After its recent ill fate, the fabled island of the gods is finally mending from Mt Agung's intermittent belching that has held its tourism sector at ransom for two whole years. Life and developments have kept pace with the optimism Balinese are famous for and with the whole fiery episode more or less relegated to a sanguine afterthought since its last eruption in June this year, Bali is finally poised for a strong comeback.
The definitive picture of Bali's verdant interiors at Alila Ubud
Despite declining figures, mostly due to a drop in Chinese arrivals and MICE interests, the vital stats of Bali's tourism is looking healthy as it maintains its position as one of Asia's top resort destinations with over 3.5 million visitors to the island as of 1 Aug 2019.
The visage of a perfect day at Alila Villas Uluwatu's 3-bedroom villa
A die-hard favourite of resort combers everywhere, Bali's long picturesque coastlines and verdant interior effuse with natural charms and a great exotic culture which have always enabled the destination to bounce back from calamities suffered in the past.
Grand service from The Apurva Kempinski begins with pick up at the airport
A repository of the region's best luxury resorts, Bali is expected to produce a leading crop of finalists on our impending LCO Asia Top 100 Hotels and Resorts. Here is a concise report on seven of Bali's finest resorts that span from stunning cliffs to sacred jungles that continually deliver hospitality magic on a landscape renowned for its enchanting beauty.
Alila Villas Uluwatu
One of Bali's most stunning properties, Alila Villas Uluwatu is renowned for its epiphany inducing views of the ocean afforded from its cliff perch in Uluwatu. Few can resist the the resort's edgy yet refined architectural style rendered by WOHA and even fewer will be unmoved by the breathtaking oceanic expanse that greets one upon arrival. The villas here are all plushly decked and point towards that million dollar view. There are plenty of culinary options here, both casual and fine dining, and the romantic milieu apres sunset provides strong persuasion for guests to stay in. And if one happens to be holed up in one of the property's singular 3-bedroom villa replete with lap pool, a massage room and a personal butler, the desire to be villa-bound for the entire duration of the stay becomes exponentially higher.
The Slow Canggu
Canggu is one of Bali's emerging hipster neighborhood and lining its quaint streets are pubs, bars, restaurants and the island's latest boutique sensation The Slow. Carved out of a street-front unit amidst nondescript residential and retail blocks, this 12 keys resort is surprisingly cloistered in seclusion with amply sized rooms and suites designed with minimalist chic in mind. Conceived to be antipodal to all that is rigid and classical, there is an electric, communal vibe that emanates from its boisterous bar and restaurant to its rooftop space that sometimes hosts movie nights for all and sundry.
Hotel Indigo Seminyak
One of Bali's most high profile openings in recent times, Hotel Indigo Seminyak has scored a grand triumph on the conceptual front, from its alluringly eclectic lobby to the whimsical design accents in its rooms and suites that channel the spirit of the local neighbourhood. Overblown and under-delivered in other Indigo manifestations in the region, Bali's beautiful property has ticks in all the right boxes, from charming friendly service to a lively vibe in all its FnB outlets, especially Sugarsand, an Italian-run beachfront joint that is both inviting and exclusive. The villas here are some of Bali's plushest, and a great aesthetic respite for one who has over-binged on bombastic classical extravagance or boring bone-bare minimalism so abundantly injected into too many villas on the island.
The Apurva Kempinski Bali
Bali's luxury hotel du jour, The Apurva Kempinski has been boasting impressive occupancy rates since it swung its massive gates open in February this year. In a way the opening of this gargantuan 475 keys property that harbours 6 restaurants and bars and no less than 5 swimming pools, signals optimism for the tourism sector of Bali. This is also a shiny testament to the old but true adage 'if you build it they will come'. The luxurious junior suites, all appointed with a sunken pool in a balcony that points towards the sea, are the accommodations of choice here if you crave intimacy with a soupcon of fun. Koral serves seafood and spirited cocktails under the illumination of a massive aquarium and Izakaya by OKU is where you want to be for modern Japanese fares that are inventive yet familiar.
Four Seasons Sayan
Once the world's most sensational resort, Four Seasons Sayan still indulges the senses with its outrageous conception that melds verdant Balinese padi fields with dramatic out-of-this-world architecture. The property looks timeless, well most of it at least, and the villas here are still some of the Bali's most sumptuous crowned with a lotus pavilion, expansive jungle/river views and muted but rich furnishings. Service here still strives to be the best on the island, although these days that is an aspiration that would prove daunting even to the most established of giants.
One of Ubud's most alluring visage is anchored at the Alila Ubud, the erstwhile Chedi and mandatory check-in address of sophisticated earth-huggers who'd ventured here for the property's rustic ambience and that definitive infinity pool view that pretty much sums up the magic of Bali's verdant interior. Much has been stupendously maintained over the decade past and today this property is still as popular as it was with its inspired views, elegant accommodations and highly commendable service.
The Hanging Gardens of Ubud
From its high station amidst Ubud's verdant canopy, The Hanging Gardens of Ubud lives up to its name with villas perched on a lush, dense slope leading down to the sacred Ayung river. The private pool in each villa are all imbued with a view, the most prized being that of the panoramic villas that stares right across the stunning valley set with the mysterious temple (illuminated every night no less) that channels a certain Indiana Jones vibe. The restaurant here is a truly hidden gem - think flavoursome pork ribs that melt off the bones and the most innocuous looking but oh-so-addictive roast chicken many highly lauded restaurants could not scare up. Factoring in the ravishing view and the wonderful service that is elegant yet homely, we are very persuaded to pronounce Three Elements Restaurant the reigning table of Bali's epicurean scene.