I have an affinity for infinity pools. It's an obsession, really.
This obsession started before I ever even left for my round-the-world trip. I have a Pinterest account to which I would pin photos from Bali every now and then. These usually consisted of luxury resorts with infinity pools.
Now I was wandering around Nusa Lembongan and exploring Nusa Ceningan off the coast of Bali. I had made it my mission to find the best resorts with pools to crash. And I mean crash because I had no intentions of actually paying to stay at any of them!
I visited these resorts for the day and then, after I was through, I went back to my cheap-o accommodation to sleep! I call it: Winning at life.
In this post, I share the awesome places I found to stay around the islands—without even staying there! Before long, you could be doing the same thing on a budget. Just like me, you'll feel like you've been transported into one of those Pinterest photos making everyone back home wonder how you could ever afford such luxury.
Swara Homestay: Simple and Sweet on Nusa Lembongan
To kick things off, I'm going to talk about where I chose to stay on Nusa Lembongan: Swara Homestay on Jungut Batu.
There's nothing very luxurious about the place. It just had one of the lower price tags ($13.50/night), was close to the dive shop with which I had booked, and was comfortable enough for a 4 night stay.
I have a couple of really excellent things to say about this place:
- The people working there were SUPER friendly and helpful. It's a very cute little family-owned and operated business. The first day, the woman working there offered to drive me on her motorbike down to a recommended restaurant. She also gave me a ride to the bicycle shop on another day.
- They clean the rooms every day just like in a "real" hotel. The beds were big and comfy. And the shower was relatively warm.
- It's central to everything. There's lots of great restaurants all around, dive shops are a 2-minute walk, the beach is a 3-minute walk, and there's little groceries within 5-10 minutes walking distance.
The secret to staying here is to treat it like a room—and that's it. If you want the luxury experience, you can go crash one of the nearby resorts. You can use other resort pools and eat at their restaurants as you please.
For example, I went across the street to eat at places like Pondok Jenggala almost every day. I loved starting my day at these little resorts with their poolside atmosphere—and never paying the full price for it.
Dream Beach Huts: Where to steal an Infinity Pool on Lembongan
You can usually get into any resort's pool for free on the island.
One day, I went down to check out Dream Beach (yes, this was after my scary moment while diving). I didn't know it until I arrived, but there was a resort placed directly above the sandy beach there. The resort has unbelievably beautiful views from its gorgeous infinity pool.
JUST LOOK AT THIS PLACE.
At the perfect angle, you almost can't tell where the pool stops and the ocean starts!
There's a lovely shower to rinse off the sand and salt water from the beach. Then you have your choice of dipping into either the top or bottom level infinity pool.
I loved getting right up to the edge of the pool and looking down onto the beach. So relaxing.
Also relaxing was the cute bean chairs sprinkled around the pool area. I chilled here and sipped a drink for a while.
I also ordered a tuna dinner at the restaurant. The restaurant is a bit overpriced (which they can do because they are far away from most things). The food wasn't always as plentiful as some of the cheaper places around the island but the quality of the food was quite good.
The Wi-Fi was also excellent here. I was able to send photos to friends and family back home which I had a harder time doing over the Wi-Fi back at Swara.
I really loved Dream Beach Huts for its beach front property, gorgeous pool area, and overall chilled out vibe. I would definitely recommend staying there if you want the full-price experience.
On booking.com, it's about $54 a night to stay in their standard room with a garden view. Yes, 1 night there is the equivalent of 4 nights where I stayed. That's why, if you're on a budget, I suggest visiting and taking advantage of its accouterments without paying the price.
However, $54 is a great price when we compare it to Western prices and what you're actually getting for it. To wake up in this place would certainly be a luxury over having to make your way there by bicycle or motorbike each day!
3 Resorts to Lust After on Nusa Ceningan
One morning I went cycling all over Nusa Lembongan with a mission to explore Nusa Ceningan, too.
You can get to Nusa Ceningan over a narrow yellow bridge on the eastern side of Lembongan. The bridge doesn't seem like it will be able to take your weight in addition to the weight of the stream of pedestrians and motorbikes making their way across. It holds up, though!
Once over on Ceningan, I ended up crashing a series of resorts because I was so hot and sweaty from cycling all day!
Thank gosh for these places and their loose rules about utilizing their pools. I definitely needed to reenergize and they offered pools, views, and yummy snacks.
1. Twilight Lembongan
One bedroom is $36 a night.
The name is a bit misleading as Twilight Lembongan is actually on Nusa Ceningan and not Lembongan.
After cycling all morning, I saw signs for Twilight with photos of its refreshing-looking pool. I couldn't pass up the chance to swim for a bit so I followed the signs down a hill toward the beach.
I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. The beach front views and pool were stunning. It wasn't an infinity pool but gorgeous nonetheless. I loved the statue continuously pouring water into the deep blue.
I arrived when nobody else was around so I got to float around in peace for a while. Then a few early 20-somethings showed up. They all ordered Bintangs and chilled out like me. This place was designed for chilling.
I stayed maybe an hour or so before deciding to see some more parts of Ceningan. Before I did, I ordered a strawberry milkshake.
Best decision ever.
2. Jenny's Place
A bungalow is $48 a night.
One of the dive instructors over at Big Fish Dive suggested I check out Jenny's Place while on Nusa Ceningan.
I didn't know where I was going at all when I took my bicycle tour over to Ceningan. But I came across Jenny's Place totally randomly and remembered what he had said.
It was only my 3rd resort-crashing experience so I was a little hesitant walking into the place. I was drenched in sweat from riding my bicycle all morning, but the staff there greeted me happily anyway, "Hello and welcome! You like to use pool?"
Why yes! Yes I would like to use your pool. They simply gestured for me to enjoy myself. Thank you, friend! No money. No problems. I like this place already.
I really liked the look of Jenny's Place. When I first walked in, the lobby area had lots of comfy seating. I could totally see myself setting up with my Surface there to crack away at a blog post.
I ended up relaxing next to the pool for a while, observing many single women on their laptops and phones hanging about. The Wi-Fi was very good. So if you still have business to conduct while away, this could be a good spot to lodge.
3. Palms Ceningan Hotel
A one-bedroom bungalow is $129 per night.
Immediately next door to Jenny's Place is the Palms Ceningan Hotel. The place caught my eye because they were advertising their certificate of excellence award for 2015 from TripAdvisor on the wall outside.
Naturally, I had to take a look.
A huge patio expanded out toward the sea with tons of seating all around. I especially loved that the seating was styled like outdoor beds. It looked so cozy!
There was a little tiki-style restaurant and bar set in the back of the patio. At the edge of the patio was a big leveled infinity pool stretching down toward the ocean. There was a walkway to the beach from the pool. I bet the snorkeling would be nice here!
The price for this hotel is a bit above average for Bali, in my opinion. Perhaps the rooms are out of this world amazing! People seem to really like staying here, though, so if it's in your budget then go for it.
I certainly could imagine myself enjoying a weekend getaway there. I could imagine staying at this resort with a bunch of friends. I think I'd plant myself on one of those big red bed seats with my friends to enjoy the view of the night sky over the water.
Staying at luxury resorts with fancy infinity pools on a remote island off the coast of Bali may seem like a pipe dream. But it's completely possible when you consider the option of indulging in their amenities without actually paying the price!
If you ever find yourself in Bali, you can absolutely stay for inexpensive and still enjoy a luxurious stay.