Gajah Mina Beach Resort

Lalang-Linggah, Denpasar & South, Indonesia Book from

Reviewed by Viv Monahan
Secluded hotel set amidst rice fields on Bali's dramatic south west coast - a quiet idyll for lovers (and grown up surfers)
Located high on a headland above a private velvety black-sand beach, Gajah Mina’s 12 villas, painted in gemstone colours, are set back from the pool amidst lush tropical gardens. Miles from the bustle of the tourist resorts, this is the place for travellers who seriously want to get away from it all. As massive waves crash onto the cliffs and matchstick men surf on the distant Balian Beach, sea breezes will keep you cool while you laze by the pool. Throw in butterflies as big as birds, flowers as bright as Ascot hats, and birds that sing as though they’re a full orchestral choir and you’ve got the ingredients for a stay that is truly unforgettable - in our personal top most romantic hotels in the world.

The hotel’s restaurant draws in the local expats who - understandably - rave about the surprisingly inventive menu. One of the highlights of any meal is watching the chef run from the kitchen to the vegetable garden to return moments later clutching a papaya, a watermelon or a bunch of fresh herbs.


  • Completely unspoilt private beach - and a further 20 miles of undiscovered coast to explore as well as one of Bali's best surf beaches
  • Awe-inspiring views of the sea at her most ferocious
  • Spacious, comfortable private villas in gorgeous gardens brimming with lotus ponds, bougainvillea and frangipani
  • Charismatic French owner and staff who can help you plan your activities, including nature walks


  • "Night life" in Suraberata means listening to the geckos - once you’re finished at the bar
  • Wardrobe space is limited: anything longer than a cocktail dress won’t hang happily
  • Bathrooms are simple and some of the fittings could do with updating
  • Air-conditioning units can seem noisy at night
  • Watch out for the strong surf; swim in the hotel pool rather than the sea

Best time to go

All year: April to October’s the driest time, though rain in the rainy season tends to come in short sharp bursts.

Our top tips

The chef, an alchemist if ever there was one, will even prepare you some icy, fresh aloe vera to take the sting out of your sunburn, should you need it!

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 12
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available


Set back from the pool, the 12 secluded traditional Balinese-style villas blend perfectly with the lush tropical gardens: the colours of the blossoms outside are echoed in shades of saffron, fuchsia and viridian inside.

Designed by the charming French owner, Dominique Guiet, they are simple, airy and comfortable and built entirely from natural materials such as volcanic stone, teak, coconut wood and unpolished marble. Reclaimed wooden doors leading to private gardens, antiques sourced from the islands of the Indonesian archipelago, masses of mirrors, whopping beds and stained glass accents bring together the old with the new. Huge bathrooms in the 7 Standard Villas (numbered 2-8) overflow into the garden for open-air showering.

There are 2 Suite Villas, each with 2 bedrooms; Suite Villa #1 has garden views, and is set furthest from the restaurant, pool and sea. It has the feel of a Balinese house rather than a holiday villa. The bedrooms and 2 roomy bathrooms are in the main, L-shaped villa, while across the stepping stones over the garden is a small kitchen, and, across another path, an alang-alang thatched dining pavilion where you can curl up with a book or a good friend. Ideal for families with older children is Suite Villa #9, which is the closest to the sea and has stunning views over the waves: the main bedroom is a cabin built on stilts. Inside, it’s designed to resemble a ship, with porthole mirrors and wraparound windows that let in the sounds of the crashing waves and give you a view, on a clear day, right the way over to Java. A second, cabin-style bedroom and 2 separate bathrooms are across the private garden, so beware: if you’re caught short in the night it will mean a dash over the lawn to the loo.

The most romantic options are the 2 Honeymoon Suites (number 9 and 10), perched on the top of the cliff. You can see the surf from your kingsize bed or enjoy the sunset from the Jacuzzi bathtub. It also features beautiful handmade teak furniture and a fully loaded iPod and sound system.

We’re yet to see the 3-Bedroom Villa, but it looks like a great option for large families and groups as it is set a short distance from the restaurant and pool, on a ridge, and has 3 double/twin ensuite bedrooms, a living and dining area, and a large terrace with a gorgeous-looking infinity pool.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Torch
  • Tv
  • Umbrella
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Food is owner Dominique’s passion, and the chef, who has been with the hotel since it opened in 2002, works wonders with the tasty local ingredients: organic vegetables picked at the last minute from the garden, a plentiful supply of fresh seafood, home-made pastas and breads.

Breakfast at the restaurant, which overlooks a coconut grove, consists of fresh fruit juices: watermelon, banana, papaya, pineapple or orange, depending on what’s in season, followed by fruit pancakes or eggs cooked the way you like them, with bacon and toast.

During the day, eating arrangements are informal: turn up to the Naga restaurant (with ajoining lounge bar) or the pool bar for a beer, a cocktail or lunch. You’ll find an extensive and reasonably-priced menu of both French and Thai offerings. For starters try the somtam: young papaya with green beans, garlic and tomatoes, or the delicious Thai spring rolls with prawns, carrots, paprika and glass noodles, served with ginger and nam pla dips. For mains, there’s a huge range of veggie options that make good use of tempeh (fermented soy bean cake) and tofu, as well as delicious soups, grilled fish and Thai curries. Omnivores might choose the grilled whole snapper with a lemon butter sauce or the mahi-mahi served with a green pepper sauce. Perfect with a big bowl of home-cooked chips. Finish with a dessert of deep fried banana with grated coconut, palm sugar and home-made vanilla ice cream.

As well as the usual range of alcoholic cocktails, New World and local wines, local and imported spirits, drinks include yummy lassis and healthy teas made from herbs and spices that are said to purify the blood, wake up the circulation or cool the body.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Chill out while watching the sunset from the headland
  • Walk slowly through the gardens so you don’t miss a rare sighting of the 2 giant lizards (they’re not Komodo dragons)
  • Swim in the spotless mineral-infused pool - if the water’s too warm, cool off in the freshwater fountain at the side
  • Take an easy 2-hour hike along the beach to the rice padis - if they’re not too busy, someone from the hotel will guide you free of charge
  • Surfing, wind-surfing and kite-surfing on Bali’s famous (and challenging) Balian Beach - just a twenty minute walk away along the cliff tops
  • Head off to the local night market for a taste of delicious Balinese street food
  • Have a massage in a secluded balé overlooking the black sand beach, cooled by the sea breezes - the masseuse, who comes in specially from the village
  • Take a hire car - with or without a driver - to the fabulous cliff top temple at Soka (where there’s also an even more impressive bat-cave)
  • Mountain biking (all downhill) from Batu Karu through cocoa and clove plantations, small villages and padi fields

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures


Children of all ages are welcome, and under 7s are free of charge.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

  • Suite Villa #1 is best for small children, with connecting bedrooms, a kitchen and an outside lounge. It also has a wide tropical garden going down to the swimming pool and the sea
  • Suite Villa #9 is good for those with teenage children; it has 2 separate bungalows with an outside bathroom and a gazebo. In a beautiful garden on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean and a living room designed like a ship with porthole mirrors and wraparound windows
  • The 3-Bedroom Villa is a great option for larger families as it has 3 ensuite double/twin bedrooms, lots of indoor and outdoor living space, and its own pool


Babysitting can be arranged

Baby listening:

Baby listening/monitors available on request

Families Should Know:

There are steep cliffs and the pool is unfenced plus there are steps around the property so young children need to be supervised at all times


  • Airport: 1.5 hours
Kid Friendly:

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