Indonesia’s Lost Hotels: Bali Cliff Resort

radit mahindro
4 min readSep 10, 2020


Bali Cliff Resort was owned by Sigit Harjojudanto, the son of Indonesia’s former President Suharto. It was the first five-star resort in Ungasan-Uluwatu area long before the international hotel brands like the Banyan Tree, Alila, and Bulgari put their footprint on the southern tip of the Bali island. President Suharto himself inaugurated Bali Cliff Resort on 13 October 1993, the same date he inaugurated Bali InterContinental Resort, then owned by his son Bambang Trihatmodjo.

The resort was designed by Atelier 6, a Jakarta-based architecture firm who also responsible for designing Sheraton Laguna, now The Laguna - a Luxury Collection, Sheraton Nusa Indah, now Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Nusa Dua Beach Hotel — three hotels that was owned or partially owned by the Suharto family. Atelier 6 also designed some big airports in Indonesia, including the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, and various state-owned buildings in Jakarta.

Due to its location, design, and 10 hectare size, Bali Cliff Resort had both sunrise and sunset view, a unique feature that heavily marketed during its heyday. As its website reads: “spectacularly situated on the heights above the crashing sea at Ungasan, 75 meters above the Indian Ocean, the only hotel in Bali that offers the complete view of the sun, both sunrise and sunset, is the Bali Cliff Resort. All rooms are beautifully appointed, individually having their own breathtaking panorama”. There were 200 rooms and villas available to book from USD 190 a night while its Presidential Villa was from USD 2.100 a night.

The resort tied a partnership with Japanese Airlines (JAL) to help drive Japanese tourists to the resort. Japan, at the time, was pretty much on par with Australia as Bali’s biggest markets. In the 90s, Japan Airlines Hotel Co., Ltd. was JAL’s subsidiary focusing on hotel business. A merger with Okura Nikko Hotel Management resulted in JAL Hotels taking over the management of the Ginza Nikko Hotel and Kawasaki Nikko Hotel — Hotel Nikko in Bali, was also co-owned by Sigit and his uncle Sudwikatmono. There is a long and wild story about Suharto family’s hotel business in Bali which might appear in separate Medium posts.

Bali Cliff Resort had various food & beverages outlets and dubbed its dining experience as “cuisine with ambience”. They were The Cliff, an al fresco dining space with exotic garden, The Seloka Club, described as “a place to enjoy a snack or a delicious dinner then tango or lambada the night away”, The Asuka, a Japanese sushi and teppanyaki restaurant, The Ocean Restaurant, a cliff-side seafood restaurant with 180° of ocean vistas, Tirta Pizzeria, a pizza restaurant surrounded by the lagoon pool, and Pool Bar, obviously, a bar.

The resort was the first to introduce an inclinator, a slide-elevator, designed to transport its guests from the resort complex to its private beach 75 meters below — a feature now owned by Karma Kandara and Sundays Beach Club. Down by its private beach was The Cave, literally a rock cave where Kecak and other Balinese Dance were performed during a group or romantic dinner. Since The Cave was a geological structure, it should remain exist until today.

Other facilities include a fitness centre with a lap pool, spa, sauna, and beauty salon service, a jogging track, tennis court, and mini golf, a kids playground, an art shop, a glorious outdoor amphitheater for performing arts with majestic Balinese gate in the background, and a huge ballroom with a dedicated entrance and an SIS translator to translate speech to eight different languages — there is no more ballroom in the Ungasan-Uluwatu area to date.

Bali Cliff Resort

The resort was shut down for renovation in 2005 but never reopened for unknown reason. The renovation plan was to refresh its exterior, build a lagoon around the existing villas, and adding small residential complex up for sale. Its main building had been demolished but some of its freestanding villas survived and are in a relatively good shape — in fact the main entrance is still guarded by a proper security team!

Just in-case you’d love to visit the site, it is located in Jalan Bali Cliff, sandwiched by Melasti Beach in the west and Green Bowl Beach in the east. However, if you really really want to bypass the security guards and enter the site, I would recommend you to take Jalan Pantai Green Bowl until you find a cliff-side parking area. You will then need to walk to Warung Ibu Made, jump over the resort’s concrete fence, and sneak through the former swimming pool site before entering the villa area, including the grandeur Presidential Villa (but mind your own safety!).