Reviews on Accommodations

  • It can be rare to find solid vegan eats while traveling abroad, so to find some *within* a classy hotel was certainly exciting. The Heritage seems to be a smoothly run, very clean, and lovely place. Every staff I interacted with was extremely friendly and helpful.

    I even had a mishap with the drying machine in my room (I think I put it on on the wrong setting) and I had 20 minutes to get ready for a date (!!) and ALL of my clothes were soaking wet. I called housekeeping and within 15 minutes they had it sorted, took my clothes, dried the ones I needed right away, and had everything else clean and dry by the time I returned from dinner.

    In addition to the hotel being gorgeous and clean (I had a beautiful waterfront view from my balcony) there is a vegan-friendly restaurant within the hotel. As someone who travels *for* vegan food, I found this to be so cool!

    Hector’s Restaurant has a vegan menu and raw vegan options for their breakfasts everyday. Truly unique to most hotels worldwide.

    I highly recommend this place for the vegan among us. 🙂

  • Without a doubt there is no place like BeingSattvaa. I’m not even sure where to begin as everything from top to bottom of my 3 nights here was beyond measure.

    The Short Version:

    On my last day I was sad to leave. I felt connected to everyone I’d met here as they were beyond accommodating and helpful. It almost felt like I was staying on a friend’s very (VERY) nice property. Everything from the complimentary shuttle service, 3x weekly yoga classes, and rice paddy trekking to the detail-oriented butler services, delicious and fresh vegan food options, and the impeccable cleanliness of my room (which included a welcoming bowl of fruit, two types of bug spray, all the toiletries you’d need, and the most beautiful bathroom I’ve ever seen), to their luxurious lukewarm infinity pool, helping me buy a country SIM card, printing out important documents for my entry into my next country, and making any request seem like it was no problem whatsoever, it’s hard to find anything I didn’t like about BeingSattvaa.

    If you’re looking for peace and seclusion from Ubud’s busy, noisy streets, book your stay here. Their shuttle services in and out of Ubud city center are totally free and it’s only a 15 minute drive! Well worth it to escape the noisy of the city, and indulge in a luxuriously cozy environment.

    The Long Version:

    A few weeks before my arrival, I had been in touch with Ranuka about being picked up at the airport. I didn’t know this was a service they offered until she mentioned it, but being that this would be my first time in Indonesia I felt more comfortable knowing someone would be there to take me to BeingSattvaa. I’m so glad I did as there were hundreds of people shouting “TAXI! TAXI MISS? TAXI! WHERE ARE YOU GOING? TAXI?!” at me and the other arrivals. I was relieved to see smiling David standing patiently holding a sign with my name on it (I’ve never had anyone hold a sign with my name on it so I also felt pretty cool). Haha! The shouting from other drivers faded and my joy of being in a new country for the first time had begun to set it again.

    Before beginning our 1.5 hour drive from Denpasar airport to the villa David handed me a chilled bottle of water and a cool damp face towel to refresh from my flight. NICE. We had casual conversation on our way to the villa but he also seemed to know when I was enraptured with the surroundings and let me gaze out the window for some time, which was nice.

    Upon arriving I was greeted by two hosts, one who opened the car door (fancy!) and another who took my bags and checked me in. I was then guided into the dining area, past the infinity pool, up some beautiful greenery-lined stone walkways and steps, to the porch front of my private villa. It almost seemed like I was on a movie set!

    With a fish-filled flowing fountain to the left and a large veranda with comfortable seating on the porch I suspected that the inside of the villa would be just as beautiful. As the glass doors slid open my jaw literally dropped at the simplistic beauty of my room (made possible by incredible smaller detailed things, like the dark teak wood carved bed canopy with matching desk and armoire, crisp white bed sheets with a cute elephant made out of a towel).

    There was a remote control air conditioning unit, free wifi, and a jug of water. There was also a water boiler for tea, and two bottles of wine (one red, one white – for purchase).

    Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I stepped into the bathroom and was stunned by how gorgeous a bathroom could be! Haha!! Nearly half of it complimented by wild greenery and tropical budding flowers, a large bathtub, his and hers sinks, and an outdoor shower (with not one but two shower heads); this was like nothing I’ve seen before!

    After I settled in and took some photos I rolled into the bed, pulled the blanket up around me, and squished the big billowy pillows along both of my sides (four big pillows? Yes please!), took a deep breath in, and sighed with an ease of knowing that this was going to be an epic place to stay.

    The days that followed were filled with morning walks around the property and swims in the infinity pool, a complimentary yoga class, and a complimentary rice trek through a nearby village (within walking distance to the villa). Mona (my rice trekking guide) and I walked slowly while I admired the rice paddy workers. We giggled over boys and traveling and having kids and getting married. 🙂

    I utilized the free daily shuttle service to go into Ubud city center. Sunarta drove me in the first time and even helped me get a country SIM card for my phone. I hadn’t taken any rupiah out yet but the place only accepted cash. Without even asking, Sunarta kindly used his own money to pay there, and to have me pay him back later. Amazing!

    I also indulged in a traditional Balinese full-body massage as part of their in-house spa. Yasnedi and Dewik were very kind and made suggestions as to the type of massage I might enjoy and allowed me to select a scented oil. After changing into my robe I was given a foot bath (traditional pre-massage ritual) and then one of the most amazing (medium-pressure) massages of my life! The spa massage room overlooks more incredible lush greenery, a soothing fountain induced a form of almost involuntary meditation, and the music they played was equally relaxing.

    Every person I interacted with at BeingSattvaa both in email and in person, were incredibly kind, generous, and helpful.

    Speaking of which, let’s talk about the food! One of the reasons I chose BeingSattvaa is because it’s a vegetarian establishment. As I’m vegan I figured this would be my best bet for vegan options! I was right! Bagus, the head chef was wonderful. He had prepared vegan carrot bread cake and veganized some of the meals I’d selected, with the utmost care.

    One of the most appealing things about his place is the free daily shuttle service. BeingSattvaa is about a 15-20 drive (by car or scooter) from the city center of Ubud. Which is no problem but having to rent a scooter or pay a driver could get pricey after some time. Plus, Ubud center is incredibly noisy and hectic. Since BeingSattvaa is located a bit north of the center, and off the main roadways, it’s incredible quiet and a nice escape from what can being head-spinning volumes of energy and noise when walking around, shopping, etc.

    All-in-all I give BeingSattvaa a 12 out of 10. 😉 Tranquil, peaceful, relaxing, beautiful, and a place you’ll be completely taken care of. I’ve already told them I’ll have my wedding here someday (ya know, after I get a boyfriend and all that). Haha!

  • I’m lost for words. Where to begin…

    While on the final roadway approaching the villa I’d wondered if my driver was in the right place. The road narrowed and then became a grass lane before reaching the hidden entrance. I wasn’t sure what I was walking into and then the beautiful rustic wooden doors opened and it was as if I was walking into heaven, right then and there.

    Villa Shamballa is the closest I’ve come to ultimate private, peaceful, romantic luxury in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. I didn’t realize until arriving that I’d have my own pair of caretakers (Kadek and Minnie).

    The moment I walked in Kadek gently greeted me with a bright yellow plumeria lei, a cool damp towel, a glass of freshly pressed juice, and a huge smile. There was soft tropical music playing and yellow plumeria flowers absolutely everywhere!

    After being shown around this two-story dream come true—which included a dining area, a cozy living room-style lounge (with bright white, comfy cushioned couches, shays, and entertainment unit), and my own lukewarm infinity pool, and large bathroom with an outdoor shower and marble bathtub on the first floor; and a sprawling bedroom with lounge, bathroom and shower and amazing half open air, thatch roofed second floor—I set my things down, took a million photos, and then immediately went into the infinity pool!

    For the next 3 nights and 2 days I felt like a well cared for lady of importance. Haha! 🙂 Seriously, I’ve never been so well taken care of. Minnie and Kadek were quiet and let me be but if I needed anything they appeared in a flash and were more than accommodating.

    I would rise with the sun and peaceful sound of the birds singing, and sometimes Honey (the cat) would greet me in the morning as well; I’d have a sunrise swim followed by breakfast at our pre-arranged time, maybe go for another swim and then do some work (I work remotely on my computer). It was THE most peaceful and luxurious experience I’ve ever had in my life. And even though it may be possible that I’m the only person who has stayed at Villa Shamballa by herself (solo backpack-style traveler here), it did not take away from how incredibly comfortable, relaxed, and ‘zen’ I felt the entire time.

    Being vegan wasn’t a problem. Kadek prepared fantastic plant-based meals, each one better than the last. And when I needed to make a run into Ubud city center, they had a scooter shuttle service available within minutes! Just be sure to notify them upon booking if you are veg, so they can prepare!

    If that’s all not enough they even provide a turndown service within the whole of the villa. Just as the sun sets they light dozens of candles throughout, put on dim lights, light bug repellent incense thingies, and put the mosquito net around the bed down, and prepare the bedsheets as well. They put out slippers next to the bed, evening tea, and ensure you’re all set for the night. The place might be just as if not more beautiful at night as it is during the day. Just incredible.

    It was exactly what I was looking for after a busy (and loud and hectic) few days staying with a Balinese family and more time in the city center. Ubud city center is great but notorious for being very loud (constant vehicle honing horns), and crowded. Also when walking around many people shout at the non-locals for taxi rides, massages, and donations. So having a place to completely escape the madness was absolutely heavenly.

    I can’t speak highly enough about the attentiveness and kindness expressed by Kadek and Minnie, and Wayan (who took me into the city center that one day). Each person was sweet, soft spoken, and had beautiful, gentle energy about them.

    Aside from wishing I could have shared the experience with someone (hello future honeymoon destination!) I wish I could have afforded more of their incredible spa services and offerings.

    This is an all-in-one stay; you don’t need to leave if you don’t want to! And for the most part that’s what I did. Swam, ate, worked, swam, napped, read books, watched a movie on the provided TV, swam some more, ate some more. It was the ultimate in luxurious relaxation and each morning since I’ve left I hope beyond hope that when I open my eyes I will be back at Villa Shamballa.

    Whatever you have to do to stay even a few nights, do it. You will not regret it!

  • To be honest my trip to Our Jungle House started out a bit rough. I had under estimated how long it would take to get there from Phuket, and also how exactly I would get there at all. I had kind of planned out this portion of my trip without much forethought and it resulted in quite a bit of stress at first. So, definitely plan ahead, know how to catch a local bus or private car that will take you to the Khao Sok National Park from wherever you may be in Thailand!

    Thankfully my host in northern Phuket helped me find the nearest local bus stop. After hopping aboard and about three hours later, the bus stopped at the entrance to the Park. The driver didn’t announce where we were so I almost didn’t exit the bus but thankfully another couple was also getting out at the same stop and they took the initiative to ask.

    As the bus pulled away I realized that I didn’t retrieve my pack from below. I literally ran full speed behind the bus waving and yelling until it thankfully stopped and I was able to get my pack. Phew!

    Once that was settled I contacted Our Jungle House to let them know I had arrived at the entrance. Within a few minutes their shuttle truck arrived and I was being driven to my destination.

    Again—as a relatively casual solo traveler—I hadn’t done a heck of a lot of research on Our Jungle House before arriving. I was relying on the high recommendation from some friends who live in Bangkok.

    That’s why I didn’t realize just how incredible this place would be. Imagine the greenest of big leafy greenery hanging all around, narrow cobblestone walkways throughout and between bungalows, wooden and thatched huts of the coziest degree, and soothing sounds of nature constantly abuzz and lulling you to sleep. Yep. And that’s just the basic stuff! 😉

    Upon arriving I was warmly greeted by the staff and promptly escorted to my bungalow. After unpacking I made my way to the dining area where I enjoyed a vegan Pad Thai (that was modified from the original vegetarian version).

    The following day I went on a very relaxing canoe ride (organized by Our Jungle House) along the Khao Sok river. I lounged and took pictures and videos as my paddle guide did all the work! We saw incredible limestone cliffs jutting up through the water, a few colorful Kingfisher birds, a gigantic lizard thing scurry up into the jungle, tons of red flecked fish, and a big snake literally hanging over our heads from a tree branch as we passed below. We even stopped at a halfway point to stretch our legs and have some campfire warmed tea, coffee, and cookies. It was lovely.

    On my last full day I signed up for the full day Cheow Lan Lake tour. It was probably one of the best day of my life, actually. Again – organized by Our Jungle House I was picked up early in the morning after breakfast at Our Jungle House (vegan tofu scramble this time!) and the driver made a few more stops to pick up other tour-goers, as we made our way about an hour north, to the Lake.

    It began with an epic covered-boat ride through the picturesque turquoise waters of the Lake, dotted with hundreds of limestone cliffs that seem to come out of nowhere, protruding up through the magnificent waters. We then arrived in an alcove, deboarded, and went on a short hike through the jungle. Our guide pointed out gibbons jumping through the tree branches up high, a huge tarantula hiding out in its “cave,” and some small lizards, and birds along the way. The hike led us to a teeny tiny village occupied presumably by the wooden raft operators. After a short snack break and water, provided by the tour guide, the group of us (about 10 people) shuffled onto a rickety flat bamboo raft and floated effortlessly to our next destination: a super cool cave!

    Our tour guide walked us through this pitch black cave (don’t worry, he had a light and many of us used the lights on our phones) pointing out interesting structures, bugs, and bats! After leisurely exploring the cave we made our way back to our little raft, floated back to the tiny village, walked back through our hike, and hopped back into our covered motor boat.

    As we made our way across the stunning crystal waters we stopped at some floating bungalows (which you can actually rent and stay overnight in!) for lunch and a swim. The lunch was a bit of a fail, btw. They had a vegetarian option of veggies but I’m 99% sure they were soaked in butter. And the other dish of veggies smelled fiercely of fish. I could have put in more of an effort to ensure I’d get a more suitable meal so that was on me. But I know for next time!

    A few of us went swimming and then we all climbed into our boat and made our way back to the mainland. That night I had a filling dinner at the Our Jungle House restaurant, and then sat upstairs on the second level where there is a nice bar. I hopped onto my computer to upload some videos and pictures from the day while sipping a fruity house-special cocktail.

    What an incredible few days it was! The combination of a comfortable and very unique stay with daily outings that were more memorable than I could have ever anticipated, made the overall experience one of a kind.

    I highly HIGHLY recommend Our Jungle House! You’ll be in awe of the natural beauty, the friendly staff, the flexible food options, and even the other guests. Enjoy!

  • I hardly know where or how to begin writing a review for this incredible place. It’s beyond words really, but I’ll try. To begin, the hotel itself is absolutely breathtaking. Set in a 11th-century building that’s been passed down through the Albets family over the ages, Megan and Joel have clearly gone to amazing lengths to ensure that as much of the original structure as possible, remains and is represented. It was fascinating to be taken on a tour of the history of the building, where and how the bricks and stone were sourced and made right on the property; the wood furniture curated from trees that set on the 200 acres that surround the building; original artwork from the designers in the stone; designer signatures carved into the walls, I could go on really but you just need to go see it for yourself.

    There are trails around the building that are great for short hikes or treks between meals and lounging (you’re seriously not going to want to leave your room though – super high-quality furnishing, appliances, and OH I didn’t mention the bedding yet — eco and hypoallergenic—they even have samples of the materials they use, in the lobby, so you can see it up close—Um, AND the pillows even have friggin flowers in them (plucked from the property no less) that are dried and embedded, to help soothe you to sleep at night. I mean, come on! Oh and they allow dogs too!

    Okay now we need to talk about the food. Oh my friggin GaWd tho. Holy heck. Oh myLanta! All the things, yes oh yes oh yes — Okay listen, I have traveled literally around the world FOR vegan food, spanning over 6 years now, and without a doubt the restaurant at Casa Albets serves up THE best (no joke, 100% real) cuisine I’ve ever, EVER, ever had. The concise menu delivers exquisite fare that’s so incredibly reasonably priced, with amazing wine pairings, and desserts. It’s semi-fancy (you could totally dress up or down to eat here), 5 star service, 5 star quality food, 5 star vibe/decor. I mean, all around I don’t even know how I’m going to eat anywhere else now. I can’t even. Just. Yeah.

    Overall this is a luxury stay at a “budget” pricing. Honestly, can’t get better than this.

    This is just a tiny bit of all I got out of my 2.5 days at Casa Albets. It was almost too much to put into words, so much to take in, to remember, to cherish. If I ever get married, this will be THE place. Such an incredible place. I can’t stop dreaming of it.

    All this is to say, no matter your upcoming travel plans, stop, and reroute your itinerary to Casa Albets. I have no doubt you’ll be blown away and want to stay forever. Go now. Don’t wait.

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