We booked this hotel just two weeks upfront. As there was no double room available anymore we got an offer to have a big family bungalow for the same price as the smaller one. We really appreciated. Email communication was very quick, never more than one day to get a reply.
Our stay in Cili Emas then was wonderful. After spending three days in Ubud in the south of Bali where we were confronted with aggressive merchants everywhere, Tejakula was a real relief. It’s a small village on the north coast with few tourism services. This also means that you can get a lot closer to normal Balinese life than in the south. When we were there, e.g. there was a burial ceremony happening which you could observe closely just by walking to the village.
We really liked the peace and quiet of Cili Emas. There are several kinds of little houses instead of just hotel rooms. Some of the houses also have outdoor bathrooms (of course you cannot see inside from the outside!). In front of most houses is a private open-air bed to lie down and relax. All the facilities were well-maintained. Everywhere around the place are bottles with fresh, free drinking water. As drinking tap water is a health hazard in Bali, having free water is a really nice way to quench the thirst during the day. Of course you can also get all sorts of drinks and coffee specialities during the day from the bar (but this will cost extra). To see Bali you should use the services of a private driver who can take you to wherever you want to go. You can either arrange for this yourself or let the hotel make the arrangements.
For breakfast, dinner and lunch the freshly prepared meals are eaten together on a long table in the central part of the hotel. You have a view of the sea there. It’s also a very nice way to get to know the other guests. We used our chance to join a tour with a friendly couple the next day which also split the costs for the tour. Would we have done that in a regular hotel? I doubt it. Another nice thing was that upon arrival we were asked whether we had any food allergies or things we would not like to eat. Indeed I had some, and whenever a part of the meal was not ok for me, there was automatically a replacement served. I have never experienced such careful attention to this in any other hotel. Our compliments also to the friendly assistant manager Nyoman who not only speaks good English but also helped us resolve any issues quickly.
One of the highlights for us was the nice secluded swimming pool. We used it every day and enjoyed it a lot. It was clean and well-maintained. Every deck chair around the pool offered a big towel if you forgot to bring one. You could also go there at night which gave us a memorable swim under the stars. If the sea is not too rough it’s also possible to swim in the sea, but due to the stony beach it can be a bit challenging to get in.
On our second day we also met the owners, Nicole and Jochen. We enjoyed a lot of nice conversations with them and they would also join in during dinner when they had the time. They cared a lot about our honest feedback regarding the place and offered to help swiftly with every problem we might encounter. You can also get helpful recommendations what to do and what better not to do during your stay.
Reading the not-so-good reviews on TripAdvisor surprised me a bit. How can you go to an explicitly non-touristy place like Tejakula and then complain that the place is too isolated? I would say just book a hotel in Lovina, which is also on the north coast but much more „developed“ for tourists. The food at Cili Emas is definitively not cheap by Balinese standards (more comparable to a good restaurant there) but the quality is very good, you get a set meal for dinner - soup, main course and desert - and everything is prepared fresh. If you want something else you can just go to the village and buy some food from there. No one forces anything on you in Cili Emas! Just say no if you don’t want something.
I guess what some people miss is that this resort is not your average tourist spot, but it’s there to help people relax from a busy life. It has a concept. If you consider spending time in Cili Emas have a look at their website ciliemas.com first and find out whether it fits for you. For us it was a very unique, satisfying experience even though we only stayed for about three days and did not use the wellness offers.
We hope we can return to Bali some time the next years and come again. If we had had more days, we would have extended our vacation just to have more time at Cili Emas. Thumbs up!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.