1W Bali - Seminyak Retreat & Spa
Jalan Petitenget, Denpasar - Bali, Indonesia
Phone: (0361) 4738106recommended W Bali - Seminyak Retreat & SpaThe W Bali oozes luxury, chic culture and hipness in every detail. The massive grounds are a world unto itself and the lower levels of the main hotel resemble a nightclub and 24-hour beach party more ... read morethan they do a traditionally lobby. It's as if the very best of South Beach Miami's beach scene was dropped here on the Balinese coast. Problem is, with me, that's not why I came to Bali. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about the luxury and pampering part - and I do appreciate the modernness and refreshing art at every turn. But I don't feel like I'm in Bali here. That might be OK if I lived in southeast Asia or Australia, but after the plane ride required to get here from the US, I want to feel like I'm in Indonesia, not a manufactured playground for fantastically wealthy adults. All that being said, there is otherwise nothing to complain about this place. It is damn near perfect. The rooms include every detail, perk and comfort you could possibly imagine. Everything is inviting, friendly and wonderfully colorful and modern. The top floor rooms have electronically sliding sky lights in the bathrooms. The swimming pool complex is more magnificent than any you'd see at Disney. The sunsets are to die for. It is heaven, but it is not Bali.Arlo Hemphill
If my other suggestions don't appeal to you and you are set on the big, party hotel experience, I can't think of a better one than the W. It is absolutely stunning and a very cool, very hip and modern luxury experience. As you see in my review, it's not the kind of place I come to Bali to see or stay in, but I understand that others have different tastes and this is certainly a very popular property with young jet set.2Hotel Tugu Bali
Jl Pantai Batu Bolong | Canggu Beach, Canggu, Bali 80361, Indonesiarecommended Hotel Tugu BaliIf heaven were a hotel, it might look like this. Elaborately adorned with more cultural and historical artifacts than most museums, the grounds of this resort define refined southeast Asian elegance. ... read moreUpon arrival, I was speechless, in sheer awe of my surroundings. The welcome lounge and restaurant transport you back in time and into an economic bracket in which I have sadly little exposure too. Every detail of the place is carefully thought out for both artistic and historical value, while also creating a sanctuary of intimacy and deep relaxation. The centerpiece of the welcome area is an enormous Gunita statue that transfixed my attention, absolutely awe-inspiring. Each suite of the Hotel Tugu is unique, decadently luxurious, and as carefully planned for historic and artistic detail as the rest of the grounds. I could come to Bali, never step outside my suite here, and leave feeling completely satisfied. Yet my favorite part of the Tugu is not the restaurant, lobby, amenities or suites, it is the grounds. The property is semi-enclosed like a guarded palace, and inside the walls are lush gardens and a literal maze of lotus ponds, stone pathways, temples and swimming pools reminiscent of rainforest grottos. A magnificent koi pond at the resort's entrance trails off into meandering streams, following the cobblestone paths right up to the secluded suites. Brightly colored koi literally swim alongside your footsteps as you explore every nook and cranny of the heavenly labyrinth that is the Tugu. My one disappointment is that the price tag is a bit prohibitive for my budget. I may need to win the lottery if I ever wish to return here, but I guess that is the point with a retreat like this one, exclusivity.Arlo Hemphill
If you do prefer a hotel stay, one that I could really recommend is the Hotel Tugu. It is built in traditional styles and is actually more a collection of luxury villas than a typical hotel complex. The historical artwork here is breathtaking, and the location enjoys one of Bali's finest surfing beaches. The one drawback is that while this is not a remote retreat, it is not in the center of things either. So, basically you have long cab rides if you want to get to the big attractions in town or want to explore the wilder, more remote corners of Bali. But as far as the hotel itself goes, it is gorgeous.3The Kampung
Amed Coast Road, Amed, Bali, Indonesiarecommended The KampungThe Kampung is my favorite place to stay in Bali and there are more reasons for that than I can list here. Part paradise, part home away from home, the Kampung's coolest feature is it's village-like ... read morefeel, recreated from antique traditional homes. I also really loved the outdoor bathrooms - totally private, but open to the sun, sky and geckos. If it's raining, you'll get wet in the shower, but the toilet and vanity area lie under shaded over-hangs, lined with tropical vegetation and set into stunning stonework. As a marine biologist, my favorite aspect of the Kampung is it's world-class access to great diving and snorkeling. Boat charters will pick you up on your own private beach, and escort you to some of the most diverse fish assemblages in the world, reefs and wrecks full of life and color. There is also fantastic snorkeling just off the pool area, with the awesome added feature of being home to "fields" of garden eels - beautiful stretches of sand with curious, snake-life fish bobbing about in their burrows! The Kampung is naturally enclosed by steep-cliffs and volcanic hills, with Agung looming off in the distance. Thunderstorms reverberate in a natural echo chamber, as the sound of splashing waves calm you back to sleep. Breakfast is included at the Kampung, and there is the option of ordering in other meals to dine within the exquisite traditional central home that serves as an ocean-front communal living area within the villas. However, I found there were a number of excellent dining options just a short walk down the beach, and these are worth exploring as well. Service is top-notch here - attentive, yet not over-bearing. And the location is mind-blowing, a tropical retreat that is perfect for relaxation and escape. Dive, swim, hike, dine, embrace yoga and enjoy salt-kissed beers by the sea. Heaven.Arlo Hemphill
My recommendation would be to not book a complete tour package and to stay in one of Bali's amazing diversity of villas rather than in a traditional hotel. Much of the appeal of Bali is relaxing and exploring things out on your own, and the dynamics of both a packaged tour and a big box hotel can get in the way of this. Rather, if you are interested in Bali's many historical and cultural attractions, I would suggest shorter day tours so that you keep control over your overall itinerary. And as far as villas go - this was one of the best I stayed it. The Kampung is built from traditional wooden homes, upgraded to luxury standards and situated on one of the most breath-taking stretches of quiet beach on Bali's northeast coast. This area is particularly good for snorkeling and SCUBA diving and is a true oasis of relaxation compared to Bali's busy southwest.