Why this Balinese Escape Is a T+L Reader Favorite

Bali’s Ayung River is famous for its adrenaline-pumping whitewater rafting. But hidden in the jungle off the bank of the river is a sanctuary for travelers seeking to relax and reset: the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. The 60-room resort was voted by Travel + Leisure readers as the best in the world in the 2018 World’s Best Awards.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards

The resort hotel seamlessly blends elements of traditional Balinese culture with modern amenities. Calming fountains complement the crystal-clear swimming pools. Balinese carvings and motifs are scattered throughout the property, and there is greenery all around from the surrounding jungle.

The accommodations (suites or villas are available) are a calming, private escape. Guests can sit on their terraces and admire the stunning views of the surroundings.

You also don’t have to leave the resort to find things to do. In an effort to promote well-being and relaxation, group yoga and meditation classes are offered on the grounds every day.

The hotel takes full advantage of its prime setting along the river. Whitewater rafting tours are available, and travelers can even make a stop at a shrine beside a holy spring.

Three times a week, traditional Balinese dancers come to the hotel and put on a show. Guests can also learn how to prepare Balinese ceremonial dishes in a hands-on cooking class or help local farmers plant rice and turn soil.

After an active adventure, unwind at the hotel’s Sacred River Spa. While there are typical services like massages and facials, spa-goers can also opt for a more cultural experience. It’s possible to take part in an energy-healing ceremony with a balian (a traditional spiritual healer) or find balance with a chakra ceremony.

The dining menu features local Balinese flair, as well. Those who wish to commit to the theme of wellness can opt for healthy bowls, salads made with vegetables from the hotel garden, or freshly caught seafood. Diners who would prefer something more decadent can opt for the seven-course Chef’s Table experience and watch the kitchen as a parade of traditional Balinese dishes becomes an elaborate feast.

No matter your travel style, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan offers seemingly endless ways to enjoy paradise.

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