Above: Lembah Spa at the Viceroy Bali.
Property name: The Viceroy Bali
Where: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Street address: Jalan Lanyahan, Br Nagi
Rates: About US$700 to $2,150
Despite its name, Viceroy Bali isnâ€™t affiliated with the famous luxury hotel brand. Itâ€™s a boutique, family-owned hotel with a laid-back vibe, but not at the expense of the perks and service quality offered by its better-known counterpart. The only member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World in Ubud, Viceroy Bali makes for a more intimate getaway than a typical top-tier chain hotel.
Perched on a steep hillside overlooking the lush Balinese jungle of Lembah Valleyâ€”also referred to by locals as the Valley of the Kingsâ€”and the rushing Petanu River, the main draw of the 25 one- and two-bedroom villas is their seclusion. Staying at Viceroy Bali makes it easy to forget that the hotel is situated just 10 minutes by car from the heart of Ubud. The resort boasts some of the finest scenery on the island.
The hotel boasts 25Â alang-alang (thatched roof) villas, including four Garden Villas, four Terrace Villas, 14 Deluxe Terrace Villas, two Vice Regal Villas, and one Viceroy Villa. Each one blends traditional teak furnishings and framed vintage photographs of Bali with the sleek surfaces of modern amenities such as marble bathtubs, rain showers (in some villas), and the latest gadgets. While the open-plan villas are already generous in size (from 190 to 450 square meters), their high ceilings enhance the feeling of space even more.
Each villa comes with a private poolâ€”some with infinity edgesâ€”and a private terrace or garden overlooking the lush jungle. Traditional Balinese bales (raised daybeds) built above the water practically overhang the tranquil valley. Here guests can surround themselves with the scents and sounds of the jungle, or watch the mist rise over the valley in the morning. With such a beautiful setting, the only drawback is that the villas have been built relatively close together, so your most serene moments might be interrupted by sounds from next door.
Guests are welcomed in the open-plan lobby, which consists of the reception area located in a thatched-roof pavilion and a lower-level lounge area. Dominated by minimalist clean lines and light colors, the lobby also incorporates Balinese elements, such as a three-meter-wide depiction of Balinese dancers. The lobby opens onto an infinity pool overlooking the valley.
Food and Drink
Although it offers a few Indonesian options, the hotel’s CasCades fine-dining restaurant specializes in contemporary French cuisine with an Asian twist. The imaginative menu includes crocodile risotto (with prawn crudo, dashi, blue cheese, liquorice, shiso flowers and prawn reduction) and quail wrapped in vine leaves with barley salad, pomegranates, black figs, and herb labneh. The restaurant is housed in a large thatched-roof pavilion, with most of the tables boasting scenic vistas of the valley. Water features and timber finishing complete the serene picture.
The restaurant also offers al fresco dining, a six-course degustation menu, and an extensive wine cellar with some of the finest drops from around the world. However, the gastronomic delights could be improved with condiments made in-houseâ€”bottled ketchup and chilli sauce downgrade the otherwise gourmet meals.
The Viceroy Bar is one of the best-stocked watering holes in Ubud and features a wide selection of fine Cognacs, Scotches, Japanese Whiskeys, spirits, and cigars. A swim-up bar overlooking the gorge might just be the best seat in the house for a pre- or post-dinner cocktail.
Nestled on a hill slope, Lembah Spa offers both a wide variety of treatments and stunning views of the surrounding jungle. The lush greenery around the spa deck creates a nice environment in which to indulge in treatments. Guests can try a traditional Balinese massage, hair cream baths, reflexology, or Javanese lulur, or opt for a more Western treatment. Lembah’s therapists have been trained by an accredited Swiss therapist. The spa also features a complimentary steam room and 68 jet jacuzzis for all hotel guests.
There is a helipad a few meters from the hotel’s reception pavilionâ€”apparently the only one in the Ubud districtâ€”for those with a lot of cash and little time.
Guests who feel a bit sluggish can exercise at the gym, which boasts the latest cardio and resistance training equipment. Complimentary chilled energy drinks are on hand for those who need that extra kick.
And for those unfortunate enough to have to work during their stay, the hotel has a fully equipped conference room that can seat up to 25 people, plus a boardroom for 14 people.
Each room comes with a 42-inch LCD television, DVD player, iPod/iPhone docking station, and an espresso machine. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Exploring the Area
The hotel is about a 10-minute drive from what many consider the cultural heart of Baliâ€”Ubud. Famous for its artists, traditional dance, temples, and ceremonies, Ubud captures the romance of the Island of Gods. With galleries, quaint restaurants, and unique boutiques, the area is sure to satisfy even the fussiest explorer. See “The Top 15 Shops in Ubud.”
Viceroy Bali gives visitors the option of enjoying five-star luxury without staying in a chain hotel. With just 25 villas, the resort is small enough to traverse on footâ€”although it is nice to know that there is a buggy on call. Even though it boasts top-notch amenities, the hotelâ€™s biggest draw is its location. The scenery is truly spectacular, and the view from the gravity-defying villas is guaranteed to take your breath away.
Reviewed by Anita Surewicz