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Bali’s New Beauties

Bali’s New Beauties

From secluded perches made for romance to sprawling kids clubs, there’s plenty to like about Bali’s newest resorts.

If there’s one thing that Bali knows how to do well, it’s build attractive resorts. At the start of the year, reports predicted that more than 60 new hotel projects were under construction across the island, and almost a third of them come with five-star trimmings. There aren’t many corners of the island that have been overlooked, either, with rooms popping up along previously overlooked stretches of sand as well as in increasingly saturated neighbourhoods. Whether you’re a repeat visitor looking for new perspectives, an outdoor enthusiast keen to keep active or a partygoer with a penchant for cool cocktails and sea breezes, you’ll find plenty of inspiration at these new Balinese resorts.

Best for eco-conscious travellers: Rimba Jimbaran Bali

Style and sustainability unite at Rimba, adjoining sister resort Ayana in Jimbaran Bay. Rainwater harvesting and recycling help fill the resort’s hectare of swimming pools, tiered down the cliffside and with plenty of sun lounges hidden in alcoves ringed by frangipani and lipstick-pink bougainvillea. Find a secluded perch and watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean and organic gardens, or retreat to your suite where expansive patios offer a similarly stunning outlook across the bay. There are plenty of on-site diversions – including a host of sharable facilities at Ayana – not in the least UNIQUE rooftop bar, with its walls fashioned from recycled glass bottles and handmade bricks, driftwood floors and furniture crafted from recycled packing crates. Rooms from $204 per night, rimbajimbaran.com

Best for repeat visitors: Regent Bali

It has been a while – some four decades in fact – since a five-star resort opened in Sanur, a coastal stretch east of Denpasar. If you’re into bars and clubs, then you probably won’t appreciate the area. But for most people, the lack of cookie-cutter, tourist-friendly establishments here is part of the appeal. The Regent’s only property in Indonesia, the hotel channels the island nation in design. Breezy buildings are connected by outdoor walkways and ringed by lush gardens, and Balinese woods and motifs are used throughout. At the centre of the resort is a sanggah (temple) set beside a sunken spa. Watch out for the villas, opening in early 2014, which come steps from the secluded beachfront, where fishing boats come and go. Rooms from $300 per night, regenthotels.com

Best for families: The Mulia Bali

One of the largest resorts to open in Bali ever – it covers a whopping 30 hectares – the Mulia doesn’t cut any corners. Many of the rooms are interconnecting, making them ideal for families, and there are also one- to six-room villas amid tropical gardens plus suites overlooking the sand. Steps from Nusa Dua Beach, the resort also comes with multiple swimming pools, floodlit tennis courts and eight restaurants and bars – enough to keep even the fussiest of eaters satisfied. Children will find plenty to keep them entertained at the Mulia Kidz club, a colourful centre where staff assist with creative learning projects, arts and crafts, and sports activities: everything from yoga classes and flower arranging sessions to musical dance and necklace making. There’s also a pool for them to dive into when they work up a sweat on the Wii. Rooms from $252 per night, themulia.com

Best for outdoor enthusiasts: The Chedi Sakala, Bali Indonesia

GHM’s third Balinese property calls Tanjung Benoa home, the beachside neighbourhood and active fishing village just minutes’ walk north of Nusa Dua on the east coast of the island. The 261 suites and villas here are plush – some come with direct access to the lagoon-style pool that weaves through the property; others come with private pools surrounded by sun-kissed courtyards. If you can drag yourself away you’ll find plenty to keep you active in the area. Across the street and with direct access to the sand is Sakala restaurant, where cocktails and share plates are served beside a long pool overlooking a beach popular for water sports: paragliding, snorkelling, jet-boating, you name it. Or, order a Sakala cocktail with snake fruit and dry ice and pencil in activities for tomorrow. Rooms from $333 per night, ghmhotels.com

Best for those on a budget: Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

Kuta is not for everyone – it’s brash and loud, and often overcrowded. But there are a lot of things to like about this hotel newcomer in the neighbourhood. It’s extremely central, for a start, and is attached to the open-air Beachwalk mall, which means that dozens of boutiques and restaurants are a short stroll away. But arguably the biggest allure is the rates: rooms from around $150 a night come with plenty of creature comforts, including private balconies or tropical courtyards. There’s a compact rooftop pool overlooking the beach, – don’t miss the Sunday pool parties – the buffet bulges with fresh seafood and Indonesian specialties, there’s complimentary sunset yoga in the courtyard every Friday and Saturday, and there’s a popular Italian restaurant. Kuta never looked so good. Rooms from $161 per night, starwoodhotels.com

Best for those looking to stay cool: Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran

There are endless ways to chill out at this Jimbaran Bay newcomer, making the most of its compact space with striking art-filled spaces ringing a saltwater lagoon-style pool. Guests checked in to ground-floor rooms can slip directly from their patio into the pool, while those in top suites have the privilege of private rooftop pools and sea views. In a twist, the top floor of the property is also home to four villas, each of which come with private gardens and pools and semi-open jacuzzi tubs. Niceties range from 3-D TVs to designer lighting inspired by Balinese fishing baskets, not to mention the area’s only club where DJs spin tunes into the wee hours of the weekend. If that sounds like too much hard work, grab a gelato and wander down to the sand, where the resort teams up with Jimbaran Beach Club to bring you cool drinks, sun lounges and water views. Rooms from $154 per night, starwoodhotels.com

Best for romance: Anantara Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa

The 72 suites and villas at this clifftop retreat offer hard-to-beat views over the Indian Ocean, not to mention hoards of surfers fighting over some of Bali’s best waves. But arguably the best outlook is enjoyed from the all-glass wedding chapel, perched on the edge of limestone cliff. Getting ready for your big day is a breeze thanks to the resort’s freshly minted spa complex, with its own plunge pool plus beauticians and therapists on call around the clock. With your nuptials behind you, retreat to two- and three-bedroom villas with private plunge pools or balcony baths, and indulge in intimate meals at hidden locations around the property – a table for two amid a grove of frangipani or beside tiered pools that reflect the sunset, perhaps. And while it doesn’t have beach access yet – watch this space for news on a planned cliffside elevator to the sand – the resort does offer a shuttle to Padang Padang Beach, where a sun lounge and cocktails await. Rooms from $290 per night, bali-uluwatu.anantara.com

Best for beachgoers: Mantra Nusa Dua

Located steps from Bali’s prettiest stretch of sand on the east coast of the Bukit Peninsula, Mantra Nusa Dua’s rooms and suites are simply decked out so as to not detract from the real eye candy – the ocean. Book in to a Panorama Suite and you’ll enjoy a private balcony overlooking the water, plus separate living and dining areas and all-natural Balinese amenities. When you’re not perched by the pool or enjoying the warm sea – masseuses roam the sand looking for willing subjects – make the most of the Sports Bar, where pool and foosball tables plus Nintendo Wii await, or check in to the Chakra Spa & Wellness Centre for a spot of serious pampering. Rooms from $162 per night, mantranusadua.com

Best for party people: The Stones Hotel – Legian Bali

Within walking distance of some of Bali’s most coveted sunset hangouts – including Ku De Ta and Potato Head Beach Club – this waterside hotel adds a splash of colour to the Legian neighbourhood. Rooms and suites ring a 3,000-square-metre lagoon-style pool, kept cool during the day thanks to a towering vertical garden. Butlers breeze between sun lounges with iPods and refreshments, the perfect antidote to a night out on the town, while rooms come with spacious rain showers and essential Illy coffee machines. There are three innovative restaurants, including an all-day dining space that spills outside to the pool. Pull up a perch here in the afternoon and you’ll be treated to pick-me-up tunes spun by a DJ on top of the pool bar – what better way to start a night out in Bali? Rooms from $182, marriott.com

 

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