Mr Hudson on the most romantic, gay-friendly hotels in Bali
Bali is a playground for gay men. Unlike the rest of Indonesia, this is a pink oasis with an excellent gay scene and lots of activities to fuel any gay man’s holiday. Its gay rock star status is down to it being very international and heavily influenced by the tolerant Hindu culture prevalent across the island. Here’s our list of romantic gay-friendly hotels in Bali.
W Retreat and Spa, Seminyak
Sophisticated Seminyak is the beating gay heart of the island, where all popular gay hangouts like Bali Joe and Mixwell are based. The W Retreat and Spa is ideally located on the beach overlooking the Indian Ocean and walking distance to all the gay bars. The property is a landmark in Seminyak and extremely popular with gay couples. It’s one of the biggest gay-friendly hotels in Bali, like entering a mini-city with its own vast driveway entrance. It also has a large beach section with very plush swimming pools next to its many bars and in-house restaurants. A Sunday brunch at W’s Fire restaurant is an excellent way to nurse a hangover. It’s a lavish affair based on hawker food and an excellent way to start the day with your beau before a romantic walk along the beach.
The Villas Bali Hotel & Spa, Seminyak
Villas are an extremely popular accommodation option in Seminyak, and most guests rent one for a week. They are ideal for a group of gay friends travelling together, or for a gay couple looking for a romantic getaway on the island. The Villas Bali Hotel & Spa is a luxurious and very gay-friendly hotel in Seminyak offering private villas. Ours had its own large garden space with sun beds, kitchen and dining area decorated in traditional Balinese style and a private pool, ideal for romantic evening cocktails.
The Villas Bali also boasts two award-winning spas: Chill Reflexology and Prana Spa, each offering a variety of massages and spa packages. Our favourite is the 2 hours Mystique Bali Package, which involves a relaxing oil massage, skin polishing and scrub, a yoghurt wash to cleanse your body and a romantic flower bath to finish things off.
Ubud | Photo: Nomadic Boys
Villa Awang Awang, Ubud
Ubud is known as the cultural heart of the island. This is where Julia Roberts famously discovered meditation in Eat Pray Love. Villa Awang Awang is a high-end, eco-conscious villa retreat in the countryside, around 15 minutes drive outside Ubud. They offer their own taxi pick up service for guests to and from the main town.
This is gay-friendly Bali at its finest: your own paradise villa retreat in the heart of the Balinese countryside. Each villa has its own private infinity pool overlooking the surrounding tropical jungle and sometimes a monkey or two popping by to say hello (and steal your food). Villa Awang Awang is also ideally located for many activities in the serene countryside setting, such as cooking classes, yoga, and meditation.
Most travellers rent a motorbike to explore the countryside. Unfortunately, we heard of so many horror stories involving accidents in Southeast Asia that we instead opted for a slightly different (and safer) mode of transport – quad bikes with Bali Quad Discovery Tours.
The St Regis Bali Resort, Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua is located on the southern tip of Bali and is the ideal setting for that ultimate romantic experience, and home to many of the most luxurious, gay-friendly hotels in Bali.
We stayed at the St Regis in Nusa Dua and were blown away from the moment we set foot through the immense drive way and were greeted by our own private butler (yes you read right, our own private butler!). The resort is so vast, that you need a buggy just to get from one end to the other. It has a massive 3,668 square metre salt-water lagoon pool, and if that wasn’t enough, it also has its own private beach area overlooking the vast Indian Ocean.
The Grand Nikko Bali, Nusa Dua
The Grand Nikko Bali is another gay-friendly hotel in Nusa Dua for couples looking to celebrate a romantic occasion or honeymoon. It has no fewer than eight in-house restaurants, four interconnected swimming pools, a water slide, three tennis courts, fitness centre, spa and its own private beachfront. Gay couples are warmly welcomed here – The Grand Nikko famously hosted the second not-for-profit G-slam gay Tennis Tournament in 2012.
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Prana Spa at The Villas Hotel & Spa, Seminyak | Photo: Nomadic Boys
The St Regis Bali Resort, Nusa Dua | Photo: Nomadic Boys
The Villas Bali Hotel & Spa, Seminyak | Photo: Nomadic Boys
Villa Awang Awang, Ubud | Photo: Nomadic Boys
W Retreat & Spa, Seminyak | Photo: Nomadic Boys