Bali—the magical island that continues to re-invent itself.

Bali—the magical island that continues to re-invent itself.

Nowhere else in the world blends beach life, spirituality, sunset DJ sets, and luxury hospitality quite like Bali. Known as the Island of the Gods, this locale continually welcomes fresh perspectives, resulting in a vibrant fusion of cultural and creative influences. A visit might take you amidst the tropical modernism of the new Further Hotel in Canggu or on a healing journey deep in Ubud at the legendary Como Shambhala. Set aside some serendipitous time and you might find yourself mingling with Canggu’s emerging fashion & design entrepreneurs, catching waves with Uluwatu’s stylish surfers, or dining with Ubud’s in-the-know crowd at Locavore.

Whether you're in search of a beach vacation, romance, family activities, adventures with friends, a deeper spiritual connection, or pure discovery, Bali has it all. Leveraging their experiences on the island, our team members have crafted a concise guide that outlines the key areas to stay and the standout hotels.


A balanced trip to get a bit of everything might include starting off with a few laid-back days in Canggu, followed by three or four days immersed in the spiritual and cultural heart of Ubud, with little excursions into its verdant countryside. Cap it off with a stay on the golden beaches of Uluwatu in the south, where you can choose from an array of trendy beach clubs.

For those traveling with family or looking for a more resort-like atmosphere, Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, and Sanur offer fantastic options with plenty of comforts and amenities.

What about Seminyak? It is a bit of a maybe—it's got some great hotels and restaurants (still dreaming about the pasta a La Lucciola), but the heavy traffic can be a bit much, though it’s still worth considering if you navigate it wisely, and see our take on that below. Kuta, as you probably know, is the one to skip unless you’re in the mood for a rowdy, lively party scene.


Just a twenty-five-minute ride up the coast from the bustling Seminyak, you'll find Canggu—a relaxed, yet trendy spot that could be Venice Beach's counterpart in Bali. It boasts a vibrant dining, lounge, and specialty coffee scene. In Canggu, surfers effortlessly weave through traffic with boards strapped to their motorbikes. Design, wellness, and fashion entrepreneurs (from both Asia and the rest of the world) have made Canggu their home, which gives more of a cosmopolitan than touristy flair. Airy cafés that could be straight out of LA become makeshift offices for digital entrepreneurs (and yes, you'll be reminded you're still in Bali by the stone temples dotting the beach and ceremonial offerings laid out in front of every shop). And yes, there's some nightlife but it's selective and does not dominate the area.

"The surf here features a beginner-friendly left break, with plenty of surf schools right on the sand to get you started. If surfing isn't your thing, there's no shortage of other activities, like browsing made-in-Bali fashion shops that just as easily could be located in St. Tropez or the Hamptons, or lounging at beach clubs like Brisa and The Lawn."

Several excellent boutique options enrich the hotel scene, and in addition, Como has a five-star resort right on the beach that should be considered.

Area highlights

Hotel highlights

Como Uma Canggu: Beach Luxury

Part of a global wellness-oriented chain, the hotel boasts a variety of accommodations from rooms to luxurious three-bedroom penthouses with rooftop pools. The design is modern and airy, emphasizing comfort with high-end amenities.

Dining at the COMO Beach Club focuses on fresh, healthy cuisine, with a café that offers nutritious snacks and drinks. The hotel is particularly appealing to families and couples, offering a quieter, more secluded experience just a short distance from the heart of Canggu. The hotel's facilities, including its pools, gym, and surf school, ensure a stay that combines luxury with active leisure, making it the most premier choice in Canggu.

La Reserve 1785 : Boutique Luxury
La Reserve 1785 Canggu Beach is a Francophile’s dream, originally the home of Mademoiselle Henriette Reboul. It has been masterfully reimagined by its architect-owner, integrating elements from the Marvel Universe and featuring spa-treatment rooms with a unique, tomb-like ambiance. The property boasts a signature scent and incorporates traditional motifs from East Timor, enhancing its exotic charm.

The suites, with their high ceilings, transport guests back in time. Each is equipped with a stationery set, encouraging visitors to pen a letter home, offering a nostalgic alternative to the usual digital communications. The atmosphere at La Reserve is exceptionally tranquil, to the point where even the local birds seem to pause their singing during siesta time, creating a serene escape from the everyday.

The Slow: Premium+ & Design

The Slow, located on the bustling Batu Bolong Street amidst a burgeoning scene of sushi joints and hipster cafés, blends a bar-restaurant with an adjoining gallery and concept store. This establishment is the creation of George Gorrow, founder of an Australian fashion label, and his wife, Cisco Tschurtschenthaler.

The accommodation at The Slow features a tropical-brutalism aesthetic with 12 concrete-cast suites that emphasize local craftsmanship and sleek urban minimalism. Despite limited on-site facilities, the rooms impress with their stylish simplicity and amenities like pre-mixed cocktails and a retro music playlist. The standout rooms are the four ground-floor suites, each boasting a private plunge pool.

The on-site restaurant excels in small plates with a fresh take on Indonesian cuisine, served in hand-crafted ceramics, and is complemented by a selection of arak-based cocktails, creating an atmosphere akin to trendy urban spots. The service is unobtrusive yet attentive, fitting the laid-back vibe of the property. The Slow typically attracts a trendy crowd of creative professionals, digital nomads, and surfer-model influencers looking for a stylish getaway.

Further Hotel: Premium+ & Design

Further Hotel artfully incorporates traditional Balinese architecture into its room design, featuring semi-open walls for natural light and airflow and an outdoor shower adjacent to a minimalist sleeping area with floor-based beds. Studio Wenden has outfitted the spaces in what it describes as 'restrained luxury'—dark, soft linens and black leather are the norm, and the walls are adorned with striking photography.

Despite the minimalist vibe, the hotel doesn't skimp on modern conveniences. Automated blackout blinds, surround sound, and mood lighting add a touch of modern comfort. The minibar stocks pre-batched Old Fashioneds or Negronis alongside teas and coffees from Melbourne's ST ALI. The bathroom boasts bespoke toiletries from Jakarta's Oaken Lab, and the lounge area features palo santo, photography books, and a record player for guests' use.

Further Hotel isn't just about the rooms. It shares its building with a boutique collaboration between Thomas Surfboards and the Bali-based clothing label Smile. The hotel is just around the corner from the renowned Batu Bolong longboard break, perfectly situating it within Bali's surf culture. The on-site restaurant, Bar Vera, offers a menu inspired by Paris wine bars, crafted by talents from the Brett Hospitality Group, with French culinary delights and a selection of European wines that challenge Bali's typically modest wine offerings.

While Further Hotel already presents a stylish and multifunctional destination, this is only the beginning. Future expansions will introduce more rooms with tropical gardens and plunge pools, a communal rooftop pool with a bar managed by the Mason crew, and a new location for the Melbourne coffee house ST ALI.

For those seeking a vibrant and luxurious retreat that's rich in cool factor and well-appointed amenities, Further Hotel is an ideal choice.

Further Hotel

Shore Amora: Basic & Design
This hotel, comparable to a Moxy in our categorization, stands out as an urban lifestyle resort blending aesthetic design with a hipster industrial vibe. It is ideally located in the tranquil Pererenan area, offering convenient access to top-notch restaurants like Shelter, beach clubs like La Brisa, and the newly opened Wrong Gym that will impress even the most savvy wellness enthusiasts. Plus, it's just a short two-minute walk to the beach. The contemporary design seamlessly extends from the suites and villas to the airy, poolside restaurant, Boheme, which provides a relaxed atmosphere for guests to unwind and dine.

Shore Amora's amenities include a lap pool with comfortable daybeds, the Jani Spa for revitalizing massages, and a dedicated workspace tailored to boost productivity and foster creativity for digital nomads. The staff is attentive and committed to ensuring a delightful stay, delivering service that is casual yet highly professional.

Ubud, Seminyak, & Uluwatu coming soon..

When to go (climate)

Bali is a great summer holiday destination with its dry season coinciding with the Western summer, running from May through September, which is a bit of a flip compared to much of Asia. Expect temperatures in the high 80s and clear blue skies during these months. Meanwhile, the wet season stretches from October through April. Even in April, which we’ve tested out ourselves, the rain is minimal while you might encounter some overcast days, October is a similar shoulder period. That said, Bali’s climate isn’t one of the extremes (normally), making it a great year-round destination.

It’s worth pointing out that August and Christmas & New Year are when the Aussies are off on holiday, which means Bali hits peak levels. If come at that time avoid Seminyak and keep in mind Canggu will get very busy as well, and you might want to consider somewhere like Uluwatu which tends to get less crowded (compared to Canggu and Seminyak).

And if you’re planning your trip around unique experiences, aim to be in Bali for Nyepi, the Balinese New Year, observed next in 2025 on March 29th. It’s an extraordinary time when the whole island powers down — no lights, no work, all quiet. This day of stillness supposedly offers up a sky so clear and stars so bright, you’d think they’re just a touch away.

To be continued...