HANGING GARDENS UBUD

BALI, INDONESIA

Bali isn’t just for beachgoers — there’s a whole interior jungle to be discovered. And once you’re headed down a winding brick road that cuts its way through the rice paddies near Ubud, you’ll forget all about the beaches.

Streamlined design breathes beautiful minimalistic style, and creates thoroughly calming surroundings for your stay. The peaceful views are abundant, peering over the rainforest, river, and Segara Temple, which faces the resort from the opposite hillside.

- jason anderson

The Look

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The resort’s rooms (173 in total) have all the luxe touches you’d expect — lavish bathrooms, flat-screen televisions, Bose surround sound — plus such surprise extras as telescopes on every balcony for whale-watching by day and stargazing by night. Even the smallest rooms are essentially suites, but it’s the level of service that sets the resort apart. From welcome drinks and a butler (who will unpack your bags for you) to poolside foot massages and aromatherapy turndown service, you’ll feel pampered from arrival to departure.

Beyond

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There’s also no shortage of on-property distractions. The resort has its own beach, golf course, tennis center, spa and fitness center, plus five dining options. You can charter the resort’s private yacht for daytime sightseeing or sunset cruises, book personal training sessions, schedule a wine or tequila tasting — or do nothing at all.

In the Area

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The best tables at Plantation spill out to the border with the jungle. Clinging to a hillside over the Ayung River, Alila Ubud’s low-rise landscape pays homage to a traditional Balinese village. Australian architectural firm Kerry Hill used modern touches throughout the 56 rooms and villas, which are spread out among 14 two-story buildings. The result is cozy, contemporary guestrooms that never let you forget what’s just outside the floor-to-ceiling windows: pure, unadulterated nature.

Tiny frogs hop around my outdoor shower, crickets hum in harmony, and monkeys swing from one thatch roof to another. Sure, there are a few villages, temples and even resorts that dot the river gorge, but there’s something about the traditional feel of the interiors that makes you feel far removed from the rest of Ubud.

The resort’s a short drive from the center of town, but your basic needs are more than taken care of. The hotel’s open-air restaurant, Plantation, occupies some prime real estate just above the pool. Huge coconut tree trunks support a thatched roof, and the best tables spill out to the border with the jungle. And then there’s the decadent spa, the on-site art gallery, the bar and the Alila boutique, where you can buy that batik sarong you didn’t even know you wanted.

I came to Alila Ubud on my honeymoon; my husband and I made a stop in central Bali between visits to each coast. We saw some killer views on that trip, but few of them can beat the panorama from the edge of the resort’s emerald infinity pool. As water laps over the side and geckos chirp from the deck, we both gaze out at the endless swath of green tumbling down the hill. We came here for the views — and they never once disappointed.

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