'Studio-tel' Luna2 takes sleeping, lounging, dining, drinking and partying in Bali to ridiculous new heights. 'Studio-tel' Luna2 takes sleeping, lounging, dining, drinking and partying in Bali to ridiculous new heights.
Life Travel From quirky to chilled, four surprising places to stay in Bali Updated:

From quirky to chilled, four surprising places to stay in Bali

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Think there’s nothing new under the sun in Bali? Think again. Here are four unique and sometimes quirky lodgings that are offering travellers something different on the island of the gods.

The Slow

“Live fast, die young.” That’s the motto fashion designer George Gorrow, co-founder of Tsubi jeans, says pretty much summed up his attitude as a younger man while running a global empire between Sydney and New York.

But when Mr Gorrow moved to Bali, everything changed. “Now I want to live slow and die happy, so I put on the brakes on and started doing things slow.”

Mr Gorrow’s latest enterprise, The Slow, a new 12-suite boutique design hotel in the surfing mecca of Canggu, embodies that point-of-view. Suites are decorated with large, framed photographs from his personal collection, and feature futon-style beds and wall-to-wall sofas.

There are no TVs and no writing desks – not even a sound system in the traditional sense. Instead, a small volume dial next to the bed allows guest to listen to the sexy tunes of online Californian radio station Reverberation Radio – or relax in silence.

At The Slow’s plantation-style restaurant and bar, cocktails are pre-batched, numbered one to nine and served in screw-top bottles. The food – simple dishes like shoulder of lamb and charred corn – is made from ingredients sourced from local fishermen and an organic farm in Bali. And the service is less like a hotel and more like staying with a relative or friend. “Welcome home,” is what guests hear from the concierge when they return from a surf or walk along the beach.

The Slow has 12 oversize suites, four with pools, from $150 a night. theslow.id

The Slow Bali

The Layar

In the Indonesian language, “berlayar” are the large triangular sails found on traditional wooden sailing boats. This gated community’s 23 luxury pool villas are each anchored under triangular roofs that taper to the ground like the rigging of those sails, creating split-level spaces with contrasting stone and hardwood finishes. And like the sails that inspired them, these big sloping roofs are more than just aesthetic.

“The primary living areas in many of our villas are outdoor and not air-conditioned,” The Layar’s general manager, Andrew Leith, says. “But the smart design of the roofs allows them to catch the breeze and create good airflow throughout.”

Set in Seminyak, a fashionable hub of high-end restaurants, beach bars and boutiques on Bali’s southwest coast, The Layar also has one of the best restaurant hotels in Bali – an Italian trattoria called Settimo Cielo that cooks up a terrific four-cheese pizza and meatballs just like an Italian grandmother would make.

“Being in Seminyak, many of our guests stay here specifically to dine at different restaurants each night,” Mr Leith says. “But in Bali, hotel restaurants generally don’t have the best reputation. Yet with Settimo Cielo, we can provide a high-end dining experience within the complex or via in-villa dining for our guests.”

The Layar has 23 pool villas with one to four bedrooms from around $400 a night. Thelayar.com

the layar bali

LataLiana

Between Legian and Seminyak, LataLiana Villa’s five-bedroom super-villa is one of the most resplendent places to stay in Bali. It’s also one of the priciest with a rack rate of $1500 a night for the entire villa. But Lataliana also offers a more “economical” option – a two-storey residence modelled on a “lumbung” (the omega-shaped rice barns used to keep rice harvests dry during the wet season) that can accommodate up to four persons and includes a la carte breakfast and airport transfers for only $144 a night.

There is, however, one condition. The rice-barn is available exclusively to guests who’ve already booked LataLiana’s one-bedroom villa set within the same walled compound – a mini-mansion with full-size billiard table, 10-seater couch and freeform swimming pool.

“What often happens in Bali is that when people book holidays here, family members or children tag along at the last minute, or you get a Facebook message from an old friend who happens to be here at the same time,” Dee Mytton, the manager of LataLiana, says.

“So if you’ve booked the one-bedroom villa, you can invite them to come and stay in the rice barn, which can’t be rented by anyone else, for what is a very small additional amount.

“But because it’s a separate residence within the same compound, you don’t have to give up your privacy by having them sleep inside your villa.”

LataLiana’s rice-barn residence is $144 a night. latalianavillas.com

LataLiana Rice barn room and pool bali

Luna2

There’s novel, there’s nifty and then there’s Luna2, a “studio-tel” that takes sleeping, lounging, dining, drinking and partying in Bali to ridiculous new heights. From the Monopoly game board motif in the hallways to Rubix cube ottomans, to Lego wall art and Marilyn Monroe mosaics, every detail of this property is designed and curated to engage the senses.

“The owner of Luna2 is a British designer who travelled the world with her architect father in the 1950s and ’60s, and then worked as an interior designer opening stores for brands like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren throughout Europe,” spokeswoman Stephanie Fleming says. “So there are lots of references to the past but also lots of futuristic and fun touches. We’re quite exclusive, but at the same time we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

Luna2 has 14 oversized suites with outrageously cool features like Union Jack-print Smeg retro fridges, TVs for the bathtub, square wall-mounted toilet bowls and double-width balconies overlooking a 25-metre pool featuring with multi-coloured Mondrian-style rainbow-coloured tiles and a reinforced window that peers into Pop – Luna2’s all-white nightclub.

Add a 16-seat cinema, a rooftop sunset bar and a restaurant that serves over-the-top treats such as scrambled eggs with caviar and truffle fries, and you’ll start to see why Luna2 is rated on Tripadvisor as the No.1 place to stay in Seminyak and the No.1 small hotel in Indonesia.

Luna2 has 14 suites priced from around $389 per night. Luna2.com

luna2 bali
Photos: Ian Lloyd Neubauer, @the.slow on instagram and @theslowbali on Facebook