Tirta Gangga is one of those magical places one has to see while on Bali. In fact, I've vowed to return there just to stay at Tirta Ayu for at least three nights!
The small hotel offers only 5 or 6 villas set in a lovely garden, but they are a real gem. There is a pool villa, a Raja villa and three superior villas. We actually took the superior villa, as my husband deemed the more plush Raja and Pool villas as 'too dark'. Well, we were checking in at p.m., and yes, the villas didn't feature panoramic windows, but were more in the traditional Bali style (bedroom is private and for sleeping only). However the superior villa was perfectly adequate, clean, well furnisher and spacious and its outdoor bathroom a delight to soak in.
The highlight was the restaurant - overlooking the Tirta Gangga water gardens. We sat under the high thatched roof with a friendly hard-to-spot mega-gekko reminding us with occassional (mating?) calls that this is Bali and not paradise. Here I had the pleasure to eat the best Nasi Campur on Bali and a delicious Sate Lilith (minced fish sate with lemon grass & co). The superior caliber of the food prompted me to make an exception and to order desert:s: a crepe (pancake) filled with fresh coconut and palm sugar and Pisang Goreng (fried bananas).
Upon viewing of his intensely green crepes (compliments of pandang leaf coloring) my husband accused me of being related to Lucretia Borgia, but then proceeded to munch happily until not a coconut crumb was left.. Hard to believe that by eating simple fried bananas one can partake in a deeply sensual experience, but biting through the light and crispy bit to get the oozy, oogling banana hit my culinary G-spot right there and then.
Dinner was simply great, the service attentive, with the Bali ear-to-ear smiles from the great staff and rounded up by sipping some Chivas Regal.
The next day my family swam in the King's pools, as well as in the lovely hotel's own pool, not too big, not too small, whilst I was being massaged by the pool. The massage was very good, the masseusse very thorough and attentive.
All in all I would come all the way to the east of Bali just to stay at Tirta Ayu again. There are a lot of hiking paths around and I would use the hotel as a base for exploring the countryside.
Everything the hotel had to offer was good value for money, including the message and the restaurant. The staff were very friendly, helpful, yet professional. I look forward to returning!