The island of the gods. Australia’s favourite holiday spot and the tropical destination Americans dream about (well, ever since Eat Pray Love).
Bali is our backyard. When we lived in Perth, Australia we would visit Bali several times each year. At only 3.5 hours away via direct flight, it was close and convenient.
On top of that it’s comparatively cheap, distinctly different and a whimsical world away from Australia.
If you have made the plunge and are heading to this tropical paradise here are our personal recommendations on where to stay. We have stayed in each of these hotels and would not recommend anything we had not experienced ourselves.
I hope this guide helps you with your choice… there are plenty of regions and hotels to choose from.
Note: Star rating is based on Google reviews and/or TripAdvisor.
For divine beaches, brand shopping and luxury head to the southeast coast of Bali.
Grand Mirage Resort 4.5*
The perfect family hotel situated right on the beach. Swim up pool bar, kids club, water sports in the sparkling ocean and delicious restaurants.
Samabe Bali Suites & Villas 5*
This hotel is designed for the more discerning traveller and romantic getaways. But families feel at home too with spacious suites and a fun kids club. Impeccable food and service. Pure indulgence.
Romantic Tip: Even if you're not staying at Samabe, book a romantic secluded cave dinner for 2 on your own private beach. Find out more...
Peninsula Beach Resort 4*
Great location, close to markets and restaurants. Nice big pool for a leisurely break.
Holiday Inn Bali Benoa 5*
Gorgeous pool! And with facilities like morning yoga, delicious on-site restaurants, family-friendly water park, and even fruit carving, the whole family will love every minute.
Novotel Bali Nusa Dua Hotel & Residences 5*
Massive family suites, kids clubs and multiple swimming pools. Located near the Bali Collection shopping mall rather than the beach and restaurants.
Recommended: Looking for a villa? Check out Bali Villa Escapes with over 550 hand-picked villas all over Bali at the best prices. You'll definitely find somewhere you love.
For beachfront dining or a low-key stay, you can be a relaxed recluse in your resort or stay with the locals. Situated on the southwest coast just a few minutes south of the airport.
InterContinental Bali Resort 5*
A much-loved expansive resort right on the beach. Complete with lavish club lounge, pool bar, well-equipped kids club, multiple restaurants and of course, happy hour. A 2-minute walk to the famous Jimbaran seafood restaurants.
Le Meriden Bali Jimbaran 5*
This hotel is unbelievably scenic with a saltwater lagoon that winds around the hotel. Literally next door to the Jimbaran seafood restaurants and a 1-minute walk to the beach. The roof-top restaurant offers the best Jimbaran sunset views. On-site chapel is well-suited for destination weddings.
Sun Island Suites, Goa Gong 5*
For the absolute private and exclusive escape. Your own large spacious villa with fully equipped kitchen and private pool means you needn’t ever leave.
For the hustle and bustle of tourist-centric Bali stay in Kuta. Closest to the airport along the west coast, packed with restaurants, waterparks, markets and malls.
Sheraton Kuta 4.5*
Looking for a kid-centric hotel in central Kuta, you can’t go past the Sheraton. Located right on Kuta Beach next door to the famous Beachwalk Mall. Amazing food designed by the Italian head chef, and a kids club that left our kids wanting more. Infinity pool overlooks the most famous beach in Bali, but elevated enough to escape the noise and bustle.
Hard Rock Hotel Bali 4*
This rockin' hotel is centrally located opposite the popular Kuta Beach. It features the largest free-form swimming pool in Bali, free electric guitar rentals in your suite, awesome kids clubs, delicious on-site restaurants, and private cabanas. Oh, and waterslides!
Sun Island Hotel Kuta 4.5*
Possibly the best location in South Kuta – 2-minute walk to Waterbom and Discovery Mall. Well designed family rooms and a kid-friendly swimming pool.
Bali Dynasty Resort 4.5*
Use to be our favourite, but prices have increased significantly since our first visit. Great kids pool, adult pool bar and comfortable family rooms.
Febris Hotel & Spa 4*
A budget option for families in Kuta, opposite the Dynasty Resort on the district’s most popular road.
Harris Hotel & Residences Sunset Road 4*
Another great budget hotel with a 2-bedroom suite option and pool. Located on Sunset Road so a bit of a walk (or taxi ride) to where you want to be.
Waterbom insider tip: buy your ticket securely online via Voyagin (recommended) and save 15% plus skip the regular ticket queue upon entry.
Close to the action of Kuta, located further inland, but with an emphasis on nightlife. You can find well-known clubs and pubs in the area and loads of rooftop bars.
Sun Island Hotel & Spa Legian 4*
On the main road, right in party heaven. Amazing roof top infinity pool with swim up bar, or enjoy the sunset from the 5th floor while the kids swim in the wading pool.
White Rose Kuta Resort, Villas & Spa 4.5*
A beautifully traditional taste of Bali. This classic resort is hidden away in Legian, but still a short walk from shopping and restaurants. Relaxing pool and comfortable rooms.
For a more upmarket version of Kuta, head north to Seminyak. It’s a little more relaxed than Kuta and you’ll find more private villas, but still a wide range of good restaurants and markets galore.
Anantara Vacation Club 4.5*
2-bedroom self-contained villas with a private pool… bliss! Add to this an on-site activities such as cooking classes, treasure hunts and local tours and you’ve found yourself a home.
Sun Island Boutique Villas & Spa, Seminyak 4.5*
Similar location to our above villa, these villas are perfect for a hidden, quiet paradise with markets and restaurants still at your fingertips.
Adventure Tip: Take the ride of your life over a volcano in Bali! Check latest prices...
We hired a 7-bedroom 7-bathroom home for a family reunion. Great location and came with breakfast daily.
For a slower pace, Sanur is well-suited for families. Lots of beach activities and watersports. Check out the famous night markets in Sanur (also called “Pasar Malam Sindu”) from 6pm. Located on the east side of the island.
Sanur Paradise Plaza Suites 4*
A family-friendly hotel with kids club, apartments, beach access and plenty of pools. Located right in Sanur Village.
Related travel reading: if you want to save money check out A Backpacker’s Cheap Travel Guide to Bali.
Retreat to the cool, lush jungle covered with some of the island’s best food. Ubud is located around 1.5 hours north of Kuta.
Hotel Tjampuhan Spa 4*
A bit of a walk out of town, but with views of Tjaumphan Ridge to die for. Relaxing and intimate.
We have used Flipkey several times to find our villas in Ubud. Penestanan is our favourite location at the northwest end of Ubud, offering a real slice of Bali mixed with a fun expat community.
Bali tip: Pre-book transport from Bali's international airport to Ubud.
We've taken a day trip to Uluwatu but haven't stayed overnight. If you're looking for luxurious accommodation overlooking the ocean, I'd suggest Alila Villas Uluwatu.
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So what sort of holiday in Bali are you looking for? Seclusion, relaxation, shopping, or nightlife?
I hope this guide helps you choose where to stay in Bali. Or if you’re like me and can’t decide, why not split your time between 2 hotels and get the best of everything. Whether it’s your first visit or tenth to the island of the gods, the friendly culture and bargains galore will keep drawing you back.
Don’t sweat it. Just remember, you can always stay somewhere new next time.