Ah, the holidays. When dreaming of a white Christmas becomes a little too real, enjoying your time off with loved ones in a tropical setting seems a tad more appealing. No destination seems more appropriate to while the days away than Bali; the Indonesian gem of an island can certainly be defined as paradise, regardless of your inclination while on vacation. The wonderfully diverse destination is, yes, undeniably beautiful, but is also the perfect place to spend Christmas break, surrounded by family and friends, as there truly is something for everyone. Below, your guide to the best of Bali.
Seminyak -- The Place to Party
Generally, when you fly into Bali, you'll land at Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport (fun fact: it's also known as Denpasar International Airport, as visitors couldn't pronounce its proper name). Close by is tourist-favourite and the ever-buzzing city of Seminyak. Motorbikes by the hundreds whiz by in every direction, and late night drinks and parties spill onto the hot, steamy streets. Just north of the crowded Double Six Beach, The W Retreat and Spa Bali is an oasis in the middle of all the action. Upon arrival, the dazzling bright and enchanting entrance instantly transports you -- a canopy of trees shimmer with legions of lights, and the noise instantly dims.
Replaced is a glamorous, artistic aesthetic the W is known for; notoriously bold Alec Monopoly paintings decorate the lobby, as do local Balinese touches, like the Batik ceilings overhead. The resort is situated beachside, and features a stunning and large, black-tiled and tiered swimming pool overlooking the ocean. When the sun begins its slow and vibrant descend, slink over to Woobar to sip a fruity cocktail and take in the spectacular scenery. A live DJ spinning lounge-y, chill sounds evokes a relaxed and entertaining vibe.
If you're keen to partake in Seminyak's party culture, Legian Beach is the place to be. Cocoon Beach Club throws a Splash Party on Sundays, and draws crowds of fun-loving tourists to the beach-side day club with their top-tier DJ's and outrageously costumed staff (don't be surprised to see Go-Go dancers surrounded by plumes of pink feathers, perched high upon stilts in full flamingo get-ups).
For a stylish beach soiree, arrange a table at the discernibly fabulous Potato Head. This magnificent space boasts three restaurants, each with a distinct milieu; two bars, each with fabulously imaginative and delicious cocktails; and an enormous, perfectly manicured lawn that leads to an equally impressive infinity pool (in which one of the bars is in) overlooking the beach.
Uluwatu -- A Pampered Paradise
Further south down the coast of Bali lays Uluwatu. Far more serene, authentic and sanguine in nature, The Four Seasons Jimbaran Resort encapsulates these notions. Archetypically known as the first large-scale resort to boast villa-only accommodations, the newly renovated villas can only be described as heaven on earth. Offering utmost privacy, each villa offers a supremely indulgent living space both indoor and out.
Around the resort, there are plenty of places to simply watch the undulating welcome of the shore, take in the culture by participating in activities such as learned to weave baskets, or get your heart rate up by trying your hand at stand-up paddleboarding. If your desires fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, take in the magnificent views from any angle, and book in for an aerial yoga session. The private pavilion is a tropical bliss, and the blend of practicing poses and mindful meditation brings a special kind of peacefulness that can only be found in moments of true tranquility.
Ubud -- An Artistic, Healthful Escape
In the middle of the Balinese rainforest lays the spiritual, richly-cultured town of Ubud. A well-known hub for traditional crafts and dance, there are many holy places in Ubud, too, such as the elaborately carved 'Elephant Cave', and many temples and shrines.
Get swept up in the atmosphere and check yourself in to The Purist Villas and Spa. Situated in a private location away from (but still very close to) Ubud's buzz, this tropical rainforest getaway allows for an ultimate retreat. The gorgeous jungle setting can be completely enjoyed; the pool and restaurant are surrounded, and bamboo encases the half-indoor half-outdoor villas. The bathroom is partially open, while the enormous, circular shower area is entirely in fresh air, evoking a sense of getting back to nature and enjoying the simpler things in life.
While in Ubud, you mustn't miss out on one of the most absolutely spectacular dining experiences to be had at award-winning Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique. Arrive a few minutes early, and sip a cocktail in the pre-dinner lounge that has been designed to mimic the chef Chris Salans's living room. When you're ready to be seated, prepare to have your breath taken away; a glittering, scented garden veiled in candlelight ensures the setting is romantic, relaxing and enjoyed by all senses. The only thing better is one of the most memorable meals you'll surely indulge in during a lifetime -- French techniques seamlessly blend with Balinese flavours and ingredients for what can only be described as pure magic.
For a luxurious, eco-friendly and complete holistic healing experience, be sure to stay awhile at the Fivelements, a multi-award winning wellness retreat that realigns, transforms and transcends. Nine eco-villas are nestled deep in the lush, emerald jungle and surrounded by the rush of the Ayung River. This serene sanctuary has been inspired by the traditional Balinese way of life, and encapsulates the spirit of caring for nature and oneself. Healing the mind and body through 'Panca Mahabhuta', a Hindu concept which represents the five elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth), Fivelements approaches with a harmonious philosophy that balances, restores and rejuvenates.
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