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Four Seasons Sayan Review: Private Pool Villas in the Bali Rainforest

Had a spaceship landed in the middle of the Bali rainforest?

Crossing a teak-and-steel footbridge over a dramatic gorge, we stared at what looked like a three-tiered spaceship that had stopped beside the rushing Ayung River.

But no, it turned out to be the reception, spa and main restaurant building of the Four Seasons at Sayan.

Located on the edge of Ubud, Bali’s artist colony, it’s one of the top luxury hotels in Bali.

Four Seasons Sayan review

Four Seasons Sayan Review
The Four Seasons Sayan, Bali, is striking, to say the least!

Four Seasons Sayan villas

The resort’s 42 villas are equally eye-catching.

(This Bali Four Seasons property also has 18 suites, but the villas are where you want to stay – and where we stayed.)

The best accommodations at Four Seasons Sayan are the villas.
The best accommodations at Four Seasons Sayan are the villas

The villas are cleverly carved into the hillside, which keeps them cool.

From the path to your villa, all you see is a lotus pond and a patch of tall grasses (actually your own shaded meditation area).

A spiral stone staircase leads down to your villa door.

Open that, and you see that your indoor/outdoor villa has been cut into the hill in an L-shape – two walls are snug up against the hillside.

Each villa has an expansive wooden deck with cushioned couches and chairs (under the shade of a roof with ceiling fan) plus a teak dining table with umbrella.

Watching the river from our deck was quite hypnotic (we’d inevitably doze off), and we could hear the water tumbling over boulders in the riverbed at night.

Four Seasons Sayan villa by the Ayung Rvier, with a private pool
Our villa by the Ayung Rvier, with our own private little pool

All villas also have a small private pool outside.

Inside, the air-conditioned bedroom has warm polished wood floors along with a writing desk and bedside tables inlaid with mother-of-pearl tiles.

A giant carved wooden screen behind the king-size bed features a delicate pattern of leaves and birds.

Four Seasons Sayan review - pool
Your own pool not big enough? Walk on over to this main pool

No Four Seasons Sayan review would be complete without mention of the huge bathroom.

The bathroom has green marble floors – and get this – an egg-shaped bathtub, also inlaid with mother-of-pearl tiles. Totally striking!

The tubs and sinks are inlaid with mother-of-pearl tiles

What to do at the Four Seasons at Sayan?

There are many romantic things you can enjoy on Bali.

But the outdoor setting of our villa was so inviting that we really didn’t feel the need to do very much during our stay at the Four Seasons, other than laze about and eat.

Four Seasons at Sayan review
The Four Seasons Resort at Sayan is nestled in the jungle near Ubud


Speaking of eating, we enjoyed the resort’s weekly buffet feast, which celebrates Indonesian food – and we got to try local suckling pig and crispy fried duck.

Babi Guling or suckling pig is one of Bali’s most famous dishes.

And this little piggie is one fine suckling pig

Traditionally, the pig is stuffed with spices like lemongrass, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and garlic, then roasted on a spit.

The crackling skin is the best part (so long as you don’t worry about all the fat!).

Complimentary activities

Four Seasons Sayan review - Balinese dance
We watched Balinese dancers from Sayan village perform the Legong and other Balinese dances in the Four Seasons’ airy lounge

Several activities are complimentary when you stay at this Bali Four Seasons resort.

And we did rouse ourselves to enjoy both the authentic Balinese dance performance and a guided walk through the rice paddies.

Four Seasons Sayan review - rice paddy
Learn “Rice 101” on a complimentary guided walk through the resort’s rice paddies


The spa also won us over with its lovely couples spa villas overlooking lotus ponds.

Must do? Pamper yourself with an indulgent spa treatment

Our feet were first bathed in a wooden bowl of water with floating rose petals.

Then we were scrubbed down with Himalayan salt crystals before giving ourselves up to a languorous Balinese massage.

The Balinese know how to do spa treatments right!

Now, if only Scottie could beam us back up to the Four Seasons Sayan again…

We also stayed at its sister hotel: See our review of the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay

If you visit the Four Seasons Sayan

Four Seasons Sayan review: You have to walk across this bridge 65 feet high up above the Ayung River gorge to reach the reception.)
You have to walk across this bridge 65 feet high up above the Ayung River gorge to reach the reception

It’s award-winning

The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan has made Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List for more than five years running.

Free goodies

Complimentary resort perks include authentic Balinese dance performances, guided rice field walks, village bike rides and a shuttle to the artistic center of Ubud five times daily.

Four Seasons Ubud: Check rates and availability here

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!

Photo credits: 5, 6, 7, 9 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Remaining photos Four Seasons Resort Sayan

We stayed at this Ubud Four Seasons as media guests for review purposes. But as professional travel writers, our words and views are always our own.

About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!


Sunday 22nd of November 2015

Congratulations on your article in Cruise & Travel! Great post, it does look a bit spaceshipy! :)

Janice and George

Sunday 22nd of November 2015

Thanks! We write frequently for Cruise & Travel Lifestyles (a nice Canadian magazine).


Monday 16th of November 2015

AMAZING! As hotel entrances go, that has got to be one of the most dramatic around.

Your Tourist Guides

Monday 16th of November 2015

Wowww.... an amazing place !!! Bali offers the traveler extraordinary places ... Thank you

Becky Padmore

Sunday 15th of November 2015

Wow this place looks seriously stunning! Bali has some extraordinary places to stay!

Janice and George

Sunday 15th of November 2015

For such a small island, Bali does indeed have loads of luxury hotels - can be hard to choose :-).


Thursday 12th of November 2015

We didn't get to Sayan on our Bali trip in September but this hotel looks amazing. I love the drawbridge and the mother of pearl bathtub

Janice and George

Monday 16th of November 2015

That drawbridge was pretty amazing! Talk about an entrance, eh? (We like how many Four Seasons resorts create a wow sense of arrival.)