3 -min. read

For a small district in Bali, Ubud is shaping up as a big battlefield for luxury resorts. This year, in addition to existing properties from Aman, Alila, Four Seasons, COMO and Mandapa, Ritz Carlton Reserve, there’s one more high-end choice throwing its hat into the ring: Hoshinoya Bali.

For hotel enthusiasts, Ubud is something of a creative hub when it comes to luxury resorts. One of the most established and elegant hotels in Ubud, Amandari, is remarkable for its perfect integration with the nearby village along Ayung River, fostered over 28 years of natural, organic growth. Visitors can see local people walking across the lobby and kids from the village dancing around the pool. Only 10 minutes’ drive from Amandari, COMO Shambala has created wonderful wellness programs and raw food cuisine based on Balinese wisdom. Moreover two years ago, the third Ritz Carlton Reserve in the world opened in Ubud, offering efficient and impeccable service as well as various outdoor activities designed for different types of traveller.

Exterior of villa at Hoshinoya Bali

In such a crowded marketplace, it really calls for courage and insight to choose Ubud as the first overseas destination for Hoshinoya, the bespoke resort originating in Japan. However if the masterpieces Hoshinoya has created in Japan are anything to go by, their Balinese outpost won’t let you down.

Hidden amidst the lush rainforests of Bali, Hoshinoya has delivered a unique understanding of Ubud’s landscapes and culture. Sitting on the hillside next to the River Pakerisan, the whole resort is arranged like the tiered rice terraces commonly found in Ubud. Thirty villas are built on the top area, and stepping down you can reach the lobby, dining spots and other public spaces, with spa treatment rooms at the bottom of the hill.

Spa reception

Water is one of the signature aspects of Hoshinoya. Within the Bali resort, 30 villas are lined up along three canal-like swimming pools that divide the ‘village’ into three parts, branching off into smaller, semi-private pools connected to each villa’s sundeck. From a far distance, it looks like a village floating on a lake at the top of a hill.

These two-storey villas have been designed by combining Japanese and Balinese style. Beautiful wood carvings from local craftsmen could be found in each villa. The wide sliding door brings in plenty of natural light and with carefully trimmed plants in front of the door, the marble floor in the room is screened by shadows from the gardens outside.

Villa sundeck

Another innovative design is the Café Gazebo, inspired by the idea of a bird’s nest. Seven nests hang on different trees facing the rainforest, giving guests privacy and a peaceful vibe. Meanwhile the spa rooms lie at the bottom of the hill, accessible via an open-air elevator. The 20-second ride is an unusual and enjoyable start to treatments.

In order to create a peaceful stay, the resort has set up certain ‘rules’. There are no TVs in the rooms, but a high quality Bose sound system is provided. There is no gym on site either; however, guests can relax their bodies and minds by joining complimentary sunrise and sunset yoga each day. Throughout, this peaceful and culturally flavoured haven encourages you to switch off in style and enjoy the naturally relaxing ambience of Ubud.


Nancy Huang
Nancy Huang is Senior Features Editor for Condé Nast Traveler China.

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