advertisement

Further downstream from Sayan's cluster of river gorge-perched 5-stars, and secluded in a traditional Ubud village, lies the aptly named Hanging Gardens. This award-winning boutique luxury resort's pool villas, suites, and facilities come dramatically terraced (and gravity-defiant) up on wooden pillars on a jungly hillside running down to the Ayung River. It's all beautifully camouflaged amongst a natural rainforest preserve and landscaped tropical grounds, and mercifully all steep levels are serviced by two funiculars. The thatched-roof, villa-style accommodations are finished in contemporary Balinese style, designed with a stunning floating position among the treetops. Raised exterior platforms feature private terraces with granite-lined infinity pools, dining pavilions, semi-outdoor bathrooms, and sun loungers. For the most jaw-dropping views, opt for upper Panoramic Deluxe Villas. (Families and friends might prefer the two-bedroom duplex Family Villa down beside the raging river and waterfall.)

The timber-thatched open-sided restaurant (fine dining meets Balinese rustic) provides a lower-level lounge and pool deck perfect for evening drinks. The kitchen focuses on fresh, healthy, and sustainable cuisine, with much of the produce originating from the estate's free-form organic gardens. Spectacular twin-level cascading infinity pools, suspended over the rain-forested ravine, are ranked World's Best Pool by "Condé Nast Traveler." Directly opposite, in the Ayung River gorge, stands an ancient Hindu temple; the hotel can arrange private temple blessing ceremonies here, or magical dinners à deux on the temple's candlelit grounds—it's all part of the chef's tailor-made romantic dining options.