"Bali is home to numerous ancient palaces and water temples that create an atmosphere of elegant majesty. Their designs are rooted in Balinese Hinduism, a spiritual philosophy that emphasizes balance between the human and the natural--even the supernatural. It is this balance that defines the wondrous delights of Hoshinoya Bali --a resort village nestled in a Balinese jungle that flourishes atop a hill, which drops off to a sacred river flowing below."
The Hoshinoya Bali opened only in 2017 as the first international property of Japan's century-old Hoshino Resorts, which operates the sublime Hoshinoya Kyoto—in our opinion, the finest ryokan in the world. The Hoshinoya is diminuative, with only 30 villas featuring luxurious minimalism at its best. Each villa at the resort is designed with privacy in mind, and even the most basic room type is luxurious and spacious. No matter which villa type you choose, you'll be treated to a unique experience that seamlessly blends Japanese and Balinese design elements with modern amenities.
As the sun sets, make your way through the gardens of Hoshinoya Bali, serenaded by the soothing sound of flowing water along the illuminated wooden path. Step into the breezy restaurant as the calls of tokay geckos fill the air and the sky gradually darkens over the lush foliage of giant tree ferns, soaring coconut palms, and mottled bark jackfruit trees.
Owing to the Japanese influence, your fondest memory may be the exquisite kaiseki dinner that seamlessly blended the culinary traditions of Bali and Japan. Indulge in a 10-course set dinner designed by executive chef Mitsuaki Senoo, which offers a unique twist on Mediterranean and Japanese flavors infused with a delicate Balinese touch. Over the course of two hours, a series of small, elegantly presented dishes grace your table, including a lime-and-ginger infused gazpacho, sautéed bigfin reef squid with basil sauce and finely diced shallot, and slow-cooked salmon with briny ikura served on a refreshing cucumber paste. A trio of sushi varieties follows, featuring snapper with tangy salt flakes, maguro, and salmon brushed with gochujang and sesame. The waitress unveils a smoking dome to reveal a tartare of locally caught tuna, pouring a creamy mustard sauce onto the plate.
The palate-cleansing shiraae of sapodilla and nutty tofu-and-sesame paste precedes the mouthwatering beef steak with mashed potato, curry powder, deep-fried burdock root, and crispy fried spinach leaves. The dish is accompanied by dipping bowls of kecap manis (soy sauce laced with palm sugar), curry sauce, and a punchy green-chili sambal. You may barely have room for dessert, which features two delicious options. The first is a modern take on bubur sumsum (dessert porridge) called "coconut delight," featuring jackfruit pieces and palm sugar syrup with contrasting textures and temperatures. Coconut is used in every element of the dish, from the ice cream to the paper-thin tuile and the sugary, crispy crumble. The final course is a chilled coupe glass of Awayuki cheese mousse and finely cubed fruit, in a sauce of cranberry and mango juice mixed with cherry brandy, shaken tableside. As you savor the last few bites, you may wonder how to manage breakfast the next morning.
Before anything else, start the day at Hoshinoya Bali with a solitary swim at sunrise—each of the 30 villas boasts direct access to one of the three canal-like pools modeled after Bali's subak irrigation channels. These serene waters divide into semi-private corners where guests can enjoy some privacy while floating and relaxing, then lounging in a thatched bale with a daybed with your closest friend (below).
During less crowded times, a group of tiny birds with white bellies and black-tipped gray wings host a small pool party, darting through the air and creating little splashes as they skim across the surface. From your Jalak villa's living room, which opens onto a wraparound deck, observe the action. Inside, a blend of Indonesian artistry and Zen-like minimalism greets you, with rattan-woven high ceilings, batik box lamps, futon-style platform beds, and a back-lit screen showing intricate reliefs of foliage, birds, and flowers. Artisans from Jepara, a coastal town in Central Java renowned for its woodworking, crafted these elaborate carvings.
Beyond the villas, the magnificent grounds of Hoshinoya Bali are worth exploring. Landscape architect Hiroki Hasegawa worked with the natural topography and planted native species while preserving an ancient subak channel. Cherish serene moments like standing on the terrace outside the library, a comfortable reading room with marble floors filled with books on Bali and travel, and listening to the birdsong. The Pakerisan River can be heard rushing over rocky beds towards the Indian Ocean through the trees. But the most coveted spot for relaxing is Café Gazebo, with its elevated pavilions built right on the steep hillside. Most come with daybeds, and there is no better place to enjoy a welcome bowl of matcha prepared by a staff member who froths the unsweetened drink using a traditional bamboo whisk. While sipping, nibble on dorayaki and look out over the forested valley.
For those seeking more than just relaxation, compliment your Hoshinoya Bali stay with a walking tour through the local banjar (neighborhood), visiting temples and taking in local culture. Another is a 45-minute stroll down village roads and pathways between nearby rice paddies. Greet a local duck farmer leading a flock into the newly harvested fields under bright yellow dwarf coconuts often seen for temple offerings. At every turn, the island's natural bounty is apparent outside the Hoshinoya: coffee bushes flourish by the roadside, as do trees bearing cacao pods, large green papayas, and bunches of bananas.
In an open-air pavilion for a hands-on tutorial on creating batik tulis. Portable stoves, weighed down with wax-filled copper pots, sit on the tabletop as your teacher explains the importance of maintaining the correct temperature: "If the wax gets too hot, it'll become runny. If it's too cold, it'll quickly harden." Then a demonstration of how to hold the pen-like canting upside down, smoothly scooping molten wax into the instrument's receptacle away from the pot's center. Learn to expertly brush it along the rim and daubs the underside of the canting onto a spare cotton sheet to remove the excess wax. The whole process requires patience.
Reward your crafting effort with a mid-afternoon spa treatment. Your therapist may recommend a turmeric, honey, and lemon jamu. Take a glass-roofed funicular cabin from the spa reception pavilion halfway down the hillside to the treatment rooms in a rectangular building that clings to the side of the valley. During your 90-minute Balinese massage, you may find yourself dozing off several times long, skillful strokes with lemongrass oil work out the knots in your tired legs, upper back, and shoulders. Leave the spa feeling like you are floating...
For dinner at the restaurant, opt for the Hoshinoya Jewel Box – a stunning chirashi don consisting of salmon, scallop, and pearls of ikura arranged neatly with fresh snapper, tuna tataki, and lightly charred squid. The dish features sweet ribbons of tamago and crunchy snow peas interspersed between the sashimi, with tiny wasabi balls, edible flowers, and flecks of gold leaf as garnish. As you indulge in this luxurious blend of seafood and fluffy sushi rice, you will dream of returning someday.
Guests can choose from four different types of villas: Kamar, Jalak, Dalem, and Bayan. Kamar and Jalak villas are perfect for couples, while Dalem villas are best for families or small groups. Bayan villas are the most luxurious and expansive, featuring a private onsen (hot spring) and a panoramic view of the valley. Contact us for more specific details about the Hoshinoya or other resorts that may be a better fit.
If you're traveling with us to Asia during a time when it's raining north of the equator during the summer, then head south to Bali for sunshine and relax at the end of your journey. Bali's dry season is April to October, nearly the opposite of the north.