The Top 5 Resort Hotels in Indonesia
This year's World's Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period. We hope that this year's honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.
Indonesia welcomed more than 16 million tourists in 2019, and until the pandemic hit, that number was only set to grow. At time of writing, the country's borders remain closed to international visitors — but when safe travel is possible again, people are sure to flock back to its historic towns, culture-packed cities, famous national parks, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And when they do, they'll undoubtedly seek out the best resorts in Indonesia to use as their base.
Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers 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.
While Indonesia is made up of more than 17,000 islands, there are a few that have held continual allure for travelers. The tourism epicenter is, of course, Bali, known for centuries for its art, music, and the distinctive, Hindu-influenced architecture. This island of more than 4 million is home to three of this year's top resorts, including Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Readers praised its excellent Balinese cuisine and location not far from the temples and shopping streets of Ubud. One respondent wrote, simply, "Wow!"
But a country this diverse, an archipelago this large, offers an array of experiences — and many travelers seem to be seeking out a side of Indonesia that's less about the scene and more about pure isolation. One property on this year's list can be found in a lesser-traveled area: Nihi Sumba, on an island almost twice as large as Bali but with a sixth of its population. The 28 villas make up one of the nation's most secluded resorts: it's a 90-minute drive from the nearest airport. As one reader observed, "Truly an amazing place that's not easy to get to, but once you have reached the resort, you know it was well worth the journey." Another reader praised the personalized service, as well as the food, which was delicious and varied enough that "you can stay a month and not get bored."
Indonesia's No. 1 resort, though, brings us back to Bali — and though it only opened in 2018, it's poised to become a mainstay on this list. Read on for all of the top picks from T+L readers.
1. Capella Ubud, Bali
"Bill Bensley at his best!" wrote one survey respondent, and it's true that this property feels like it couldn't have come from the imagination of anyone else. The sustainable aesthetic of the celebrated Bangkok-based designer is in full force at this three-year-old property, where the 22 canvas tents (and one two-bedroom lodge) come with lush textiles, handmade Balinese furniture, and private saltwater plunge pools with views of unspoiled rain forest. (Indeed, making as little environmental impact as humanly possible is a Bensley benchmark.) Respondents focused on the spotless service; seasonal, ingredient-driven cuisine; and secluded, romantic atmosphere, with more than one reader recalling a happy honeymoon there. And Capella Ubud isn't just one of the best properties in Indonesia — this year, T+L readers voted it the No. 5 hotel in the world.
More information: capellahotels.com
2. Alila Manggis, Bali
More information: alilahotels.com
3. Nihi Sumba, Sumba
More information: nihi.com
4. Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bali
More information: ritzcarlton.com
5. Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
More information: alilahotels.com
See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2021.