Sanak Retreat

Sanak Retreat

Sustainable boutique retreat

More on Munduk

Secluded in the valley below Munduk, about four kilometres to the west in the village of Kayuputih, eco-friendly Sanak Retreat offers a touch of luxury. Ten one and two-bedroom wooden bungalows and a three-bedroom private villa nest in a village-like arrangement surrounded by paddy and tropical vegetation. We were impressed with the environmental policies of this hideaway — no greenwashing here.

Travelfish says:

Walk through a bamboo archway, past beautiful gardens to the well-appointed teak and ironwood-shingled bungalows atop a low ridge, facing lush fields in either direction. Choose a room facing the direction of the pool for better views. Rooms are on the smaller side but comfortable, and as glass doors open on three sides, you won’t feel hemmed in. Quality linen curtains block the light for your holiday sleep-in. Super king-sized beds sport luxe hand-embroidered crisp white linen and a batik panel, different in each room, forms a bedhead. A trundle bed slides underneath as an extra bed. Bungalows are individually decorated with wonderful Indonesian antiques — if you like the look of something, all artefacts are available to purchase; they have a booklet of what’s in the other bungalows too.

A classic Bali scene. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
A classic Bali scene. Photo: Sally Arnold

It’s cool here at 600 metres above sea level. Rooms are not air-conditioned, part of Sanak’s environmental policy, but a wooden ceiling fan cools guests down when needed, and opening the surrounding glass doors provides a cross breeze. Amenities include free WiFi, a fully stocked minibar and safe plus a collection of cultural coffee-table books. Choose a book from the library, and curl up on the daybed on the balcony. Balconies are also furnished with a small breakfast table and chairs. If the sun beats down, bamboo blinds provide some shade. Tasteful ensuite double-sink stone and wood bathrooms have a slate tiled hot-water rainshower, with windows to the garden; they’re private and have blinds if you’re modest. Water for teeth-cleaning is provided in glass bottles, and homemade chemical-free toiletries are supplied in refillable containers. The two-bedroom bungalow adds another storey with balconies at either end; the bedroom upstairs is identical to downstairs, but the one bathroom is shared.

A village feel. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
A village feel. Photo: Sally Arnold

Walled off from the rest of the bungalows, one three-bedroom double-storey villa follows the same styling, but here each king-sized bedroom is equipped with its own bathroom. A lounge/dining room with kitchenette centres the open-style wooden house and extends to the private plunge pool overlooking the valley. Sun-loungers and a shaded pavilion provide a place to entertain. Hotel amenities are open to villa guests, or keep it private and order room service for meals.

Sanak’s infinity swimming pool is a beauty: a patchwork of tiles gradually deepen and it overlooks a patchwork of fields, delivering simply gorgeous views. Sun-loungers on the wooden deck are not your average flimsy deckchair, but wide canvas affairs possibly large enough for two, shaded with temple umbrellas — it’s picture perfect. A kaki lima (Indonesian food cart) dishes out the pool towels for a quirky touch. Beyond the pool, a circular fire pit provides nighttime cosiness on cooler evenings. It’s also where regular Balinese dances are performed by local children.

When you see the sign, you can relax. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
When you see the sign, you can relax. Photo: Sally Arnold

Overlooking the pool and with views beyond, the restaurant wouldn't be out of place in a funky cosmopolitan city. The whimsical vintage styling incorporates Indonesian traditional panelling and tables made from old sewing machines. The menu focuses on French and Balinese fusion cuisine created from locally sourced ingredients and they can cater for special diets. They have a decent wine list and a real coffee machine. Above the restaurant, a library with board games and a TV (there are none in the rooms) offer entertainment if the view isn’t enough. A kids’ club with crafts and toys and mini-furniture will keep the offspring happy and out of your hair. Babysitters are 50,000 rupiah per hour. With a nod to the French owners, there’s a petanque field near the restaurant.

A comfy pad in the midst of stunning scenery. You could do worse. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
A comfy pad in the midst of stunning scenery. You could do worse. Photo: Sally Arnold

A chemical-free spa offers pampering and yoga with ricefield views, and nearby a pavilion amid the paddy is set up as a tiny dining room for a romantic dinner — great honeymoon stuff.

Every day Sanak offers some form of free entertainment. On the day of our visit it was an opportunity to fly kites in the fields — not just for kids, either.

The garbage room is not something we often mention, but at Sanak were so blown away by the excellent effort they are making that it’s worth a footnote. Firstly it was spotlessly clean and didn’t smell. Food waste is composted and bottles and plastics were washed and sorted. We’re told they have a plastic eco-brick project involving the whole village. Their sustainable initiatives extend to providing jobs and training within the local community. Sanak participate in Pack for a Purpose , so if you have extra space in your bag you may consider bringing much-needed supplies for their projects.

The best looking rubbish room we've seen anywhere. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
The best looking rubbish room we've seen anywhere. Photo: Sally Arnold

Sanak is a comfortable, far-from-the-maddening-crowd retreat, and excellent for families too. Do be warned though that unless you have your own transport, the remoteness from Munduk (or anywhere) makes Sanak a little more expensive, as you will probably be reliant on the resort for food, transport and trekking guides, which are all at resort prices.

Contact details for Sanak Retreat

Address: Menagung, Kayuputih
T: (0811) 397 758;  
Coordinates (for GPS): 115º1'46.17" E, 8º15'12.63" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: over 2,500,000 Rp

Room rates

What we were quoted as a walk-in.

Standard double room
$US. One-bedroom bungalow.
US$140 US$198
Superior double room
$US. Two-bedroom bungalow.
US$209 US$284
Private pool villa
Three-bedroom private villa.
US$403 US$628

Reviewed by

Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.

From US$137

Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.

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