Hanging Gardens of Bali

The Hanging Gardens of Bali is a magical hotel built on the edge of a valley on this spectacular Indonesian island

Imagine your fantasy hotel. A hotel that combines decadence and state-of-the-art modernity with a dash of nature and spirituality. A hotel that offers well-being, epicurean delights and as much privacy as you require. A hotel whose spellbinding views will make your Instagram feed the envy of your friends. Chances are you’re probably assuming no resort can fulfil these fantasies, but you’d be wrong. The Hanging Gardens of Bali doesn’t just live up to them, it surpasses them.

“It’s a one-off,” says Nir Peretz, the owner and founder of this magical jungle hideaway. “A unique fusion of the peak of civilization with raw nature. It’s the only way to describe it. The location is something created by nature and spirituality and it can’t be reproduced. It’s not something money can create. People have tried and none of them have succeeded.”

This is no idle boast. The Hanging Gardens of Bali sits on the edge of a valley in a breathtaking jungle that overlooks the Ayung River and the mesmerizing Dalem Segara temple opposite. The rain forests and nearby rice fields afford a down-to-earth tranquillity that juxtaposes perfectly with the opulence and luxurious harmony found within the resort.

Nir came across the site when he was looking for a location for a private villa. After two and a half years searching he was about to give up when he found the spot just outside the village of Payangan. Rather than keep it for himself, however, he decided to create the luxury resort to end all luxury resorts.

“We decided to create something that is very different,” he explains. “It’s actually based on spirituality – Hinduism and Feng Shui. Dual spirituality. It’s one of the things that differentiates us from other places.” And because of the resort’s unique – and remote – location, Nir and his team had to think unconventionally when it came to the build. Because access was so difficult everything had to be built by hand, with over 4,000 people taking part, ensuring that none of the natural habitat was destroyed in its construction. “We had to climb up and down by ropes and bamboo leathers and basically lift tens of thousands of tons of materials by hand,” he says.

The result is both spectacular and unforgettable. The resort’s 44 rooms offer panoramic vistas and serene beauty. Lying in bed affords the sensation of floating above the trees. “It’s one of these things,” says Nir. “The sense, the breeze on your skin and this very surreal, amazing feeling that you’re spiritually above everything. It’s a fantastic feeling.”

Alongside the exquisite food, the flora and fauna, the birds and monkeys, the village walks, the romantic dinners, the holy springs and the well-being that its spa offers, the Hanging Gardens’ masterpiece is its swimming pool. It is a split-level infinity pool, suspended high over the jungle, giving swimmers the sensation of swimming above the valley, and is framed by a geometric wall of solidified volcanic ash.

Unsurprisingly, the resort is laden with awards for everything from its dramatic views and luxury spas to best swimming pool and best scenic environment. This was capped recently when it was named the world’s first seven star hotel at the Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards. “I would say when someone wants to experience something that is a one-off this is where they come,” says Nir. “This is the type of place that is on everybody’s bucket list.” Sometimes reality really can outstrip the imagination.