Where To Stay in Bali For First Timers – 18 Stunning Villas and Resorts

Where To Stay in Bali For First Timers – 18 Stunning Villas and Resorts

You might think deciding where to stay in Bali is pretty easy – as almost every hotel, villa or beachside bungalow is drop dead gorgeous. The tricky part can be choosing which one is right for you, and understanding what areas are best depending on what you want to do while here.

Ubud, for example, is the cultural capital of Bali – home to hundreds of temples, spectacular waterfalls, terraced rice fields and of course many beautiful resorts and yoga retreats. Seminyak has a lot of expats as well as stunning boutique hotels, and is a great destination or shopping and partying. Kuta is favoured by young Australians and budget backpackers looking to sleep all day and party all night, while Canggu is a digital nomad and surfer hot spot full of cute cafes and chilled out beach bars with sunset-perfect infinity pools and bean bags along the beach.

**If you’re worried about the Mount Agung Volcano, then read this article explaining why it’s still safe to travel to Bali.**

Here are some hotels to get you started, recommended by some of the top travel writers from around the world who have been here many times and know all the best places to stay in Bali – especially those with a little luxury!

Where To Stay In Bali – Best of Ubud

Padma Hotel, Ubud

Recommended by Travel Tom Tom

I have stayed in many luxury hotels in and around Ubud but Padma Ubud is my favourite. Why? That is a really simple question to answer: its incredible heated infinity pool looking out over the tick jungle. It actually is the biggest pool in Ubud and where do you find hotels where the pool is accessible 24 hours? The lovely water temperature is perfect to have a dip in the evening when the temperatures go down up in Ubud. Lie on your back and stare at a sky full of stars! All the balconies and the restaurant on the top floor have stunning views over the jungle and Bali’s highest peak: Mount Agung. The hotel might not be the most boutique in its kind and is located a little North of the center, the serene and scenic location all make up for it. On top of that all the Ubud tourist attractions are located north of the city anyway!

where to stay in bali

where to stay in bali

Hanging Gardens of Bali

Recommended by Roamaroo.

The idyllic Indonesian island of Bali is home to a multitude of magnificent hotels, but few can compare to The Hanging Gardens of Bali. This jungle hideaway is nestled deep in Ubud, the spiritual heart of Bali and boasts “the world’s first 7-star boutique hotel,” a fantastic spa, and an iconic 2-tier infinity pool. If you want to travel away from the tourist traps and experience authentic Bali, Hanging Gardens is the hotel for you.

Set above the Ayung River with a view of a nearby temple, a stay at Hanging Gardens is anything but ordinary. Retreat to your jungle villa complete with a private pool, Balinese décor, and an outdoor gazebo. While the surrounding area is divine, a visit to the Hanging Gardens of Bali is a destination in itself. If you’re wondering where to stay in Bali that is unlike anywhere in the world, this hotel is your answer.

where to stay bali

Alam Indah, Ubud

Recommended by Travlinmad

Alam Indah, a small Ubud hotel that lies tucked behind the Monkey Forest Sanctuary in sleepy Nyuhkuning, is an intimate and authentic Balinese hotel. The name Indah means beautiful nature, which perfectly describes the tranquil atmosphere here – you’ll hear the sound of trickling water everywhere, smell incense and frangipani blossoms on the breeze, and hear the soft exchanges of “Selamat Pagi” from locals each morning.

Created by the family of Café Wayan where visitors to Bali have come to enjoy Ibu Wayan’s food since 1986, the 10-room Alam Indah was the first in the family of small hotels which also includes Alam Shanti just down the road. Featuring traditional Balinese architecture and set amidst lush gardens and idyllic valley views, the secluded setting feels like a retreat, yet is close to the centre of Ubud – just a 10-minute walk through the forest. If it’s quiet serenity you’re after in Bali, you’ll love Alam Indah.

Puji Bungalows, Ubud

Recommended by Plan Save Travel

Puji Bungalows is located 5 mins away from the Ubud Main Street and 10 mins from the Monkey Forest. The Ubud Market, Museum and the Ubud Palace are all located at walking distance from the hostel. There are also many restaurants nearby to try out the Balinese Cuisine.

The best part of staying here is that you can negotiate and get discounts for the Mt Batur and Mt Agung trekking arranged by Puji Trekking Group. This place is quite and serene, unlike the party hostels. It also has a pool area, which looks over to the rice fields. This place is perfect for travellers who need to take a break from the bustling city life.

The Maya Ubud

Recommended by Lifestyle Fifty
The Maya Ubud is situated just outside Ubud town centre. It’s a beautiful resort encased by jungle and offers 10 hectares of gorgeous gardens which sweep down to the top of the river valley above the Petanu River.

Green verdant jungle and swaying fields of rice  are the over-riding views as you walk around the extensive gardens.

At the resort there’s a top notch restaurant, two pools including a fabulous horizon pool and River Cafe which sits atop the last bit of cliffside before it plummets down to the river, and for those who don’t want to walk, there’s a lift. Here there’s also a thatched Spa treatment area with photogenic Balinese pavilions cantilevered over the gushing Petanu River where you can have a massage and a flower bath with fragrant petals.

If you want to know where to stay in Ubud my pick is definitely the Maya Ubud. There are several different types of accommodation but my recommendation would be the Garden Villas and Pool Villas (which are especially quiet and secluded). These are set in secure, walled tropical gardens surrounded by jungle creepers, trees and tropical flowers.

Bambu Indah, Ubud

Recommended by the Conversant Traveller

Bambu Indah is an unusual eco-chic retreat perched loftily on the Sayan Ridge just a 10 minute drive from the centre of Ubud. The lush valley is lined with rice paddies and bamboo groves, and the lodge has been creatively designed in real sympathy with the environment. The individual teak villas are perhaps the quirkiest places you will ever sleep, with antique Javanese bridal homes, an ‘Afrika’ house with the best ‘loo with a view’ in all of Bali, and even a glass-floored bungalow built on top of a shrimp pond. Each of the villas are decorated with rugs, wall hangings and furniture collected by the owners from all over the world. Meals are served in the open-air bamboo restaurant, which serves everything from delicious sugar cane pancakes and Balinese rice porridge, to spicy fish curry and organic roasted vegetables grown in their own gardens. Whilst the ethos is most definitely eco, there is no compromise on luxury, and here in the heart of Bali the two work very well together.

where to stay in ubud bali

Baliwid Hotel

Recommemded by SingaporenBeyond

Situated in the middle of a working rice field and along a river, Baliwid is a peaceful oasis on the outskirts of busy Ubud. What makes Baliwid different, other than its location, is that it’s a family-run business and community-based, so you get to experience an authentic Balinese stay. Wayan Widnyana, the owner, also operates a tour business and will personally take you on any excursion you can dream of. His sister will cook your meals, his mother will greet you every morning and his father will teach you how to carve wood.

The villas are spacious with an outdoor shower area, there is a pool to cool off in and the warung next to the pool serves Balinese and Western treats. Wayan also rents out motorbikes, so you can hop over to Goa Gajah in 12 minutes or Ubud center in 20. I heard from Wayan that he is also working on starting a glamping yoga retreat along the river, so watch this space!

Where To Stay in Bali – Rural Retreats

The Strawberry Hill Hotel

Recommended by Buddy The Travelling Monkey

The Strawberry Hill Hotel, in the mountainous area of Bedugul, is one of the best places to stay in Bali. This unique hotel has 17 cabins, each named after a mountain in Indonesia and each surrounded by lush gardens. Each cabin also has its own balcony (with great views of Bedugul’s dormant volcanoes) and a large bathroom with a shower and separate bathtub. On the grounds of the hotel, visitors can also take a stroll by the strawberry patch and pick some if they are in season. During our stay, we didn’t pick any strawberries but we did enjoy their fresh strawberry jam for breakfast!

The Strawberry Hill Hotel is also great because it is located near the famous Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple which is on many peoples’ list of places to see when visiting Bali. This iconic temple, which is on most Balinese post cards, sits on Lake Bratan. If you’re planning to visit the temple, spending a night at the Strawberry Hill is definitely a good idea.

Where To Stay in Bali – Beachside Paradise

Alila Seminyak

Recommended by Travel With Maria 
 
If you have no problem splurging more while in the Island of Gods, Alila Seminyak Bali is the place to be. It’s a luxurious chain of ingenious eco-luxury designed properties that are both ostentatious and palatial in nature. Feel free to choose whether you want a room with an ocean view, a swimming pool that’s a few cartwheels away from your doorsteps or near an infinity pool facing the sea. Located beachfront, you’re dream of waking up to a crisp scent of Balinese morning breeze  and seeing a grand Bali sunset  are certainly going to come true. For party addicts, head to its Beach Bar every night for some crazy drinks and nice music. If you want more, you just need to walk 10 minutes to get to the next building which is home to one of Bali’s notorious clubs.
 
where to stay in bali

Villa Club Corner Residence Canggu

Recommended by Hashtag LJOJLO

Are you looking for a private pool? Are you travelling with a group? Are you looking for a pool table? If you answered yes to these questions, maybe the Villa Club Corner Residence is the place for you. The fully self-contained villa comes with three bedrooms, each with an ensuite, a kitchen, private pool and of course a pool table.

An extra perk of this villa when we stayed was it came with two membership cards to the Canggu Club, which can be used interchangeably by guests. The Club contains Bounce, a waterpark and many sporting facilities to keep the children and adults entertained.

Situated at the end of a lane controlled by security and surrounded by rice fields, this villa is safe and relaxing. With a bungalow placed in the garden by the pool, you can comfortably relax away an afternoon reading a book. However, if you want to explore it is an easy taxi ride from Canggu into the Seminyak, Legian and Kuta areas. Therefore, for me, this was a perfect place to stay with a group of friends.

The Club Villas Seminyak

Recommended by Flights to Fancy

The Club Villas Seminyak are the perfect home away from home while in Bali. Each 1, 2, or 3 bedroom villa comes with a plush king size bedroom, a spacious outdoor lounge and a luxurious bathroom worthy of any 5 star hotel. For those that want to self-cater, a fully equipped kitchen will meet all your needs and room service will cover you when you simply can’t muster the energy.

The generous plunge pool and lush plantings in your private courtyard draw you outside and encourage you to linger. You could lose days lolling in the tropical sun without a care in the world.  If you must venture beyond the gates, The Club Villas command a prime location just off Jl Kaya Aya, so you are mere steps away from the everything that makes Seminyak a favourite. Think fabulous restaurants, boutique shopping, luxury spas and lively bars. Be Warned: Once you check into The Club Villas Seminyak you are going to find it very hard to leave!

Sheraton Kuta

Recommended by A Hole In My Shoe

Bali offers everything from picturesque rice terraces, ornate temples and tropical rain forests to a relaxed beach life, fabulous food and luxurious resorts. To many, Kuta has a bad reputation and is not their first choice when looking for a quality place to stay in Bali. But it’s not hard to find places offering superb service and little pockets of luxury living right in the centre of Kuta. Who would have thought you could find an award winning 5 star resort in Kuta?

Located between Poppies II and BeachWalk shopping mall, directly across from the famous Kuta Beach, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort offers panoramic views of the Indian Ocean from Uluwatu through to Canggu. Our Kuta experience at was enriched with beautiful food, poolside cocktails and spectacular sunsets from the infinity pool. Kuta has some chic bars and international restaurants where they still maintain the daily ritual of locals worshipping and leaving offerings in streetside temples. 

Overall, Kuta has a tropical, hassle-free atmosphere, where you might see some local women doing Tai Chi on the beach and some incredibly beautiful sunsets. To some, Kuta has a magical reputation and upholds why Bali is known as Island of the Gods.

 

Katamama Bali 

Recommended by Travellers Archive

One of the nicest hotels to stay in the Kerobokan area is Katamama, which lies close to Seminyak. It is a pretty new hotel compared to so many others and has a very special feel about it. The reason: the staff treats you as the owner and the place itself as your “home”. No wonder that they greet you with a warm “Welcome Home” on your arrival. And this is much more than just the slogan of this true design hotel. All around the building you will find Balinese art and different implementation of Balinese culture and design. Everything in your room comes from somewhere in Indonesia, from the carpet to the TV cable, from the couch to the bed. As if this was not enough, the building is built out of 1.6 million bricks, each made by hand. But in the end it is another thing that matters most: that you actually really start to feel at home.

where to stay in bali

 

Samabe Suites and Villas, Nusa Nua

Recommended by Food, Fun, Travel
 
Bali does luxury – and they do it well. There are plenty of stunning resorts to choose from and we’ve had the pleasure of staying at quite a few, but the one that truly stole our hearts was Samabe Bali Suites & VillasPerched high on a cliff face, this boutique resort offers it’s clientele the ultimate in luxury, from private pool villas to stunning ocean view suites. At Samabe you get inclusions like free-flow non alcoholic beverages (juice cleanse anyone?), daily beachside yoga classes, daily cooling cucumber eye compress and mini massage at the poolside, plus complimentary cooking classes, wood carving classes, 24-hour butler service and much more. And that’s just their standard package…they also have an all-inclusive package for ultimate indulgence. 
 
Choose to do as much or as little as you like, it’s entirely up to you. Plus if you are wanting to do a bit of shopping (of course you do – it is Bali after all) there is a complimentary shuttle that takes guests into Nusa Dua where you’ll find restaurants and plenty of trinkets to pick up as souvenirs as a memory of your time in Wonderful Indonesia.  
 
 
 

 

Hu’u Villas

Recommended by Bel Around The World

The reason why I loved Hu’u Villas is because it’s right in the heart of Seminyak. Not only do they provide shuttle to the town centre, it already is walking distance to some of the coolest restaurants and cafes, such as Sea Vu Play, Motel Mexicola and Mrs Sippy, among others.
 
For an affordable price, you get to stay in a loft-style villa – that means a spacious villa for your companion and yourself on both levels! When I mean spacious, I mean they have a living room, dining table, two sinks in the bathroom and both a shower cubicle and a bathtub. To top it off, you have your very own personal swimming pool in the balcony! You hear that? 
 
where to stay in bali
 

Intercontinental Bali

Recommended by Retired and Travelling

The Intercontinental Bali is located on the beautiful long stretch of white sand on Jimbaran Bay.  We were welcomed with cool cloths and a cold drink. Customer service was impeccable at every interaction. The Intercontinental is a large luxury resort with several pools and spa facilities.  The resort includes several different restaurant options.  But a short walk along the beach will bring you to the fish fry shops on the beach.  Great tasty and cheap food is not hard to find on the beach.  Settle in and watch the awesome sunset over the waters of Jimbaran Bay.  It was a short cab ride for day trips to other parts of Bali.  We hired a local driver to take us to Ubud for the day.  The Intercontinental was a quiet and pampering refuge when we returned.
 

Holiday Inn Baruna

Recommended by Rolling Along With Kids

The first thing you notice about The Holiday Inn Baruna is the beautiful gardens with so much space to enjoy the stunning sunsets. The central focus of the resort is the gorgeous pool with swim up bar and once you are tired of lazing by the pool, the Tea Tree Spa is a short walk through the gardens for the most amazing massage. The Holiday Inn has food for all tastes, the Envy Restaurant serves the most delicious Mediterranean food, and the views of the sunset are amazing! The rooms are extremely comfortable and even though the resort is spread out, it does not feel like a huge walk to breakfast. Around the hotel there is so much to explore and things to do. Waterbom Water Park is only a short drive away and the many facilities of Kuta close by. The Holiday inn Baruna is a great option close to Bali’s airport, this resort has something for everyone.

Haven Suites in Canggu

Recommended Siddharth and Shruti

The Haven Suites in Canggu was our last stop in Bali and it was the perfect ending to our trip. This opulent ‘suites only’ hotel is right at the beach in Canggu. The breakfast is absolutely scrumptious with a wide variety of food from salads to eggs benedict. But our favourite was the bathroom! It is huge with two washbasins which means no fighting over the mirror. The large decadent tub sits in the middle waiting to pamper you. You can also make sure you stay in the nine rooms that open up to their olympic size swimming pool. They also have an ‘in room’ spa. Did we want to step out of this luxurious cocoon? Nope! Surely on our next Indonesia trip we will revisit the Haven Suites.

 

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4 Comments

  1. December 3, 2017 / 12:07 pm

    good to know, i would have no idea where to begin, it all looks so lovely

  2. December 3, 2017 / 6:04 pm

    What a great collection of places to stay in Bali! Thanks for including us in your post

  3. December 4, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    What a fabulous resource for our next trip! Great post for newbies and old hands. Thanks for including my suggestion too.

  4. Ed
    December 7, 2017 / 3:40 pm

    Great article!!

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