“Spectacular, gravity-defying hotel with private pool villas perched on the misted terraces of the Ayung River gorge”
Clinging to the river gorge are 38 contemporary Balinese-style suites and villas, approached through narrow terraces framed by trailing plants and creepers. All have similar décor and layout but for the best views request a villa higher up the valley nearer to the lobby. The bathrooms, which double as dressing rooms, have sunken terrazzo baths big enough for 2 and drench showers that give you a proper soaking.
Traditional Balinese stone door-guardians, sun hats, walking sticks and ornate sculpted doors welcome you in. Each alang-alang thatched villa has a large bedroom with floor-to-ceiling wooden-shuttered windows. Heave back the screens to see your own fully heated infinity-edged plunge pool in the foreground and forest canopy in the background. You'll find orchids, charming local carvings and Paras stone pots.
The flooring’s wood (Merbau inside, Benkirai on the terrace), and glass doors run along one side of the bathroom and bedroom. Open these to step onto your private decked terrace with open-air shower, outdoor dining area for lazy breakfasts and teak loungers for super-secluded sunning. Cool off in your own plunge pool or retreat to your traditional, sumptuously-cushioned balé (pavilion) for a shaded siesta.
The Hanging Gardens has 2 on-site eateries: the smart poolside Béduur Restaurant for breakfast and dinner, and the riverside Diatas Pohon Café for snacks.
Breakfast is taken either in your room or on the restaurant terrace. Dishes are on the dainty side: home-made yoghurt is served in little glasses topped with a spring of mint, scrambled eggs are rich and creamy quenelles, fruit is arranged like a paint-by-numbers still life and miniature croissants are accompanied by petite pots of butter and jams.
The Asian and French-influenced dinner menu features an abundance of seafood and top quality cuts of beef and poultry. The chef created a fabulous vegetarian plate of aubergine caviar, sweet potato mash with garlic and rosemary, and a millefeuille of roasted vegetables for us with no advance warning whatsoever. We also enjoyed pan-fried king prawns in a coconut and peanut sauce served with roasted pineapple and jasmine rice. Dessert was a trio of chocolate goodies, one warm, one icy and one at room temperature, served with tamarillo sauce and fresh mangosteen.
The Diatas Pohon Café is open throughout the day for healthy snacks. Feel virtuous as you nibble on crab cakes served with mango salsa, grilled halloumi cheese with olive puree, salads and soups.
Ubud has a wealth of top-notch restaurants and cafes, but you will need to take a taxi (the drive takes about 25 minutes).
Though children of all ages are welcome, it's not recommended for toddlers due to the plunge pools and precarious drops, and there is nothing specific to keep them occupied.
Teens (over 12)
Older children are only accepted in the Duplex Family Pool Villas. But those with smaller kids and babies can stay in any of the suites of villas.