Set in the Indian Ocean, Bali is just a short ferry ride from the neighbouring giant of Java. But this Hindu-majority island couldn’t be more different.
The Balinese aesthetic practically runs through the veins of this intriguing land. Its beautiful temples boast unique architecture, its restaurants attract millennials with their shareable interiors, and its wellness retreats induce relaxation as soon as you step through the door.
Famed for everything from its surfing and beaches, to its vibrant nightlife and impossibly chic design, there’s a lot on offer in Bali for any visitor. You can practice yoga in untouristed villages by the sea, catch waves in the bustling beachfront bastions of the southwest, or unwind in rice paddy paradise in its hilly interior.
Map of the best places to stay in Bali
Wherever you choose to stay, getting around isn’t too difficult – it’s just a matter of a reasonable taxi ride or renting your own wheels to get from one hotspot to another. Staying in Bali couldn’t be easier. Thanks to the world’s long-term love affair with the island which started as early as the 1930s, there are plenty of places to lay your head at night, from unfussy shacks to the utmost in sumptuous sleeping arrangements.
Already a famed backpacking-cum-hippie destination before Eat, Pray, Love turned it into a magnet for anybody on a soul-searching mission, Ubud lies in the center of Bali. There are no beaches here: it’s all mountain views, jungle escapes and the luminous green of rice paddies.
The upland town of Ubud itself, more a cluster of villages, offers up a whole lot of cafes, bars, craft shops and restaurants to choose from. Staying here is as good for backpackers, with its hostels and affordable homestays, as it is for those looking for a private paradise – think rainforest treehouses and villas in rice paddies.
And of course you’ll have the macaque-filled Ubud Monkey Temple to visit at your leisure if you stay nearby.
Where to Stay in Ubud
- Alaya Resort Ubud – Nestled next to rice paddies and situated in manicured gardens, this is definitely a beautiful place to relax. There’s a swimming pool and fitness center to keep you active, but there’s also a restaurant and bar with live music in the evenings. When it comes to the rooms, these are sublimely Balinese, with delicate details and terraces that open out onto nature. In terms of location, this delicious 5-star offering is very close to Ubud Monkey Forest and within walking distance of Ubud Market.
- Ulun Ubud Resort – Set amidst luscious tropical greenery overlooking the Tjampuhan River, this resort offers a relaxing retreat. The ambient bedrooms feature four-poster beds, balconies, and neutral color schemes – some even have direct access to a swimming pool. There’s a restaurant on site that serves up Indonesian specialties, as well as a lounge bar and library. Elsewhere, there’s a spa and wellness center to really unwind and let all your troubles slip away. Located in Sanggan Village, it’s easy to get into the center of Ubud from here; the hotel provides a free shuttle service.
- Pajar House Ubud & Villas – Pajar House Ubud & Villas offers a selection of rooms and villas to suit different guests’ needs, all of which are decorated with high rattan ceilings, white tiled floors, and four-poster beds. Some of these even come with outdoor bathrooms to really feel at one with nature! This 3-star offering boasts its own landscaped gardens where guests will find an outdoor swimming pool. To get out and explore the surrounding area, or for dinner at nearby restaurants, the hotel provides free bike rentals. The Ubud Botanic Gardens is just two kilometers away, for instance, but the hotel also provides a free shuttle bus to Ubud.
Stylish Seminyak is a little bit of an antidote to the party paradise of Legian and the city atmosphere of Kuta. This upscale town is home to upscale offerings in terms of eating, drinking and accommodation to match. Staying here means luxury villas and beautifully designed hotels.
Popular with expats, as well as tourists with a taste for the finer things, it’s in Seminyak where you’ll find Instagrammable cafes, restaurants with interiors to wow and spas for relaxing treatments from manicures to massages.
The stretch of coastline here is dominated by the popular Double Six Beach, where you can rent yourself an umbrella, pull up a beanbag, and relax in the ambiance of Balearic beats blaring from one of the many beachside restaurants and bars here.
Where to Stay in Seminyak
- W Bali – Serving up a slice of high-end luxury, this truly 5-star hotel should provide everything you need to make your stay in Bali unforgettable. W Bali is set in a huge, sprawling complex which comes complete with a beautiful pool area set right next to Seminyak Beach itself, a restaurant with a wide selection of food, as well as a late night cocktail bar. The rooms here are spacious and modern; they’re all about gleaming interiors and outdoor terraces. Private villas come with their own private pools, too! Here, all of Seminyak’s chic eateries and bars are on the doorstep.
- The Haven Bali – Decorated in light, neutral colors, soft greys, and natural wood, The Haven Bali lives up to its name and provides stylish, comfortable rooms. Some of the rooms come with their own kitchen, lounge and private pool for that extra, “living the dream” feeling. There’s a chic communal pool to play in, plus an onsite spa to relax in. The restaurant at this 4-star hotel serves a selection of organic dishes, whilst the bar provides drinks (of course) as well as Italian cuisine. Seminyak Square shopping mall is close by, as is Legian Art Market.
- Grandmas Plus Hotel – A fun, modern and fashionable hotel, the interiors at Grandmas Plus Hotel are minimal with punches of fun color and interesting artwork. There’s a vibrant bar area which puts on live music performances for fun in the evenings. For a more relaxing daytime, there’s also a spa and an outdoor pool. You’ll find a restaurant on site for good food and sunset cocktails. There are various cultural activities put on by the hotel, such as yoga and cooking classes. Staying here also means being just a stone’s throw from the famous Seminyak Beach itself.
For a simultaneously laid-back yet hectic city-by-the-sea feeling, stay in Kuta. This was one of the first places in Bali where the tourist scene first kicked off, and as such is filled with all the amenities you could ever want.
From high-end restaurants and local food, to private villas and decidedly budget accommodation, you’ll find it all in Kuta. There’s also great shopping to be had here if you feel like buying up your own slice of Balinese design.
It’s particularly popular for surfing, owing to the consistent waves at its beaches. Even if you’re not a pro and you want to try your hand at surfing, you’ll be able to have a go here thanks to the many places offering board rental and lessons.
For bustling nightlife, the nearby area of Legian is an easy walk from Kuta.
Where to Stay in Kuta
- The Patra Bali Resort – Set on the sands of South Kuta Beach, this luxury resort boasts a large lagoon pool and a coffee shop which serves up meals. You’ll also find tennis courts – all set in sprawling, grassy grounds strewn with luscious greenery. The rooms come in various shapes and sizes but are all spacious and decorated in dark wood with balconies that open out onto the tropical surroundings. There’s a kids club here, as well as plenty of activities to enjoy, such as water polo and cooking lessons.
- Amnaya Resort Kuta The rooms at big Amnaya Resort are decorated with subtle touches, polished tiled floors, plush furnishings, and come with large beds and floor to ceiling windows that let in plenty of natural light. All of it is done in a sleek yet rustic style. There’s a relaxing outdoor pool, as well as a hotel restaurant that serves up a comprehensive range of food for breakfast – and evening meals too, of course. Close to Discovery Shopping Mall and Waterbom Bali, there’s plenty to do just on the doorstep.
- Cara Cara Inn – A fun and funky place to stay, Cara Cara Inn is a high-end hostel set inside a beautiful Balinese villa. Days here can be spent splashing around in the pool, hanging out and making friends in the hostel lounge, or soaking up some sun on the roof terrace. Private rooms here are all polished concrete, whilst dorms feature custom-made, pod-style beds. Perfect for a budget stay on Bali, the location of this 3-star offering is near Kuta Square, plus only a few minutes from Kuta Art Market to pick up some souvenirs Kuta Art Market.
North of Seminyak is the more chilled but still quite cool area of Canggu. Wholefood cafes and hipster-friendly bars dot this area, as do multicolored beachside offerings that make spending a day at the beach almost too easy in this artsy, creative sliver of Bali.
As with many places in Bali, Canggu is a great spot to hit the surf. You can do so at one of its beaches, some of which are unusual in that they feature black sand. Along the coastline to the north is the magical Tanah Lot, a Balinese temple set on a rocky island out at sea.
Staying here won’t break the bank, thanks to a number of affordable but stylish hotels; more lavish options, for a little more money, are also part of the scenery here.
Where to Stay in Canggu
- The Haven Suites – A delightful mix of modern minimalism and traditional Balinese style, each room at The Haven Suites is decorated with wood details, high ceilings, patterned tiled floors, and sultry lighting. This hotel is decidedly design led – think large glass windows, exposed brick, and concrete. There’s a large outdoor pool here, plus a kids’ pool. Guests can dine in the hotel restaurant, or you could hire a bike and pedal to any number of places to eat nearby. Alternatively, just hit the surf or soak up some rays on Berawa Beach just next door.
The balance that Sanur seems to have achieved between being a resort town, and yet remaining laid-back, beautiful and authentic, is the reason why it’s so popular. Set on the southeastern side of the island, past the capital of Denpasar, it feels decidedly different – more mature and less lively – than the west side of the isthmus.
There’s no shortage of big hotels in Sanur, making it a good option for a family trip. The relative proximity to the airport also helps in terms of convenience. There are laid-back, more mature amenities to enjoy here: a sandy stretch of beach lined with traditional fishing boats, a picturesque coastal cycling path, and tree-lined roads filled with shops and quality restaurants.
Here you’ll find the stunning Blanjong Temple, incredibly crafted from coral. It also features 10th-century inscriptions that are of historical importance to Bali, and picturesque lotus ponds.
Where to Stay in Sanur
- Puri Santrian – Set right on the sands of Sanur Beach, staying here is all about reclining on luxury loungers under palm trees with a view of the sea and not a care in the world. The rooms at Puri Santrian are elegant and traditional, with rattan furnishings mixed with crisp linens and gleaming, tiled floors. The whole resort is beautiful. There are various pools to enjoy, luxury Balinese massages to experience, two restaurants, yoga classes, and even a library to browse, amongst other things. In terms of location, Denpasar is a 15-minute drive away.
- Peneeda View Beach Hotel – Staying here, you can either choose to stay in a cottage, a bungalow or a spacious family suite – the choice is yours. The decor at Peneeda View Beach Hotel is all about dark wood and simple style mixed with traditional touches There’s a restaurant serving local Balinese cuisine; in the evenings, the bar provides live entertainment. During the day, stroll along Sanur Beach itself or simply take a dip in one of the four outdoor pools on offer.
South of Bali’s airport and the city atmosphere of Kuta head to Jimbaran on the Bukit Peninsula if you want a more laid-back beach destination. Still retaining some of its fishing village feel, Jimbaran is home to several beaches, dramatic cliffs and great seafood restaurants.
Despite the almost quaint village feel, there are quite a few luxury hotel offerings to choose from in Jimbaran, which makes sense given the proximity to the airport, and the way it’s neatly set away from Bali’s southeastern action in Kuta and Legian.
Surfing is the order of the day here. The long crescent of white sand boasts a decent surf that’s great for grabbing a board and giving it a go yourself. Otherwise, relaxing on the sand and enjoying the paradise vibes of the place is all you need to do in Jimbaran.
Where to Stay in Jimbaran
- Keraton Jimbaran Resort – You can get up to a lot at this high-end resort, from candlelit beachside dinners and swimming in the outdoor pool to games of beach volleyball. There are three different restaurants to choose from onsite, so you’ll never be stuck for food. There’s a pool as well, but the private villas here boast their own private pools. Keraton Jimbaran Resort is all about its rustic, ornate carved wood furniture in light, bright rooms boasting modern bathrooms; each also comes with a private balcony or terrace.
Well away from the lively and touristed districts of Bali further north, Uluwatu is a refreshing breath of fresh air on the island’s Bukit Peninsula.
Hotels in Uluwatu match the atmosphere. They range from a few casual offerings to more upscale cliffside retreats, with luxury touches like infinity pools, all wrapped up with a bow of Balinese aesthetics.
Staying here means being conveniently close to the airport, though still far away enough from it (and the busier areas of the island) that it feels like an actual getaway.
On the extreme southwest of the peninsula there’s the stunning Uluwatu Temple, a serene and dramatic clifftop religious site where you can watch the enigmatic kecak dance and be mesmerised by incredible sunsets.
Where to Stay in Uluwatu
- Suarga Padang Padang – Even though this hotel offers beautifully rustic beach-hut style rooms, as well as even more high-end spacious rooms with tiled rooms, it’s all about the views at Suarga Padang Padang. Set up high on the cliffs, the sea views are naturally stunning from this 5-star hotel. The hotel itself blends seamlessly with the surrounding natural environment and has been built almost entirely of recycled wood and bamboo. You can swim in one of the outdoor pools, hit the surf at Padang Padang Beach, or take one of the hotel bicycles and cycle just a short way to the breathtaking Uluwatu Temple.
- PinkCoco Bali – Kitsch and cute, PinkCoco Bali boasts rooms with whitewashed walls, polished concrete floors and – of course – splashes of bold pink throughout. Some of the rooms at this 3-star offering come with their own private balcony, so guests can unwind in the tranquil environment. Just a five minute walk away from Padang Padang Beach, it’s a relaxing place to stay, with three outdoor pools surrounded by sun loungers. There’s also an onsite restaurant serving up a mix of Italian cuisine and sushi.
A stone’s throw north from the tourist centre of Kuta, Legian is the place to go if you want to party. You’ll find a lot of bars and clubs on the busy Jalan Legian itself, but there’s plenty of opportunity to chill out after a late night, thanks to its beachfront location.
Staying in Legian is a great idea if you want to be close to all the action. A lot of places to stay here are situated right on the beach itself, but there are plenty of inland apartments and villas. If you fancy a more deluxe option, there are some high-end offerings in this area, too.
Shopping is great here, and opportunities abound to pick up a bargain. And then when the sun sets, head to the beach for a famous Bali sundowner before you barhop around Legian’s lively drinking holes.
Where to Stay in Legian
- Pullman Bali Legian Beach – Sat right on Kuta Beach itself, this chic hotel is the place to stay if you’re looking for luxury. Boasting all the services you’d expect of a 5-star hotel, such as two lagoon pools, a rooftop infinity pool, three bars, a restaurant, as well as a fantastic spa and fitness center, you won’t need to leave this branch of Pullman. Legian Art Market and Beachwalk Shopping Mall are both, however, in walking distance. Decor in the rooms is simple and stylish, with dark wooden floors, large beds, and spacious bathrooms – these also come with amazing beach views, too.
- The Akmani Legian – The Akmani Legian is just five minutes from Kuta Beach and is set in grounds that are overflowing with luscious plants and tropical flowers. This 4-star hotel features a rooftop bar and lounge where you can sip on sunset cocktails, plus a restaurant that serves up a selection of different cuisines. Each of the rooms has been decorated in a simple, subtle color palette and accented with wooden details. All the nightlife and daytime shopping of the area are a stone’s throw away, including everything from Legian Art Market to Hard Rock Cafe.
Nusa Lembongan[SEE MAP]
Situated off the coast of the larger Nusa Penida, and close to the neighboring (and smaller) Nusa Ceningan, the renowned Nusa Lembongan feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the Balinese mainland.
Previously only the domain of unfussy surfers, this island is gradually becoming one of Bali’s go-to retreats. With that in mind you’ll be spoilt for choice for cheap accommodation, great news for anyone on a shoestring budget. But there are more than a few deluxe offerings, too.
Exploring the island with the power of your own feet is the thing to do here, as easy paths edge and crisscross this island. It boasts beautiful beaches and turquoise seas, charming glimpses of local life, otherworldly coastal views. And all just 30 minutes from Bali by boat.
Where to Stay in Nusa Lembongan
- The Palm Grove Villas – The mix of modern decor and traditional wooden details, plus color pops and minimal style, is the name of the game in the rooms at The Palm Grove Villas. These are set in lush, green gardens – a calm oasis that features two outdoor swimming pools as well as a spa and fitness center for work-outs and unwinding. There’s a charming resort restaurant that serves up different dishes throughout the day. The hotel offers bicycle hire, so you can pedal around exploring the area. Closer to home, Mushroom Beach and all its great dining spots are mere paces away.
- Koji Garden Huts – Providing bungalows with thatched rooves, Koji Garden Huts offers the chance to stay in traditional Balinese accommodation. The bathrooms in the huts are modern and tiled, but also come with outdoor rain showers! Each room features its own veranda that looks out onto the garden, plus there’s an outdoor swimming pool so you can cool off with a dip when the heat gets too much. Great for beach lovers, this 3-star offering is right on Tamarind Beach, but is also very close to Mushroom Beach.
Nusa Dua[SEE MAP]
On the eastern side of Bali’s Bukit Peninsula is Nusa Dua, an enclave of lavish 5-star resorts, an 18-hole golf course and a whole lot of beautiful beach to luxuriate on. The seas are calm here so it’s less about surfing and more about paddling and swimming.
Away from Geger beach itself is Geger Temple, perfect if you’re interested in Balinese culture. The intricate carvings of the stone on the forested outcrop into the sea gives it a timeworn, almost mystical feeling.
To the north is the peninsula of Tanjung Benoa, where you’ll find cheaper accommodation as well as the village of Benoa itself. This has been developed significantly and comes with activity options to match the influx of visitors, with watersports being but one way to spend your time.
Where to Stay in Nusa Dua
- INAYA Putri Bali – This is a super sleek and polished upscale hotel that will provide all the comfort and relaxation you’ll need for your stay in Bali. The rooms here are all about Balinese aesthetics combined with contemporary design. There are numerous outdoor pools situated in its 9.1 hectares of grassy grounds, plus a choice of three restaurants as well as a cocktail lounge and beach bar. Perfect for couples and families looking for a decidedly 5-star option on the beach, INAYA Putri Bali is situated along the seafront at Nusa Dua, but there are other beaches to explore in the area.
- Ayodya Resort Bali – Another upscale, luxury offering, Ayodya Resort Bali is spread along 300 meters of private beach and boasts an enormous outdoor pool set in immaculate gardens. The buildings here are traditionally Balinese – and so are the interiors. Spacious rooms boast large beds, parquet floors, and a lot of understated wooden details. Even the dining areas here are about mixing classic modernism with Balinese aesthetics – grand and exotic. This hotel is also close to the Bali Collection Shopping Centre, which is less than a kilometer away.
Looking for an area of Bali that still feels properly authentic? Look no further than Amed. Actually a collection of fishing villages in East Bali spread along the northern coast, this place oozes traditional, out-of-the-way charm.
Staying here is cheap and backpacker-friendly since the tourist crowds have yet to make a significant impact on this area. The roads were only tarmacked here as recently as 2000, although you will find development and hotels in the scenic area of Candidasa. But what they’re missing out on is some incredible scuba diving, as well as chances to centre yourself with a spot of yoga.
Before it becomes a world of boutiques and juice cafes, visit Amed and enjoy its secluded feeling, and marvel at the views of Mount Agung in the distance.
Where to Stay in Amed
- Oasis – An affordable option for a trip to Bali, the French-run Oasis is set in tropical gardens with an outdoor swimming pool and lots of space to unwind and relax – like a veritable oasis, true to its name. Although simple, the rooms are clean and contemporary, with white tiled floors, crisp linen, and rustic, stone-clad bathrooms. There’s a delicious breakfast served every day too. Location-wise, this 3-star offering is set opposite Amed Beach, plus the Amed Ferry Terminal is not far away.
Nusa Penida[SEE MAP]
A small island off the southeastern shores of Bali, Nusa Penida is a getaway from a getaway. The unspoiled nature on this beautiful gem of an island might give you an idea of what Bali might have been like a long time ago before the tourists arrived en masse. It’s a veritable paradise.
Hiking is particularly good in the hilly landscape. Great trails and some amazing cliffsides reward intrepid walkers with panoramic sea views. The coast itself, featuring stunning hidden coves and glowing turquoise lagoons, is something you really need to explore here. The neighboring islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are easy to discover, too.
Staying on Nusa Penida is easy, with tons of affordable options, mainly in the north. These come in the form of hotels, homestays and bungalows, some of which incorporate that beautiful Balinese style.
Where to Stay in Nusa Penida
- Coco Resort Penida – There are some truly stylish bungalows on offer at Coco Resort Penida. Think rattan walls, traditional hardwood furniture, low but comfortable beds, and terraces that either look out onto the garden or the swimming pool. As well as Balinese treatments and massage services at the spa, there’s an open-air restaurant and bar for guests to enjoy. Crystal Bay Beach is just a three-minute drive away from this resort; guests can hire bikes and even cars from the hotel, too.