376 Rooms / 22 Suites / 17 Villas
French elegance and Balinese tradition blend seamlessly together throughout Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort on the island’s southern peninsula, but no place more than in the lobby. Sweeping ocean views fan out before you and there is not a welcome desk to be found. Instead, you are greeted by a circular panel of exquisite woodcarvings, which wrap around the entire lobby depicting Balinese culture and rituals in a series of 18 scenes. Balmy ocean breezes wrap around the curved staircase spiraling down to the garden level, and a beautifully sculptured wooden tree of life emerges from the center up to the top of the domed ceiling.
Comfortable cuddle-up couches and a cozy bar tempt you to take a moment and breathe in the essence of beautiful Bali. Hanging wicker chairs that you can swing in, large orange round floor cushions and several small stations serves as the check-in area — this is far from the formal stand-up counter affair, even for an amenity-packed luxury hotel of this size. Welcome to Bali.
Although the décor is decidedly contemporary, you’ll never fail to remember this is a tropical beach resort. Guest rooms are dark and moody with natural textures and elements — intricate wood partitions separate bathrooms, which are done up in luxe marble with large soaking tubs.
All rooms have a private balcony with Bali Sea views, but the Luxury Room Pool Access category rooms are something special — each has direct access to the resorts lazy river, which means you can swim to the resort’s lagoon pool (and cocktail bar) from your room. All rooms, suites and villas have a Sofitel Mybed with a plush featherbed and pillow menu, an espresso coffee machine and daily local newspaper.
All suites are stocked with Hermès bath products, outdoor space, and butler service; larger villas have private rambling tropical gardens and private pools.
Higher-level rooms have access to Club Millésime, a luxe lounge where you get a slew of perks like complimentary wine tastings, all-day refreshments, breakfast and private pool access. For families the big appeal of the resort is the groovy kids club. It holds cooking classes and engages the children in the local culture with Balinese dance and dress-up games.
In keeping with the legendary spiral theme of Sofitel hotels, a circular staircase sweeps down from the lobby to the garden level, where you enter the resort’s large pan-Asian restaurant. Kwee Zeen has a series of street food market stalls and visible cooking stations include a range of cuisines from teppanyaki, Thai, sushi and sashimi, Indonesian and Indian (there’s even a fire pit for roasting whole pieces of baby lamb).
Down at the Beach Bar and Grill, dig your toes in the sand or choose the wooden deck and indulge in the beach-barbecue experience. Cut Catch Cucina puts on a lavish weekend brunch and is really three restaurants in one: Cut serves premium meats and chicken, Catch features fresh fish, and Cucina Italian Osteria offers modern Italian dishes.
There are three bars within the Bali hotel: L’Oh Bar the beachfront pool bar, Le Bar the lobby lounge and Nikki Beach Bali, a hip beach club with multiple bars, including a swim-up option.
Sofitel Bali has just the type of amenities you’d expect from a big luxury resort — an exotic spa with treatments by French beauty brand Clarins, a fitness center with separate male and female saunas, a great wellness center that addresses health and beauty concerns — and a few more unexpected extras.
To wit, the pool is really more of a lagoon and waterway system that’s almost resort-wide, and you can partake in authentic local experiences like Balinese dance classes and batik painting.
Story by Stephanie Brookes
Forbes Bali Travel Writer
2019 – published by Forbes Travel Guide