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Whether you are seeking adventure, romance, or fun with the kids, your choice of Bali accommodation can make or break your holiday. It can be hard to decide what part of Bali you should stay in and which hotel is going to suit you and your budget, even if you’re a regular visitor. When you start planning your trip to Bali, the most important question you need to ask yourself is, “What do I want from my Bali holiday?”

Would you like to stay at a Bali hotel in Kuta and party the night away with fellow travellers, spend quality time with your children (or enjoy a well-earned break from them), or are you seeking a romantic Bali hotel on the beach for a dreamy Bali honeymoon?  Perhaps you’re after a mix of all three.

We’ve created the ultimate guide for choosing a Bali hotel that is right for you, including Bali travel tips and hotel reviews to help you make a wise decision for your next Bali holiday. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious five star Bali hotel or an affordable Bali villa, we’ve got you covered with this handy guide which we’ve put together after more than a dozen trips to Indonesia’s ‘island of the Gods’.

Jimbaran Bay sunset

What are your top Bali things to do?

Think about what you want to see and do while you’re in Bali and use this to help set your budget. If you are a first time visitor and want to spend each day out and about seeing the sights, it’s not much point paying top dollar for a luxury room that you’re never going to use. It might be better to stay in cheaper accommodation and spend your money on quality excursions or mix things up. Why not stay somewhere affordable like Inaya Putri Bali while you’re doing excursions then move to a more expensive hotel like the InterContinental Bali at Jimbaran Bay for the rest of your trip.

Inaya Putri Bali resort
Chill out at Inaya Putri Bali
InterContinental Bali room
Live it up at the InterContinental Bali

Check out review sites like TripAdvisor and also Google Earth which offers a street view of each property. Google Earth is a great way to find out if that fantastic bargain hotel you’re eyeing off is next to a construction site or the ‘beach front’ location touted on the website isn’t entirely accurate.

What is your Bali hotel budget?

While it pays to do your research, there’s no need to be scared off by super cheap hotel rates. You can get a lot for your money in Bali when it comes to accommodation. This is just one of the many reasons we love holidaying here as a family. It’s not uncommon for hotel chains like Ibis Styles or Novotel to offer rates starting at A$60 per night. Provided you don’t mind being a few streets back from the beach, hotels like these are brilliant for the price. Even better, if you book at a Novotel up to two kids under 16 stay for free. There are loads of top things to do in Bali with kids too so there’s little chance of your children getting bored. If you’re nervous about visiting Bali for the first time with your family, partner, or as a solo traveller, these Bali tips for travellers should help to put your mind at rest.

Kite flying in Bali
Fly a traditional kite in Bali

Best hotels in Bali for facilities

Look at what each hotel offers in the way of facilities and think about what you need to make your holiday a good one. Does it have air-conditioning (some cheap, locally run hotels don’t), a nice pool, beach access or a kids club?  We love the luxe spa pool complex at the Ritz-Carlton Bali which offers hours of decadent relaxation and is free for all guests to use, regardless of whether or not they book a spa treatment.

Ritz-Carlton Bali spa
Private hot tub and swan shower at Ritz-Carlton Bali

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Bali honeymoon couple
Bali honeymoon

If you’re looking for the best Bali hotel for families, a kids club will probably be important. However, if you’re on your honeymoon in Bali, you probably want to avoid these family friendly hotels or visit outside the school holidays when there aren’t many kids staying there. Some hotels like the InterContinental Bali cater equally well for couples and parents travelling with kids. We’ve written separate guides for visiting the InterContinental Bali with kids and staying at the InterContinental Bali as a couple, plus whether you should choose a Singaraja or Club Room at this versatile hotel.

InterContinental Bali bar
Adults can enjoy the InterContinental Club with complimentary evening cocktails

Mega hotels such as the Mulia Bali offer a choice of different accommodation options in the one huge resort. If you’re travelling with kids, The Mulia Resort or one of the private Mulia Villas is your best choice. Couples will enjoy The Mulia which is aimed almost exclusively at adults.

The Mulia pool
Oasis pool at The Mulia

Others like Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali don’t have a kids club but still welcome children. Now our son is a teenager, we enjoy these types of hotels as he doesn’t need the kids club and is made to feel welcome by staff and other guests. Belmond is equally good for families and couples and has an excellent choice of accommodation, from affordable garden view rooms to secluded villas with a massive private pool.

Belmond Jimbaran Puri
Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali

Where to stay in Bali

Do you want to be in the heart of the action in a location surrounded by plenty of local bars and dining options, or would you prefer to hang out at your hotel?  If so, make sure the one you choose has appealing drinking, dining and entertainment options on site that suit your budget. If you are a first time visitor, the resort enclave of Nusa Dua offers plenty of choice, whatever your budget. Check out the affordable Inaya Putri Bali, The Mulia Bali which is three different hotels in one, or the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua which offers an impressive array of facilities.

Sofitel Bali brunch

Dining at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua

Kuta or Seminyak are both good choices if you’re after a lively location with plenty of bars, shops, spas, and restaurants to choose from. Kuta has fallen out of favour somewhat with the tourist party crowd who have moved on to Seminyak. This means Kuta is less rowdy than it once was. We enjoyed our stay at Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort which is also popular with Indonesian travellers who come here to relax and shop at the upmarket Beachwalk shopping complex next door. This hotel is close enough to the party area of Kuta to be fun but also far enough away to escape it.

View from Sheraton Kuta
View from the balcony at Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

Seminyak offers some lovely villa hotels like Peppers Seminyak and first-rate beachfront accommodation such as Anantara Seminyak Bali. Seminyak is also the place to come for great coffee, trendy boutiques and popular bars like Potato Head and Ku De Ta. If you want a mix of partying and relaxation, you can always start your holiday at Kuta or Seminyak and then move to a different hotel somewhere quiet like East Bali for the rest of your trip. Our stay at Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort Bali in the peaceful Klungkung province was a highlight on our most recent trip.

Peppers Seminyak entry
Peppers Seminyak entrance

A luxe Uluwatu villa hotel like Banyan Tree Ungasan or Bulgari Bali also offers a relaxing sanctuary away from Bali’s beach crowds. Both these hotels are quite isolated though, so they won’t suit party people. If you are after a quieter area away from the party scene that has plenty of drinking and dining options, Jimbaran Bay is perfect. In fact, this area is one of our favourite places to stay in Bali. Our top hotels picks here include the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay and Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali.

Bulgari_Bali beach
Bulgari Bali private beach club
Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort Bali pool
Beach pool at Wyndham Tamansari Jivva Resort Bali
Banyan Tree Bali
Banyan Tree Ungasan

How to avoid Bali traffic

Bali traffic is notoriously bad so your hotel’s location is important. If you are planning a lot of activities around Bali, you might want to consider moving hotels half way through your stay for easy access to your day trip destination. For example, if you want to visit Ubud for the day, it could be better to book a hotel there for a few nights instead as the drive to and from Ubud can take more than two hours each way. We aren’t fans of Ubud and prefer other less touristed parts of Bali. However, we loved our two night stay at Aria Villas Ubud and not having to travel far for our fun Bali Adventure Rafting trip. If we had done this rafting trip from one of Bali’s beach areas, we would have had to get up at around 6.15am to be ready in time for the pick up at our hotel.

Aria Villas bali
Peaceful Aria Villas Bali in Ubud
Bali rafting trip
Rafting fun on the Ayung River

Smart ways to budget in Bali

If money is tight but you still want to spoil yourself, you can stay somewhere cheap for most of your stay and then move to a fancier hotel at the end of your trip. Even if you can only afford to stay there a night or two, you’ll enjoy every minute of that five star splendour while you’re there. We did this during a trip to Bali via Yogyakarta where we visited the famous temples, Prambanan and Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple. While we were in Yogyakarta we spent all day at the temples and stayed at family run hotels which cost less than $60 per night for our entire family, including breakfast.

Borobudur temple
Borobudur in Java

When we flew from Yogyakarta to Bali for a three night mini-holiday before we returned to Australia, we booked into the Ritz-Carlton Bali and didn’t leave the hotel once. While that might sound terrible, a ‘flop and drop’ holiday was just what we needed after exploring the temples for eight hours a day and a frantic six months at work.

Ritz Carlton Bali breakfast
Champagne breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton Bali

Consider additional costs

If you have splurged on a five star hotel but don’t have much money left over for food and activities, make sure your hotel is within walking distance of other options outside the resort. Staying in an isolated high end hotel somewhere like Uluawatu can be an expensive disaster for luxury lovers on a budget. Our family learned this the hard way when we stay at Bulgari Resort Bali. We had to take a taxi to the mini-mart to buy emergency supplies when we discovered a plate of nasi goreng (Balinese fried rice) at this designer resort cost more than A$40.

Disclosure: The writers love visiting Bali and it remains one of their favourite travel destinations.

We’ve got plenty of hints and tips for travelling in Bali and also some great hotel and resort suggestions. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, we’ve reviewed the Ritz-Carlton Bali Resort, Peppers Seminyak Resort, Apurva Kempinski Bali, Bulgari Resort Bali, Aria Villas Ubud, Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, The Mulia Bali, Merusaka Nusa Dua, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort, Anantara Seminyak Bali, the InterContinental Bali for couples and those travelling with kids. We’ve compared the Singaraja and Club rooms at the InterContinental Bali and found the best luxury family hotels in Bali and the best honeymoon hotels in Bali.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.