Monday, November 27, 2017

Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu

I went to Bali in April last year, but I never really wrote about my trip. With fall/winter in sight, I think we're all dreaming of warmer places right now, like Bali! Since this tropical piece of heaven still seems to be a very popular holiday destination, I decided to write a couple of Bali posts. The first part of this mini Bali series is all about the hotels I tried in Bali. We stayed for 10 days in total and tried 4 different hotels. We found a little challenging to choose a hotel in Bali because there are just so many to choose from, and they all look incredible. To help you decide for your next trip, I'll tell you about the hotels we tried and what we liked (and disliked) about them.
Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Uma By Como Hotel - Ubud
In the midst of the lush Ubud jungle, we found the Uma by Como Hotel. There are 46 rooms, of which some have private pools and others feel like little apartments. This is how the hotel is described, "Overlooking the Tjampuhan Valley and River Oos, our luxury hotel in Ubud nestles amid rice paddies carved out of hillsides, backed by coconut palms and banyan trees." Pretty accurate! This was our favorite hotel of the trip. (check prices & availability)

Upsides

+ Breathtakingly beautiful hotel, very relaxing, calm (it's an 18+ hotel). Most of the time it felt like there were maybe 5 other people in the hotel.
+ The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. They're discreet, polite and always there when you need them. The service in general at this hotel was GREAT. 
+ The room we had was very big, spacious, with a huge bathroom, terrace, and sort of walk-in closet. The design of the rooms is very simple with a lot of light colors.
+ Nice walks nearby in between the rice fields.
+ Ubud is yogi heaven, so if yoga if your thing then you should definitely stay here. They have complimentary yoga classes every day overlooking the jungle. 
+ The facilities are great, the pool is big, there's a good gym and gorgeous spa.  
+ The breakfast is the best breakfast we had in Bali. I couldn't choose from all the delicious options on the menu, so I tried something new every day. The buffet is fresh and not too big. 
+ The Italian restaurant which is part of the hotel is also great! Though Ubud has many good restaurants, it's nice sometimes nice to not have to go too far for dinner.

Downsides

- Can't think of any, I loved this hotel. Ubud, on the other hand, is a little less exciting than Seminyak for example so I wouldn't stay there for more than 4 days unless you're just in Bali for total relaxation. I didn't like the Ubud town that much. We did discover an amazing vegan restaurant called Moksa, where we had one of the best meals of the trip. 


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu

Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu

Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu

Alila Hotel - Seminyak

I was very excited to try this pretty new hotel since all Alila hotels look super beautiful. Some Balinese hotels can look a little kitsch and tacky (especially the rooms), so since we prefer a more simple sleek style we chose Alila. Very modern, bright and white! With 240 rooms, this hotel is considerably larger than the Uma by Como hotel, so it feels a little more anonymous and "big hotel" like. We had a wonderful stay here with a beautiful room with view of the pool and beach. The location was perfect to explore Seminyak but at the same time have a relaxing stay. (check prices & availability)


Upsides
+ Beautiful new hotel, spacious rooms, very nice facilities (several pools, spa, bars, restaurants and a huge gym). 
+ Close to everything in Seminyak, short bike ride or walk away from Café Organic, Potato Head, Sea Circus, Motel Mexicola, Ku De Ta, Bambu restaurant etc. 
+ Free bike rental! Slightly dangerous if you know what Bali traffic is like but we enjoyed it a lot. 
+ Heard great things about the breakfast here, but we didn't try it since there are so many good cafés in the neighborhood and we wanted to try them.
+ A relatively calm atmosphere, I didn't feel like there were many kids or "party people" staying at this hotel. 
+ Complementary afternoon (iced) tea and in the evening you get freshly bakes cookies & nut milk in your room. A cute touch.

Downsides

- Not all rooms have a nice view, so you kind of need to book a room with beach view which costs a bit more. 
- Big hotels like this one can feel a little impersonal. At smaller hotels, you get to know the staff and the other guests a bit, which feels more familiar. But it kind of depends on what you prefer!
- Seminyak is hectic and busy, so I imagine if you're looking for a more calm holiday that this isn't the right place for you, unless you're  planning on not leaving the hotel. 
- There are not enough sunbeds to accommodate all the guests, so you either have to be lucky or "reserve" them in advance. Kind of annoying, but we didn't have too many issues with it. 


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu

Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu



Sal Secret Spot - Uluwatu

Compared to the other hotels on this list, this one is very affordable. If I could use a couple of keywords to describe this boutique hotel it would be boho, shabby chic and beachy. There's kind of a hippie look and feel to this hotel, so it's not something everyone will like. The hotel itself is very small and intimate, so you get to know the other guests. It's a 5-minute walk from Bingin Beach, a popular surf spot where you can also dine on freshly caught fish from the barbecue and a couple of beers. The ultimate surfer vibes. (check prices and availability)

Upsides
+ Affordable. I believe we paid around 70 dollars per night. 
+ Cool very Instagram-worthy decor and environment. I must admit that this hotel looked better on pictures than in real life, but this might just be my opinion. 
+ Quiet & intimate. There are rooms in the "main" part and some down by the beach, which I think are nicer. 
+ Nice breakfast, small menu but tasty. Fresh juices, pancakes, fruit etc. 
+ Walking distance from Cashew Tree and Bukit Café, two amazing restaurants. 

Downsides
- Shabby chic, with the emphasis on shabby. The bathrooms are "outside" of the room so no air conditioning there + insects. 
- The pool is very small and because it's in the "courtyard" of the hotel you don't get much privacy. 
- There's not much to do in the area unless you have a scooter or take a taxi. The problem with taxis in Uluwatu is that they take advantage of tourists since they have a taxi "monopoly" in this area, which makes the taxis much more expensive than in Seminyak for example. 
- It's a bit of hike down to the beach, so you can't really go back and forth if you wanted to. 
- Because we didn't love the hotel like we did with the others, we left after two nights (planned on staying 3)


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu

Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu

Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu



The Colony Hotel - Seminyak

For our final two nights, we headed back to Seminyak since we liked the area a lot. I knew about the Colony Hotel long before we went to Bali. It's a beautiful colony-style boutique hotel in the middle of Seminyak. Although the area is a bit hectic and loud, the hotel offers a perfect oasis of quietness and relaxation. We loved this hotel a lot thanks to the convenient location and the luxury/comfort of the hotel itself. (check prices and availability)

Upsides
+ You get the best of both worlds: all the shops and restaurants of Seminyak at your fingertips and a beautiful relaxing hotel experience. It's great for exploring Seminyak!
+ Great value for money compared to other hotels in the area. 
+ Beautiful, quiet and very spacious rooms. We slept like babies here!
+ The hotel is beautiful and it feels very intimate thanks to the design and courtyard/pool. 
+ Extremely friendly staff. 

Downsides
- Not by the beach, so it doesn't feel like a nature/beachy holiday like in Ubud or right by the beach. The hotel itself consists of the pool courtyard and the rooms all around, there's no garden or anything. But it's only a couple minutes walk from the beaches. 
- I was a little let down by the breakfast, there are not that many options, so I'd rather go to one of the cafés in the area (e.g. Seacircus, Sisterfields)

Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu

Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu

Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu

Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu


Where to stay in Bali | Ubud, Seminyak & Uluwatu

All hotels are very different, and I'd say each of these caters to different needs. Let me summarize: 

Uma By Como Hotel - Perfect for a relaxing stay, yoga lovers, breakfast lovers and couples! A beautiful, luxurious and quiet hotel where you can relax 100%.  
Alila Hotel Seminyak - Great for exploring Seminyak, the surf spots and the beach clubs in the area. Great facilities (gym! spa!), perfect pools and a comfortable luxurious stay. 
Sal Secret Spot - If you're into hippie/boho vibes, this is your spot. Small intimate affordable hotel close to Bingin Beach, great for surfers!

The Colony Hotel - Beautiful quiet oasis in the middle of Seminyak. Good for a holiday with a couple girlfriends and for people who want to take make maximum advantage of the shops, bars, and restaurants in Seminyak. 

My favorite hotel was definitely the Uma by Como Hotel, and my favorite area to stay in Bali was Seminyak. I hope these mini-reviews give you a better idea which hotels to pick when you go to Bali. I'm always happy to hear your tips as well!


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