With rows of verdantly waif-ish palm trees swaying ever so slightly in the foreground and the sound of utter silence surrounding you—apart from the occasional jungle chirp—it’s easy to feel suspended in another universe while unwinding in one of Hoshinoya Bali’s intimate sky gazebos. The seven protruding structures, which can be left open-air or have the shades drawn for privacy, are like cliffside birdcages that immerse humans in a unique arboreal experience. Simply remove your shoes and step inside.
Hoshinoya Bali is a newly opened flagship created by Hoshino Resorts, a Japanese-silk-turned-hospitality company founded by Kuniji Hoshino at the turn of the 20th century. In 1914 he opened his first ryokan, a type of traditional inn that dates back to the Edo Period, next to natural hot springs in the mountains near Nagano. Making it their manifesto, in the 100+ years since, Hoshino has developed a range of sophisticated lodgings that harness the rusticity of nature, from riverside villas in Kyoto to bungalows bound by coral reefs on Taketomi Island.
This newly developed Ubud location juxtaposes the Japanese penchant for a muted atmosphere with the vibrant terrain that blankets Bali to create a holiday playground that’s at once tropical and seriously zen. Conceived by architect Rie Azuma (who’s behind all of the Hoshinoya designs), the lush grounds (developed by Hiroki Hasegawa) are flanked by three extremely long, canal-like swimming pools lined on each side by variously sized villas. This lends a harmonious flow to the the entire property but an isolating quaintness to your own multi-story space.
Hoshinoya Bali is set up for disconnecting from it all (although, one of its allures is that its electrical outlets fit any country’s plug). You could easily move between doing laps in the pool and snoozing in a gazebo all day. There are sunrise and moonlight yoga sessions, a full-service spa and a small library to keep you entertained while giving you a genuine break from modern life’s quotidian bustle. And of course, between all the resting you need to eat. From the traditional Indonesian spiced tea time to the Japanese-inspired Balinese dinner, the food is didactically delicious.
The resort is so tranquil and secluded that we recommend tacking it onto the beginning of a longer stay in Bali—or the end, if you’re the type that needs a vacation after your vacation. You can meditate among the trees and enjoy the pared-down luxury of a quiet poolside villa before diving into the full-color paradise that is The Island of Gods.
Villas at Hoshinoya Bali start from IDR 9,000,000 ($670) per night.
Images by Karen Day