The best boutique hotels in Bali, from industrial-chic hideaways to antique joglo houses
These are unusual times, and the state of affairs can change quickly. Please check the latest travel guidance before making your journey. Our writers visited these hotels pre-pandemic.
With so many boutique hotels tucked into the jungled sides of valleys, on the fringes of beaches, perched atop dramatic cliffs, or surrounded by picturesque paddies, rooms with spectacular views have become synonymous with a holiday in Bali. Often, these views are framed by alluring private suites that have been carefully designed to make the most of the warm tropical climate, and that are individually decorated with handcrafted furniture and fabrics that help to create an unmistakable sense of place. Visitors are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to unique properties – here’s our pick of the best boutique hotels in Bali, featuring the top places to stay for easy luxury, stylish villas, shady pools, exquisite food and glamorous spas, in locations including Ubud, Seminyak and Canggu.
This intimate boutique hotel is designed by Dutch-Spanish duo Yvonne Hulst and Alberto Cortes who also have The Giri Residence in Ibiza and Ryad Dyor in Marrakech. The Balinese proudly celebrate their age-old culture and traditions, and thanks to the owners’ excellent taste in art, The Purist is alive with carvings and sculptures at every turn. Materials are locally sourced with hunks of petrified wood on stands and lampshades fashioned from chicken coops, with artefacts such as inscribed stone from Timor and lanterns from Java among the treasures from around the country. The spacious stone-floored bedrooms in soothing neutral and natural shades are very chic.
Despite being next door to one of Bali’s most-loved beach clubs (complimentary daybeds for Katamama guests) and near the chic boutiques of Seminyak, you could spend your whole holiday in this hotel. It certainly isn’t afraid to make a statement; the bold, geometric architecture is complemented by handcrafted Indonesian textiles and mid-century-style furniture, which are all emphasised by sleek surfaces, tropical plants and deliberate lighting. “Welcome home” is the greeting guests always receive, and staff expertly combine genuine warmth with impeccable service. There is a pool bar, restaurant, well-equipped gym and very small spa.
High fashion meets laid-back surf culture at The Slow, from the decorative accents and the 1970s beach beats that play throughout the property, to the meticulous design that has gone into every touch point. Owner George Gorrow, a former fashion designer, turned his hand to interiors for this project to beautiful effect; everything from the furniture to the crockery was designed especially. The work of artists and photographers that Gorrow has partnered with over the years (including Chris Searl) hangs on the walls, and the restaurant is industrial-chic with smooth concrete flooring, Scandi-style dining tables and tropical flora hanging in terracotta pots. It’s perfectly pitched for the vibe in Canggu, Bali’s boho beach town.
This beautiful retreat on the banks of the sacred Ayung River is everything you dream about for a wellness holiday in Bali. From a beautiful organic-shape bamboo restaurant serving delicious vegan food (no alcohol), and a spa offering massages and cleansing treatments, to open-air stonewall bathrooms, and breezy yoga spaces, a healing pool, beauty sanctuary and laboratory (where traditional homemade treatments are created). What’s more, Fivelements is a family-friendly resort, with a special children’s menu, treatments for kids at the spa (including chocolate body treatments), and wide spaces in which they can play. The staff, carefully chosen for their healing and wellness skills, are exceptionally discreet and treat guests like royalty.
On the southern edge of Ubud’s popular Monkey Forest, this lovely, quiet place is packed with personality – thanks to the owners who wanted to create a place that they’d like to holiday in. As the name suggests it’s very bohemian in style: bright colours and patterns dominate the rooms, two of which are antique joglo houses from Java and all of which have a bamboo-railed veranda space, and traditional alang-alang thatching. All of the art and murals on the property have been painted by Balinese artists, and the huts surround a lush garden and organic-shaped pool. The restaurant is adjacent to the hotel section of the property, and hosts open-mic nights, poetry readings, live music events and also showcases the work of local artists.
A magical escape from the world that so many travellers dream of – one of those tropical hideaway homes you’ve likely seen on pages of glossy interior magazines. The owners, a creative and free-spirited family, live on the property and their charm and charisma, as well as that of the staff, ripples through to make Stone House more a feeling than simply a place. Six carefully designed villas are dotted around a jungle-style garden and gorgeous pool, and though each is individually decorated, they offer canopied beds, outdoor bathrooms, rich Indonesian textiles, intricately carved benches (generations old), and bold copper fittings. Meals prepared in the living area, with an open kitchen, dining table and comfy couches, are made predominantly with fresh, local ingredients.
With lots of local stone and hardwoods, immaculately chosen Balinese art, and breezy, aesthetically pleasing open spaces, this Ubud oasis looks and feels like one big, tasteful art gallery. It helps if you like elephants – its founder, Hendra Hadiprana, clearly did, with images carved into many of the sculpted stones dotted around the verdant grounds. Service is superb and things will be done before you even realise you need them. A number of experiences are on offer, from hot air balloon rides and painting classes, to visits to local galleries and guided walks, while the spa offers myriad massages and beauty treatments. All meals are served at Tanah Gajah’s restaurant: expect international comfort food, boat-fresh seafood and perfectly spiced dishes.
This sustainable, eco-chic resort overlooking one of Bali’s best surfing beaches lives up to its Sanskrit name, Suarga, which translates as ‘paradise’. Independently owned and intimate, it was created by a Belgian couple who wanted to give discerning travellers an experience that is utterly boutique and authentically eco. As a result, soaring bamboo architecture, sculptural thatched roofs and sophisticated, art-filled interiors combine with professional service, sun-kissed swims and a treatment room to offer just that. The 36 rooms, pavilions and villas promise guilt-free comfort with four-poster beds and semi open-air bathrooms and, as one might expect, the ingredients used at Dugong Restaurant are all painstakingly locally sourced.
This playfully imagined tented retreat is the only luxury hotel in the Keliki Valley, a beautiful patchwork of stone-built homes and lush green rice paddies. Designer-du-jour Bill Bensley’s vintage stamp works brilliantly here; the 22 one-bedroom tented retreats and a single two-bedroom lodge are either ensconced in the rainforest or overhanging the sacred River Wos, and each has a large private deck and salt-water plunge pool. Interiors are stuffed with fascinating features – dimpled teak floors, ornate woodwork, local textiles – and there are two beautifully decorated open-air restaurants where excellent breakfasts and tasting menus are served. Activities include complimentary yoga, a spa, sunrise volcano climbs, visits to ancient temples and helicopter trips.
Hotel Tugu is a welcome dose of whimsy on Bali’s south-west coast. Crammed with Indonesian and Chinese curios, the weird and wonderful antiques and oversized sculptures at this family-friendly hotel have been painstakingly collected by the art-loving family who own and run it. Follow the artful pebble-decorated paths through the leafy flower-filled garden and you’ll see an impressive big cobalt-blue pool as well as water features teeming with koi. Choose between private plunge pools and round sunken baths when picking from the 21 creaky, entirely atmospheric Javanese timber houses. Nothing is humdrum about the dining at Tugu either, from Indonesian dinner dances and a Japanese wine bar, to complimentary high tea and barbecues on the beach.