Desa Seni

Canggu, Denpasar & South, Indonesia Book from

Reviewed by Catharine Nicol
A restorative eco-retreat renowned for yoga and its antique wooden houses, set in a fantasy of wildflowers and organic gardens
Eco chic at its very best, you'll fall for Desa Seni the moment you arrive. Everyone does. Hitting the perfect combination of luxurious and rustic, 10 heritage houses hide within peaceful green tropical gardens, with stepping stones leading between the lobby, saltwater pool, yoga pavilions and restaurant. Yoga is the resort’s beating heart, with daily classes led by international and local instructors, in a variety of styles. Whatever your level, you'll find one to suit and be swept away by the experience.

But even if you're not into yoga, this is an inspirational place to retreat from the daily grind. You're on the fringes of Canggu but may not even leave the hotel. Wander through the serene organic gardens, read a book in a thatched, cushioned bale, have holistic treatments in the spa and just let the days flow over you. The lovely restaurant is perfect for long, lazy meals; an inside-outside space featuring fresh, flavourful organic garden produce and farm-/sea-to-table cuisine. And thanks to Desa Seni's impressive eco stance, it feels good to be here in every way.


  • The gorgeous restored houses, with their teak furniture, colourful Indonesian fabrics and open-air bathrooms. Many have peaceful paddy-field views
  • Rates include as many yoga classes as you like; we love the sound of sunrise yoga and meditation
  • Great value
  • Flawless service from ever-smiling staff
  • Sociable, so a good place for solo travellers, families and friends, yet the vibe is peaceful


  • Some accommodation is rather dark; wooden locks and old double doors are charming but noisy at night; there's no in-room WiFi
  • You're in the tropics and bathrooms are open air; expect bugs
  • Canguun is a bit naff and touristy, but you're hidden from it here
  • Local beaches are a drive away and they aren't great for swimming. Brilliant surfing, though
  • The yoga classes are popular with a local expat community, which makes them quite busy

Best time to go

Close to the equator, Bali is warm, tropical and great to visit year-round. There’s a high season of warm dry days falling during July and August, and a rainy low season from the October until March. The shoulder seasons of April to June and September are good times to be there.

Our top tips

Hire a scooter so that you’re mobile between the hotel, the beach and the shops and cafes along the Jalan Batu Belig strip in Canggu. Tanah Lot is a 30-minute drive along the coast (the hotel can arrange scooter hire). Go early morning to beat the crowds or at sunset if you’re after those orange-sky photo ops

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 16
  • Restaurant and bar open daily
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available


Desa Seni’s antique houses are all repurposed, hailing from Sumatra, Java, Lombok and Bali. Each is utterly unique with its own history, and each is named after a Hindu God and styled differently.

We loved how tiny windows shed coloured light into the interiors and onto hand-carved beds. Open-air bathrooms with wooden sinks brought the tropical gardens inside, and made for a fun showering experience. Our huge front porch was ideal for quiet time, curling up with a book or writing a journal, and upstairs, the crow’s nest was a secret daytime retreat or evening aerie. At night the turndown service transforms your bed into a romantic, glowing space encased in a mozzie net.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv


Set back from the pool, the open-sided restaurant’s soundtrack is the call of tropical birds, and the light breeze whispering through the trees. The hotel's co-founder Thomas is the inspiration and chef behind the fusion food, which combine local favourites with a luxury twist. Everything tastes divinely fresh - much of it from the organic gardens - and presentation is immaculate.

Breakfast starts with just-squeezed tangerine juice and a generous platter of seasonal fruit. Eggs, French toast and pancakes all have a Balinese influence with tropical fruit, sugarcane syrup or local veggies. Nibbles throughout the day include polenta fries, fresh tuna bruchetta and ‘Ote Ote’ sweet potato pancakes. Raw salads showcase local ingredients like pomelo and bongkot flowers; sandwiches span wraps, tacos and flat breads. In the evening, delicious mains feature locally caught prawns, fish, chicken and veggies. We were seriously impressed by our grilled snapper with a mango sambal, polenta, baby fern and acar, and a Seafood Medley with coconut milk, lemongrass and lime leaf.

There are plenty of restaurants within walking distance for a change of scene; staff can advise.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu


  • The main activity at Desa Seni involves downward dogs. There are 2 open, breezy yoga salas, both with a tangible feeling of peace and serenity. Our Sunday morning class had a great mix of guests and locals and a complete range of abilities. Choose between Astanga, Hatha, various flow classes, Kundalini, Vinyasa and more
  • Have a facial, flower bath or holistic massage in the breezy spa. Or try the Aura Chakra Therapy, during which a local healer combines Reiki with spiritual healing and chakra alignment
  • Various workshops include meditation and art
  • The surf breaks at local beaches are some of the most consistent in Bali. There are several places at Echo Beach that offer surf lessons/board hire
  • The hotel runs various day trips, including the Ubud Village Tour, the mountainous lakes of Bedugul, and temple tours (Gunung Kawi, holy Kintamani, ulu Watu and Tanah Lot)
  • Go horse riding at sunset, along the water’s edge on Berawa Beach
  • On Sundays there's an artisan market in Canggu - beautiful homecrafts and handmade jewellery

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Art classes
    • Birdwatching
    • Cooking classes
    • Historical sites
    • Horse-riding
    • Meditation
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Shopping / markets
    • Surfing
    • Well being
    • Yoga
  • Kids

    Children are warmly welcomed at Desa Seni. They will love playing with Desa and Seni, the dogs, and there are kids' yoga classes and special spa treatments!

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    The Village Homes have 2 double/twin bedrooms apiece (each with an ensuite shower bathroom) and plenty of inside and outdoor living space; they can fit 2 extra beds, too. The Suite Village Houses can also be configured for 4, but kids will need to sleep in extra beds in the living areas. Families of 3 should book a Deluxe Village House


    On request

    Baby equipment:

    Highchairs in the restaurant

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    Kids' menu with international choices

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Swimming pool (including a toddler pool)
    • Children's yoga classes for 4+ year olds
    • Spa treatments

    Families Should Know:

    The pool is not fenced

    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...


    {{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

    Rates for Desa Seni