For anyone wanting a trip away from the hustle and bustle of heavily touristed areas of Bali, I highly recommend the Rambutan Boutique Hotel on the north shore in Lovina. I make a quasi-annual trip to Bali and always include a stay at the Rambutan. Although not as luxurious as the Viceroy or some of the other hotels mentioned on Luxury Links (and therefore a better cost), you will be nicely cared for in a beautiful, relaxing tropical oasis. The owners, Richard and Tini, live on site with their two daughters and will do everything possible to make your stay enjoyable. I can't say enough about the other staff at the hotel, their friendliness, humor, and eagerness to please. The Balinese are some of the sweetest people on earth, IMHO.

Since the bombings several years ago, the north coast is very, very quiet, so apart from taking a day trip* to Menjangan Island for snorkeling or scuba, or relaxing on Lovina'sblack sand beach, sadly there's not a lot to do outside of the hotel anymore. It's a great town for getting to know the locals and being invited to partake in some of their incredible ceremonies. So, if you're the kind of traveler who wants more culture than is found in cities and "tourist traps," I suggest four or five days at the Rambutan. Souvenirs are less expensive here and the shops are great for bargaining.

*The drive to Menjangan Island from the hotel is an hour or less, if my memory serves me. Much closer than from Kuta or any of the south coast towns

The web site for The Rambutan is -- and if you have any questions, feel free to PM or email me.