Most people hadn’t heard of Ubud until Eat, Pray, Love came out. The NYT bestselling book (and Julia Roberts movie) about a woman who goes on a healing journey in Ubud made this little jungle town the most talked about in Bali.
It is a magical place, with a storybook setting, the heart and soul of Bali. It’s also home to some of the island’s most beautiful resorts, stunning properties that know how to spark the romance.
Four Seasons SayanOne-Bedroom Villa Four Seasons Sayan
Out of all the resorts in Ubud, Four Seasons Sayan is where Julia Roberts chose to stay while filming Eat, Pray, Love. We don’t blame her. The five-star property is pretty intimate for a Four Seasons–with only 60 rooms, you can expect personalized service and tons of privacy. The signature, disc-shaped lily pond roof is the first thing you’re going to add to your honeymoon photo gallery. They’ll even set up a floating dinner on it, which is seriously romantic come sunset, with the reflection of the surrounding trees and lilies. Once you move past this (it’s a given you’ll stare at the reflection pool for a really long time), the Balinese-style rooms are perfectly integrated into the rainforest along the river. It’s all suites and villas here: the one-bedroom villa is popular with honeymooners. Set in the hillside at a whopping 3,700 square feet, the villa has seamless indoor/outdoor design, a private pool, a huge bathtub, and amazing views of the rice terraces. It will set you back $700 a night, which is expensive for Bali but crazy cheap for Four Seasons. If you want to downgrade, the one-bedroom suite is still huge (2,300 square feet), though you don’t get that private pool and huge outdoor patio. Still, it’s only $564 a night.
COMO Shambhala EstateCOMO Suite at Umabona COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali, Melinggih Kelod, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
COMO is one of those intimate, high-end hotel chains that give celebrities plenty of reason to spend their disposable income, and Bali is where it all started. 3,400-feet high in the mountains and completely secluded, this perfect resort is right on the edge of a cliff along the Ayung River. The word “budget” does not exist in COMO’s world. Here, you’ll find a natural spring bursting with “holy” water, mineral spring pools in which to take a dip, and the jungle in all its glory. With a rustic-chic design (stone walls, thatched roofs, green grounds), and only only 30 villas, this place is intimate, which makes it a magnet for newlyweds. Each villa includes a personal butler and access to a holistic program with yoga and pilates. A garden room (the standard size at 380 sq. feet) is $440 a night, but $80 bucks more will get you a terrace suite and double the space. The COMO Suite at Umabona (one of many master suites and averaging $800 a night) has its own Jacuzzi and private infinity pool, in addition to a small indoor plunge pool. If you love water, this suite is for you.
AmandariSuite Amandari, Jalan Raya Kedewatan, Kedewatan, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
You can expect some serious A-list pampering at Amandari. Set deep within the rainforest along the river, Amandari feels like a rich person’s private estate. It’s not huge (only 30 suites), and you’ll probably never see another soul, because all the accommodations are staggered (and many have huge outdoor areas). There’s a deep pool, spa, and central restaurant, but what really stands out is the service. The staff greet you by name as soon as you arrive, treating you like they’ve known you forever, so personalized it might make you blush. The suites, starting at 2,360 square feet, are designed to integrate with the jungle. They’re massive with vaulted ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, furnishing built low to the ground to enhance space, outdoor stone bathtubs, and not one but two patios. They start at $700 and the more you pay for better suites, the better the amenities (like private pools, better views, etc).
Viceroy BaliTerrace Pool Villa Viceroy Bali
Viceroy Bali (not affiliated with Viceroy Hotels & Resorts) oozes romance in a way no other boutique property does. It is a sanctuary, a cliffside property overlooking Petanu Valley. Staff treat you like a movie star here (it’s not uncommon for guests to roll in via helicopter, so for all they know, maybe you are a movie star). This is especially the case when they know you’re here for a special occasion (like, say, a honeymoon). There’s an open-air restaurant, a pool with swim-up bar, a bi-level hillside spa and jaw-dropping views into the valley below. Everything faces the valley for jaw-dropping views. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, this intimate resort has only 25 villas (ranging from 1,600 to 4,000 square feet) and, unlike other luxury resorts, all of these villas are equipped with private pools. The happy medium is the Terrace Pool Villa, which includes a bale (a Balinese outdoor pavilion) so that you can really get the local experience. Fire up your Instagram account, because this one’s a stunner.
Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton ReservePool Villa Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Ritz-Carlton Reserve is the highest level for Marriott, exceeding Ritz Carlton status, and Mandapa is the highest RCR, built atop a cliff in Bali. There are only a few Reserves in the world (Puerto Rico, Thailand) so you’re in for a huge treat. After you pass hanging tree roots, moss-covered stone and lush jungle, you’ll find Mandapa is in the middle of a rice field. The smallest room (out of 60 suites and villas) is 1,000 square feet, and all the villas are strategically spaced so honeymooners can do whatever they want without anyone giving them weird looks. It feels like a village–although less a traditional Balinese kind of village than a Beverly Hills kind of village, with a gourmet restaurant, luxe spa and butlers to drive you around in buggies. We recommend you go straight for the pool villa ($769 a night), equipped with its own outdoor pool and wall-sized murals, but the best thing is the rainforest views. Rooms start at $440 in a standard suite, which are nice too, if not quite as fancy.