The Indonesian island continues to serve up luxury in spades, with some of the most exclusive abodes perched on dramatic cliffs or nestled in lush rainforests. Below, private sanctuaries for those in the know.
Bulgari Resort Bali
Sited on the southwestern tip of Bali, Bulgari's luxe Indonesian outpost is perched on a promontory 160 metres above sea level, with each of the 59 villas offering up pristine views of the Indian Ocean. Book ahead for the 1,300 square metre Bulgari Villa, which includes two bedrooms, a private cinema, spa treatment room, and a spacious private terrace well suited for private events. While the design of the resort is an elegant marriage of traditional Balinese style and contemporary Italian sensibilities, the celebration of Indonesia's art and artisans is what's truly impressive. The woodcarvings and statues dotting the resort landscape reflect the rich heritage of craftsmen across the Indonesian archipelago. A 36-seater Italian restaurant Il Ristorante Luca Fantin (the first overseas outpost of its Michelin-starred flagship in Tokyo) offers modern interpretations of classic Italian cuisine, backed with a 200-strong wine list from Italy’s top producers. There's also a delightfully secluded private beach—accessible via the resort's inclined elevator—touched with nothing more than a few deck chairs. But no one’s roughing it out here – not with cold towels at your disposal and a full-fledged bar menu to call upon as the sun sets.
The thrill of glamping might be sizzling out, but the newly opened Capella Ubud is giving us good reason to play Crusoe again. Sited in the lush heart of Ubud, each of the 22 ultra luxe one-bedroom tents is fitted with a private salt water pool, indoor and outdoor bathrooms and large outdoor decks. There’s also a two-bedroom lodge which commands twin views of the rainforest and Keliki valley below. Leave it to your personal butler to arrange for treatments at the award-winning Auriga Wellness spa or kick things up a notch with a fitness programme that takes full advantage of the forested backdrop with cross-country mountain bike trails, jungle boot camps, and exploratory walks. Come evening, gather around the campfire with hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows as a storyteller recounts tales from Bali’s storied past.
This villa-only property marks the first overseas outpost for Japanese hospitality company Hoshinoya Resorts, which operates over 35 properties in Japan. Sited in Ubud, with a view of the Pakerisan river, the resort sees 30 one- and two-storey villas laid out in the style of a traditional Bainese village. Elevated gazebos set amidst Ubud’s thick canopy serve as private perches from which guests can observe nature from the comfort of plush sofas. Dinners here are a nine-course affair. Crafted by executive chef Junichi Sakamaki, the restaurant serves up dishes that fuse Japanese cooking techniques with local Indonesian ingredients and spices.
Photo courtesy of Hoshinoya Bali
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
One of three Ritz-Carlton Reserves in the world, this Ubud outpost styles itself as a sanctuary for the mind and body, drawing on Bali’s spiritual heart to set the tone for the journey. The wellness programme for each guests differs and a tailored itinerary might see one holding asanas (yoga poses) on a platform overlooking the river or embarking on activities revolving around the Balinese lunar calendar. Guests can also retreat to their one-, two- or three-bedroom villa, ranging from 430 to 2,000 square metres. Those travelling with children in tow can leave them at the Mandapa Camp, which will keep the little ones busy with nature-based educational activities.
Untouched by the masses of tourists thronging Seminyak and Sanur, East Bali, with its verdant forests and black sand beaches, runs on a different rhythm. Backdropped by the sacred Mount Agung, Amankila has carved its own quiet sanctuary right here, occupying an enviable cliffside position overlooking the Lombok Strait. 33 breezy suites, raised on stilts, take full advantage of the commanding views. Diving and snorkelling sites dot the waters around Amankila while the resort’s traditional jukung-style Balinese outriggers are available for charter. Those seeking to pick up traditional textiles and woodwork will find artisan villages nearby.