My more precise rating would be a 4.5 but since that's not possible, it would be closer to a 5 than a 4. First, I would recommend this place especially for stays with a family or group. Because of the generous room sizes and ample grounds, you can really make good use of the space--the verandahs, the covered seating/breakfast areas, the bathroom suite which includes a tub, sink/vanity, closet/dressing area and in some rooms a separate shower, the huge bed and some rooms with additional beds and writing table, plenty of big and small tables, niches and nooks to park your things on. They have several room categories and I would daresay (as a sincere compliment) that the owners/managers are astute enough to price them precisely according to their value, meaning with each price increment, you get a corresponding benefit. You will get what you pay for here in Alam Shanti, IMO. So, if your budget (and their availability) allows you to get the higher category rooms, by all means, pay the extra bucks.
We took the Dewi and Narmada rooms (Up and down would have been ideal for a family but unfortunately, this was not available. Instead, these were about 20 meters away in adjacent structures separated by lovely gardens and ponds.) Dewi was a superior room on the first floor while Narmada was a deluxe on the ground floor. We billeted our four kids in the Narmada which had one king bed and two single beds (the second was upon request and I was pleasantly surprised that they had put in another proper single bed complete with its own ceiling-hung mosquito netting and not just a roll-away or pull-out.) The room had just enough space for this. The hubby and I took the Dewi which had one king bed in a room that was just ample enough for that. Apart from the size, main differences between the two: a) Narmada had a separate shower area alongside the tub in its bigger bathroom while Dewi had an equally oversized marble tub (would easily fit 2 bigger adults or 4 Asian children LOL) but with the built-in shower hanging at waist level which meant you had to stand on the tub holding the shower head if you wanted to shower properly. Both bathrooms had a single but adequate sink and separate dressing/closet area. b) Narmada has a spacious verandah with two side tables and a low tatami table perfectly seating the six of us for breakfast. It also shared a kitchenette with a 5ft fridge and a dining table for 6 with the room upstairs (the Indus) although I saw neither rooms ever use this space as there was absolutely no need. On the other hand, Dewi had a round marble table top on its balcony seating 4 at most. Both rooms had daybeds on their respective verandah/balcony.
1) Traditional Balinese design and setting with exquisite detail on the houses themselves (doors, ceilings, beams, walls, even the garden tiling pointed and lead you through your walking paths separate for each room) and furniture pieces that looked and felt like they were individually handcrafted (different tables and chairs, lamp designs, etc.). I enjoyed most this part of it that there was absolutely no mistaking where you are when you stay in Alam Shanti. You're in Bali, alright. (Such a treat for someone like me who does sometimes wake up in a hotel room disoriented and not immediately remembering what city you're in.)
2) Lovely and natural-feeling tropical garden that so cleverly affords privacy. When seated on the verandah at Narmada or the balcony at Dewi, there are no other structures in your line of sight but only foliage. You know the next house is there but somehow this is so cleverly concealed and besides, the gardens are really expansive enough that I only occasionally heard my children squealing at play in the next villa (and no complaints from the people upstairs either thanks to solid walls and floors and large airy spaces!) I say "natural-feeling" because the gardens, although looking well-tended did not have the artificial air of manicured hotel lawns. Plants were allowed to grow relatively wild and there was no symmetry or area looking exactly like another. The garden was truly alive because it had animals including squirrels, geckos, colorful birds and yes, creepy crawlies too.
3) The common pool--shared by about 8 units was never crowded and it had a spa cabana adjacent. I had the cabana all to myself and was very satisfied with my Javanese lulur (which included a massage, scrub and flower bath). The price was not cheap but reasonable for the quality and convenience of the service.
4) Service was prompt and genuinely friendly. Their English was also good and the staff were well-trained with familiarity with most of the things that guests would need--reservations, pick-up, info and maps, etc.
5) Breakfast inclusive with the room was big and had a good selection. It included breads, fruit and yogurt, fruit juice and coffee or tea and a main which was either rice, crepes, eggs or porridge.
6) The location is on the quiet side of Ubud walking across the monkey forest (although it seems they charge each time you walk through which was 90K rupiah for the 6 of us so not so ideal to do several times!) but the hotel shuttle was prompt and efficient. (I wonder if it's the same on high season as the driver told me that during December, the 15 min drive becomes an hour and a half because of traffic along Monkey Forest Road). There is Laka Leke Restaurant nearby though which I liked even better than their Cafe Wayan so I was quite content to be on this side. There are also small stores selling basic knick-knacks, a couple of cheaper and more basic massage places along the road, a few other restaurants as well as a motorbike/bicycle rental just nearby.
1) If you're looking for 5-star, club room style luxury, this may not fit the bill. Although there is room service, I believe they source their food from their restaurant/kitchen nearby and walk them covered through the expansive property so expect a longer waiting time and no warm plate service or such. The mini-bar is basic with bottled water, beer and soda. The only common area apart from your own suite accomodation is a 3 or 4 table reception that doubles as the "dining/breakfast" area for those who don't care to eat in-room. There are also a couple of tables beside the pool. This is pretty much all the facilities there are.
2) The place is a nature retreat so expect the indoors and outdoors to blend in. As such, along with the colorful birds and cute squirrels, expect insects including ants in and outside the room. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't make good use of the tub at the Dewi because some red ants were crawling about which made it impossible for me to actually lean back and enjoy the tub. Our breakfast at the Narmada verandah also had to be taken out promptly as it would otherwise attract insects around.
3) I'm actually giving one or half a star rating less not for any reason above but for this last reason as it seems in their busy-ness, the standard of cleaning is also slipping a little. I could even forgive the red ants crawling around the tub because there was a small plot of earth with plants and flowers decorating the head of the tub but what I could not let pass was the overlooked lizard droppings underneath the curtains. This obviously pointed to a hurried cleaning job that missed some not so obvious nooks and crannies (but I could see a few days worth of droppings while using the tub). In the Narmada, there was a petrified lizard stuck inside the fridge behind the soda bottles. I saw this as I was trying to make room for my milk carton. I'm not squeamish and can imagine how the lizard slipped in there but it would have been a little grotesque for my kids to see this. Again, this was obviously overlooked by housekeeping. Again, in the Narmada, the water closet flush ran continuously and when I pointed this out to them, they told me that they knew of the problem but still had to buy replacement parts from town. Although this did not affect the hygiene or function of the toilet, still, this made my kids uneasy since they are conscious of never leaving the water running or the lights or ac on inside a room when not in use.
Overall, I would love to come back to Alam Shanti when travelling with family or friends. For a spotless, posh and completely pampered getaway for two however, we have our special place 10 minutes north of Ubud that this place has yet to beat.
- Also Known As:
- Alam Shanti Ubud, Bali
- Alam Shanti Hotel Ubud