It’s time to put Bali at the top of your travel diary.
“The switch has been flicked back on,” says Australian expat Georgia Hall, the designer behind fashion label State of Georgia. “After a quiet few years it’s so great to see the island opening up again.”
Originally from Melbourne, Georgia has lived in Bali for 20 years, making her the perfect insider to reveal the island’s most luxe experiences. “I was meant to stay a few months but two decades later, here I am!”
Currently living with her partner, Albert, and eight-year-old son, River, in Umalas, a picturesque village between the hip enclave of Canggu and ever-popular Seminyak, she has her finger on the pulse of luxe resorts, buzzing food and drink scene and incredible wellness pursuits.
“Bali is such a special place. From the warmth of the people to the gorgeous climate and all the amazing things to do, it really is the island of the gods. Here’s how to do it in style.”
Ultimate stay: Arrive by chopper at an exclusive resort
“Resorts don’t get more luxurious than Nihi Sumba, which is situated on a separate island and where the rich and famous, like Posh and Becks, arrive by chopper from Bali. When we stayed, we were picked up in the resort’s luxury car for the 90-minute drive from the airport.
"It’s a spectacular setting on a white sandy beach, with traditionally designed villas nestled in the jungle. Each villa has an infinity pool and a private butler so you don’t have to lift a finger.
“One of our highlights was horseback riding along the beach and into the water; it was unforgettable. My son was whisked away to the resort’s chocolate factory where he did a chocolate-making course. There’s great surfing for all levels and a gorgeous bar for sunset drinks. Whether you’re with children or after a romantic holiday, this resort is a dream.”
Ultimate wellness experience: Visit a luxury retreat in the jungle
“COMO Shambhala Estate is located high in the hills near Ubud and it's the perfect place to de-stress and unwind. It’s a world-famous wellness resort hidden in the jungle above the Ayung River, and where everything is designed to feel serene and zen.
“You can book in for a personalised wellness journey of three, five or seven days – they start by quizzing you about your lifestyle and diet to tailor a program that might include Ayurveda, yoga, Pilates, massage and meditation. There’s a steam room and hammam, a stunning infinity pool and tennis courts – it’s really got the lot.
“The menu is designed for clean eating. It’s super fresh and nutritious with zingy South-East Asian flavours.”
Ultimate dinner date: Dine at Bali’s coolest bar and restaurant
“Bali has such an amazing food scene that it’s really hard to narrow it down to a few picks. I love to start my night at Mosto in Canggu. It opened after COVID and is Bali’s first natural wine bar. They make their own natural wines under the Alter Ego label using Australian grapes fermented in Bali, but they also pour natural and organic wines sourced from all around the world. The cocktails are great, too. I like to order a gimlet or a Mosto Mule, both lime-driven and really refreshing.
“For dinner, Uni is just around the corner and has incredible Japanese-style seafood. The chef, Steven Skelly, is a friend of mine and he’s a magician with dishes like a coddled egg with sea urchin served in the eggshell. And you have to try his signature prawn roll.
“The space is decorated with original street art by New York graffiti artist Rostarr and French artist Yazz. It's perfect for dressing up on a date night and, after the dinner service, they have DJs and a bar vibe.”
Ultimate day out: Book a VIP area at a day club
“Bali has no shortage of day clubs where you can chill out by the beach, but my favourite is Sundays Beach Club in Uluwatu, on the island’s south-west. You start off by taking the travelator from Ungasan Clifftop Resort down to the shore, enjoying amazing views of the ocean as you go, to arrive at a beautiful, private cove with a powder-soft beach.
“There are lots of beanbags and umbrellas to choose from but if you want to really luxe it, book a private beach bungalow in the VIP area. Raised above the action on the beach, each bungalow can house up to six people – I often go with my family – and it has day beds and filmy curtains. Plus, you’ll get your own private butler who’ll bring you things like Baja fish tacos, woodfired pizzas, tiki drinks and pitchers of sangria.
“At sunset they’ll take you down to the VIP area on the beach where you can toast marshmallows on the bonfires they light up at night. Even though I live here, it always feels like a little holiday. It’s the perfect day trip.”
Ultimate immersive experience: Participate in a sound healing session
“Wellness is a huge thing in Bali. Right now, everyone is raving about the Sound Healing experience at Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak. It’s an hour-long therapy held in the Sanctuary, which is a gorgeously serene dome-like space.
“You lie on a mattress in the dark and the practitioner uses gongs to create soundwaves that take you to a meditative state. It’s so relaxing you just float out of there.
“If you want to take it up a notch, there’s a session called Sistrum where you lie on a waterbed and a mix of vibrations, sound and light take you on a healing experience. I’m told it’s quite full on but I’m trying it next!”
Fly Jetstar Economy return from Sydney to Bali for 36,000 Qantas Points, plus $243 in taxes, fees, and carrier charges.ˇ
Experience Bali’s ultimate moments with the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card. Earn 100,000 bonus Qantas Points1 when you apply online by 2 April 2024, are approved, and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on your new Qantas American Express Ultimate Card within the first 3 months. T&Cs apply. Available to new American Express Card Members only. Learn more.
Plus, build your Qantas Points balance by earning up to 1.25 points per $1 spent on purchases using your Qantas American Express Ultimate Card.~
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1. Receive 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online by 2 April 2024, are approved, and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases on your new Qantas American Express Ultimate Card within the first 3 months from the Card approval date. This offer is only available to new American Express Card Members. If you are an existing David Jones Card Member and don’t hold or have previously held any other American Express Card(s) in the past 18 months, you will be eligible for the offer. All other Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited, in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for the bonus Qantas Points offer. Eligible purchases do not include Card fees and charges, for example annual fees, interest, late payment, cash advances, balance transfers, traveller’s cheques and foreign currency conversion. Qantas Points are earned in accordance with and subject to the Qantas American Express Card Points Terms and Conditions. 100,000 bonus Qantas Points will be awarded to the eligible Card Member’s account 8-10 weeks after the spend criteria has been met. Qantas Frequent Flyer membership and the earning and redemption of points are subject to the Terms and Conditions of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program available at qantas.com/terms. This advertised offer is not applicable or valid in conjunction with any other advertised or promotional offer.