Bali's Bukit Peninsula: Six of the best beach clubs

ULU CLIFFHOUSE

A luxury villa turned pool club five minutes from Uluwatu Temple, this split-level property has a 25-metre infinity pool, restaurant and loungers on the main level, but takes a Robinson-Crusoe turn when you walk down the (many) stairs to its second bar. It is made from lashed timber, hovers above the beach, which is reached by more steep stairs, and is only accessible at low tide. There's a strong family scene going on upstairs, with a quiet kids' play room for those needing some down time in air-con.

The open-air restaurant has a seafood-focused menu by Peruvian chef Diego Muñoz, formerly of the much-celebrated Astrid y Gastón in Lima. The go-to dish is the shrimp, fish and avocado ceviche. Follow it with a whole roasted red snapper and a spiced mango daiquiri for dessert. The minimum spend on daybeds is 1 million rupia (about $100). See ulucliffhouse.com

OMNIA

The jet set's new favourite is the dramatic, adults-only Omnia in Uluwatu. You're deep in Instagram Land here, so go glam. The class system is alive and kicking: you can enter as a regular punter, book a daybed, sofa or cabana or go to the top of the list in a VIP bungalow. Some of the best views of Omnia's signature cube, however, are from its Japanese restaurant, Sake No Hana, which hovers above the pool club and is regarded as one of Bali's best.

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If you're looking for top local and international DJs, chances are you'll find them gigging here, thanks to Omnia's Vegas connections. Midweek and off-season, you'll find a lounger; at all other times, reserve or suffer the consequences. Note, this club does not have beach access. From 200,000Rp. See omniaclubs.com

SUNDAYS BEACH CLUB

This family-friendly beach at Ungasan is known to old Bali hands as Finns' Beach Club and it's next to Karma Beach Club (see below). Take a dip in the cool pools at the top of the cliff or leap straight into the travelator to bask on the sands down below. Access to kayaks, stand-up-paddle boards, snorkelling gear and towel hire are included in the price. Lifeguards, a sandy beach and 9am opening making it great for little kids but beware the undertow on windy days.

Start with a healthy breakfast before moving onto lazy lunch and a beach bonfire at sunset – beanbags and marshmallows supplied. Costs 350,000Rp for adults, midweek; 150,000Rp for children aged seven to 12. The price includes a 200,000Rp/100,000Rp bar-restaurant credit. No reservations. See sundaysbeachclub.com

ONEEIGHTYBALI

Oneeightybali's calling card is its sky pool, which juts out more than six metres over cliffs on the southern peninsula. It has a glass bottom, so you can stare between your toes at the crashing waves, 165 metres below. It's set within super-luxe resort The Edge and the views stretch all the way down the coastline. It's a great spot to watch the sun set.

The pool club is open until 10pm, so take your time, take a dip, then order the grilled prawns hot from the barbecue. The essential eat is the life-changing ikan sambal mangga – soy-glazed coral trout with fern tips and green mango sambal. Note, like most of these clubs, singlets emblazoned with booze logos will see you turned away at the door. Costs 450,000Rp a person (includes an 350,000Rp food and beverage credit), or 650,000Rp on the cliffside VIP Deck. See oneeightybali.com

KARMA BEACH CLUB

There are 420-ish steps down to this beach-only club – or you can take the travelator, which slides quietly down through macaque-filled trees to land at a beachside spread of bamboo balés. By day, the scene is stylish island-castaway couples with a sprinkle of fabulous families (lured by its kids' club), all stand-up-paddle-boarding, kayaking, snorkelling and snacking.

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After a hard day in the sun, slip on your spare sundress and lip gloss for KK's sultry night beach club scene, with DJs and barefoot dancing on the sand after the beach barbecues and seafood fiestas wind up. Oh, is that a spa hut facing the ocean? A gold-standard Balinese massage with organic oils should do the trick. Located in Karma Kandara resort. Entrance costs 650,000Rp (includes a 350,000Rp food and beverage credit). See karmagroup.com

MANARAI BEACH HOUSE

Baliphiles will know this Nusa Dua patch as the former Nikki Beach Bali. It is one big club, taking up to 550 people. However, with clever zoning – a swim-up bar here, a corral of cabanas there – your niche still feels like your kingdom. Crowd seekers are lured by the weekend music and kick-back couples hit the sun loungers midweek. Unusually for Bali's beach clubs, there's no minimum spend here, and you have a choice of pool or beach.

Essential eats include the wagyu skewers and Bali's classic ayam betutu from the kitchens of Michelin-trained chef Stefan Poyet. Push past the cringe and order the C-Cup, a vodka and coconut sorbet which arrives in a fresh coconut. Corny? Possibly. But you're on holiday.  See ismaya.com/eat-drink/manarai

​See also: Twenty things that will surprise first-time visitors to Bali

See also: The best time to visit Bali

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