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Where to stay in Bali: Villa or Hotel? Pros and Cons

When it comes to booking exotic travel accommodation in Bali, visitors are often left wondering if they should book a boutique villa or a hotel room in a large resort. Everyone has their own personal preferences – there are people that just love to be away from everybody, switch off the mobile phone and indulge in their privacy, while others prefer to stay in the hustle and bustle where they can meet new people and socialise with fellow travellers.

So before finding the right accommodation in Bali, I strongly suggest you take a minute to really ask yourself what it is you are looking to get out of your Balinese accommodation. By first identifying the kind of experience you hope to have, it will make it a lot easier to filter through the thousands of hotel options and find the one that’s right for you. Consider these questions before booking a hotel in Bali:

  • Are you looking for a budget hotel? If so, you may have to compromise your privacy as shared pool areas and communal dining is often the norm for the most affordable hotels in Bali, which are usually built on large compounds with multi-storey buildings.
  • Small private villas in Bali are another popular type of accommodation, where you can have your desired intimacy and privacy. However, these often come with their own kitchen and cooking equipment, and honestly, who wants to do their own washing or cleaning on holiday? Consider whether your budget extends to dining out for every meal or if you can be bothered shopping and cooking for yourself before you book a self-contained villa.
  • The third option can be found with privateLuxury Bali Villas. Here you can really have the right compromise between the privacy and intimacy of having your own house while enjoying the sublime comfort of a boutique hotel, with the dedicated staff at your exclusive service. If you dream of swimming naked in the pool with your beloved in complete privacy, or you wish to have a private chef cooking anything you want in your own private surrounds, stop looking, as a private luxury villa is the choice for you.

 

With so many hotel options in Bali, it’s not always easy to find the perfect option, but my recommendation is to choose a villa or hotel that offers that quintessential Balinese experience. I mean, who really wants to spend their time off in a big building where you could be in the middle of New York or Sydney or any other city in the world? Don’t we deserve the best possible accommodation in Bali after all the hard work that has earned us this relaxing tropical vacation?

I have travelled throughout most of Bali and have tried pretty much every kind of accommodation in Seminyak, Canggu and Ubud, including:

  • Luxury hotels
  • Large resorts
  • Small motels
  • Flats and apartments
  • Private luxury villas

Which one was the best? For me, deciding which accommodation type offered the best Balinese experience means asking myself which one was the most magical, relaxing and comfortable.

Like many, I discovered that location plays a huge. When you look for accommodation in Bali, make sure that you choose a location that offers the right mix of seclusion, privacy and nature, but is also within proximity to good restaurants, beaches, shops, bars, surf spots, spas or whatever particular thing it is you’re hoping to get out of your Balinese holiday.

Bear in mind there is no public transport in Bali – your only way to move around is by foot, car (taxi or rental) or by bike. Before you book your accommodation, check the address on Google Maps so you won’t have nasty surprises when you get there. I hear countless stories of people booking gorgeous private villas in Ubud, only to be disappointed when they get there and realise these properties are half an hour drive from the town centre which is only reachable by shuttle bus or private taxi.  Depending what you’re looking for, I suggest you double check for things like whether golf courses or private clubs are nearby, and how far away you are from the best surf spots or the nicest restaurants. Don’t forget the beach, the spas or the yoga centres which will enrich your holiday in this beautiful paradise.

Bali accommodations: Pros and Cons

Not all accommodation in Bali offer you the same opportunities. In some cases, you could face a few unexpected issues, which is the last thing you want on holiday. Having stayed in so many different places, I’ve prepared a list of pros and cons based on my personal experiences:

Staying in Hotels – Pros:

  • It’s relatively easy to find one you like
  • You have tons of travel websites to look for information, and many travel agencies to help you to make the right choice
  • Mid-week discounts are often available
  • Cleaning is done for you
  • Food is prepared and available onsite (unless you prefer to eat outside of the hotel)
  • You can rest by the pool and a waiter brings you a cocktail
  • If your hotel is on the beach, guests will probably have sun beds available right on the beach (although these start to fill up quickly after breakfast, which can be very annoying).

Other good things I like about staying in hotels:

  • You have patient staff available at the reception desk to assist at all times
  • All your problems are addressed
  • Hotel staff can rent a car or bike for you
  • Hotel staff and in-house travel agencies can book your itineraries
  • Help is available if you need to make a call

Staying in Hotels – Cons:

  • You don’t have all that freedom you crave
  • If you come during major holidays (like Christmas or New Year), you may be stuck attending a mandatory celebratory dinner which the hotel has organized on those nights
  • Food is often hit and miss and is generally a waste of money which you cannot avoid
  • Kitchens usually close before 11pm
  • Air-con may not work, or worse – you can’t figure out all the gadgets to turn the lights on and get the TV working
  • Internet is a pain, you can never properly figure out how to connect and with so many guests trying to access it at once, the connection can frequently drop out or become unavailable

Where to stay in Bali is based on your personal needs for your dream vacation. You may be looking for a private home away from home, and if you desire seclusion and your budget allows for it, you should choose a luxury holiday villa in Bali. When staying at private luxury villas, tourists are considered “VIPs” by the locals and they will work hard to provide you an incredible Balinese experience you’ll never forget

Bali Luxury Villas – Pros:

  • You can do your own thing and don’t have to depend on anyone
  • You have the choice to cook your own food, eat out, or even better – get your personal chef to do it for you
  • Freedom to bring your friends over and have a party
  • The price can sometimes be negotiated with the owner
  • Enjoy maximum privacy
  • You can make as much noise as you want without complaint from other guests
  • You can have a BBQ
  • You won’t disturb anyone and best of all, no one disturbs you
  • You can rent the property long-term and then sub-let it out for higher rates
  • Feel more at home

Bali Luxury Villas – Cons:

  • As private addresses are not well known, you might be stranded not knowing how to explain to your driver how or where to pick you up
  • Without hotel staff at the reception desk to assist you, you will have to deal with your own needs and find answers to your questions all by yourself. If you don’t speak much Bahasa Indonesian, I’d recommend learning a few words before you travel
  • Friends you invite to stay at your villa may have kids without additional help to watch them, unlike hotels which offer babysitting services. You might be stuck listening to tantrums, without a proper escape plan.

If you decide to stay at a boutique private villa in Bali and don’t want to face these problems, make sure the villa has a fully trained team of staff available to look after you. There are many private villas in Bali which come with private chefs, butlers, maid service, housekeeping and your own dedicated hosts, so you can avoid any of these issues and experience an impeccable VIP level of service.

By now, you should have all the info needed to decide where to stay in Bali. My pick? I prefer the Bali Luxury villas, as I love to the option of having friends nearby when I’m travelling to exotic places.  It’s a bonus to be able to provide lodging for visitors, so your friends or family won’t be in the situation of having to decide where to stay and can stay with you in in your beautiful villa. I also love the privacy and tranquillity afforded by private villas, where you can really kick back and be yourself without having to worry about other guests.

Before you book your Balinese accommodation, you may want to create a pros and cons list of your own to help determine what kind of accommodation option is right for you. As you can see from my own lists, there are more pros to staying at a boutique villa than cons and that’s why I always choose this option when travelling to Bali for the most relaxing and rewarding stay possible.

 

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