“Extraordinary eco-chic retreat including antique Javanese houses set in an organic garden with natural pool and magnificent rice field views”
Enchanting pathways cut through small rice paddies to bridge over a natural pool-river where you'll share the freshest of swims with tiny fish. Each beautiful house is different, many are antique Javanese, hand carved teak and thick bamboo. Views across the Ayung river gorge are lush lime green, and the horizon rises up to picture perfect mountains.
You will feel these antique houses creak underfoot, but things are far from basic. We smiled at some of the high-tech comforts (for best loo-with-a-view stay in "Afrika"). Sit out on your deck and feast on their garden produce. Shoot the breeze then wait for the sound of frogs to fill the air as you drift off to sleep. Bambu Indah means beautiful bamboo in Indonesian. Unforgettable.
- Beautifully restored wooden houses with muslin-draped four-posters and unique touches - a glass floor suspended over a fish-filled pond in Undang, a handmade copper bathtub in Afrika
- Natural setting amidst organic gardens and rice paddies
- Some of the most stunning views in Bali
- Amazing bamboo architecture and strong eco credentials (the owners also founded the world-acclaimed Green School)
- Authentic and atmospheric, with lovely welcoming staff
- The property currently has some construction work taking place on site, though disruption is minimal
- Main deck overhangs a ravine, so more adventurous youngsters should be kept on a lead
- Set away from the Ubud action, though there are daily shuttles and transport can be arranged
- Narrow paths leading to the rooms can get slippery in the rain bring sensible footwear
- Be prepared to share your room with the resident wildlife, this is a a true back-to-nature experience
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Every aspect of the site and buildings are living examples of sustainability: the School's many buildings are cooled and powered by sustainable energy solutions including micro-hydro power, solar power, bio-diesel and predominantly natural air-conditioning. Indonesian bamboo, local alang alang grass, traditional mud walls and mud brick are used to construct classrooms, athletic facilities and other school buildings to minimize use of non-sustainable materials such as concretes and plastics. Their standard is to use 99 percent natural materials in any construction projects, to recycle as many materials as possible, and to manage their waste responsibly.”
- Eco retreat
- Restaurant + bar
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
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.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee tea making
- Cots Available
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
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.
- Coffee tea making
- Dinner by arrangement
- Lunch by arrangement
- Organic produce
- Vegetarian menu
- Lap up Ubud's culture by visiting some of the many temples, galleries and museums. There's also excellent shopping, dining and yoga opportunities (a 15-minute drive)
- Take a dip in the freshwater, unchlorinated river-pool then chill on your veranda, soak up those views and watch the swallows and butterflies fill their day
- Visit the owner's remarkable and truly inspirational Green School (a 20-minute drive), the Green Village and jewellery factory may also be of interest
- Enjoy a massage or morning yoga in super peaceful surroundings
- Go hiking in the surrounding hills; if John Hardy is in residence, don't miss the morning 'trash walk'
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Mountain biking
- Plantlife / flora
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
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)
Family friendly accommodation:
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.
Families Should Know:
The proximity of the steep Sayan gorge and the old wooden balconies, plus the meandering pool, makes it unsuitable for toddlers.
- Airport: 1 hour