Sayan, Ubud, Bali: Destination Spotlight

Few places in the world compare to the enchanted island of Bali. From its secluded resorts to grand beaches, the island offers a wide variety of ways to enjoy your holiday. We especially loved Bali because of its rich culture, extreme natural beauty, and high-end resorts. We chose to pair our stay in Ubud’s Sayan village with a beach-side stay at Jimbaran Bay. For more information about Bali’s other major draw, beachside resorts, visit our post about Jimbaran Bay, here.

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Where to Stay in Ubud, Bali: Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan

Lilypad pond with water fountain in Bali's Four Seasons Resort at Sayan.

Ubud is known as a major resort area in Bali, and each of Ubud’s smaller villages offer their own special resorts. However, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan is definitely our first choice. The resort terraces down from the village of Sayan to the Ayung River, with dramatic views throughout. Despite being in the center of Sayan’s village, the resort feels secluded. 

View of the main hotel building at night at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan

The resort grounds are dotted with rice patties, quiet retreats, and guest villas. Four Seasons Sayan is particularly unique because of its size: with only 60 guest rooms and suites, the resort feels like a secluded getaway. Because of its quiet privacy, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan has also hosted some extremely influential people, including the Obama family and Julia Roberts (while she was filming the movie Eat Pray Love no less).

Every villa at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan have their own pool.

The best part of the resort is definitely its individual villas. From the romantic meditation ponds on the roof of each villa, to private infinity pools, the villas are truly unique. If possible, splurge for the river view, as you will be able to enjoy dramatic white-water rapid views from your villa and pool!

Villas range from one to three bedrooms. Alternatively, you can opt for one of the suites inside the main hotel building. Regardless of what you choose, you will definitely enjoy the dramatic beauty of this resort.

Where to Eat at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan: 

Those with a more adventurous taste may enjoy trying restaurants in nearby Ubud. However, we chose to eat all of our meals at the resort, and loved it! Here is an overview of the restaurants at Four Seasons Bali at Sayan:

Ayung Terrace:

Located in the hotel’s main building, Ayung Terrace serves as the primary restaurant at the resort. Ayung Terrace offers traditional Indonesian dishes for lunch and dinner. Once a week, Ayung Terrace offers a grand Indonesian buffet. Ayung Terrace is also the resort’s breakfast restaurant. Guests can choose from a menu that includes a wide variety of Asian and Western breakfast options. 

Open terrace restaurant with views of palm trees and the Ayung River in Sayan, Bali

While the food at Ayung Terrace is amazing, the truly unique part of this restaurant is the view. The restaurant sits on an open terrace, overlooking the river and jungle below. The serene view is truly amazing to enjoy throughout your meal!

Waffle with Nutella and caramelized bananas at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan


A beautiful two-top table sits overlooking a lit pool at night.

Riverside is fantastic for those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, or for those who would prefer Western dishes. Located just above the resort’s main infinity pool, the restaurant offers fantastic views of the river and pool. Riverside serves lunch and dinner. The menu includes pastas, grilled meats, and lighter options inspired by the resort’s spa. We loved enjoying a drink and meal while looking out over the river!

In-Villa Dining and Sokasi:

For those who are looking for even more unique dining experiences, there are two options. Guests can choose to order meals to their villa, which allows you to eat al-fresco next to your pool. Alternatively, you can choose to enjoy a Chef’s table experience at Sokasi, which includes unique culinary experiences inspired by Indonesian cuisine. Both are fun and unique options at this resort!

Afternoon treats at our villa included fresh vegetables and coconut milk.

Things to do in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

When staying at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, most of the activities that we suggest are either on-property or one of the resort’s pre-arranged activities. One of the really unique parts of this resort is that the manager is closely connected to the local community. Therefore, he has created a wide variety of unique tours for resort guests to enjoy. Here are the things we suggest prioritizing while at this resort:

Enjoy the Resort:

An open air classroom with a thatched roof sits in the middle of the jungle.

While it is really easy to fill your entire time in Sayan, Ubud with activities, make sure you save time for the resort as well! Your villa is an amazing place to rest and relax, especially because of the private lounge areas and plunge pool.

Traditional balinese dancers and musicians.

In addition, the resort offers complementary cultural dance events, where you can enjoy watching a traditional Indonesian performance. Also make sure to check out complementary yoga classes and the extensive spa, which includes both classic spa services and traditional Balinese spa services.

Rice fields intermingle throughout the resort.

Lastly, make sure to walk through the resort! From the lobby’s lily pad roof pond to small rice fields and different restaurants, there is a lot to explore!

The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan includes a fun kids club that has a treehouse and outdoor play areas!

Children will also enjoy the onsite Kid’s Club! Children ages 4-12 can enjoy the Pici Pici Club daily. You can learn more about the Pici Pici Club and other children’s activities here.

River Rafting:

The resort runs along the Ayung River, Bali’s longest river. In addition to its beauty, the Ayung River is well known for river rafting! Four Seasons offers private rafting experiences for guests, and it’s definitely a can’t miss opportunity. One of the resort’s tour guides will take you 7 km upriver by car, and from there, you float down the river, coming across local stands, beautiful waterfalls, and white water rapids. Guests ages 5 – 70 years old can participate.

The Four Seasons Resort is unique because of its private raft landing point, which allows guests to return to the resort right from their boat! We were welcomed back with towels and a refreshing drink, while we sat on a sofa overlooking the river we had just traveled down.

The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan is unique because of it's private raft landing site for guests to finish their river rafting journey at.

Cultural Activities:

The Four Seasons offers a wide range of cultural experiences that are critical to fully appreciating Bali’s rich way of life. Guests can choose from a wide variety of pre-curated experiences, including Batik painting, Balinese dance classes, or even take part in the “Day in the Life of a Balinese Farmer” to learn more about rice farming. We chose the “Can you Keep a Secret” tour, which allowed us to visit a local village, temple, and even family home! A full list of the Four Seasons’ Cultural Experiences can be found here.

Visit Ubud for Shopping:

Located 10-30 minutes (depending on traffic) from the resort, the town of Ubud is known as a cultural center for crafts and art. The town offers fantastic shopping opportunities, as well as cultural experiences including the Ubud Palace, some great temples, and a monkey sanctuary. We used the resort’s complimentary shuttle service (leaves every two hours, ask the front desk for details) to visit. We enjoyed visiting different shops in town, and also made sure to visit the Ubud Traditional Art Market for souvenirs and art.

Ubud is a wonderful place for souvenir and craft shopping, and is located very close to the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan.

Beach or Jungle: 

View overlooking the resort grounds at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. The terraced resort includes great views of the Ayung River, rice fields, and the jungle.

Ideally, you can experience both resort areas while in Bali, by splitting your time between the two. We spent a week in Bali, and split our time with three nights in Sayan, Ubud, Bali and four nights at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. There is not a clear winner, so if you have to pick one, consider what type of vacation you want to have. Jimbaran Bay is an idyllic resort, filled with multiple restaurants, pools, and close to other nearby resorts. Plus, the Jimbaran Bay beach is a fantastic public beach that you can walk along and enjoy. However, for those looking for a secluded resort, or you want to experience Bali’s culture up close, Sayan is best. Even though it is centrally located to the popular town of Ubud, Sayan offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of larger resorts.

Luckily, Four Seasons provides an opportunity to experience both by splitting your time between the two resorts! Check out our post about Jimbaran Bay here, and consider visiting both resorts on your next trip!

Whether you are looking to visit Ubud to explore its rich culture and heritage or looking for a serene and secluded resort, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan offers the best of both worlds! We hope these recommendations help you plan your next trip to Bali. If you have questions or want help planning your next Creative Journey, please feel free to contact us.