There are very few places that visually indulged me on the level that Bali photos and videos did in the run-up to my solo trip. It felt like every photo I saw of this destination was ripped straight from a mythical paradise that I’d only ever seen behind my eyelids in my dreams.
At times, I wondered whether any place could really have THIS many unbelievable backdrops and villas in one place. It seemed almost too good to be true.
The prices that you would pay in the UK for anything close to what Bali had to offer would make me not even dare to look! But in planning my trip to Bali, it suddenly seemed as though I could create the bougie trip of a lifetime without bursting my budget into a million pieces. So I fell down the ultimate ‘Sherilyn Planning Hole’.
Now that my jet-lag has started to ease, I’ve finally managed to gather my thoughts, share my content and spend some time reflecting on the most unique, mind-blowing and memorable stays I was lucky enough to experience in Bali.
These recommendations are based purely on my own personal experiences and preferences, so don’t come at me if it’s not your jam, not your budget or not your vibe. I’m sharing for my love of sharing, and hopefully this gives you some ideas on where to stay if you’re planning your own Bali Bucket List adventure.
So here's my favourite boujie and unique stays in Bali!
Mades Punia Jungle - Ubud
This was easily one of my most special and favourite stays of my entire Bali trip. I booked it while I was back in the UK as I was craving a full tropical jungle immersion. But as soon as I touched down in Bali, I soon realised how “outdoorsy” even the most modern-looking accommodation was (lizards, mozzies and ants would find there way into every room!) - So i panicked when I realised that I had committed to accommodation in the heart of the jungle that had an entire wall missing (!) and my bedroom was fully open and exposed to the elements!
I tried to cancel, but it was non-refundable which actually turned out to be the best thing ever, because when I arrived for my week-long stay, I felt like I was in absolute paradise. My room took my breath away - it overlooked the tops of palm trees, I would watch the run rise above the trees right from my bed and the peaceful sounds of nature made me fall in love with the place.
I don’t know how it’s possible, but I didn’t see one single mosquito the whole time I was there, I became at peace with the little geckos that would hide on the walls and even felt comfortable with a much larger lizard that made himself at home in the top corner of the room. The infinity pool was great (although WAY too deep for the floating breakfast - I almost drowned trying to capture my instagram moment), the food was incredibly low-cost and delicious, and the staff couldn’t do enough for me, I even sat the the table drinking tea and watching the most glorious tropical storm roll in. I loved this rustic gorgeous experience and would recommend it to anyone! Something to note, it’s literally OUTSIDE in the elements and has clearly become a little weathered over the years, so it could definitely do with a refurb, but for the price and the priceless memories, it’s beyond worth it!
Makaii Tiny Villas - Canggu
Instagram heaven! A teeny, tiny cylinder of a villa that has it’s own plunge pool that you can jump into from your bed, the roof has a lid that lifts up so that you can gaze up at the clouds and it has a cute outdoor shower. A delicious floating breakfast was included in the stay and it’s not too far from some of Canggu’s hotspots. I stayed one night here as a little treat and it was fab - there are only about 4 villas, so they get snapped up super quick. The only downside with MY stay was that there was a lottttt of construction happening opposite my room. So it didn’t make for much of a relaxing poolside experience and I was sure that the builders could see me naked AF in the shower 😅
Patal Kalkian Villa
Now this was a stay to remember! Right opposite Mount Agung volcano, up many hills, you’ll find this stunning hotel. Our room was huge and stepping onto our balcony unfolded the most magical view of the volcano in all it’s glory. We would sit for hours and watch the clouds float around the mountain. The hotel is a tad on the old-fashioned side, but it didn’t matter one bit. The view and the service does all the talking - I’ve never seen anything like it! There’s also a gorgeous infinity pool that frames the volcano perfectly.
A huge bonus is that the hotel doesn’t have many rooms so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to capture the moment and enjoy having the pool completely to yourself.
Moon Villas Umalas - Canggu
I booked this stunning villa to host a business meeting that I had with one of my marketing clients, and it was perfect - I only wish I’d booked it for a few extra nights just to enjoy the facilities. It’s more of an art gallery than a villa, so many beautiful design pieces, sculptures and ornaments. Everywhere you looked it was like a perfectly framed shot from a magazine. Even the swimming pool had five giant white stone Buddha heads sitting in it with a waterfall at the back. The reception is an actual art gallery where you can purchase the pieces of art and the staff were really helpful and attentive. I stayed in the one bedroom villa, but there were a number of different sizes which I’m sure were equally as gorgeous, I feel like it was a super hidden gem away from the hustle and bustle.
The Four Seasons - Ubud
I lucked out BIG TIME with this one! This accommodation will set you back around £800 per night, but it’s like a completely different world. Luxury beyond luxury! My friend was hired for a work campaign there and invited me to stay for one of the nights she was there. Walking across the bridge that was raised above the jungle and a gushing river to get to the hotel reception, I stopped on my tracks, put my hands the air and said out loud “How is THIS my life?!” (thankfully, I don’t think anybody saw) It was like something out of a film. It was so grand, yet so immersed in nature. Me and my friend spent the day hopping in and out of the plunge pools, getting driven around in golf buggies and watching river rafters float by as we relaxed in the infinity pool. I don’t have the words to describe this stay, but wow!
Long term accommodation
I realised the hard way that hopping around from accommodation to accommodation is extremely tiring, very distracting and frustrating when it comes to wanting the same standard everywhere you go. Not all wifi is good wifi even if the hotel says it is, many places will avoid telling you that there is a 24 hour construction site next door, or that the walls are as thin as tissue and you can hear your neighbour on the toilet until all hours of the morning. So after hotel-hopping, I decided to plant my feet into long term accommodation. Unfortunately so many places were booked up well in advance, so I had to do some moving around - but it meant that I was able to try these gems.
Bali Bustle - Kuta
This is where I ended up staying the longest - the whole month of December and January. They actually have three sites, and I stayed in the Pararaton one; but if I was to do it again, I’d stay at the main site where the Bustle Cafe is for ease of being able to get food and laundry onsite. I stayed in a suite that had a kitchenette and a little balcony. In my opinion, staying at Bali Bustle is away from all of the action, the fun and pretty parts of Bali - but it was super functional for what I needed. The wifi was great, there was no crazy construction, there is a gym and a rooftop pool upstairs and a co-working office full of hot desks with tea coffee and water included, plus there’s even a Skype Room where you can make private calls without disturbing the others, there’s always reception staff around (you can Whatsapp them with any issues or questions if they’re not), and I didn’t see any bugs, lizards or ants in my room ever (huge bonus!) The only downside was that the bathroom had a slightly eggy smell that came through the drain and the water pressure wasn’t great but it didn’t affect my stay negatively. I felt really at home here and I could completely focus on working when I needed to.
Palawa Guesthouse - Canggu
A great place for a long-term stay, although they only had availability for a two weeks when I was there, it’s right by Finns Recreation Centre, Starbucks and Milk and Madu (yummy brunch!) but far enough from a lot of the chaos of Canggu so you can rest easy. My room was super clean and modern, and the shower was powerful. There was a small pool right outside my room, but the weather was so bad while I stayed there that I never risked getting in because the rain would hit out of nowhere. The price was reasonable - I’d recommend it for sure.
Bonita Canggu Guesthouse - Canggu
Brand new accommodation right in the heart of Canggu. Unfortunately there was relentless construction either side during my stay and the dogs would bark like nothing I’d ever heard in my life from about 6am, but I know that it was just the timing of my stay that affected this. I drove by a month later and there were two brand new completed buildings instead of construction sites. The accommodation itself was brand new with a minimalist, sleek finish. The shared kitchen was open and spacious and the staff and guests kept on top of it so that it was nice and clean. The shower room was huge and I absolutely adored the swimming pool.
I wasn't ready to leave it there, so here's a handful of my favourites...
Poka Villas Ubud
I stayed here for my birthday and I freaking loved it. The staff were so lovely and helpful and organised a personalised flower pool for my birthday in our private pool. The room overlooked the rice fields and was decorated beautifully. Unfortunately their restaurant was being refurbished the time and there weren’t many food options close-by so that made it a little difficult at the end of our long days exploring, and there wasn’t much light in the room so it was quite dark when I was getting ready, but it was a gorgeous stay surrounded by nature that I highly recommend.
Pink Coco Gili Air
This hotel reminds me of 1950’s Hollywood - pink flamingos and palm trees everywhere! Our room was lush and also had a outdoor bed with a fan right above it so that you could chill outside during the day.
The room is just steps away from the gorgeous, powdery sand beach. The food was delicious and you can hire bikes at reception to cycle around the island. The hotel is a little further away from the action, and being a tropical island, there’s not much light along the route back at night, so use the torch that’s in the room.
The Beach House Resort Gili Trawangan
I’m not sure there’s a better place to stay on Gili T. The room and the outdoor shower was luxurious, the food was delicious (especially the night-time seafood BBQ on the beach) and the location is perfect. It was so good that we extended our island trip another night just to enjoy the hotel and the beach for a little longer.
I’m beyond grateful that I got to spend a solid 4 months in Bali, it meant that I was able to try all different types of accommodation, a variety of budgets and a number of locations. But of course I haven’t even scratched the surface on all of the incredible options that this island and the surrounding islands have to offer. Feel free to use this list of recommendations as a guide, but remember that there’s so much more to explore!
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