Fashionable Paradise: Living in Luxury on the Island of Bali

Bali first emerged onto the tourist scene back in the seventies, when hippies dropped in to indulge in psychedelic trips and frivolous naked bathing. Long before that, a Californian couple setup the first hotel next to Kuta Beach in the thirties, which wasn’t much more than a wooden shack, but the few guests that stayed enjoyed the lush surroundings in relative obscurity until the couple shut up shop and moved on. Frugal surfers have been chasing the waves here for decades now, living off fried rice and staying in straw hits next to the beach. Not the ideal beginnings for a luxury holiday destination you may think, but much had changed since it’s humble beginnings, and now Bali has become an international hotspot for flocks of tourists from all over the world.

The success of the book, and subsequent film, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ helped to thrust Bali once again into the limelight, years after the infamous Bali bombings brought the islands rising popularity to an abrupt halt. The ups and downs Bali has experienced has given it the resolve to keep upping its game, from cheap Bali hotels to world class resorts they offer have really made Bali come into its own.  While it has always been a lush tropical island, the world class luxury hotels and resorts on offer here have really come into their own. 

Favorite Destination for Celebrities

It’s no surprise that celebrities and sport stars decide to spend some down time away from intruding cameras and hectic schedules. The latest Hollywood couple to spend a romantic holiday in Bali were Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who spend some secretive time together over the summer this year. In 2011, the likes of Barack Obama, Paris Hilton, Nick Jonas, and Tyra Banks spent some time holidaying on the tropical island. The list really does go on, with famous soccer players like David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, and Christiano Ronaldo, to name just a few, all choosing Bali as their destination to unwind and relax.

By the Coast or in the Jungle?

Sunset on Kuta Beach, Bali via wikimedia

Year after year the Ayana Resort and Spa claims awards from leading travel publications, like Condé Nast Traveller, Forbes Travel Guide, Travel + Leisure, and Expedia, for its status as a world leader in luxury resorts. Perched on cliffs in the south of Bali, peering over into the lush blue of the Indian Ocean, the Ayana Resort won Best Resort in Asia in the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards 2011. Choose from a private villa, luxury suite, or elegant room  when you stay here, and enjoy a pampering at the spa or a sunset cocktail at the Rock Bar, an exclusive drinking venue that is a firm favourite among the rich and famous who visit the island. The whole resort is surrounded by a landscaped tropical garden which has been intricately designed down to the finest detail, and you are a stones throws from the resorts secluded private beaches.

For luxury in the jungle, Ubud Hanging Gardens surrounds you within the towering tress of Bali’s rainforest, while giving you everything you could possibly desire in modern luxury. A retreat away from urban life, with infinity pools looking out over the jungle and deluxe villas where you will feel a world away from anyone, and anywhere. Renowned Landscape Architect John Pettigrew envisaged the tropical gardens which create a truly spectacular haven for guest to enjoy here.

Looking a Little Bit Further

Uluwatu@bali via wikimedia

The big luxury resorts and hotels are no secret, but you don’t have to worry about crowds because they are not as affordable as other accommodation in Bali, which tends to attract the less sophisticated holidaymakers. The exclusive places to stay in Bali could be compared to the luxury travel you experience while on a trip aboard an exclusive cruise liner, you will be rubbing shoulders with the rich and beautiful until you venture off the ship. If you want to find something just for you, there are private luxury villas dotted all over Bali. Local entrepreneurs have tapped into the demand for luxury living on the island, and capitalised on it. Finding these tucked away treats is not always easy, and are sometimes not even listed with travel agents and tourism companies. Finding them, and keeping them to yourself, is something that has to be done the hard way, by going out a looking for them!

Hiring a jeep and exploring the island is simple enough, once you get out of the infuriating traffic centring around the islands only airport. The locals are friendly and helpful if you need a hand, and if you are really adventurous you could drive round the entire island in a few days so why not go on a road trip. You never know, you might just find a luxurious place just for you, and that special someone, to enjoy.

Ms. Eve Mackenzie.
View all posts by Ms. Eve Mackenzie.
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