Mandapa: A Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Address: Jalan Kedewatan, Banjar Kedewatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

Phone: +62 361 4792777

http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/indonesia/mandapa

My Rating: 98%
Price Rating: $$$$$

Summary of my Stay: From the time I arrived till I departed, the hotel ensured that I felt genuinely welcomed. Mandapa strives to provide an authentic Balinese experience while still providing all the perks of a world-class resort. I stayed at the resort for a week and it was certainly the highlight of my three-week trip through Asia. Mandapa is a Ritz-Carlton Reserve: one of only 3 in the world. Ritz-Carlton reserves strive for the highest level of personal dedication to the guest while preserving the beauty and authenticity of their surroundings. 

You are welcomed to the hotel by the staff with a floral garland of jasmine and orchids and offered a refreshing beverage. This sets the tone for your stay. I was ushered to a seat in a pavilion that overlooked the entire resort including the river and the rice paddies. The view was spectacular. Mandapa is a smaller and intimate resort where service is their priority. After checking in and being personally welcomed by the manager, I was golf-carted down to my villa where my luggage was already waiting for me. 

View of the rice terraces and the resort in the background

View of the rice terraces and the resort in the background

The villas and rooms are top-notch. From the teak wood that runs throughout to the local art that hangs on the walls, to the statues and water features that provide a zen atmosphere, you won't be disappointed. Everything is tasteful and luxurious. Not only was the bathroom the size of most bachelor apartments, it was also supplied with soaps and toiletries that were locally sourced. The villa was perfectly set up for indoor/outdoor living and the view of the pool was mesmerizing as I laid in bed. Words are not enough to describe the room itself, so make sure you watch the video.

The hotel also has wonderful amenities. While my villa had its own pool, I also made use of the resort pool. An infinity pool overlooking the rice fields...it was the perfect place to watch the sunset in the evening. The hotel also offers yoga classes which were a great way to get centered and kick any jet-lag you might have. (PS - yoga in Bali is the equal to "Hot-Yoga" anywhere else in the world because of the natural humidity of the island, so be prepared for an intense work-out). There is also a full spa at Mandapa, however, the prices seemed high, (even for North American standards), so I went to spas right in the town of Ubud. 

In terms of dining, the hotel has a few options. The most notable is Kubu: a culinary experience and destination on it's own. This restaurant is destined for Michelin stars as it takes the sophistication of European cuisine and blends it with Balinese flair. I highly recommend booking in advance to secure one of nine wicker cocoons perched next to the river for a private and intimate setting. Both the Library and Pool Terrace serve exceptional cocktails and lighter fare. I often had my breakfasts at the Sawah Terrace and you can see the spread on the video. All options come with very dedicated service and if you asked for something not on the menu, I'm sure they would certainly try to accommodate. Another great options is that the hotel will arrange dining in unique areas of the resort. Some options include a picnic in the rice terraces, a candelit dinner upon the Sawah cliff or beside the Ayung river, or even a fully gourmet dinner cooked in the privacy of your own villa. 

View of the Ayung river from the Sawah Terrace. This is where I would normally sit at breakfast

View of the Ayung river from the Sawah Terrace. This is where I would normally sit at breakfast

Highlight of the Hotel: Most 5 Star hotels in Bali are going to offer you a spectacular location.  Nothing prepared for the peace and tranquility that I found at Mandapa. The hotel is comprised of only 60 rooms and villas—making the resort feel much more like a home. Mandapa really is a special destination that brings all the luxuries of a world-class hotel right in the middle of Bali's spiritual heart, Ubud. Over the years, and thanks to the book Eat, Pray, Love, Ubud has become a huge tourist destination and the town can be hectic and crowded. This Ritz-Carlton reserve is a few kilometers out of town and allows the guests to find that peacefulness they're seeking. It really is difficult to imagine anywhere more serene than this.

You couldn't find a better spot to do yoga...

You couldn't find a better spot to do yoga...

Or to cool off in the pool...

Or to cool off in the pool...

Highlight of my Stay: The hotel takes great attention to detail and service which allowed me to have an incredible stay. Noticing that I only ate the rambutan from the fruit basket, a very healthy supply of rambutans were replenished the next morning. When going to the pool, the staff come and lay out your pool towels, chair towels and a refreshment tray that includes a juice in a coconut and a tray of fruit. When I came back from dinner at the hotel one night, the pool was decorated with candles and flowers. When you arrive and depart the hotel, all available staff come out to greet you to the resort. And of course all the bases were covered: fresh ice in the room at all times, housekeeping was invisible but immaculate, unfolded clothes just magically got hung in the closet. And when you have two dedicated butlers assigned to your room, you have great expectations. Other hotels might have made the stay feel stuffy and over-polished, where the Mandapa makes you feel more like a treasured family member that has come home to visit. 

My one bedroom villa

My one bedroom villa

The view of my pool...

The view of my pool...

Drawbacks:  There were only 2 drawbacks with the hotel...small things that kept it from getting a perfect score. The hotel's lobby is perched on a cliff that overlooks the river and valley where the rooms and villas are. In order to get back up to the lobby, it is a VERY steep walk so the hotel offers shuttle service via golf cart. Normally it's fine, but on one occasion my cart never showed up and another instance it took a very long time to arrive. Secondly, there is rafting that happens on the river that runs through the property. A few times during my stay, the crowd rafting sounded like a spring break party and ruined the quiet morning. 

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