THE BREATH TAKING ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME HOTELS
Sometimes in life you just have to ignore the price, swallow the bill and treat yourselves to an unforgettable holiday of a lifetime…
Aman, the indisputably exclusive and oh-so-perfect group of hotels that deliver phenomenally luxurious and stylish hotels with exemplary service, beautiful rooms and a honeymoon worthy experience every time. Each of their hotels is unique, perfectly fitting its environment and Amandari is no exception. Housed amongst the rice fields overhanging the Ayung river, the hotel mimics the local villages which it lies between. With only 30 rooms, privacy is guaranteed and the spacious but extremely peaceful rooms are designed in the style of Balinese villas with your own stone entry way and private terraces overlooking the farmland beyond. The most unforgettable rooms have their own private pool but the main one is no less alluring. Standing in front of the restaurant, the pool is perched up on the hills with the sound of the flowing river gushing in the background.
Staff are on hand to deal with your every whim and to ensure you make the most of this spectacular and incredibly picturesque part of Bali. Spend a morning cycling amongst the rice paddies before settling down for a divine picnic in your own cabana overlooking the valley beyond, then get your adrenaline rushing in the afternoon with a trip down the white water rapids. Every detail at this hotel is faultless; the rooms are perfectly immersed in their surroundings offering up 5-star luxury but in a subtle and understated way. Most wonderfully, the interactions with the local villagers, such as music and dance performances, ensure this is a luxurious honeymoon stay filled with authenticity.
Amandari, Kedewatan, Ubud,, Rooms from $950 US per night, www.amanresorts.com/amandari/home.aspx
Four Seasons Sayan, Ubud
If you prefer a wider range of amenities and facilities, then look no further than Four Season’s Ubud offering. Still with only 60 rooms it nonetheless has a little bit more of a resort feel. The majority of rooms are spacious villas delivering the world-class Four Seasons standards you would expect. The biggest treats come in the way of the villas with private pools but Suites, housed in the main building, are no less indulgent, offering up a more affordable option. The hotel’s location is nothing short of spectacular. A suspension bridge has you enter the main building where the stylish bar, unfaultable spa and delicious Ayung Terrace restaurant are housed.
Winding paths (with golf buggies on hand to save tiring your legs) meander down the hillside towards the river, flanked by rice paddies on either side. Rooms are dotted amongst the grounds and then, perhaps the most impressive feature of the hotel, you stumble upon the pool and Riverside Cafe. Lying directly on the river’s edge with the overhanging jungle providing atmospheric views and accompanying soundtrack, there could be no more perfect place to sunbathe in the whole of Ubud. The staff are delightfully charming and will stop at nothing to ensure you have the most magical stay, including the un-missable private dinner they can lay on for you at the suspended Lotus Pool.
Four Seasons Resort, Sayan, Ubud, Suites from $340 US per night, Villas from $470 US per night, www.fourseasons.com/sayan
There are too many Aman resorts in Indonesia to know where to start, so many guests decide to do their own Aman road trip. We would recommend, if you’re looking for ultimate pampering and romantic immersion, to contrast the tranquillity of Ubud with the beauty of Amankila. On a verdant hillside that descends to a secluded black sand beach, Amankila is far from Bali’s beachside madding crowds. The bulk of the resort is perched high up on the hill with sweeping views over the rolling hill and turquoise ocean beyond. Even though there are merely 30 rooms, the hotel seems to sprawl endlessly with multiple dining and lazing options.
The show-stopping 3-tiered pool up by the main pavilion is backed onto by the Terrace restaurant serving up delicious breakfasts and lunches in a serenely peaceful spot. Lurking above lie the inviting evening restaurant and bar, candlelit and decorated in that quintessentially Aman way, merging local designs, astounding architecture and delightful touches to make you feel that you are well and truly in heaven. A peaceful path amongst the overhanging jungle leads you down to the beachside pool, a lazy spot with its own restaurant perfect for whiling away a delicious meal. Hidden behind the shrubs is the deserted shimmering black sand beach where your private cabana awaits and eager staff anticipate your every desire. The options for that perfect, private honeymoon dinner are endless and will force you to indulge at almost every meal.
The rooms themselves are all villas, reached by a series of beautiful staircases escorting you to the havens nestled in the hillside. All the same size, the only difference in price is the view. The interiors are complete with four poster beds, sunken baths, neutral colours and endless touches of luxury will pamper and delight. The location, whilst remote, offers up an insight into a lesser-seen side of Bali with Mount Agung providing a dramatic backdrop to this untouched rural landscape full of cultural delights waiting to be explored.
Amankila, Manggis, Rooms from $950 US per night, www.amanresorts.com/amankila/home.aspx
THE MODERNISTS APPROACH TO UTTER SECLUSION
Bali’s cultural heritage and traditional architecture are undoubtedly beautiful, but there is also a growing trend towards cutting edge architecture with sharp angles and smooth lines that contrast perfectly with the surrounding scenery. If your style is unashamedly modern and your standards set high, the two Alila Villas properties are the ones for you.
Alila Villas Soori
When the lure of lichen tinged traditional stone walls doesn’t quite float your boat, you will find yourself in heaven at an Alila Villas property. Located to the West of the airport on a private stretch of black sand beach, Alila Villas Soori’s is comprised solely of private villas that line the lapping ocean in the fashion of two story architecturally impressive buildings. With one villa on the ground floor and one on the upper (the upper offering better views and more privacy but lacking direct beach access) all come larger than most homes with their own private pools, living areas, outdoor showers and shaded outdoor seating.
Having sussed out your preferences before your arrival, everything during your stay will be tweaked to your own personal style, including films loaded to your TV and mood setting music. For those who hanker after a more rural idyll, the Mountain villas offer an ocean gazing alternative with sweeping vistas of the lush green surrounding rice paddies but no less of a swanky design touch. The choice of two restaurants, Cotta with a focus on traditional local food and Ombak serving an incredible tasting menu, are both delicious and the spa, true to the holistic and intuitive approach promised by Spa Alila, guarantees to delight. Numerous activities are on offer for those who don’t just like to laze; take a cooking class, explore the area by bicycle or even Segways, or explore on a local coffee or rice tour.
Whilst you don’t have to see another soul during your whole stay, your experience at Alia Villas Soori will have you more in love with your partner than when you arrived. See our full in depth review here.
Alila Villas Soori, Tabanam, Rooms from $500 US per night, www.alilahotels.com/soori
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Uluwatu
Perhaps one of Bali’s most iconic luxury hotel images is this one, the suspended balcony from a Cliffside overhanging the ocean. This image evokes the pure serenity that is Alila Villas Uluwatu. Just as luxurious, stylish and aesthetically pleasing as its Soori counterpart, the Uluwatu property has, if possible, an extra dose of wow. Whilst it may lack a beach, its unique location on dramatic limestone cliffs will have you snapping away at every opportunity and not lamenting the lack of sand in the slightest. Privacy again is the order of the day with all rooms taking the form of private pool villas, delivering high-end luxury, beautiful vistas and a promise of pampering.
The resort’s two restaurants serve up delicious cuisine but also refreshingly a plethora of healthy options if you’re looking to maintain your wedding dress worthy figure. Perhaps even more impressive in a resort this stylish, is its eco-credentials with exceptionally environmentally sustainable design meaning that it’s more than just the lush foliage which is green. A secluded but completely modern hotel that promises an unforgettable honeymoon filled with mesmerising sunsets, architectural perfection and delicious food. See our full review here.
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Rooms from $646 US per night, www.alilahotels.com/uluwatu
THE MORE AFFORDABLE OPTIONS – BUT NO LESS LUXE!
Don’t be fooled, these options may be kinder to your bank balance but they’re no less luxurious. The rooms, décor, food and quality of service are as good as the other options, at times in an even more intimate setting, so sit back and indulge without breaking the bank…
The Chedi Club, Ubud
Perhaps one of Bali’s best kept secrets The Chedi Club lies in the middle of a sea of paddy fields and has only 20 villas, each a peaceful, luxurious enclave that evokes a sense of the true Bali whilst spoiling you with well thought through touches, such as daily complimentary tea and cocktails. Each villa has its own dedicated butler who will spoil you throughout your stay. Either spend your days lounging by your private pool gazing through your private wooden gates to the rice fields beyond with farmers earnestly at work, or amble along the serene resort paths, dotted with Hindu statues, to the beautiful hotel pool, surrounded by still ponds. The hotel’s restaurant is just as immersed in its surroundings, seemingly floating amongst the surrounding greenery providing the most incredible backdrop for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Take a sunrise walk around the local villages with your personal butler or indulge yourself in the spa. What’s most incredible about The Chedi Club is that for the same standards and luxurious feel as many of the above options, it works out a fraction of the price. Plus, depending on your aesthetic tastes, you may prefer the view. Read our full review here.
The Chedi Club, Tanah Gajah. Rooms from $350 US with frequent special offers, www.ghmhotels.com/en/tanah-gajah
The Club at The Legian, Seminyak
For some people the image of a honeymoon filled with nothing but each other’s company and soppy romantic moments would have them running a mile. This is where Bali really shows it strengths. There are endless dramatic sunset spots, quiet coves and astounding views but it’s also an island with a lively party spirit. If you and yours really want a chance to not only be pampered and spoilt, but also let your hair down and have some fun as newly weds then I’d advise you to head to Seminyak; one of Bali’s livelier spots. By bedding down at The Club at The Legian, you really will get the ideal luxurious but fun honeymoon. With trendy restaurants, bars and clubs down the road you can indulge your inner party animals to your hearts’ content, but hotel spent time will embrace and surround you with private, intimate luxury.
The Legian itself is a bigger resort hotel but its more exclusive Club arm is perfect for honeymooning couples. A private compound with only 11 villas merging a sleek modern style with traditional Balinese touches. It would be fair to call these villas homes; each within their own walled compound complete with lounge, private pool and butler. Either dine in villa, at the more buzzing neighbouring Legian or head out and explore the area knowing that Seminyak’s most luxurious and stylish accommodation awaits you on your return. Seminyak’s beaches are exceptionally beautiful and there is no where more perfect to experience them from than the Legian Club.
The Club at The Legian, Seminyak. Rooms from $560 US, www.ghmhotels.com/en/club-legian