Written by Fiona Davies
Story by Silke Teubener
What makes Bali’s luxury beach resorts so alluring? Is it tgranhe impeccable service, the world-class architectural design, or the elegant rooms with beds fit for royalty and fancy pants bathroom amenities?
Egyptian cotton sheets and fluffy bathrobes are all rather wonderful, but it’s an eye-poppingly amazing pool that really lets you know you’re in high-priced paradise.
If you wouldn’t mind kicking back celebrity style in an extravagant 5 star resort pool, but don’t have the budget or the burning desire to actually stay in such exclusive digs – well, you’re in luck.
Many resorts offer day passes for non-residents, giving you access to the pool, and often other amenities as well. We’ve dipped our toes in at 9 of Bali’s top-end resorts to show you the best places to soak up their poolside luxury for a day.
1. 5 amazing pools including a traditional Balinese fountain pool! – InterContinental Bali Resort
The InterContinental Bali Resort boasts not just one, but five swimming pools (plus one private Club Pool for guests) spread across acres of magnificently landscaped gardens.
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Photo via joeondagram
The stunning Main Pool at 35m long never gets too crowded, surrounded by a garden-fringed terrace lined with plenty of sun beds, and of course the ever-handy Pool Bar at the water’s edge.
There’s also the secluded Balinese Bath Pool with its sculpted stone walls and water spouts, a traditional Balinese inspired Fountain Pool and two supervised kids’ Fun Pools.
If you do make your way down to InterContinental Bali Resort, treat yourselves to great food at the in-house restaurants – from the award-winning KO Japanese Restaurant, to Italian fine-dining at Bella Cucina, and fresh seafood off the extensive menu at Jimbaran Gardens.
Naturally, hit up Sunset Beach Bar & Grill for pitchers of sangria, cocktails and beer; and while you’re there, don’t miss out on The Gelato Counter’s chillingly good gelato.
Tip: The staff recommend calling up ahead of time, but walk-ins are usually accepted. Guest passes can be purchased from the leisure concierge in the lobby.
The Sundara is Jimbaran’s most famous playground for the rich, the famous and the pleasure-seeking. A sultry beach club and home to one of Bali’s best restaurants, it also plays host to a world-class spa and the longest beachfront infinity pool on the island at an epic 57m.
Photo via g0lden_heart
The pool runs right alongside the beach with just a sliver of sand between them. Day guests and their families are welcome to dine in the beachfront bar/restaurant, drop the kids off at the Jimba Kids Club (Rp. 80,000++/day for kids above 4 years old and Rp. 50,000++/hour for kids below 4 years old – Including Kids Club nanny), and make use of the pool and day beds for a fee.
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Sundara’s chic and spacious double day beds are stretched out along the pool overlooking the spectacular curve of Jimbaran Bay.
Photo via: iamch3rry, nasya_aysan
Be sure to call and book your daybeds in advance. After a few lazy laps, stick around for mind-melting sunsets and live music entertainment from Bali’s top indie artist.
Photo via: hendrisuhandi
Ps: Did you know that Sundara is top on our list of best places to find dessert in Bali? Known for the exquisite desserts created by their chef, and his penchant for creating whimsically inspired treats – they’re guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Also read: Our Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay review: Where dreamy oceanfront romance meets traditional Balinese charm
3. Cocktails and chill vibes at glamorous Woobar – The W Retreat and Spa
Bold, beautiful and dripping with bling, Seminyak’s hippest hotel is magnet for the well-heeled and glamorous. The location is smack bang on the sands of Seminyak, but the most impressive water view here is the incredible three-tiered pool inspired by Bali’s terraced rice paddies.
Photo via: vitabudlender
Spanning over 1,790sqm, surrounded by lush tropical palms and sundecks, it’s the setting for glorious sunsets and W’s sizzling music and fashion events.
Day trippers can visit the W’s pool free of charge and without any minimum spend, however it’s expected that you purchase in-house drinks and food if you’d like to use the facilities.
Photo via: Michael3wijaya, o_mark_o
The Woobar is the W’s poolside bar where you can grab a cocktail and have a little refresher. The sun lounges and chairs around the pool are reserved for in-house guests, but you can always sink into a sofa at the Woobar to enjoy the tropical vibes and resident DJ beats.
Do call in advance to book a sofa at the Woobar. The in-house DJs can usually be found sending out chill vibes from 1pm until late.
4. Lavish days by the pool, sun, sand and sea – Conrad Bali
Pampering is the name of the game at Conrad Bali, and the luxury isn’t just for hotel guests.
We’re sure your first stop will be the pool, and we don’t blame you. After all, the only thing better than a massive pool is Conrad Bali’s massive oceanfront pool! You can simply lounge the day away in the pool and watch the sun set over the sea. Thanks to its size, it won’t feel overcrowded even on a busy day.
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After your swim, don’t forget to check out the wide variety of other amenities that are open to non-hotel guests every day from 9am to 6pm. Be sure to book before noon the day before in order to get your spot!
Photo by Conrad Bali, fravie
Photo by Conrad Bali, rocketpunch32.5
If you are a spa lover, don’t miss out on the utter bliss that awaits you once you step through the doors of Jiwa Spa. From full body scrubs, hydro therapy massages to reflexology, you will be spoilt for choice.
After your massage, simply head out to the beach (you have direct access!) and dip your toes in the sand. Or chill under a sun umbrella with a cocktail!
Photo by reyvie
Need to stretch your muscles? Visit the Fitness Centre for the ultimate workout package, which includes pilates, yoga, gym workout equipment, and a wide range of exciting beachfront activities. Windsurfing, anyone?
5. How does a gorgeous lagoon pool and well-stocked swim-up bars sound? – Padma Resort Legian
An artistically styled oasis, the Padma is tucked away just off the lively parade of Legian Beach.
If a swanky Club Chalet at the Padma isn’t quite in your budget, fear not – the restaurants, beach club and pool are open to the public, offering a perfect break from the heat and bustle of the beach.
Photo via: Agusm123
The Padma has an enormous main pool with plenty of room to put in some serious laps, and a gorgeous lagoon pool in a tropical garden setting. Both have well-stocked swim-up bars and plenty of lounge chairs.
Photo via: ryojitukasamutumi, hendrisuhandi
Non-hotel residents are welcome to use its S.K.A.I. Beach Club Bali and grab a complimentary towel, provided they adhere to a minimum spend of Rp250,000 (approximately USD $18) per person at the bars and restaurants.
(If you want a day bed overlooking to the beach to yourself, you’ll need to spend a minimum of Rp500,000 (Approximately USD $36).)
When it comes to food or delicious light bites, never fear – Padma Legian has pretty much everything you’ll need. First and most importantly, pool bars? Check. Head to The Barong Pool Bar & Cafe, or the bar in the pool, The Barong Pool Bar & Cafe.
If you are looking for a beach club, S.K.A.I Beach club Bali awaits! The Padma Resort Legian has just launched their S.K.A.I Beach Club Bali membership which gives you discounts on food and beverage and even on their best available rooms rates, turning a day at the beach into a weekend by the beach. (Applicable to Indonesian and KITAS holders only)
Next, the restaurants. For Asian/Continental fare, DONBIU offers a refreshing variety served with live music and entertainment. For Italian/Mediterranean, La Dolce Vita’s where you want to be; and if not, Tenkai Japanese Restaurant for those craving some sushi and teppanyaki. Last but not least, dessert lovers may get your fill of sweet treats at The Deli!
Tip: Reservations are recommended, particularly between sunset and dinner (from about 4:30pm to 8:30pm). DJs spin chill-out tunes by the pool 7 nights of the week.
6. Get treated to a stylish dose of family fun – Club Med Bali
Club Med is synonymous with family fun, and their beachfront Nusa Dua arm is true to their philosophy, with an added sprinkling of Balinese style and hospitality.
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The resort sits on 24 acres of manicured gardens, dotted with tropical palms and day beds, meandering down to the water’s edge.
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There’s a huge, sparkling main pool with boardwalks, lounge decks, the Kintamani Pool Bar and the enormous Agung Restaurant right in the middle of the pool, serving delicious dishes and colourful cocktails alfresco on the pool deck.
Club Med specialises in treating day guests to the same level of service, so you won’t find like an outsider or an impostor.
Photo via: Marischkaprue
There are two passes available, a Day Pass from 10am to 6pm, and a Night Pass from 6pm to midnight.
The day pass includes lunch and drinks at the bar and gives you the opportunity to discover activities such as yoga, trapeze, windsurfing and tennis. The night pass includes dinner and drinks at the bar accompanied by live entertainment.
Photo via: hatake88, juliette_cauchie
Tip: Club Med’s day passes are extremely popular, so be sure to book at least 24 hours in advance.
7. Access the incredible interconnected pools and private beach – Hilton Bali Resort
One of the most luxurious beach resorts in Nusa Dua, the elegant Hilton Bali Resort’s claim to fame are its incredible island and ocean views – perched at the top of a 40m cliff towering above a secluded white sand beach.
The sprawling, landscaped grounds of the Nikko encompass a jaw-dropping series of four interconnected pools, crisscrossed by gardens, sculptures and bridges. There’s also a separate children’s lagoon and a 30-metre water slide.
Photo via: Golden Heart, Winnieweiz, Florencekelly
It also has one of Bali’s most unique beach activities: camel riding.
Photo via: dreythan
Hilton Bali Resort offers a special pass for non-hotel guests. The pass costs Rp 200,000 (approximately USD $14) per adult and includes entry for one child.
It gives you access to the resort’s pools and private beach, a complimentary towel per person, one hour access to the Jungle Camp Kids Club for children under 12, a 15% discount on food and beverages and a 25% discount on selected spa treatments at the Mandara Spa.
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Also, if you spend a minimum of Rp 500.000 on food and beverage, you get a half day use of your own Cabana by the beach!
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Tip: To get your Day in Paradise, ask at the Tour Desk counter on arrival.
8. The perfect place for cocktails in the pool – Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa
With its authentic architecture and furnishings, the long-established Nusa Dua Beach Hotel has gone for international luxury with a touch of tradition, taking inspiration from the royal palaces of Bali’s past.
The hotel has its own exclusive stretch of beach, and three pools amid landscaped grounds. (We do love a good beach with maximum privacy – the utter luxury of stretching out in comfort and exclusive seclusion to magnificent ocean views and crashing waves!)
For pure relaxation, you’ll want to hit the Pool Bar, with mid-water seats letting you sip on a cocktail without leaving the cooling embrace of the pool.
Photo via: roprysa
Day pass guests can visit the pool areas between 9am and 5pm.
Ps: For parents looking for family-friendly amenities like the kids club where kids have a safe space to play and get creative while you steal some couple time, the kids’ club is available to you!
9. Luxury gets super-sized at this Nusa Dua resort – Grand Aston Bali Beach Resort
Renovated and rebranded in late 2013, the Grand Aston Bali Beach Resort is a chic 5-star resort in the prestigious Nusa Dua enclave facing Tanjung Benoa Beach.
The resort boasts 127m direct beachfront access where a variety of water activities are offered for guests.
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The super-sized lagoon pool is a sight to behold, dotted with islands of palm trees and gazing out over a mesmerising blue sweep of ocean. Paddle over to the Aloha Pool Bar for fresh juices, cold Bintangs, cocktails and mocktails.
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One day pass will give you free access to the pools, beach, fitness center, and steam room. You are also entitled to a complimentary pool towel, poolside nibbles (your choice of buffalo wings, spring rolls or French fries), and special guest prices at Biwana Spa!
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Special Mention 1: Swim in Alila’s world famous mountain pool – Alila Ubud
Perched above the Ayung River, the Alila lays claim to the most breathtakingly beautiful pool in Ubud.
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A sliver of an infinity edge pool which goes from an intoxicating emerald colour on Ubud’s misty mornings to sapphire blue in the afternoon sun, it gives the appearance of overhanging the plummeting valley below soaking up panoramic views of Ubud’s lush, forested hillsides.
The Alila pool is generally a guests-only indulgence, but if you come here for an afternoon tea, you’ll be given a complimentary access to Alila’s world famous mountainside swimming spot.
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Photo via: luxurytravelandhotels
Tip: Pool access will be at the hotel’s discretion based on occupancy.
Special Mention 2: Sit pretty on the picturesque Karma Beach Bali – Karma Kandara
Although the day pass at Karma beach club does not give you access to the main pool, but this beach club is too special to miss a mention.
Karma Kandara sits pretty on the Bukit Peninsula on Bali’s southern coastline, also known as ‘Billionaires Row”. The picturesque Karma Beach Bali is a lovely stretch of white sand with a relaxed, exclusive atmosphere, fully serviced by the resort staff.
Photo via: phineloves
High-flying guests opt for Kandara’s opulent private pool villas, but for the rest of us, there’s the dazzling Karma Beach, and the dreamy expanse of the Indian Ocean beyond.
One of the best parts of day tripping at Karma Kandara, is taking their cable car down to Karma Beach! A fun way to reach your day’s destination, the kids will surely enjoy it.
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Once you’ve reached, you may use the facilities there, from the sun lounges and towels. There are DJs spinning which create a great party/uplifting tone to your holiday. Day trippers can make use of the resort’s kayaks and snorkelling equipment (with an additional fee). You may also use your day pass’ credit at Karma Beach Bali Restaurant.
Apart from that, did you know the exclusive and oh-so-hidden Karma Beach regularly hosts the cosiest movie sessions at the beach? Imagine comfortably cuddling up to a movie screening on the beach with the setting sun and glowing lamps. It’ll be one of the most memorable experiences you’ll have.