With the Ayung river coursing through its verdant 14 acres, its own sawah (rice paddy) and an ancient temple, plus gracious staff to boot, Mandapa is an homage to Balinese culture.
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Framed by lush hillside rainforest, Mandapa sprawls prettily across a luminous-green valley, its outer edge skirted by the Ayung river. A shuttle bus to Ubud centre takes around 15 minutes. The airport, in Denpasar, is an hour's drive away.
Address: Jalan Kedewatan, Banjar Kedewatan Gianyar, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia.
Style & character
Mandapa (the entrance to a traditional Hindu temple) is one of three Ritz-Carlton Reserves. In this Balinese ‘village,’ which has its own rice paddy and farmers, there is no reception. Rather, you are met by your butler, or patih (the king’s right-hand man) and taken to your 'house’. These feature vivid murals, Balinese prints and sustainably-built Balinese furniture (even the evacuation plan is on wood). The only blemish is an incongruous sandstone construction supporting the main lobby, which looks more Atzec than Balinese.
Service & facilities
With views across the rice paddy, the main pool, is at the heart of the hotel. Guests receive hourly treats — infused face towels, fruit skewers, a shot of gazpacho soup and a refreshing mocktail. Three cabanas are furnished with an ice-box of soft drinks and fruit. The riverside spa has six treatment rooms (for four couples), a yoga room and a separate vitality pool. The gym is open 24 hours. Opening soon is Green Camp, offering camping under the stars, bird walks and more, for children. Everything from meal reservations and buggy pick-ups to nature treks and subak (rice) farming is organised by your patih. Service is subtle, gracious and honest. If they don't know the answer they will definitely find out.
- Fitness centre
- Room service
The 60 rooms comprise one or two-bedroom low-rise pool villas (25) with rice-terrace or riverfront views, and the Mandapa or Reserve suites (35) which are located in a separate block set back from the rice terrace. Villas have the benefit of private tropical gardens and under-the-stars showers. Pleasingly, the private pools are for swimming, not dunking. My first-floor 1,075-sq-ft Reserve Suite had a walk-in wardrobe, freestanding bath, dashboard toilets, a balcony that extended from capacious lounge to bedroom and views towards the rainforest and rice paddy through floor-to-ceiling windows. My only gripe was with the dim lighting.
Food & drink
Views frame the river at Sawah Terrace, which serves breakfast and Balinese and Asian cuisine. The stylish pool bar serves light meals and tropical cocktails and the nearby Library, a relaxed area with a poolside terrace, is the place for a latte, afternoon tea or a drink. Executive chef Maurizio Bombini's inventive degustation menu is a good fit for the impossibly romantic Kudu, a bamboo construction housing nine basket cocoons fronting the river. Children are well catered for and the comprehensive room-service menu (four Asian breakfast choices, for example) very reasonable.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Yes. Green Camp, offering camping under the stars, bird walks and more, for children, is opening soon.
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