The best places to stay, drink and eat in Nusa Lembongan, Bali
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Sitting pretty just a 30 minute boat ride from Bali’s Sanur is a picturesque trio of islands dubbed the Nusa Penida district. Bali’s equivalent of the Amalfi coast, the islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan remain a favourite for weekends away courtesy of the area’s pristine natural beauty. Think aquamarine waters full of reef life, abundant surf breaks, and white sand aplenty.
Nusa Lembongan is the most popular of all the islands; it’s eight square kilometres remain far more quiet than the rowdy streets of Seminyak and Canggu, but it boasts just enough beach clubs and bars to keep you entertained. How do you get there you ask? Just jump aboard a boat at Sanur and within the hour you’ll be settled on a daybed somewhere far more picturesque. Just remember to book ahead when it comes to ferrying yourself across to the island to avoid steep fares or missing out. The easiest option is to use an all-inclusive company like Lembongan Traveller who will do it for you.
So you’ve just landed on Nusa Lembongan but you don’t have any time to waste? Scroll to our weekender guide.
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Considering Indonesia is famed for its villa-style living it seems a shame not to spend your weekend away in one. Villa Sayang is a private beachfront villa on Lembongan with a heavy focus on luxe. Found a mere hop, skip and jump away from the ocean (100 metres to be exact), the private villa boasts three outdoor living areas, two infinity pools, and six bedrooms, all with private ensuites, and some seriously comfortable extras (like Bose speakers). While designed with groups in mind, Villa Sayang doesn’t have to be rented as a whole, but is available to couples and singles who enjoy a little privacy. Throw in an in-house masseuse and yoga teacher, as well as a team of staff on hand to cater to your breakfast, lunch, and dinner cravings, whether they be for Western or Indonesian fare.
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Mandala The Bay
The latest addition to the Mandala portfolio is a collection of seriously chic villas scattered throughout Bali. Condé Nast Traveler magazine has gone so far as to dub its Uluwatu offering “the ultimate party house”. The latest property in Lembongan, called The Bay, is just as aesthetically pleasing as its predecessors, both in terms of interiors as well as outlook, with the five-bedroom abode on the waterfront of Lembongan’s adored Sandy Bay – with views out onto the iconic Devil’s Tears blowhole opposite the property.
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Villa Coral Lembongan
For families eager for a little peace and quiet (or to at least be able to keep to themselves), there’s Villa Coral. Consisting of two open-plan living areas (one upstairs, one downstairs), a dining room, and media room (for keeping those kids entertained), the rustic-style villa can sleep up to eight within its four-bedroom, four-bathroom structure. Villa Coral also offers the opportunity to reserve just two and three bedrooms at a time if your team of travellers is somewhat smaller. But the villa’s most impressive amenities (aside from its ample infinity pool stretching out front), is its team of staff, who can accommodate your every need from meals to activities, helping you to organise everything from snorkelling trips to acting as your personal tour guides to the island.
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EAT & DRINK
Bali is a beach club haven, and its neighbouring islands are luckily no exception. Taking the lead in terms of Lembongan’s poolside bars is Ohana’s, a restaurant, bar and now also a resort all in one. Located on the direct beachfront with views stretching out onto the crystal waters in front, Ohana’s is worth a visit for the postcard-worthy views alone, it’s just an added bonus that the beach club also has a lengthy list of food and drink options. While the kitchen does open at seven in the morning to cater to the breakfast crowd, we suggest you save your visit til evening. It’s sunset when Ohana’s truly comes alive with its daily sunset sessions, where you can nestle back on a bean bag with a cocktail or coconut in hand and enjoy Indonesia’s famed sunset over the ocean – accompanied by a beach bonfire. For those who like to hit the dance floor, Fridays also sees the addition of a DJ.
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The Deck Cafe & Bar
Quite literally perched over Nusa Lembongan’s waters is The Deck. Tucked into the hillside along a boardwalk above Jungut Batu beach is the bar and restaurant, which has a menu overflowing with the kind of fresh, casual, healthyish plates for which Bali is famed. Locally sourced ingredients are favoured here, with the venue proudly eco-friendly where it can be, and everything that can be made in-house (bread included). But that’s not to say the menu here isn’t fun; think acai bowls, fresh Italian gelato, salads, seafood, and a handful of Indonesian favourites, all washed down with an array of kombucha and cocktails. It’s all about balance right?
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The Howff Lembongan
Gone are the days when Bintangs reigned supreme over Indonesia’s drinks offerings. Well, Bintangs do still tend to dominate, but drinking options have greatly increased and there’s now even a new drinking den on the island of Nusa Lembongan specialising in gin and whisky. Enter The Howff, an intimate venue opened by The Deck team which caters to a late-night craving for a cocktail (or two) that’s open until midnight. Here the kilt-wearing bartenders concoct sophisticated and decadent beverages inspired by the bar’s hefty collection of specialty gin and whiskey, accompanied by a menu of bar snacks and desserts to ward away any lingering hunger pangs.
Hai Ri Zen
One of Lembongan’s best known eateries is Hai Ri Zen, despite the restaurant being less than a year old. As loved for its views as it is its edible offerings (you may sense this is a theme Lembongan-wide), the restaurant is a part of Hai Tide Beach Resort and is settled within a striking architectural building crafted from natural bamboo. But that’s not all, the unique space is beach front (naturally) and offers views of crystal clear water across to Mount Agung in the distance. As for the food, the Mushroom Bay venue is focused on smaller plates, designed with sharing in mind. Fare is a fusion of Western and Asian cuisine and designed to please any and every palate.
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