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The experts advice for a luxury Bali escape

This article originally appeared on www.hotelclub.com/blog. which is now part of hotels.com

We interview the luxury travel experts for their advice on the best places to spoil yourself for the ultimate relaxing getaway in Bali.

In need of some serious pampering? We ask the experts for the low down on the best food, hotels, spa’s, shopping and more to make sure your next trip to Bali is nothing short of opulence.

Christine-Gray-2Luxury Travel Magazine

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Christine Gray is Editor-in-Chief of Luxury Travel Magazine, Launched in 2003, it provides ultimate inspiration and trusted recommendations for discerning travellers around the world.

1. What is your ultimate restaurant experience in Bali and why?

I stick to a healthy vegan diet, so my ultimate Bali restaurant experience is Sakti Dining Room at Fivelements. Here, haute cuisine meets vegan, presenting sublime flavours, delicately balanced, with perfect presentation.

2. Whats your ultimate dream hotel in Bali and why?

There are so many amazing choices for luxury accommodations in Bali. I think travellers should split their time between Ubud and the beach resorts in the south.  In Ubud, my choice is the Viceroy Bali Hotel for its exotic and romantic atmosphere in an amazing natural setting. On the beach my pick is The St. Regis Bali Resort in Nusa Dua, for its tranquil elegance.

 3. Where is your favourite place to be pampered in Bali and why?

A spa visit to either of the Aman resorts or COMO Shambhala Estate are beyond amazing.  These special places offer ultimate wellness retreats amongst stunning natural beauty. I haven’t been there, but word-of-mouth I’ve heard that Jari Menari in Seminyak is considered Bali’s best spa.

 4. Where can you find the best shopping in Bali?

The best shopping can be found in Seminyak and around Ubud. Local treasures include batik-print sarongs made with vintage fabrics, antiques, and Balinese crafts.

 5. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?

Visit Mepantigan – an exciting performance that is part Brazilian capoeira and part shadow puppetry! See the sun rise from Mount Agung, Bali’s highest peak.

 

TheStyleJunkiesThe Style Junkies

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Globetrotting jetsetter, luxury travel blogger and founder of The Style Junkies, Myrthe Strijbos from Amsterdam roams the world for the most stylish places to stay, spa and eat. Think of dream resorts, boutique hotels, exclusive safari lodges, wellness retreats, hip restaurants and cool beach clubs.

1. What is your ultimate restaurant experience (most luxurious) in Bali and why?

Mozaic Restaurant Ubud is one of Bali’s best and most exclusive restaurants. Located in the artistic village of Ubud, Mozaic Restaurant offers truly a culinary adventure in a very romantic setting. Definitely put this foodies Mecca on your to-do list for Bali!

2. What’s your ultimate dream hotel in Bali and why?

Hidden in the most Southern point of Bali, nothing can beat the picture-perfect Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali. Try the yoga lesson and cooking course. A must-stay in Bali for those who want to completely relax in high style and eco-luxury!

3. Where is your favourite place to be pampered in Bali and why?

The Maya Ubud Spa offers by far the best Bali spa experience. You really feel so pampered here. It’s a heaven of sensual bliss amidst the lushness of the rainforest. Book the heavenly Harmony Duo spa treatment including a four-hand massage followed by an herbal bath. So divine!

4. Where can you find the best shopping in Bali?

Definitely Seminyak, Bali’s capital of cool! Seminyak is perfect for boutique-shopping. Check out the designer stores of Lulu Yasmine and Magali Pascal (Australian designer). Absolutely my favourite fashion shops in Seminyak.

5. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?

The streets of Seminyak are filled with trendy addresses like Sisterfields for breakfast or lunch and Mama San, Sardine, Sarong and Metis for dinner. Just outside Seminyak, La Finca is an Ibiza meets Bali eatery where the tapas are truly delicious! Ku De Ta, Mozaic Beach, Karma Beach and Finn’s Beach Club are Bali’s best beach clubs.

 

ianLuxury Travel Worldwide

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From his first campervan tour around Western Europe, Ian Garstang has been passionate about travelling. Ian has been lucky enough to travel to various corners of the world and experienced so many wonderful things. Many of his adventures have been shared with various travel blogs and he has used this knowledge to market a myriad of luxury hotels and resorts as well as an array of exclusive residential developments. From the white sandy beaches of Anguilla to snow capped mountains of the Rockies Ian is always on the look out for his next great adventure.

1. What is your ultimate restaurant experience (most luxurious) in Bali and why?

It has to be fresh fish at Bumbu Bali. It’s off the beaten track in Tanjung Benoa just down from Nusa Dua. A beautiful garden setting, friendly people and fantastic food.

2. What’s your favourite luxury nightlife experience in Bali?

Usually a meal followed by a few drinks with friends. I have had some fantastic evenings at The Ocean Bar at The Legian, and the Paparazzi Bar at the Double Six Bar.

3. What’s your ultimate dream hotel in Bali and why?

My ultimate dream ‘vacation’ would involve animals and activities. I would tour the island surfing on the Seminyak/Kuta, visiting the monkeys at the Ubud Monkey Sanctuary, Climb Mount Agung, only to then white water raft down the Ayung. Finally I would trek through the jungle on the back of an Elephant before relaxing with Yoga and swimming in Ubud. In order to do this I would have split my time between the Luna2 private hotel in Seminyak (I have not stayed there yet) and The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in Ubud (one of my favourite hotels).

4. Where is your favourite place to be pampered in Bali and why?

That is a tough one, I love all the action of Seminyak but the relaxing stillness of Ubud. Being a Libra, I tend to like balance.

5. Where can you find the best shopping in Bali?

Personally, I loved the artist’s town of Ubud. A rustic village brimming with handmade trinkets, hand carved ornaments and memorising artwork. The whole village is a hotbed of creativity and whilst there you feel compelled to get involved and create something yourself.

6. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?

Don’t be afraid of the street food, it’s some of the best in the world!

 

MishaGillinghamFair Verona

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Misha originally launched FairVerona.com as her own personal collection of luxury travel adventures, all of which she has experienced and photographed herself. The site quickly became a trusted and respected source of vacation inspiration throughout the luxury travel sector.  Since then, her blog has morphed into a website that encompasses much more then just travel.  After her recent diagnosis of metastatic thyroid cancer, her entire outlook on life has changed. While travel will always be Misha’s main focus, she feels that its her mission to do much more then just promote luxury trips and take pretty pictures. It goes far beyond that. Misha wants to inspire living life to its absolute fullest as well as inspire people to cherish the things that sit closest to their hearts.

1. What is your ultimate restaurant experience (most luxurious) in Bali and why?

My favorite and most luxurious dining experience actually took place outside of a restaurant. My hotel, Amankila, drove my husband and I to a secret spot, so high up on a mountain that it felt like we were on top of the world. The sun was setting and there were candles lighting a pathway along the hillside. Following the candles, we were led to our own private thatched roof cabana, complete with a view that had our jaws on the floor.

As we got comfortable and tried to soak up the lush Balinese beauty, a private chef uncorked a bottle of chardonnay and prepared a fresh sushi dinner right in front of us. Now that is my kind of luxury.

2. Whats your favourite luxury nightlife experience in Bali?

I’m not usually a huge fan of night clubs and the like, while I am traveling because I prefer to spend my time soaking up the culture and exploring the great outdoors. However, one night at Ku De Ta in Seminyak turned out to be quite a wonderful time. It is an upscale beach-front contemporary venue that displays sunsets like you’ve never seen. The atmosphere, music, food, and drinks all get the Fair Verona stamp of approval!

3. Whats your ultimate dream hotel in Bali and why?

I’ve stayed at many hotels in different locations throughout Bali. My favorite hotel is (and will always remain) Amandari. It is about as authentic and culturally rich as they come, yet it is still extremely luxurious. Amandari is not your typical touristy hotel – it is located in the jungle in the middle of a working rice field and is styled just like a traditional Balinese Village. The activities and adventures that can be experienced from the hotel are truly one-of-a-kind and guests are made to feel like royalty. However, if you are looking for a beach resort and a more traditional vacation, Amankila and/or Amanusa are two of my top choices in Bali and are equally wonderful.

4. Where can you find the best shopping in Bali?

That depends on what you are shopping for. For authentic Balinese gifts, art, or clothing, Ubud offers some great options. If you want to find a large selection of everything, Kuta would be the place. I did not see much in the way of high end shopping though.

5. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?

Bali is full of hidden gems. I once read that the best way to explore Bali is to find a path and follow it. I found some of the most marvelous and unique views in Bali by following random paths. I also discovered massive shrines and intricate faces carved into rocks. Whitewater rafting along the Ayung River should not be missed. There are huge sections of rock walls lining the river that are carved from top to bottom in incredible religious Balinese carvings.

 

Qosy-AishaQosy

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Aisha Kellaway is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Qosy.co, a leading luxury lifestyle blog. Passionate about people, travel and culture, Aisha aims to redefine the concept of luxury, removing the emphasis on a price-tag and highlighting the little things, that distinguish great experiences from good ones.

1. What is your ultimate restaurant experience (most luxurious) in Bali and why?

One of the things I love about Bali is that you can really get the best of both worlds – you have the amazing street and market cuisine, and also an array of fine dining options. One of my favourite dining experiences would have to have been eating traditional Balinese suckling pig in a street market in Ubud (better than in restaurants at a quarter of the price), but then I was also blown away by the five star menu at Hanging Gardens Luxury Resort in Ubud as well.

2. Whats your ultimate dream hotel in Bali and why?

Last time we were in Bali we didn’t have time to stay overnight at the Hanging Gardens Resort, but were shown around, enjoyed some incredible spa treatments, and dinner. If we could go back, I would love to spend the night and enjoy relaxing in their multi-tiered infinite pool and enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner in the Segara temple. I wouldn’t say no to another spa session either 😉

3. Where is your favourite place to be pampered in Bali and why?

This totally depends on what you are after and where you’re staying. For me, my favourite would have to have been while staying at the Elephant Safari Park Lodge, where the spa room overlooks the park with a one way view of all of the elephants. That was surreal, and pretty awesome.

4. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?

My biggest advice is to get out of the tourist hot-spots for at least some of your trip. There’s countless villages with so much to offer, and Ubud is a brilliant happy-medium. Its paddy fields are spectacular, its art, food and culture scene is one of the most impressive on the island, and it is much less tourist dominated than the likes of Kuta and Seminyak.

I am also a huge advocate of spending time with locals when you travel. Whilst loving a luxurious holiday and resort, I think there’s so much you can gain, and so many great insider tips you can get, from having a chat with your driver, or with friendly shop owners. Luxury isn’t always the best resorts, spas and fine dining restaurants. Sometimes a little bit of luxury can be found in the best street food you’ve ever tasted, or the awe-inspiring artwork you’ve bought from a local which keeps their family fed for weeks.

I also absolutely loved Dara Ayu Villas and would recommend them in a heartbeat. A very small and eco-sustainable resort, it was the most intimate experiences we had during our trip which was the perfect balance between luxury, and accessing the heart and soul of Bali and the people who call it home.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALuxury Travel Bible

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 Hilary Doling has been getting on and off planes for most of her working life. She has visited every continent and more than 90 countries. The founder of the award-winning  www.luxurytravelbible.com Hilary worked on London’s Fleet Street. In search of sun she moved to Australia as Travel Editor on The Sun Herald newspaper, running one of the country’s most widely read travel sections for twelve years. Specializing in up-market destinations she became Editor of Luxury Travel magazine ,then Five Star Kids magazine ,which specialises in upmarket family travel. She is a global guest speaker on luxury travel and also contributes columns to a  number of websites around the world as well as her own.

1. What is your ultimate restaurant experience (most luxurious) in Bali and why?

Kafe Warisan has a beautiful setting over looking rice paddies and Mozaic in Ubud is amazing. Will Meyrick’s Mama San is definitely a foodie hotspot too.

2. Whats your favourite luxury nightlife experience in Bali?

I know Ku de Ta in Seminyak has been there for ever but it still hard to beat for a beachside, sunset cocktail. Still in Seminyak Potato Head is the Roman Coliseum of nightclub venues, both in design and sometimes – what goes on inside. Big name DJs play here.

3. Whats your ultimate dream hotel in Bali and why?

Alila Uluwatu‘s clifftop villas are pretty special. The design is amazing and the Alila Ulluwatu bar, designed like a stylsh eagle’s eyrie, makes you feel like you’re perched on top of the world

4. Where is your favourite place to be pampered in Bali and why?

The four-handed massage at Jari Menari (the name means dancing fingers) will have you spaced out for days (in a good way)

5. Where can you find the best shopping in Bali?

I like the art and handicrafts in Ubud which these days is not just traditional but can be pretty funky. Think Boho chic. Threads of Life textiles promotes fair trade and helps the local community.

6. Anything you would like to add? Have you discovered any amazing hidden gems for food, travel, coffee, wine that you would like to share?

The cooking school at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay is pretty amazing. I whipped up some pretty passible Indonesian food there, with a little help.

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