So I spent last week in Bali which was a bit more hectic and crowded than I thought it would be. After a last minute change in plans, I decided to spend the last two days in Ubud instead of Seminyak following a week of long drives and walks to see Bali’s many beautiful waterfalls and temples. And it turned out to be the best decision I made this trip as I got to stay at The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in Ubud.
The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah is, as the name suggests, part of the Chedi hotel chain, GHM, and The Leading Hotels of the World. The entrance to the hotel is inconspicuous, but once you walk out of the drop off zone, you enter what feels like are the pearly gates — a calm oasis of pristine lush greenery of rice fields and well groomed gardens as far as the eye can see. And that is no surprise as the hotel is in fact surrounded by rice fields from 3 directions.
What distinguishes The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah from every other place I ever stayed at is that not only it has just 20 villas, but it also used to be the private residence of Indonesia’s most famous architect and patron of the arts, Mr. Hendra Hadiprana. His passion for the art is visible across the property with numerous works of art on display in addition to many statues of elephants which represent Ganesha (the Hindu elephant deity).
Upon entering the hotel, you are greeted with what is, hands down, the most delicious welcome drink you have ever tasted (a divine mix of ginger, lemongrass, and honey) after which you are escorted by your butler to your villa. The large area of the resort and the fact that there are only 20 villas mean that there is lots of room to walk around the resort and that you will have a lot of privacy in your accommodation.
I would highly recommend staying at one of the villas overlooking the rice fields which you can enjoy from the luxury of your private pool (the hotel has a larger swimming pool for everyone to use in case you want a change of scenery).
As is the case with my other reviews, I won’t go into too much detail into factual information, but I will list the things that made this hotel one of the best that I have ever stayed at:
1. Location and premises: Although The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah is located only around 10 minutes from central Ubud, it feels like an island of its own. You are almost entirely isolated from the outside world, with your only connection to it being the very distant sounds of the local village temple during prayer time. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to central Ubud in case you would like to get out — I didn’t and I never felt bored.
2. The food: As soon as I tasted the delicious welcome drink that I mentioned earlier, I knew this hotel was onto something, food and beverage-wise! My first meal was breakfast the next day after check in and it is served a la carte at the hotel’s only restaurant which overlooks the rice terraces. Although I generally prefer buffet breakfast, the hotel’s setup and the exclusively small number of villas doesn’t really lend itself to a buffet breakfast. I highly recommend having the banana pancakes — simply to die for — and the daily special which is usually a Balinese dish that the chef comes up with. The hotel also offers a high tea hour between 4 and 6 PM where you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with some cakes and small bites which were also delicious. Oh and the chef is kind enough to tailor meals to your liking so make sure you speak with him if you’d like something special (Side note: I recently became obsessed with lemongrass and I loved how the chef incorporated it into almost everything!).
3. The family-like atmosphere: The fact that the hotel used to be a private residence certainly adds a family atmosphere to it. After a couple of hours, you’d start recognizing all the staff and the other guests, and them you. I met a couple of families while staying there and the kids seemed to be having a lot of fun. The rooms are also cozy and beautifully decorated, and the spaciousness makes it feel more like a home than just another hotel room.
4. The spa: Let’s face it, most of us come to Bali to relax and unwind, and what better way to do this than an authentic Balinese spa in the middle of lush rice fields. Since we’re in Bali, I recommend the Balinese massage which you can ask your masseuse to perform indoors or outdoors, privately either way of course. Thanks to my masseuse Manik for basically being a massage ninja!
5. Activities: Since The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah is more of a stay-in kind of resort, they have daily activities lined up for you so you don’t get bored. From morning yoga and treks in the rice fields to the traditional Balinese Kecak dance and cooking classes.
Special thanks to my butler Komang for being ever so helpful and welcoming during my stay!