Bali and Ubud are the Best

For the tenth year, Travel + Leisure magazine asked its readers to help define excellence in travel by rating airlines, hotels, travel destinations and more. Again as in the last five years Bali was voted as the BEST ISLAND IN THE WORLD - and Ubud's leading resort The Four Seasons as the BEST HOTEL IN THE WORLD. Interesting enough none of the best hotels is a beach resort, all in similar locations then our beloved home of Ubud. The results can be found in the magazine's upcoming 10th annual “World's Best” awards issue.

Senior consulting editor Mark Orwoll was invited to appear in the US-TV show “Today” to share a first look at the winners.

The thing I like about all three of this year's resorts is that they are in exotic locations and, even more importantly, each offers what I would call an "authentic experience." They belong in their settings in terms of architecture, the activities offered, even the clothes the staff wears — all very much beholden to the tradition of those places. The Four Seasons in Bali at Sayan is not a beach resort like its sister property. It's up in the highlands in the Ayung River Valley. It's a beautiful tropical interior island setting, surrounded by a gorge with the Ayung River flowing nearby. But it's also just 10 minutes from Ubud, which is the cultural and artistic center of Bali, a very spiritual place.

So this resort will attract a much more cultural traveler, beyond just laying out on the beach. None of this year's top three resorts are on the water. With resorts you often think golf or beach — and that describes none of these. They offer experiences you're not going to get in your own backyard.