“Extraordinary eco-chic retreat including antique Javanese houses set in an organic garden with natural pool and magnificent rice field views”
Each house is individual, charming and decked out with traditional Javanese furnishings and a smattering of collectables from the owners' travels - from Tibetan rugs to African wallhangings. The rustic décor masks more modern touches: comfortable mosquito-netted beds, hand-beaten copper basins, open air rainshowers, even Japanese washer-drier-high-tech loos.
At the top of the pecking order is Afrika, where you get superb far-reaching views of the valley from your veranda and bale. There are no fussy curtains or glass windows, just the original wooden blocks to close you in. A constant reassuring sound from the natural pool lulled us to sleep. We loved the enormous handmade copper bath - a true and unusual work of art. Roll up the bathroom's junk-style blinds to gaze across the paddy fields while bathing.
For romantics, Udang offers the rather unusual experience of not only walking, but sleeping on water. The bedroom floor is made up of glass panels allowing guests to gaze down at the shrimp pond beneath the house. Kolam is also popular: nestled in its own walled garden, it’s accessed via pebble stepping stones across a small lily pond (though it lacks views).
There are 2 houses designed specifically with the solo traveller in mind; Manis and the slightly smaller Kuda - both charming.
Two-storey iron and redwood Elora and Orin Houseis popular for longer stays. Its higher ceilings and glass windows give a lighter, airy feel and an exterior spiral staircase leads to the upper floor.
For something a little different, bamboo Sumba House resembles an Aboriginal Indonesian tribal house, while glass-walled The Pagoda is spread over 4 floors and was originally created for John and Cynthia’s 2 daughters.
The beautiful open-air bamboo restaurant serves meals throughout the day, and special private dining can also be arranged in the central Minang House, on your veranda or on the deck overhanging the ravine (request in advance).
Breakfast includes fresh fruit, local coffee, homemade bread and something hot (perhaps Balinese rice porridge or eggs) - try the watermelon juice. For lunch we recommend the raw, vegan lasagne which was surprisingly delicious and super-fresh.
In the evening the daily dinner menus use organic ingredients fresh from the garden: we enjoyed a tasty Balinese fish curry with just-harvested rice and vegetables, washed down with some Balinese beer. Things wind down early in a place as tranquil as this so expect last drinks orders at around 9pm.
Ubud is just a 15-minute drive away, so there are plenty of options for eating out from chic contemporary restaurants to traditional warungs. Bambu Indah’s neighbouring hotels also have some excellent restaurants open to non-guests, mainly offering romantic riverside dining.
Children are welcome and older children will love the adventure of staying in a wooden house with nature all around.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Elora and Orin House house is a great option, as it has a double room downstairs with a private garden bathroom, and one upstairs also with its own bathroom; both bedrooms can fit an extra bed or baby cot, too. Sumba has 2 double bedrooms, and The Pagoda can be booked with either 2 or 3 double bedrooms so is a good option for a family of 4 with older kids. Afrika villa has an extra double bed suitable for 1 older child or 2 younger ones.
The proximity of the steep Sayan gorge and the old wooden balconies, plus the meandering pool, makes it unsuitable for toddlers.