TROPICAL BEACH holidays aren't always what they're cracked up to be. Sure, the turquoise bays and palm-tree lined shores may be Instagram worthy, but not everyone's a fan of sweaty beach tents, sandy feet, salty skin and wind-swept hair.
This is where beach clubs come into their own. They offer absolute beach frontage and all of the perks – tangerine sunsets, crashing waves, the smell of the sea and plenty of eye-candy – without the discomfort.
Bali's beach clubs rival the best in the world. With many to choose from across the island, most are all-rounders offering extensive cocktail lists, great food delivered straight to your lounge, infinity-edged swimming pools, swim-up bars and restaurants.
For more active guests, some have direct access to the beach and offer stand-up paddle boarding, surfing and snorkeling among other watersports. Then there are the clubs renowned for their roster of international DJs, epic beach parties and outdoor movie screenings.
Generally, entry to clubs is free. Once inside, it'll set you back around $50 to hire a day bed, but this is often redeemable on food and beverages, and includes towel hire and use of all club facilities (gigs and parties attract higher cover charges). Arrive when the clubs open and you're likely to bag a prime position by the pool. Once in, you can stay as long as you like.
So where are Bali's best beach clubs? There are dozens to choose from, but these are our picks of the bunch.
Best for: Surfers, bohemians, lovers of laid-back luxury.
On Bali's east coast and overlooking the popular surf reef break Keramas, Komune Resort and Beach Club is perfect for those looking for 'barefoot luxury'.
FINNS BEACH CLUB
Best for: Surfing fans, families and anyone looking to party without the pretention.
Over in Canggu on the south-west coast, Finns Beach Club is among Bali's newest. Overlooking the island's famous Berawa Beach surf break, it's another top spot for surfing fans and those looking for a casual beach club experience.
Best for: Instagramers and anyone looking for memorable sunsets.
Grab your hombres, a jug of sangria and just sit back and watch Mother Nature at work at El Kabron.
SUNDAYS BEACH CLUB
Best for: Beach babes and water sports.
Also in Uluwatu, Sundays Beach Club is the ultimate destination for lovers of the great outdoors.
Best for: Lovers of live music and people looking to mingle with the 'in crowd'.
Attracting more than its fair share of tanned, toned bodies, Potato Head is the place to be seen in Bali.
KU DE TA
Best for: Quality food, cocktails and sunset viewing.
Ku De Ta is beach club royalty. Despite opening more than 15 years ago, the club remains one of Bali's best and has undergone numerous upgrades over the years.
For detailed descriptions of these properties (and more), check out the March issue of our magazine.