Low-rise set atop a lush jungled valley
Bisma Eight is a 2015-opened property, making it one of Ubud’s newest higher-end offerings. Boasting chic modern rooms — with extravagant touches like hot tubs — in several low-rise buildings set atop a lush jungled valley, the hotel fits the bill for those with a taste for design and tranquility, with a little extra cash to spend.
Your stay here begins with the staff handing you a canang, or small Balinese offering of colourful flowers, to place at the Ganesha image at the entrance to the hotel. If you’re early, you might need to wait in the small tasteful lobby, which gives you a sense of the hotel’s feel: effortlessly stylish and chilled out.
Rooms come in two flavours. We stayed in a forest suite, in a separate building perched right at the edge of the property overlooking a stunning valley. The slightly cheaper garden and canopy suites occupy rooms in two buildings leading from the lobby down to the swimming pool and forest suites, flanking a central well-tended garden and footpath.
The garden rooms offer the least privacy, as people walking past can see into your room if your curtains aren’t drawn. Nevertheless, the outlook is still pretty. We hope the bamboo trimmings age better than other properties using the wood we’ve seen in the region.
Decor in the rooms zooms in on the natural, with a careful use of textures that will have you wanting to reach out to touch everything: rough silk throw over the bed, beautiful cushions, wooden sliding doors leading into the bathroom, roughly finished raw cement walls.
The bathroom boasts a rainforest showerhead but the real appeal is the beautifully scented wooden tub.
We’re not big tub users but this was lovely — and it retains its heat, so you can soak and read, get out, drink and relax, then plunge right back in.
The bed is positioned looking directly out to the jungle, with a desk (with well placed power points), lounge and TV just behind. Little touches like scented diffusers, tote bags, slippers and robes push this well into the luxe category.
But then, some things make it seem as if it’s not quite sure. For rooms at this price, and with such beautiful touches, it seems odd to only offer Nescafe coffee. We’re not fans of pod coffee at all, but ground local coffee plus a plunger would have been very welcome.
Breakfast, which may or may not be included depending on the rate you pay, can be taken in their restaurant or in your room. Our rate included breakfast, and the first morning we dined in the restaurant.
We were handed an a la carte menu with a price list but it wasn’t made clear to ask what was included — we had to ask. If some rates have breakfasts included, some not, surely it makes sense to have different menus. And let’s have some truth in advertising: if it says “organic berries with yoghurt”, then that means more than one kind of berry, and at these prices, not a tiny glassful of the cheap sweetened yoghurt you can get at any Bali minimart. I’d rather just have the breakfast I make at home, thanks.
So we’d go with the eggs Benedict, and we’d also recommend sticking to your room — it’s a good chance to use your balcony, as there is only a table and two chairs there, but sadly no lounger.
To not be able to luxuriate in this sort of environment is a bit of a tragedy. We’ve stayed at places run on the smell of an oily rag that still had hammocks or loungers to make the most of their location. That said, the pool is located on the top floor of the building, so you can hang out there.
And — we loved this — there are fabulous reading lamps on the lounges so you can read after sundown here.
We did find it a little noisy one day, when construction noise went on for a few hours. If you’re going to let me pay full price for a room, it’s only fair that you let me know if there’s going to be banging going on for a few hours during the day. We didn’t complain, and in the end we think they were fixing some pipes, rather than having scheduled building going on, so we suppose that can happen anywhere.
Our final criticism of Bisma Eight would only be in relation to transport. It’s quite a long walk into town, and Ubud is known for its transport difficulties — that is, no metered taxis. It would be great to see higher-end hotels recognise this and offer on-demand shuttles, even if you need to charge a small fee. It costs the same to hire a driver who does three shuttles a day as 10 — charge the extra for petrol if you must. Or, offer bicycles.
But in the end, these are minor quibbles. While there’s a price tag to match the quality on offer here, it’s not as steep as Komaneka, located just a little further down the road, and we think the rooms here definitely have the edge in terms of style.
This is a beautiful urban oasis, making a solid retreat for those who are on a higher budget — and who don’t mind instant coffee.
Address: Jalan Bisma, Ubud
T: (0361) 4792 888; F: (0361) 4792 999
Coordinates (for GPS): 115º15'26.76" E, 8º30'44.55" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 1,000,000 to 2,500,000 Rp
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
Garden room, excluding tax
|2,479,000 rupiah||2,479,000 rupiah|
|Superior double room|
Canopy room, excluding tax
|2,613,000 rupiah||2,613,000 rupiah|
|Deluxe double room|
Forest room, excluding tax
|2,747,000 rupiah||2,747,000 rupiah|
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.
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