A knot of jungle villages forms the vibrant, artsy Ubud, an area in central Bali famous for its craft markets, art museums, Hindu temples, and iconic carved-rock sites. As one of the island’s most popular travel destinations, Ubud has hundreds of hotel options — Here are the ones that Oyster’s investigators found the most exquisite.
A high-end clientele descends upon this 25-room luxury hotel overlooking Petanu Valley (many of them by way of the convenient helipad or airport limousine service), where excellent amenities include an open-air restaurant, lovely pool with a swim-up bar, hillside spa, and modern gym. The spacious Balinese villas have private pools, flat-screen TVs, safes, and indoor/outdoor sitting areas; some have thatched-roof gazebos. There’s golf cart transportation on-site, but the grounds are often sloped so getting around can be tricky. Another luxurious option is the Chedi Club Tanah Gajah. Wi-Fi, breakfast, and parking are all free at the Viceroy (but expect sky-high rates).
Set in the green hills of the artsy Ubud area, this boutique hotel has 20 separate villas that are individually designed and make abundant use of teakwood and Balinese art. Each one comes with a flat-screen TV, DVD player, free Wi-Fi, and stocked minibar (with free items) -- plus its own butler -- and many have private pools. Indoor/outdoor bathrooms feature deep soaking tubs and rainfall showers. A fresh made-to-order breakfast, daily high tea, and happy hour are all included. There is also an on-site restaurant, a lovely outdoor infinity pool with a poolside bar, a full-service spa, and a fitness center that offers yoga classes. While there isn't much within walking distance except rice paddies, the hotel offers free car service into town.
This five-pearl resort is best known for its breathtaking main pool, which sits dramatically over jungle treetops and offers gorgeous vistas of the gorge below. With a secluded location about 30 minutes from Ubud, the hotel offers a peaceful, rain forest getaway, complete with a luxurious spa and dining options that range from an on-site restaurant, bar, and cafe, to romantic private dining experiences. Its 44 suites and private villas offer panoramic views as well as private pools and terraces. The jungle setting means that various critters are to be expected, which might be an issue for some, and travelers should also be prepared for pricey dining. Those seeking an equally luxurious and more wellness-oriented experience might want to consider COMO Shambhala Estate, though it can be pricier.
Fifty-two beautiful villas with private gardens and pools dot the luxurious Royal Pita Maha, a sprawling hillside resort about 15 minutes from downtown Ubud. Three gorgeous shared pools (including a lagoon-style pool and one fed by spring water) and an expansive spa give the resort a truly relaxing atmosphere. While some guests deem the food unimaginative, the views from the restaurants -- overlooking the rushing Ayung River and surrounding countryside -- are hard to beat. Travelers seeking something similar in the area might also want to consider the Kupu Kupu Barong Resort and Tree Spa, which has a lovely spa by L'Occitane.
With a temple-inspired design and an extensive collection of Indonesian art, the 53-room Ayung Resort Ubud is a romantic and extravagant jungle getaway on the Ayung River. The luxury property has an impressively carved rock wall, two large pools, two great restaurants, a spa with cabanas, and free morning yoga. It's about a 25-minute drive from downtown Ubud, and offers free shuttle service a few times daily. Accommodations range from standard rooms with large balconies to villas with private pools; all have marble bathrooms and espresso machines.
Although it's surrounded by nature, this beautiful 32-room boutique hotel is still within walking distance to the heart of town (it also offers free shuttle service to town and to its sister Komaneka resorts, where Bisma guests can use the facilities). But with a gorgeous infinity lap pool and wading pool, as well as a full-service spa, fitness center, and on-site restaurant, guests need not ever leave the property. Rooms are spacious with balconies, separate living areas, and large bathrooms (with both deep soaking tubs and rainfall showers). Amenities include flat-screen TVs with Apple TV, free Wi-Fi, DVD players, minibars, and air-conditioning. Service and staff are top-notch, and many guests return to this hotel year after year. Travelers wanting a more remote location could try the Komaneka at Tanggayuda.
The 38-room Kupu Kupu Barong Villas & Tree Spa is a peaceful jungle retreat on a property with rice paddies and gorgeous Ayung River views. The upscale romantic hotel has two outdoor pools, a pool bar, and two restaurants along with butler service, property-wide Wi-Fi, and a 24-hour front desk. Balinese-style villas are luxurious with flat-screen TVs, minibars, and furnished balconies with striking river views; some have private pools. The expansive size of the property, though, makes it a trek to reach some of the facilities. The Bidadari Private Villas and Retreat - Ubud offers an intimate six-villa property as an alternative.
Each of the six spacious villas at this intimate Balinese getaway in the forest has a private pool, kitchen, indoor/outdoor bathroom, and balcony or terrace. The luxury resort offers a range of services, including a free round-trip Ubud shuttle, butler service, in-room dining, a 24-hour front desk, allover Wi-Fi, and guided bike tours. However, the jungle setting has steep steps that aren’t suitable for those with limited mobility. For a less rustic experience, try the Komaneka at Bisma.
Those looking for a luxury, one-of-a-kind vacation would do well at the 25-room Elephant Safari Park & Lodge. Located on a refuge with 31 Sumatran elephants, the remote hotel offers safari rides, elephant chauffeur service, a show arena, a museum, a gift shop, and a botanical garden. There’s also a modern gym, spa, and on-site indoor and outdoor dining. Balinese-style rooms have flat-screen TVs, safes, and elephant pick-up platforms, and some have elephant park views. The gritty safari experience (which requires getting your hands dirty) isn’t for everyone, and the location is a bit removed from the sights, but it nonetheless delivers a luxurious stay with high-end amenities and features. Wi-Fi, breakfast, and parking are all free. This hotel offers a tourism attraction that involves animals. You can learn more about the cruelty animals suffer in captivity here.
The on-site amenities at this 46-room upscale hotel overlooking the Tjampuhan Valley are particularly appealing: It has a breezy yoga pavilion, garden pool with a bar, and open-air spa, as well as 24-hour concierge service, two restaurants, a gym, Balinese activities, and village tours. The secluded property's stylish rooms, suites, and villas include flat-screen TVs and minibars, and many have pools; some also feature outdoor whirlpool tubs. Guests complain, however, that staff can be pushy with recommending add-on resort services. Another option may be the Komaneka at Tanggayuda. Parking, breakfast, and Wi-Fi are all free at Uma by COMO.
Just a 10-minute drive from Ubud's main attractions, the Kayumanis Ubud Private Villas & Spa is a luxury all-villa complex set in lush jungle gardens. Secluded villas come with outdoor tubs, private pools, and personal butler service. While the outdoor living won't appeal to all and bugs are inevitable, for a blow-the-budget, back-to-nature resort with guaranteed privacy and deluxe lodgings, this is a fine choice. Note that kids under 16 aren't allowed here.