How would you choose your Bali hotels
I found choosing my Bali hotels quite difficult but after lots of research I think we made the right decisions. Read about our honest experience of 7 of the best Bali hotels. This is just one of a few posts on our Bali holiday. If you know where you’re staying and want to know where to eat, then read about Bali Restaurants (coming soon) You may also like our Bali essential overview (coming soon)
The top end Bali hotels seem to have got it completely right, we stayed at some of these while we visited the others for meals, a swim or a spa treatment or all three!
Bali hotels Seminyak
Seminyak is about 20 minutes drive from the airport if there isn’t any traffic and is definitely considered quite an upmarket area. But the issue I found was that Seminyak is quite a big area and how would you know which bit to stay in? I suggest you stay in the Petittenget area of Seminyak and there are 3 hotels I would recommend here, depending on your style of holiday.
The W Bali Retreat and Spa – Contemporary, fun vibe, party atmosphere, but very sophisticated at the same time.
We loved our stay at the W in Bali, despite being a bit skeptical at first! I’m really not a party animal and wasn’t sure what to expect. Think modern, fun, colourful vibes from check in to check out time and beyond. It’s also got the best concierge service on the island! Here’s the link to the hotel website. You may find it cheaper booking it on either Booking.Com or Hotels.Com. It’s good to read other reviews before you book anyway.
It’s quite an arty hotel as well with carefully designed murals and glass sculptures dotted around the communal areas. If you love colour (and I certainly do) then this is the hotel for you, from the sophisticated grey and pink upholstery in the terrace lobby to the more zany purple and yellow cushions on the sun beds.
The rooms at the W
Our room was very spacious, had a good sized balcony with a great view and it was divided up by a clever sliding door that meant the bathroom area was completely separate to the sleeping area. Cute little rubber duck accessories in the bathroom and anyone who loves their music will have no issues with their Bose sound systems. There are also villa style rooms with their own pools but I don’t think these have as good a view.
The restaurants at the W
The W has 2 iconic restaurants, Fire and Starfish Bloo. We had dinner at Starfish Bloo and loved the setting and all our food. Fire is more suited to those of you who like steak, but the design of Fire really is spectacular. You can eat breakfast in either restaurant. Starfish Bloo has an amazing setting next to the Seminyak surf and you’ll eat everything you can think here including fresh sushi! Tea here was themed around Alice in Wonderland and was a very popular late afternoon meal. You must have a drink at sunset in the Woo bar and check out the amazing oversized fan, great for people watching too. If you want to read about the W in Dubai, have a look at our Namu review.
Pool areas at the W
One, large, tiered paddy field terrace inspired meandering pool, running all around the back of hotel in front of the beach. Expect lots of funky lilos with equally funky people enjoying their cocktails. But there are also families with young children who were totally at ease in pool at the W. Despite the hotel being quite full, I really didn’t feel there were too many people in the pool at all.
We loved their beach cabana service and pizzas and drinks by the sea at sunset are a must do.
Worthy of note at the W
Their incredible, state of the art recording studio is available to guests staying at the hotel. They can hire it for 4 hour sessions and have their music curated by local music director and dj Damian Saint at the same time! This space is a popular venue for special music events from around the world.
The Alila Seminyak – Clean, minimalist lines, grown up atmosphere and very chilled.
The rooms at the Alila Seminyak
We stayed in an Ocean View suite room that was extremely spacious and like the W, the bathroom and dressing area was split from the sleeping area by a full sized sliding wall. There is a good sized balcony overlooking the sea and perfect for those sunrise and sunset photos.
The rooms do seem quite minimal in style but I liked that. Our whole family LOVED their Alila living toiletries that included insect repellent and after sun lotion, all made with very natural ingredients. The Alila has a 3 room penthouse on the top floor of one corner of hotel where the Malaysian royal family were staying with while we were there! The penthouse was also recently the setting for Christian Dior’s latest accessories collection show attended by Jakarta’s finest society!
The restaurants at the Alila Seminyak
One gorgeous main restaurant that we had breakfast at every day and a chef’s table dinner one evening. Wide open spaces overlooking the sea. We LOVED our meals here. Comprehensive choice of both Asian and Western then healthy options amongst all of these too. So think raw pad thai and raw chocolate brownie with almond milk cappucinos by the sea.
Pools at the Alila Seminyak
3 large pools, one by the bar and beach level that’s quite lively. All great to get good long swims in, all facing the sea. I swam in the one by the bar before breakfast, then later in the day went to one on a higher level nearer my room for some quiet chill out swimming. Fabulous service at all pool sides.
and The Oberoi Bali – Traditional Bali at it’s best, lush, mature gardens, Bali teak, villa style rooms, peaceful atmosphere.
We had some drinks with a friend at the Oberoi Bali hotel and looked around the property and rooms. There is a wide beach front area and on the day we visited they were releasing sea turtles into the ocean, a regular activity here. Rooms are more traditional Bali spaces with lot’s of teak wood and carving in evidence.
They are dotted around a mature and lush garden area with a pool lined with tassled Bali umbrellas. I really liked the peace and serenity here, we had cocktails at the open air bar, no loud music but we played traditional Bali games with the family while watching the sun set. The Oberoi also has an exclusive property in Lombok too and transfer between hotels is complimentary.
Bali hotels Jimbaran Bay
Jimbaran Bay is about 45 minutes drive from Seminyak depending on the traffic. It has a a very characterful seaside setting with fishermans huts serving freshly barbecued seafood. The sea here is quite different to Seminyak and sand is more golden in colour.
Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay – Elegant luxury, modern villa style rooms with tropical setting.
Definitely stay at the Four Seasons in Jimbaran Bay. LOVED this hotel too. It has a spectacular entrance lobby, with steps that lead through a lush garden down to the pool and room areas. The rooms have all recently been refurbished and are all villa style with private plunge pools and tropical views.
They have still retained the traditional baths though! Lots of outdoor special spaces here for wedding ceremonies and other formal occasions. Take a buggy ride down to the Sundara beach club and swim in the 37 m (longest in Bali) pool. Eat lunch in the very sophisticated but relaxed – you can eat with your wet swimsuits – Sundara restaurant.
The most amazing shower and change areas I’ve seen! Drive on about 40 minutes or so to the Alila villas in Uluwatu.
Bali hotels Uluwatu
Drive on about 40 minutes from Jimbaran Bay and arrive at the sublime Alila Vilas Uluwatu.
Alila Villas Uluwatu – Contemporary sophistication on a promontory on top of the sea.
That was a wedding ceremony happening when we arrived the Alila villas in Uluwatu. This video explains the atmosphere of the hotel I think better than I can. It’s on a cliff top though so a little remote but in terms of atmosphere it really was something out of the ordinary. It only has villa style rooms.
Bali hotels Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua is about a 4o minute drive from Seminyak and it’s here that I think has the best sand and beach area. Golden soft sand and a calm sea to swim in. Definitely stay at the St Regis hotel Nusa Dua if you are basing yourself in Nusa Dua.
The St Regis Hotel Nusa Dua – Family friendly, golden beaches with great pool and spa area, sophisticated dining options.
The Nusa Dua area of Bali seems to be a more resort-based area with lots of high end resorts next to each other. We spent the day at the St. Regis Hotel and spa where most of the rooms seemed to be more private villa type rooms many of which opened out onto their own pools.
We loved their Remede spa and would highly recommend the Balinese massage, that ended with some rosella candy and cashews to eat! I highly recommend the amazing aqua Vitale therapeutic area of the spa which which comprised of 11 different stations that seem to provide a hydro type massage to different parts of your body. This is free for in house guests to experience!
The beach side of the St. Regis is I think the best that we experienced in Bali, principally because the sand is very golden and soft and the sea seems a lot kinder to swim in. The St. Regis has excellent poolside service with very high quality food and snacks. We also had a very memorable lunch at the Deli Gourmand and would also highly recommend it.
Bali hotels Ubud and Sayan
Ubud is the spiritual heart of Bali and is a good 1.5 hours at least from Seminyak traffic permitting. It’s well worth staying in Ubud. We suggest the Komaneka at Bisma for Ubud town or the Four Seasons Sayan about 20 minutes outside Ubud town.
The Komaneka at Bisma – Family friendly, central hotel with rice paddy views.
We stayed in a two story family villa at the Komaneka in Bisma. The views were really very tropical almost jungle like.The feeling really is one of being in a very rural setting but the hotel offers you every modern convenience. It isn’t a very new hotel, about 10 or 11 years old but it’s still very charming.
The location of this hotel is excellent. It’s very near Ubud town center and moreover the Komaneka has two other hotels in town that offer a good shuttle service between them and the other hotels so it was always easy to get a lift back to base when you tire of shopping in the heat. They treat you like family here, we liked this personal touch.
The Four Seasons Sayan – Ultimate, spiritual luxury in the tropics – a must see.
The Four Seasons in Sayan is about 20 minutes drive from Ubud town and is set in a rural heartland. In fact if you stayed here there would be no reason to leave other than to perhaps go shopping one afternoon in Ubud town and to have dinner at the incredibly good Hujan Locale.
I also really like the jewellery for sale at the Four Seasons, a bit out of my price range though! They had some extraordinarily unusual pieces here. I think the other worldly setting is what makes this hotel stand out as it seems to have captured the heart of Ubud. You can also see people white water rafting from here as part of the hotel is set on quite long river.
Hope you found this article helpful, it would help me if you shared it now on Facebook and or Twitter and leave me a comment if you have a question, I’ll try and help. Also let me know where you’d recommend we stay in Bali on our next trip, so many people have visited this summer from Dubai!
Thank You Monica.