Every now and then I stumble across a hotel that ticks all the boxes. Fantastically fresh Balinese food and potent cocktails? Tick. Incredible jungle views from your private terrace? Tick. Cracking outdoor spa. Massive tick. And one of the world’s most gorgeous swimming pools. Tick, tick.
The hotel’s steamy and tropical location is world’s away from the chaos of chavtastic Kuta – thank god – with twittering birds darting from tree to tree, monkeys hanging from the branches, and that laid-back lingering feeling that Ubud has nailed so perfectly. I spent days here, just wallowing in the pool and heading back and forth to the Ayung Spa. With outdoor treatment beds, you can hear the trickle of water and creatures of the thick jungle and waving palms, as expert therapists pummel your back during a lemon-infused massage. Lovely stuff.
Amongst the terrace gardens, the low-rise villas are dotted across the hillside, built in a traditional Balinese style, and smartened up with large, four-poster beds, hand-crafted furniture and exotic fabrics – it’s super-luxe. And the piece de resistance? The private Java-stone infinity pool on your sun-blushed terrace. We ordered room service here one night, and our deck was lit with up a smattering of candles and a table for two hoisted up in a corner. If it’s romance you’re after, this place has got it down to a T.
By day, pootle on over into Ubud’s centre, with its buzzing arts scene and handicrafts markets. And don’t miss a bike ride along the lanes close to the hotel – the views of terraced fields are cracking and you can pull up at roadside shack for some of the best chicken satay you’ll ever get your mitts on.
As dusk descends, slip into your bikini for a final dunk in the pool, staring at the pristine rainforest and the twinkling lights beyond. Magic.
Hotel: Hanging Gardens of Bali, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.