in Bali.
Where to dine
Bali is a paradise for food lovers, with some seriously impressive, international quality restaurants in just about every resort. The best chefs combine local flavours and ingredients with international know-how, producing memorable results.
Mozaic is arguably the best restaurant in Bali. Award-winning, and the only Indonesian restaurant to make it into San Pellegrino’s list of the top 100 restaurants in the world. Set in a romantic garden in atmospheric Ubud, head chef Chris Salans serves a choice of four tasting menus. Each combines exquisite local ingredients with modern European cooking.
Also in Ubud, Kubu at the Ritz-Carlton offers first-class Mediterranean food, with private dining, intimate corners to hide away in and a degustation menu that rivals anything to be found in Europe or the US.
What to experience
It would be easy to fill a Bali holiday simply with incredible dining and pampering, but there’s more to the island than that. If you want to see and do as well as relax and enjoy, there’s much on offer in Bali.
Climb up high in Bali and you’ll find jaw-dropping views. Mountain treks are the traditional way to do this, but the best way is on a helicopter tour. You’ll enjoy unrivalled views of the island’s rice fields, forests, beaches and volcanoes.
Bali is famous for its yoga and wellness scene, with retreats and spas all over the island. Resorts like the award-winning Floating Leaf offer authentic retreats that combine a taste of Balinese culture and traditional healing with first-class luxury accommodation.
Finally, if you’d like to learn something new together, you could take a Balinese cooking class. These are offered all over the island in traditional kitchens, where you’ll learn to shop, chop and cook like a local.