• luxury guide to Bali

A Luxury Guide to Bali

Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.

A Luxury Guide to Bali

Tell us a little about yourself and tell us why you’re an expert on luxury travel in Bali.

Hi! I’m Claire, author of BackpackingBella.com, where I share my stories and tips for enjoying beautiful travel on a budget. But I didn’t always do this. For over a decade I worked in the media and was lucky enough to visit top restaurants and 5-star hotels. When I left to go backpacking around the world, I naturally expected things to be much less glamorous. Then I discovered Bali, where you can enjoy a stay in beautiful surroundings and feel like a VIP, on a tiny budget. Perfect!

luxury guide to bali

What makes Bali a perfect destination for travelers seeking a glamorous trip?

Bali has everything. From blissful beaches to lush green rice fields as far as the eye can see; top class spas and cocktail bars; laid back seaside villages, ornate temples and peaceful mountain hideaways. It’s all about relaxing and soaking up the beauty of the place – the island’s nature and the people’s culture. This alone feels like such a privileged experience and it’s totally free.

What 5 star hotel is the best in Bali?

If you’re after something swanky, most of Bali’s 5 star hotels in Bali are located on Seminyak’s high end beach front or among the lush greenery of Sayan, near Ubud. While my travelling budget doesn’t stretch to 5 star, I’ve always liked the cool and contemporary W hotels. The W Retreat & Spa in Seminyak does the best Sunday brunch around and its chic bars host some of the area’s most happening nights thanks to its international resident DJs.

What about boutique hotels, of them all, which would you send your friends or family to stay at?

So many to choose from… Bali is spoiled for choice with boutique hotels and guest houses, where you can unwind and feel inspired. You don’t have to spend a fortune to find fabulous places. In Seminyak, try the Bali V hotel with its chic white rooms and swimming pool. For a getaway, the Aditya Guest House in the mountain village of Munduk has stunning views and four poster beds. There’s even a boutique hostel for backpackers: the Jolie Hostel in Jimbaran, which has a pool and a great atmosphere.

luxury guide to bali

Are there any fun activities for the adventurous traveler?

Plenty. On this island you can be as laid back or as active as you choose. Bali boasts some of Asia’s best scuba diving and snorkelling spots. Or catch a boat to the islands of Nusa Lembongan, the Gilis and Lombok, which are worth exploring and also offer great diving. Yoga is huge, especially in Ubud, with centres including the fabulous Yoga Barn. For the truly adventurous, I recommend the Munduk Wilderness Adventure for a fantastically fun day of buggy driving and bike riding through the hills.

Where are the best hang outs during the day?

There are some great cafés in Bali. Kafé and Atmans in Ubud are two of my favourites for laptops and lattes, while the Deki warung in Balian is a great place to watch surfers and kite surfers tackling the waves – the beach itself is also divine for a daytime walk.

If you have a big date night, what are the most delicious restaurants in Bali and what are their best dishes?

I’d head straight to the glamorous Merah Putih in Seminyak. The innovative fusion food here tastes heavenly, especially the Sumatran roasted duck curry and the Balinese suckling pig. Just this week, the restaurant and its chef were nominated for four awards.

luxury guide to bali

Let’s talk desserts – what place makes the best?

I’m not really a dessert person, but Bali has the best ever chocolate and banana pancakes I’ve ever tasted. Yum!

Tell us all the hot shopping spots; who’s carrying the trendy local designers?

Seminyak has all the high end labels you could need, alongside local, Australian and European designers. In Ubud you’ll find a host of smaller boutiques, independent art galleries and stores selling handcrafted wooden furniture and stunning home furnishings. You will want to have the whole lot shipped back home.

What are a couple of the best salons and spas in Bali?

There is a proud tradition of Balinese massage and many first class spas here. Indulge at the SPA at The Samaya in Seminyak or visit Ubud’s small but beautifully formed Wellness in Ubud. If you want to learn it for yourself, take a course at the Bali BISA Spa School in Sanur.

luxury guide to bali

Time for a great sunset view… where would you go?

Munduk has wonderful multi-coloured sunsets, while the chilled out beach villages of Amed also enjoy beautiful skies, against a mountain backdrop.

Now that the sun’s gone down, fill us on the best places to go for some evening drinks or a great pre-gaming spot.

Potato Head is a legendary beach club in Seminyak where you can sip artfully created cocktails while checking out the beautiful people. Their Bloody Mary is accompanied by sushi condiments and tastes bloody amazing.

luxury guide to bali

If you end the night at a fancy club, which one do you head towards?

Instead of going clubbing, I would make a date for an all-night beach party on the nearby island of Gili Trawangan, where you can dance on the sand to awesome DJ tunes, while fire dancers perform in front of you, until the morning sun comes up.

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luxury guide to bali claire backpacking bellaClaire is a 30-something Londoner who left her media career behind last year to travel the world. She put her life in a backpack and embarked on life-changing adventures around India, Thailand, Malaysia, Bali, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Canada. A lover of food, yoga, beaches and nature, you can follow Claire’s insight into beautiful travel on a budget at BackpackingBella.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Andrea Anastasiou January 18, 2015 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    We are hoping to be in Bali later this year, so this will definitely be useful! Sounds like such a wonderful place.

    The Bloody Mary at Potato Head sounds delicious!

  2. christine wilhelm January 18, 2015 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Our Kuta Beach guest house served unforgettably delicious and addictive banana crepes that melted in our mouths.
    If Claire is still in Bali, ask her to find out what recipe ingredients make Balinese pancakes and crepes so heavenly. Is it, maybe, coconut oil or the sugar or something else?

  3. Elora January 19, 2015 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    Liked your tips! I’ve been thinking of putting Bali on my list since reading Eat,Pray,Love. Bali sounds awesome! And I’m always intrigued by other cultures. ;)

  4. Shreya February 5, 2015 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    We absolutely love Bali as that’s the one place which suits both the luxury travelers & the budget backpackers. If one chooses to go beyond the very touristy Kuta area, one can find the hidden gems in Ubud & Seminyak.

  5. Ray July 15, 2016 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    This is great info to have as I am planning my Honeymoon here in 2017! How many days would you recommend spending in Bali and Lombok in total, though? I am debating between 2 – 3 weeks since I will be flying in from Canada.

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