There are so many hotels to choose from in Bali that it pays to do your research. Travel editor Winsor Dobbin has three quite different recommendations and looks at a new getaway in Tasmania with spectacular views.
On the beach
So, you want to party in Bali, spend time on the beach, have a few beers in the local bars and would rather not splash out on a super-expensive hotel room that you will only use for sleeping?
Canggu – a village that was known only by surfers just a few years ago – is one of Bali’s new tourism hotspots.
The small resort village close to Seminyak has become extremely popular with expats and digital nomads and is packed with bars, coffee shops and hip restaurants catering for western tastes.
Nearby Tanah Lot is a much-visited Hindu temple, but Canggu’s waves and nightlife are equally popular drawcards.
The Aston Canggu Beach Resort (above), which opened in 2019, is an ideal mid-priced place to stay for anyone looking for comfortable accommodation close to the beach.
Not five-star, but with good rooms and facilities – and unfailingly smiling staff.
There are 40 superior rooms, 52 deluxe rooms and one suite. There is also an impressive rooftop dining venue, UpZscale Sky Dining & Bar, which sits poolside and offers beach views.
It is a perfect spot to take in the spectacular sunsets and serves excellent breakfasts.
Each room features a flat-screen TV (with ABC TV available), while some units offer a lounge area and have balconies or terraces. Bathrooms are equipped with a shower, slippers, free toiletries, and a hairdryer.
The surfing beach at Batu Bolong is two minutes away and Berawa Beach just a tad further, while cooking classes at the hotel are both fun and instructional. Bring your satay grilling skills home.
Ngurah Rai International Airport is around 10km away from the hotel, but the road can be congested at peak times.
The hotel is bookable either through the airasia Superapp, or at https://astoncanggubeachresort.com-bali.com/en/
Ubud sits in the highlands of Bali, away from the maddening crowds of Kuta and is known for its arts and crafts and its beautiful terraced rice paddies.
There are many temples, annual food and literary festivals, fine dining establishments, spas (you can find hour-long massages starting from $15 per hour) and several art museums.
One of the major attractions, or pests, depending on your point of view, are the denizens of the Mandala Suci Wenara Wana, known to westerners as the Ubud Monkey Forest – home to around 1000 macaques, that also venture into the town.
Visitors need to keep their wits about them, as these cheeky monkeys are known to steal handbags, glasses and anything else that you do not hold on to tightly.
A delightful spot in which to chill out is Royal Kamuela Villas & Suites at Monkey Forest (above), situated just off one the town’s major thoroughfares in lovely, leafy gardens.
It’s a small, chic resort ideal for couples with 12 pool villas, three suites with pool access and 15 suites with balconies overlooking the gardens and pool.
The hotel features everything you need in a luxury property including a full-service wellness centre/spa, extremely comfortable rooms and excellent staff.
The breakfasts here are outstanding with a choice of western and Asian dishes, and there are private butlers for each separate villa.
resort is very close to the main attractions of Ubud with dozens of restaurants
within walking distance, and boutiques and art galleries aplenty.
The hotel can be booked through the airasia Superapp, or at
Movenpick properties generally have an adult-but-fun vibe and the polished Swiss-inspired service, but the Movenpick Resort and Spa Jimbaran Bay (above) has a happy family vibe.
While this is primarily a resort for family groups, there is still attention to detail when it comes to the food and drink offering.
There is a wellness vibe, too, and the resort is just a five-minute walk from Jimbaran Beach. Choose between relaxing poolside in one of the swim-up hammocks or unwinding with a massage at the Arkipela Spa.
When it comes to food think excellent buffet breakfasts, the same chocolate hour sweet treats you find each afternoon at every Movenpick, and a dinner menu with something for everyone whether your tastes extend to western dishes or Asian flavours.
The casual Anarasa restaurant is open for breakfast (above), lunch, or dinner and guests can choose between eating indoors or al fresco.
Anarasa overlooks a tropical garden and pool and offers Asian dishes, artisanal Balinese specialities and international favourites. Guests can select between visiting live cooking stations, a la carte service or buffets depending on the time of day.
There is a dedicated children’s dining zone – as well as a kid’s club – which means parents can enjoy some “me time” while wining and dining.
Anarasa offers vegetarian, dairy free and gluten free menu options so there is something for everyone.
There is an Indonesian buffet every Wednesday evening for guests to get a taste of local flavours like sizzling satay selections and tasty nasi goreng. A taste of the Indonesian street food scene without leaving the resort.
Each Monday, the Jejala Pool Bar and Anarasa Restaurant feature a “buy one get one free deal” on a range of cocktails made from the local arak rice spirit.
reception-level bar also highlights cocktails that feature drinks made by the
local East Indies distillery.
There is also a Movenpick Café in the adjacent shopping centre, providing tasty treats throughout the day, as well as western breakfast options.
The shopping area also contains several other dining options; from ice cream to Korean fried chicken or Balinese spare ribs.
Open just five years ago and with a “new” feel, the hotel offers a range of different room and suite options, depending on how many there are in your party and what your priority is.
All rooms feature air conditioning, hair dryer, ironing board and iron, alarm clock, coffee/tea-making facilities, bottled water and hair dryer, as well as a fridge. The alarm clock is important as you do not want to sleep through the afternoon and miss your free chocolate treats.
Close to the airport, but unaffected by noise, the Movenpick overlooks local beaches (a shuttle buggy is a convenient option), with local fish markets and seafood beach eateries, Uluwatu temple and several surf beaches nearby.
The Huon Valley in Tasmania’s deep south has become a popular gourmet retreat with its many wineries, cider producers and cafés.
newest spot to stay in the area – around 45 minutes south of Hobart – is
Woodland Bay Retreat, a beautifully renovated 1930s home with sweeping views
over Port Cygnet Bay.
There is room for up to eight people – and everything has been thought of.
There is a modern kitchen with all-new equipment; a welcome basket of local produce, including a bottle of local pinot noir from Chatto Wines, or Sailor Seeks Horse; big fluffy towels; a lovely deck with plenty of space to take in the views and summer sun, even an outdoor pizza oven.
But we are only just getting started.
There is your own personal gym; a sauna with room for six people; a hot
tub and a cold tub;
a firepit with seating for taking in the amazing night skies; even a private studio with arcade games.
And the busy small town of Cygnet with its many art galleries, cafes and eateries is just a five-minute drive away.
Woodland Bay Retreat is billed as a Hamptons-style home with a garden, free private parking and free wifi.
The kitchen comes with a dishwasher, an oven, and a microwave, as well as little treats like hot chocolate mix and loose-leaf teas. There are two living rooms and a dining area, three bedrooms, and two bathrooms and, for guests with children, the home features an indoor play area.
The house runs on a solar panel system and all products and amenities are locally and organically sourced.
Woodland Bay Retreat is bookable on airbnb, booking.com and readytotrip.com, or call 0401 190 606 to speak to the owners, who live locally.
# The writer was a guest of airasia Superapp and hotel group Archipelago International. He was also hosted by the Movenpick Resort and Spa Jimbaran Bay. See www.archipelagointernational.com https://movenpick.accor.com/en/asia/indonesia/bali/jimbaran-bali.html
See more of Winsor’s travel tips at www.gourmetontheroad.com