The Indonesian island of Bali has long been famous for its natural beauty. Now is has hotels to match.
THE NEW FIVE-STAR
THE ST REGIS BALI RESORT
Recently opened, the St Regis delivers the feel and service of a slick city hotel to a beachside resort.
Comprising 79 suites in the main building and 42 villas dotted around the grounds, the hotel is situated in the gated and slightly sanitized enclave of Nusa Dua in southern Bali.
The hotel's theatrically large entrance lobby creates and impression of tropical grandeur, and its two restaurants, on-site deli and French spa add an air of sophistication.
THE BEST OF THE REST
FOUR SEASONS AT SAYAN
This unique hotel is housed in a futuristic building that looks to have been taken from the set of a Stars Wars movie. Designed by English architect John Heah and opened in 1998, it is situated in dense tropical jungle jus 15 minutes from central Ubud.
COMO SHAMBHALA ESTATE
Shambhala isn't a resort hotel; it's a residential health retreat whose tropical location and modern Zen-style villas lend it an air of exclusive luxury.
Room sizes and prices vary enormously form the simple garden rooms with shared pool to the Como with shared pool to the Como suite with its 300 square metres of private space.
Outdoor space is an important feature on the large estate, and exploring its mature gardens is part of its holistic appeal. One of its many paths leads down to a series of secluded small ponds, while another heads back up to Glow, the hotel's all-day restaurant, serving healthy Indonesian cuisine in a 19th-century open Javanese Villa.
State-of-the-art facilities include a jet pool, a climbing wall, outdoor gym and yoga pavilion;tutors range from fitness and yoga masters to a martial arts teacher.
Balinese culture and history are at the heart of this hotel's personality, and over the years the place has become fully integrated with local life in Ubud. If you want to take a walk through the temple villages with a staff member of enjoy a simple Balinese spa session or like the idea of a literary festival set in rice fields (late September), the Amandari is a good choice.
The original grand lady of Balinese luxury hotels opened in 1978, and 30 years later Peter Muller's seminal design, based around a traditional Balinese village, is still working its charm.
Its 15 acres of well-landscaped tropical gardens have matured beautifully with age, and the location of its swimming pool, fringed with tasseled gold parasols and frangipani trees and overlooking 500 meters of beach, is still paying dividends. Coral stone walls surround the teak-and-marble hotel villas, which feature sunken baths enclosed within private courtyard gardens.
Health facilities include a destination spa, open-air massage parlous, a gymnasium and a sauna. Oberoi's style and serenity are well-suited to nature visitors, but the resort is perfectly located for access to the fashionable nightclubs, bars and restaurants in trendy Seminyak.
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