The Suite You Want To Make Your Home

Travel Article for the Trip Advisor website:

Hotel Review: Gardenia Suite, Alam Indah, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

The Suite You Want To Make Your Home

Dreaming of a hotel that defies how hotels are supposed to be? Alam Indah and its Gardenia Suite take holiday relaxation to a higher level. With local gods and spirits carved into doors and walls, one can’t help but ponder the more important aspects of life.

My partner and I booked our accommodation well ahead of time at the Gardenia Suite in Alam Indah, a truly Balinese style cluster of villas on the edge of the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest. Accommodation is the one thing worth spending a little extra on in Bali (everything else is so cheap), and for around $125 Australian per night we stayed in a two-story villa with two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one of which was open-air, looking over the rainforest) and two outdoor verandas, all right next to the swimming pool. This is a place for quiet contemplation and if so desired, romance. Indeed, nearly every other couple we met from the USA, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany or New Zealand were on their honeymoons. Booking early is a necessity, as this is a very popular destination for those who want to experience peace, culture and a feeling of rejuvenation.

The view from Alam Indah's Gardenia Suite: Majestic
The view from Alam Indah’s Gardenia Suite: Majestic

To get to the ‘hotel’ (it hardly fits this generic moniker) one drives down a long path through rainforest; at night the drive is lit-up by candles sitting inside sacred statues of Hindu Gods. One is constantly reminded of the people’s dedication to their religion here. Several women at the hotel are employed to make beautiful offerings to the good and evil spirits. Bunches of flowers, foods and incense are scattered everywhere you go; be careful or you will step on one!

After taking an outdoor shower (perfectly situated so you can see the forest, but people can’t see you), saunter over to the restaurant where pancakes, omelettes or traditional black rice pudding are served up to order. Plates of local exotic fruits like rambutans, snake fruit and mangosteens will keep you feeling fresh and energetic.

Alam Indah's pool is never over-populated
Alam Indah’s pool is never over-populated

The people serving you are genuinely nice. Most Balinese men are named Wayan, Dewa, Komeng or Ketut, in order of their birth from first child to fourth, and they’re all helpful if you have queries. After breakfast, which can be brought to your room, you can go for a massage at Alam Indah’s affiliated spa, Alam Wangi, just a few minutes walk up the road. For journeys further afield, the hotel provides a free shuttle, which will take you and pick you up from any attraction in Ubud town.

The Gardenia Suite: You’ve never seen anything like it. Downstairs, the entry doors are hand-carved wooden masterpieces, and there are actual carvings of gods in the marble walls. This is not Western pre-fabricated accommodation; this is a building built by people who are extremely proud of the quality of their workmanship. There are three showers and two baths. The main bed is a massive king size, the other a tropical L-shaped couch conversion.

There’s a bar fridge and air-conditioner, but the latter is usually unnecessary, because of the cool mountain breezes and ceiling fans. There’s no TV and no telephone in your room. A free-use computer and phone are in the lobby, but in your room you’re to leave these modern distractions behind.  The only things you’ll want to watch from your veranda are the lizards, birds, and frogs, floating clouds, green hills and giant Balinese kites flying through distant skies.

Truly artistic accommodation -  carvings everywhere!
Truly artistic accommodation – carvings everywhere!

Note: All images in these two articles are used with permission of the copyright owner, the photographer, Ms. Chun Yin.