If you going to Bali, make sure you stay at Bambu Indah, a set of luxury villas just outside the village of Ubud. We stayed at Bambu Indah for more than a week and it has to be one of the most unforgettable places I’ve ever been.
Bambu Indah (which means beautiful bamboo in Balinese) is comprised of four pavilions spread out on a ridge overlooking the Ayung River. It is owned by John Hardy, a jewelry designer who has lived in Bali for decades, and who, after selling his jewelry business in 2007, devotes his time to ecological projects such as the Green School in Bali.
The four pavilions of Bambu Indah are teak houses from Java, over 100 years old, brought over by Hardy and decorated with local furniture and art work. We stayed in the “Afrika House” which is the largest of the pavilions. The views over the rice fields and to the mountains beyond are breathtaking.
Every morning we would get up and have breakfast on the porch — a typical Balinese breakfast of rice porridge (“bubur Bali”) with spicy vegetables, fruit (papaya, pineapple, snakefruit, watermelon) and fresh papaya juice. Then we would jump into the natural pool that winds its way past the pavilions and the vegetable gardens – no chlorine, no cement. The pool feels like something nature herself has created.
The bathing experience is quite unique: the bathroom at Afrika House is exposed on the side facing the valley, giving you an unobstructed view of the rice paddies and the mountains while you bathe or shower. If you need more privacy, all you do is roll down the bamboo-canvas screen.
At night, we would fall asleep to the sounds of crickets, birds and rushing water, and occasionally, the mysterious chanting of a village priest from a nearby Hindu temple.
The staff at Bambu Indah are wonderful. When we wanted to see performances of traditional Balinese dances such as the kecak, legong and barong, they told us exactly which were the best ones in Ubud. They also suggested where to eat, what to see and arranged for a driver to take us on short day trips around the island (note: our driver, Wayan Sujendra, was fantastic). I have never had such great personal service in any other hotel or B&B.
Although there are many luxury resorts in Bali, even in Ubud not far from Bambu Indah, why stay at a resort hotel that’s nothing more than a part of a large chain? Your stay at Bambu Indah will be much more memorable.
UPDATE (25 September 2010): I have just posted my Travel Guide to Bali on Mapplr with lots of tips on where to eat, what to do, and where to go in Bali, with a special emphasis on Ubud.
Banjar Baung, Desa Sayan
Phone: +62 361 977 922
Fax: +62 361 974 357
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