Banish any been-there-done-that Bali thoughts, Mathis Lodge Amed feels a world away from the island’s backpacking trails and tourist traps. The thatched lodges at this hilltop hideaway are nuzzled into the vertiginous jungle fringe, inviting swathes of emerald-green and ocean-blue inside the all-natural bedrooms (hello, canopy beds). The authentic Bali that we know and love is afoot (floating breakfasts in the infinity pool, flower baths at the traditional spa) but the eastern coastline of black-sand bays backed by volcanic slopes and teensy fishing villages is still relatively undiscovered – and thankfully, untouched.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £87.07 (IDR1,741,050), including tax at 21 per cent.
Rates include a welcome drink, Western and Indonesian breakfast types with a seasonal fruit platter, homemade granola, tropical juices, and Indonesian herbal brews.
Unfortunately the hotel’s hillside setting, stone steps, and terraced grounds are unsuitable for guests with mobility issues.
At the hotel
Restaurant, spa, outdoor infinity pool, free shuttle service, charged laundry service, and free WiFi. In rooms: air-conditioning, minibar, kettle, pool towels, mineral water (refilled daily), and locally sourced bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Rustic yet refined is the name of the interiors game at Mathis Lodge, where whitewashed walls meet soaring wood-beamed ceilings, rattan furniture, and billowing canopy beds. Each minimalist room flows onto palm-fringed terraces and semi-outdoor bathrooms, fully immersing guests in the valley’s leafy embrace. The lodges have been cleverly arranged to all face the ocean, so you won’t be quibbling over the view – it’s just a question of whether you’d like to enjoy it from a private pool or not.
Views from the hotel’s main infinity pool, set 400 metres above the Indian Ocean, are pretty panoramic, to say the least. Its emerald waters cleverly blend with the surrounding valley, and the rustic lounger-lined decking has curves in all the right places. Pool Lodge stays come with more secluded swims with complete and utter jungle surround-sound.
Guests receive 20 per cent off treatments in the traditional thatched, stone-walled spa (open from 8am to 8pm) make use of natural, local products and Balinese massage techniques – and always finish with a refreshing ginger or jasmine tea. It’s also worth perusing the hotel’s wellness packages, which combine flower baths, and floating breakfasts with your massage of choice.
You’ll want to bring footwear sturdy enough for the hilly jungle treks around the hotel, and spirited evenings of gamelan dancing in Amed’s coastal villages.
There’s a resident yoga instructor if you’d like to book an open-air session (either on your lodge’s terrace or by the pool).
The Family Lodges are ideal if you’re travelling with little ones, with a twinned second bedroom and the option to have a private pool.
This B-Corp certified property makes every effort to minimise its impact on the environment, including energy-efficient appliances, plastic-free amenities, and making use of locally sourced ingredients throughout its restaurant and Balinese cooking classes.
Dining with a view is guaranteed wherever you sit, but we like the poolside tables (they’re ever-so-slightly more spaced out, ideal for intimate meals for two).
Leave the tropical prints at home, it’s all about pared-back, barefoot chic here.
Poised above the pool and semi-open to the elements, Asmat Restaurant is an indoor-outdoor dining space with some delicious views of the jungle-clad valley cascading down towards the ocean, and guests of the hotel will receive 20 per cent of all food orders. Giant fringed-lampshades dangle from the thatched roof, swaying gently in the tropical breeze over rustic wooden tables. The menu fuses Indonesian flavours with international classics (like glazed buffalo chicken wings, seafood risotto, and croque monsieur), but if you’d prefer to eat like a local – order from the warung section. The slow-cooked beef rendang comes in a creamy coconut sauce with steamed rice, and the catch of the day is marinated in island spices, then loaded onto lemongrass skewers with fresh vegetables. You could also quite happily try a different local dessert each evening, whether you’re in the mood for homemade mango and lime ice-cream, deep-fried bananas, or coconut and palm-sugar crepes.
Mai Tais by the pool, ice-cold glasses of Balinese rosé at sunset, or banana daiquiris with dessert, Asmat’s dawn-til-dusk drinks menu favours island concoctions (with a few well-chosen international labels bolstering the wine list). We promise that the ‘Arak Attack’ cocktail, made with Balinese rice spirit, lime juice, lemonade, and a splash of grenadine, is more relaxing than – and just as refreshing as – it sounds.
Breakfast is served from 7.30am to 10.30am. An all-day menu follows, available until 11pm (last orders at 10pm). The bar calls time at 11pm.
Asmat’s entire menu can be ordered to your lodge between 8am and 10pm, and floating breakfasts are available on request (for around US$30 a couple).
Perched above the jade-green Lean Valley on Bali’s east coast, Mathis Lodge Amed overlooks the Lombok Strait with the Seraya volcano at its back. You’ll be greeted in the foothills by the hotel’s buggy for a 30-minute off-road ascent.
The closest airport is Ngurah Rai near Denpasar. The hotel is just under four hours away by car (factoring in the additional three-kilometre buggy journey), and offers airport transfers from around US$75 (one-way, for four passengers).
Thanks to the hotel’s free shuttle service (which whisks you down to the black-sand beach on demand), there’s little need for your own car. The roads (more like jungle tracks) around Amed are hilly and hair-raising, but there is free parking at the bottom of the slope if you’d prefer to let the hotel’s buggy do the hard work.
Worth getting out of bed for
Much of Mathis Lodge’s draw lies in its off-grid location in the Lean Valley, a relatively undiscovered corner of Bali with some of the best scuba-diving and snorkelling spots on the island. A string of seven tiny villages make up the black-sand shoreline of Amed Beach, mostly home to bamboo-built fishermen’s huts and their bobbing, hand-painted jukungs (fishing boats). It’s a far cry from the tourist-trodden beaches around Ubud, Seminyak and Canggu, and it’s easily accessed with the hotel’s free drop-off and pick-up service. If you haven’t come to fly-and-flop, ask the concierge to hook you up with local hiking tours around Mount Seraya, covering jungle trails and volcanic terrain. The stone-dragon-guarded Lempuyang Temple with its famous Gates of Heaven is an easy day trip away. Foodies need not stray far from the hotel either – guided market visits, cooking classes, and barbecue evenings (Wednesdays and Saturdays from 6pm to 9pm) keep the culinarily-curious well fed.
If a romantic dinner is on the cards, we’d recommend heading over to Sunset Point – which, unsurprisingly, is one of the best local spots to watch the sky turn from ocean-blue into watermelon-pink and mango-orange. Nab a table (or beanbag) on the viewing deck and tuck into vegetable spring rolls, spiced beef tenderloin on a bed of glass noodles, and creamy curries rich in coconut milk, coriander, and lemongrass. Just be sure to save room for the signature banana fritters, topped with your choice of ice-cream.
Decked out in a jungle-green palette (with some seriously photogenic bright orange seating), Rimba Café is one to rave about – as much for its vibrant interiors as its homemade produce. Brunches here begin with a round of healthy shots (the pineapple, mint, moringa, and rocket concoction is a superfood way to start your day), followed by caramel-covered banana pancakes or the freshly baked brioche slathered in Rimba’s own jams. There’s a whole section of the menu that’s dedicated to veggie and vegan options, including pumpkin bowls, quinoa salads, and jackfruit wraps.
There’s a daily happy hour (from 5pm to 7pm) on the Griya’s rooftop lounge, with live music, Balinese dance performances (every Sunday), and wraparound views of the ocean and Mount Agung.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this jungle-wrapped retreat near Amed and unpacked their underwater cameras and boho basketry, a full account of their tropical beach break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Mathis Lodge Amed in Bali…
The twisty-turny climb to Mathis Lodge Amed is worth every bump in the palm-lined dirt track which winds its way through a dense tangle of coconut trees, up, up and over volcanic slopes to reach what resembles – on first glance – a traditional Balinese village. Look a little closer, past the thatched roofs and carved doorways, and you’ll soon discover a world of jungle-chic creature comforts. Soft, tent-style canopies are draped over cloud-like beds, creating a glamping-gone-wild effect in each standalone lodge – especially when paired with the wraparound valley views. Hand-sculpted tree-stumps stand in as bedside tables, and palm-thatched pendants suspended on rope illuminate Indonesian trinkets, crafts and collectibles displayed in stone-grey alcoves. The teal waters of the private pools (in some of the lodges) are just a few barefoot, kimono-clad steps away, and Balinese sunbirds flit above the terraced decking in tropical flashes of yellow and green. And though the nearby black-sand beaches will soon beckon sunbathers and snorkellers, there’s a nature-inspired spa and ocean-facing restaurant to tempt you back up the hill.