In hotels, first impressions are everything. And the impression you get when you walk past the intricately carved gebyok doors that flank The Apurva’s reflecting pool and step into the soaring cliff-top lobby is: Wow! It’s a stunning space capped by a stepped copper-sheathed ceiling (an allusion to Mount Meru, the sacred mountain of Hindu cosmology) and anchored by four eight-meter-tall pavilions paneled in more intricately carved woodwork, the labor of hundreds of Javanese craftsmen. Then there’s the shimmering Mongolian marble floor, the miniature terra-cotta temples, the artfully placed handicrafts and textiles from Sumba and Lombok and other islands of the Indonesian archipelago. It’s almost enough to distract you from the sweeping Indian Ocean views. To savor those views in private, book one of the suites that terrace down the cliff side like Balinese paddy fields; with elegant, understated interiors and frangipani-shaded plunge pools, they also come with access to a club lounge and its hydro-jet pool. Some 256 other rooms are located at beach level in stone-clad guest wings that border the central gardens and swimming pools. This is where you’ll find Pala, a glass-walled all-day diner and rooftop bar; and soon-to-open Koral, a subterranean seafood restaurant built around an enormous saltwater aquarium. Back at lobby level, there’s an excellent spa and the very un-izakaya-likeIzakaya by Oku for fusion-y Japanese; nearby, breezy Selesar Deli hits the mark with Indonesian “soul food” (think corn fritters, deep-fried tempeh, banana-leaf-wrapped rice), traditional pastries, and herbal jamu tonics.
—62-361/209-2288; kempinski.com; doubles from US$178