Boutique feel, central location
We arrive in Ubud after dark with a sleeping Mr 2 and overtired Ms 4 in tow, and the long walk down a narrow footpath between mossy high walls doesn’t inspire confidence in the place we have booked to stay at for the weekend.
As we enter Ubud Lestari, Mr Travelfish, who poked his head in before retrieving us, says that he has in fact only agreed to take the one night. Oh, bugger, I think, it must indeed be crappy.
The first room we pass looks dimly lit and a bit scruffy in the dark; we walk through another gate and are suddenly looking at a stretch of stunning paddy, spiky seedlings struggling up from the mud. Then we’re at the verandah of our room, the bottom of a duplex, and I turn to Mr Travelfish and tell him he must be joking, right?
The place is unexpectedly wonderful. The spotless tiled room is large, with twins beds which the staff immediately push together for us, creating a plus-size king. Our windows look directly onto the paddy in one direction, and out the front through lush plants and a fence onto the pool (and the Roman blinds actually work). The white bathtub is huge (slide! Mr 2 says when he sees the angled back of it), there’s a separate rain shower, a massive walk-in wardrobe has loads of space (and a safe) and an L-shaped, black and white checked daybed reminds us of when we used to spend holidays laying around reading.
A minibar under a desk is stocked with beer, softdrinks and water, and our verandah out the front has a table and two chairs. Three wooden ducks (toys too!) clustered in a corner get ridden by our kids’ dolls and eventually will be rescued from the bathtub.
No TV intrudes, which is a bonus. Free WiFi is however included and easily connected to, while a decent enough breakfast is also included. We skip it the first day, but order it (available from 07:00) the next, having a white-bread jaffle with tomato and plastic-style cheese, over-scrambled eggs with white toast and a very good fruit plate of melon, papaya, banana, watermelon and pineapple. The coffee is Bali (cowboy) style.
The infinity pool looking onto the paddy is a decent size, with one end a small wading area great for kids (Mr 2 could just stand with his mouth above the water.) Four deckchairs seem to be adequate for the traffic from the handful of rooms.
Staff are really friendly and it turns out the bungalow we are in is just five months old – though I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d said we were the first people to stay in it (other rooms are more than five years). There’s a Japanese part-owner, which shines through in the lovely aesthetic to the place – it’s minimalist, with simple clean lines. As far as the things we now look for in a getaway place, except for the lack of a big fluffy doona (linen bright white but that blanket-between-sheet thing is going on), this place was just as good as a four-star resort (bonus: the light switches all made sense).
And one of the best reasons to stay here? The walk may seem long down that alley, but it leads directly onto Monkey Forest Road in central Ubud, so you’re right in the thick of things. Laughing Buddha Bar is right on the corner, with Art Cafe and Three Monkeys just two of the lovely cafes within swinging cat distance.
The room was 600,000 rupiah per night for two nights (we were originally quoted 700,000, but negotiated it down for the two nights – you could bargain it down another 100,000 if business was slow and you’re more determined than we were).
Check rates at Ubud Lestari Bungalow - rated 9.3/10 on Agoda.com.
By Samantha Brown
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.