Bali is back on the map for UK visitors, but where should you send them? Whether it’s spa treatments, golf, fine dining or pure relaxation on the agenda, the island has something to suit.
Where: Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa, the vanguard hotel of an exclusive resort 15 minutes’ drive south of the airport.
Why: This was the first five-star hotel in Nusa Dua and to date remains one of the best. It was voted sixth top Asian resort in the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards 2004 and continues to rake in the accolades. The hotel is large and luxurious, spread across nine acres of lush tropical gardens stretching down to 150 metres of white sandy beach.
The 381 rooms combine Indonesian hardwood and rich textiles with the latest modern facilities and have views across landscaped gardens or the Indian Ocean.
The spa occupies a whole wing, and both male and female areas have a sauna and steam room plus treatment areas. Between the beach and lagoon swimming pool there are five on-site restaurants ranging from intimate candlelit beach-side tables to modern Asian and Balinese cuisine.
How: Travel 2 offers seven nights at the five-star Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa from £612 per person including return flights, room-only, in May.
Where:Maya Ubud Resort and Spa, outside the characterful town of Ubud. The resort overlooks a river valley in the centre of the island.
Why: This new five-star hotel is built on a hillside deep in Bali’s inland rainforest. Accommodation is in sumptuous private villas each with their own swimming pool or garden and views of rice terraces or the rainforest. The cuisine is a fusion of modern Asian and traditional Balinese. Dramatic floor-to-ceiling doorways open up the dining areas to the surrounding rainforest.
Clients looking for first-class pampering in a totally natural environment will love the hotel spa, accessed via a lift that plunges down into the rock and emerges at river level. The signature treatment is a soak in a petal-filled bath that hangs over the river – guests are soothed by the sounds of flowing water and the jungle. Ubud is just minutes away, but the hotel atmosphere is one of total isolation.
How: Hayes and Jarvis offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast in a superior room at the Maya Ubud Resort and Spa from £999 per person including return flights and transfers in May.
Where: On a hillside overlooking Jimbaran Bay – one of the best beaches in Bali
Why: Stylish Karma Jimburan offers privacy and luxury in the centre of one of Bali’s most sought-after resorts. Accommodation is in 37 one, two, three and four-bed villas, each with a private swimming pool, or in the staggering Grand Residence. The tasteful villas are peaceful and decorated with local teaks, Balinese artwork and cool, simple colours. Each has a fully fitted kitchen, pavilion lounge, dining and pool areas, and is fully serviced.
Clients can stay in touch with the world through satellite television and broadband Internet access, which comes as standard in every villa.
Restaurant dishes combine Balinese specialities with imported international ingredients. If guests can tear themselves away from the seclusion of their villas, the hotel organises excursions ranging from sunset cocktails on the cliffs of Uluwatu to a helicopter ride to meet a Balinese high priest at his home.
How: ITC Classics offers seven nights in a one-bedroom villa at the Karma Jimburan from £2,662 per person room-only, including flights and transfers in May.
Where: The Ritz-Carlton Resort and Spa, on the beachfront in Jimbaran Bay
Why: This classic and immense hotel sits on a steep incline with dramatic views of the Indian Ocean. With 375 guest rooms and suites plus 13 restaurants and lounges, there really is space and choice enough for any discerning client. But for those looking to really push the boat out, the hotel’s 38 new Cliff Villas offer some of the most luxurious and stylish accommodation on the island.
Each ocean-view villa has one bedroom (although they can be interconnected), its own infinity pool and garden. Cliff Villa guests enjoy a separate reception for check-in and a boutique shopping gallery. Guests can enjoy total tranquillity with access to a 24-hour butler service and golf-buggy transport to the main hotel.
Guests in search of pampering need look no further than the onsite spa, which claims to have the largest Aquatonic seawater therapy pool in the world. Meditation pavilions, treatment rooms, whirlpools, plunge pools and a range of beauty treatments complete the experience.
How: Kuoni Travel offers seven nights in a Cliff Villa at the Ritz-Carlton, Jimbaran Bay, from £2,131 per person room-only in May.
Where: Wantilan Golf Villas, at Bali Golf and Country Club, Nusa Dua
Why: Golf and luxury accommodation often go hand in hand, and by far the most successful marriage of the two on the island can be found at Bali Golf and Country Club.
Fortune magazine described this championship-standard club as ‘one of Asia’s five best golf courses’, and dotted around it is a collection of three and four-bedroom villas. Each is formed of a cluster of thatched-roof buildings hiding Indonesian antiques, elegant accommodation and a private outdoor bath or shower. Each cluster has its own staff quarters, kitchen, separate dining pavilion and open-air lounge.
Guests are just a short walk from the clubhouse or the restaurants of Nusa Dua, but after a day on the fairway most may prefer to rally the staff for a to-order supper, a massage or go for a private swim in the pool overlooking the greens of the golf course and the inky blue sea beyond.
How: Two nights’ accommodation including one round on the 18-hole golf course costs from £225 per person. Royal Brunei Airlines flies from Heathrow to Bali three times a week via Dubai and Brunei. Economy-class prices lead in at £415 on bookings made before April 18 for departures before June 15.