Experiencing one of Bali’s freewheeling beach clubs is on most visitors’ to-do lists, and there more options than ever, whether you’re looking to party, please the kids or lounge poolside with a tropical cocktail in hand. During the Indonesian island’s busiest months (June-September), it’s wise either to make a reservation or prepare to show up before the doors open. Nearly every beach club comes with a minimum spend or entrance fee when you book a daybed. But once you’re in, you’re golden.
For active types: Finns Beach Club, Canggu
In April 2019, Finns’ will reopen as Bali’s biggest beach club. The expanded facilities will include four pools, nine bars, five restaurants, a gelato kiosk, booths for all-day DJs, a spa, retail shops, an adult-only rooftop and pool, a family-friendly pool and an oceanfront lawn. If that somehow isn’t enough, patrons can also access Finns Recreation Club, five minutes away by free shuttle, which features a waterpark, bowling alley, trampoline and co-working space. Tip: there are single- and multi-day tickets and customisable packages available for those interested in experiencing both venues.
For foodies: Ku De Ta, Seminyak
As one of the island’s pioneering beach clubs, Ku De Ta has had plenty of time to perfect its menu. After a wholesome breakfast (cashew and palm nectar granola; a frozen yogurt bowl with toasted coconut, banana and goji berries), the all-day grazing menu will carry you right through to dinner, when you can indulge in Australian brisket rendang, lamb dumplings with chilli jam or herb-crusted barramundi at the fine-dining Asian fusion restaurant Mejekawi. The pool, admittedly small, is an inviting place to hole up with a good book. And the beach just beyond is one of Bali’s best sunset – and sundowner – spots. Tip: make a reservation during peak season and consider bringing your own towel; unlike most beach clubs, Ku De Ta charges a small rental fee
For partiers: Omnia, Uluwatu
Top DJs from all over the world come to play at this posh beach club, where you can bet the music is pumping and the dance floor is full. Set against a cliff on the island’s southern shores, the dramatic Cube bar stretches out over the Indian Ocean, complete with a full-bar and day beds. The expansive pool has a swim-up bar serving martinis and daiquiris as well as a menu that features wagyu burgers and sashimi. Food and drinks come at a premium, not surprising given Omnia’s reputation as one of Bali’s most glamorous beach clubs. Tip: brush up on the smart casual dress code before you make a reservation. As at most Bali clubs, there’s also a no alcohol-branded shirt rule.
For bohemians: The Lawn, Canggu
The Lawn has a free-spirited, relaxed vibe and encourages sprawling out with friends. Choose among the picnic blankets, oversized pillows and daybeds or recline in a swing at the water’s edge, in view of longboard surfers. The swim-up bar has a stone pool seats, as does the front of the pool, making it a great place to linger with a cocktail and a book. Burgers, seafood and salads are available, as is an equally varied cocktail menu with options like Mango Mules and Calamansi Coolers. Tip: The Lawn operates on a first-come, first-served basis so be there by 11am to secure a bed.
For Instagrammers: Tropicola, Seminyak
This ’80s Miami-style beach club with multilevel bars is ready for its close-up; Instagram-approved vivid details are at every turn. Consider, for instance, the retro tiled pool with its bright yellow umbrellas, pastel blue striped beds and stash of inflatable toys perfect for striking a pose. Fruity cocktails are another popular subject, as are hot dogs and burgers served on ketchup-red picnic tables. The crowd here at one of Bali’s newest beach clubs skews young and lively. Don’t be surprised if the tennis-attire-clad staff come around multiple times to pour mixed shots into your mouth. Tip: you can’t reserve beds, so be sure to arrive when they open at 11am.
For families: Sundays, Uluwatu
Every day’s a ‘fun day’ at Sundays, which has no pool but a pristine stretch of beach with shallow water for kids to play in, plus plenty of room for making sandcastles and a lifeguard keeping watch. An added thrill is the open-air tram ride down the cliff to the oceanside club, where the menu has kid-friendly options like pizza, juice and milkshakes. Kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and snorkelling equipment are included in the bed fee. While the little ones play, the grown-ups can take turns getting pampered at the small spa. Tip: Sundays operate on a first-come, first-serve basis so be there by 9am to secure a good spot.
For view-seekers: Oneeighty, Uluwatu
Perched high above the Indian Ocean, Oneeighty’s glass-bottomed pool also offers shocking views 150 metres down beneath the azure surface. As the name suggests, this chic dayclub also has 180-degree panoramic views. Grab a margarita and a bucket of KFC (Korean fried chicken) as you watch the waves crash against the massive cliffs in the distance. If the wind is right, you’ll also spy paragliders sailing over the cliffs. Tip: a reservation is recommended whether you book general admission or the VIP option (no kids under 12, access to a special oceanfront deck and other perks).
For all comers: Potato Head, Seminyak
You can’t talk about Bali’s beach clubs without talking about Potato Head. Its stunning Coliseum-like exterior – made up of repurposed window shutters – wows from the moment you approach. The service is top-notch (staff ask for and remember your name), and complimentary cold towels and frozen fruit are distributed throughout the day. There is a wide variety of food and drink, including jackfruit nachos, as well as a big pool with a swim-up bar for adults and a shallow wading area for kids. Tip: arrive before 10am to secure a bed for the day.