HOW TO BOOK A BALI VILLA
Since settling in Bali, I’ve stayed at more hotels than I can count. Needless to say, it’s one of the best parts of my job. But when friends (and friends of friends and their friends) message me for advice on where to book, I’m quick to recommend villas, too. Hotels are ideal for special occasions, honeymooners and honed service, but private villas offer the best value for money, privacy and space. Only in Bali could it cost about the same or less to rent a 7-bedroom seaside mansion for the night as it does to book a hotel room in the most glossy of resorts. When it comes to family holidays, reunions and parties, villas are a no-brainer. Here’s the best way to book one.
BOOK VIA AIRBNB
According to 2017 data from the online homesharing portal, there are now 31,000 Airbnb listings on the island and many of those are private villas. As well as allowing you to accurately refine your search, Airbnb The Noku Beach House is the latest in upmarket design for those wanting an opulent beachfront experience. has a “superhosts” feature, which highlights the top-rated, most responsive, active (at least 10 stays a year) and reliable (no cancellations) hosts. This can be especially handy in a non-English speaking country, because the hard work has been done for you, and you’re almost guaranteed a seamless stay. Always check the list of amenities and filter your search to include things like breakfast, Wi-Fi and family essentials such highchairs and cots.
SEARCH VILLA DIRECTORIES
When it comes to the biggest, best and most rock star pads in Bali, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for online. Third-party booking sites such as Villa Concierge Bali, (villaconciergebali.com) and Ministry of Villas, (ministryofvillas.com) offer everything from one bedroom traditional-inspired villas in Ubud, to luxury 7-bedroom beachfront estates with tropical gardens in Canggu.
Most sites clearly state the inclusions, features, optional extras and special deals or last-minute booking rates.
Ministry of Villas also offers an upgrades package, which includes a complimentary massage and bottle of champagne on arrival.
Those with more of a profile such as Red Door Villa, (reddoorbali.com) in Canggu, and the new design-savvy Noku Beach House, (nokubeach house.com) in Seminyak, can be booked directly via their websites.
USE LOCAL INTEL
If you’re looking for the best prices and most authentic stays, go local.
Bali expats, locals and landlords use a number of forums on Facebook to advertise or rent out their homes to holiday-makers and digital nomads while the owners or renters are away on holiday, or when the villa becomes vacant. Closed groups including Canggu Community and Bali Housing and Accommodation are go-tos for finding both short and longer-term accommodation.
The downside is that booking directly with an owner via Facebook comes with more risk and it’s not as secure as official booking sites. Always ask to see photos of the property and communicate with the owner off Facebook, either by phone or email.
Ask them about the area, whether its easy to get around, if you have the use of things such as scooters and if they can recommend local drivers or anything else.