This is the consummate south-east Asian eco-retreat; small, scenic, and almost entirely sustainable. On arrival, the first thing you’ll notice is the stress-melting view of a lime, moss, and parakeet-green valley veiled in golden sunshine and dotted with coolie-wearing rice farmers.
Smudged into the hillside, around a 10-minute drive from the centre of Ubud, overlooking a lush valley draped in bamboo groves and rice paddy fields – it’s pretty much perfect. It’s worth noting that the traffic is horrendous in Bali and during rush hours (which seem to cover most of the day) it can take up to two hours to reach Ubud from the airport – so you might consider booking an overnight in one of Bali’s beach towns before venturing north.
Address: Banjar Buang, Desa Sayan, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia.
Style & character
On arrival, the first thing you’ll notice is the stress-melting view of a lime, moss, and parakeet-green valley veiled in golden sunshine and dotted with coolie-wearing rice farmers. On-site is almost as impressive, at its centre a grand black bamboo building with a dramatic scissoring roof designed to look like a crescent moon rising.
Elsewhere, there’s a meandering natural swimming pool, which uses lava stones and vegetation to organically cleanse, filter and oxygenate the water a collection of 13 guest houses dotted around the wildflower gardens.
Service & facilities
The small team of staff are young, down to earth and a delight to deal with. The hotel also lays on a free shuttle to the centre of Ubud three times a day (otherwise the journey costs around £3 each way in a taxi). There is also a breezy little spa and morning yoga classes.
It’s hard to know which of Bambu Indah’s 13 villas to plump for; the cute antique Javanese bridal home? The stilted teak cottage? The shrimp house hovering over a bubbling pond? Or the romantic Jawa Lama house with its gorgeous wood carvings and Ayung River soundtrack. Each is completely unique and you’re bound to fall in love with whichever you opt for, but the stars of the show, for me, were the multi-level Sumba House with its Hitchcockian soaring ceiling, and the four-story Pagoda, which looks like Willy Wonka’s very own tropical retreat.
Naturally, Bambu Indah goes easy on the frills, so you won’t find televisions, bathtubs or powerful air-conditioning, but that is probably exactly what you’re looking for if you’re researching an Ubudian eco-retreat in the first place.
Food & drink
The open-air restaurant, Dapoer, serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, with the majority of its produce coming from hotel’s own organic gardens or from local vegetable, rice, tea, coffee, beer – and even wine – producers.
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