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Bali is an enormous island, and is just one of the 17,071 Islands or is it 17,072 (?!) that presently make up the mystical country Indonesia. Bali is famous for its surfing and beaches, and is very popular with Australians, being so close. Kuta, Sanur, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua and Benoa are the most famous beaches and where you will find all the major hotels and resorts located.
We strongly recommend that you think very carefully about what it is you need from your holiday in Bali. The beach that you choose will affect your experience. Kuta for example is a chaotic beach with lots of shopping around, and a lot of people trying to sell you something. If you are looking for nightlife, don't mind being harassed by street stall vendors, like to be one among thousands on the beach, and don't mind hundreds of surf boards whizzing past while you swim then Kuta is probably for you. If you are looking for a quieter holiday and beach then one of the other choices above would be a wise choice. Our personal favourite is Jimbaran and Benoa. Jimbaran is where you will find some of the best hotels in Bali, such as the Four Seasons, the Villa Hanini and Pansea Hotel among others. Jimbaran also boasts some of the best seafood restaurants in the world, with ridiculously low rates and sand between your toes. Benoa is just after Nusa Dua, again some very good hotels can be found here such as the Novotel Benoa, Grand Mirage and others. Benoa is a very natural area. Nusa Dua on the other hand may boast some big name hotels such as Sheraton, Hyatt, etc. but to be perfectly honest it is all very man made and a little false. Most hotel rooms do not offer you a sea view, instead offering rooms that look out onto lavish and very beautiful gardens. The food also tends to be expensive by Indonesian standards and more often than not is quoted in US$, which means that you always have to be aware of the exchange rate before you even know how much you are actually paying. Having said this the hotels may be big but the area is secluded and does offer a beautiful beach. There are other areas where very good hotels can be found such as the Aman hotels who boast three in Bali alone, one just outside Nusa Dua. The Nikko is also a little way away from Nusa Dua and is a very good hotel.
Bali also offers some idyllic areas that still remain as they have been for centuries. If you are looking to see a little of Indonesian culture and life, and can do without a beach for a few days then do try to escape from the main areas that we have described above. Instead go to Ubud and experience a relaxed holiday set among stunning scenery of rice fields and hills. There are hotels that range from US$ 5 all the way to US$ 10,000 an night so there is something for everyone. Novena is also an idyllic area and very good for diving. The beaches are natural and consequently black, Bali is a volcanic island.
Below we look at some of the best hotels in Bali. We as always write our own reviews after having either stayed at having seen the hotel. They are not influenced by advertising or the hotels. We would live to hear from you though if you have any recommendations or tips on things that we may have missed out. Jut send us an E-mail.
Pansea Hotel - One of our personal favourites. 41 Cottages that are all very private and offer you your own peaceful garden, with out door shower. The rooms are very romantic with a wooden decor and a lovely large bed centrally located. In the evening they turn down the bed and when you return to the room the bed is covered by a white mosquito net hanging from the ceiling. See more of this hotel with pictures and special rates here.
Four Seasons - everyone has heard of it but only a few have had the fortune to be able to stay there. Yes the hotel may be spread out over a wide area, is not directly on the beach, but it is an amazing property. The private villas not only offer you a small garden but also your own pool ! It is a very romantic hotel and is very popular with honeymooners. An amazing hotel with excellent service.
Villa Hanini - One of the best kept secrets in Bali. This property has 4 houses/villas to rent. Each has it own very large garden with swimming pool. Two of the villas have frontal beach access while the other two, are set further back from the beach. Each Villa houses three separate bedrooms, each with Balinese ensuite bathrooms. The main bedroom also has a Jacuzzi, and cd player.
Inter-Continental - A very big hotel that is popular with Japanese guests. It is decorated in similar design to all the hotels in the Nusa Dua area, in a Balinese, almost false Balinese way.
Melia Bali - Very nice hotel in the Benoa area of Bali. See pictures, special rates here.
Novotel Coralia - This hotel has one of the most relaxing and welcoming lobbies in Bali. The hotel itself is also very nice, although the pool can get a little hectic at times especially as this hotel is popular with families and families can also mean children ! The hotel is split into two parts, one which is across the road and away from the beach and the other side which is reception side and closer to the beach. Their beach restaurant is very good and serves some delicious pizzas. The restaurant is very popular with the French as it is a member of Accor. See pictures, special rates here.
Century Mabisa Inn Bali - Only minutes walking distance away from Kuta, this is a mid market hotel with some very attractive rates. See pictures and special rates here.
Century Saphir Bali - Located in the Seminyak area of Bali not far from the beaches. This hotel has nice gardens and good amenities. See pictures and special rates here.
Nikko Bali - What a hotel this lobby will take your breath away. It is a very large hotel built up on a cliff, and also has direct beach access. Again very popular with the Japanese, and as all Japanese managed hotels the service is very good.
Amanusai - Well if you have not heard of Aman, then to put it simply they have some of the most luxurious resort hotels in the world. Previously owned by Adrian Zecher, and just recently taken over by the American Capital Group (We believe). Anyhow these properties are all stunning. I personally will never forget a lady I know who every year when I saw her at the same travel trade show, she would be pregnant ! Now I am no mathematician or speller as you may have noticed on certain pages through the site but 4 years in a row and I saw her at exactly the same time once a year. I was curious and had to ask if there was any special reason (apart from the practice being extremely good fun !) she answered me the following " Every year my husband and I take our holiday at one of the Aman Resorts. Well they are sooo romantic that one thing leads to another. We are going to stop going to them for a while as we believe four children to be enough". This really does some up the resorts. They are incredible, the service is quiet yet effective, the attention to detail is always there. Then again at anywhere between US$ 250 and US$ 500 per night, what else would you expect.