If you’re on Instagram, Pinterest or even Twitter, chances are you know about the growing pool scene in Bali. In fact, it's become a quintessential part of the island experience the last few years with cliffside pools overlooking the ocean, infinity pools atop the jungle and plunge pools set in the rice fields. I'm not one to lounge poolside 24/7 on holiday, but after 20 hours of airplanes and airports, that was exactly how I wanted to start my fourth visit to Bali. And what better place than the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay where my villa's private infinity pool overlooked the Indian Ocean. The resort was so kind to host my amazing stay, and it was the perfect setting to ease into this trip - sunbathing, swimming and feasting at one of my favorite south island spots.
Cooling off in the spa plunge pools at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay.
I'm bananas for cute banana stands in Pecatu.
Santorini vibes in Bali.
Nailed those tub goals in my villa's lavish bathroom.
Delicious feast at the Smoothie Shop.
I think I found the most colorful restaurant in Bali - Sea Circus!
Cheers to sunshine in Bali.
The most epic outdoor shower at the resort's Imperial Villa.
All good vibes at El Kabron Beach Club.
Dinner feast at the resort's Sundara Restaurant.
Afternoon sunbathing in Jimbaran.
I'm still obsessing over these lemon ricotta pancakes. So delish!
Soaking in the luxury of the Imperial Villa.
Have you ever seen anything so decadent? The Four Seasons created this and delivered it to my room (inside was a lavish fruit platter).
Breakfast goals at my villa's infinity-edge pool.
The most delicious feast at Sundara Restaurant.
Obsessed with the resort infinity pool.
I loved how the Four Seasons resembled a traditional Balinese village.
Thank you for the most lovely of stays, Four Seasons!
For three years now, Jimbaran has been my first first stop in Bali. It's far enough from Denpasar that I'm away from the big city. It's close enough to the airport that I don't have to drive too far after a long flight. And unlike Ubud, there isn't a ton to do in Jimbaran, so I don't feel like I'm missing out by staying at the resort while recovering from jet lag. Essentially, the perfect place to spend my first few nights on the island!
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
Ah, the Four Seasons! The perfect start to my fourth visit to Bali, and a resort I finally checked off my bucket list. I'd heard so many good things about this famous Jimbaran property, and thankfully my stay was even more amazing than I had hoped for. My expectations were pretty wild and crazy, but somehow the Four Seasons went above and beyond with the warm attentive service; gorgeous grounds; lavish villas; and all those little things that sweeten the resort experience.
Designed to resemble a traditional Balinese village, the Four Seasons felt both cultured and extravagant as I cruised the grounds at check-in on a resort buggy. I stayed in one of the resort's Premier Ocean Villas, and it truly felt like island paradise! My villa was enclosed in its own little Balinese courtyard with thatch-roofs and high ceilings for the sleeping, bathing and living pavilions. My spacious bathroom had dual vanities, a soaking tub, an indoor shower and an outdoor shower surrounded by a walled tropical garden. It was #bedroomgoals, #bathroomgoals and #tubgoals all in one!
My favorite part of the villa was the private infinity-edge pool that overlooked the Indian Ocean. It was such a treat to wake up to the sound of waves every morning, and then have breakfast delivered poolside with these spectacular views. My first morning, the Four Seasons prepared the most amazing in-villa feast that included fresh fruit, pancakes, waffles, eggs, grilled tomatoes, pastries, toast, yogurts and fresh juice.
There was so much to do at the resort, I felt like I needed more than my usual three days in Jimbaran to really soak it all in. Coconut Grove was the Four Seasons' gorgeous stretch of private beach and luxury loungers; the Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy offered an exclusive cooking experience; and yoga classes took place in a gorgeous open-air, ocean setting.
My last morning at the resort, I had special access to the Four Seasons' Imperial Villa. OMG! The five star elegance of the 13,000+ square foot, two-story space was truly overwhelming with its three bedrooms, three bathrooms, outdoor showers, open-plan kitchen, infinity pool and 180-degree panoramic views of Jimbaran Bay. I was ready to move into the place. Not sure how I was able to pack my bags and leave for Ubud later that morning?
El Kabron Cliff Club
For Santorini vibes in South Bali, head to the El Kabron Cliff Club, in tiny Pecatu. Located near Uluwatu, the club is a popular sunset spot, but daytime visits are perfect for sunbathing and pool time without crowds of people. I spent a whole morning at the club this trip, and I was the only guest for the few hours I was there. The place brought back fond memories of Santorini with its white on white design and a baby blue pool overlooking the ocean.
On a clear day, this is a lovely spot to catch the sunset, in South Bali. Be weary of the monkeys, and make sure to pack a sarong (or rent one at the entrance).
Balique Vintage Cafe & Restaurant
All of Bali's Instagrammable cafes and restaurant are located in Seminyak and Kuta, except one. For the cutest photos (and some very tasty Balinese cuisine), grab a table inside the colorful digs of Balique Vintage Cafe & Restaurant. The airy restaurant sits right on the Jimbatan's main tourist drag, a convenient walk to most of the beach resorts. It's a great spot to soak in the pink & turquoise vintage vibes while chowing on a warm plate of Nasi Goreng.
My favorite spot for dinner in Jimbaran was located right on the beach at the Four Seaons. Sundara was the prettiest place to catch the sunset, and home to my tastiest meal in Bali. With the restaurant's "customized" concept I could choose from a selection of cold, hot and sweet dishes in a variety of sizes. I ordered up the most amazing feast including pan roasted cod with mushroom escabeche, torched leek and dashi butter; steamed black mussels in a lemongrass, chilli, ginger and citrus broth; grilled king prawns with dabu, pomelo, urutan crumbs, sour and spiced cream; steamed snapper over baby bok choy, coriander and sesame chili soy sauce; and the restaurant's signature organic salad.
Smoothie Shop Cafe
I guess technically the Smoothie Shop is located in Jimbaran, but it felt like borderline Uluwatu. It's a bit of journey to reach this tiny cafe, but worth the extra effort for their delicious (and beautiful!) selection of smoothie bowls, lassis, fresh juices, wraps and granolas.
For the tastiest seafood barbecue on the island, take your pick from the dozens of restaurants that line Jimbaran Beach. At night the famous stretch of sand is filled with hundreds of tables put out by restaurants all serving the same specialty. Grab a table that faces the ocean and feast on fresh crab, prawns, clams, fish, squid and lobster by candlelight.
Healing Village Spa
I've had so many spa experiences in Bali, but one of my favorites was at the Healing Village Spa. Located on the Four Seasons property, the spa also embraced the beautiful Balinese courtyard concept in its design for a completely zen expereince. Before my treatment I lounged in the private hot and cold plunge pools, and felt completely hidden away in the spa's beautiful Balinese courtyard. And for my treatment, a resort buggy whisked me off to a private open air pavilion where I had the dreamiest one hour massage overlooking the ocean.
With visit #4 under my belt, I've learned that private driver is the best way to explore Bali, and move from one part of the island to another. Three years ago, I met Made Dana, one of the kindest souls on the island, and an absolute rockstar of a driver. He has become my go-to every time I'm in town. Made has driven me to temples, rice fields, beach clubs, markets, restaurants, airports - you name it. And if I asked him to do a 3AM volcano hike with me, I know he would say yes. I've recommended him to dozens of people, and everyone leaves Bali with Made as a newfound friend. So drop him a note if you need to pre-arrange daytrips, tours or airport pick-ups. Here are his details: @madesuardana.dana on Instagram, firstname.lastname@example.org and +6281338248445.
Many thanks to the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay for hosting my lovely stay and sponsoring this post. xx
All honest opinions are my own.