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“Very special experience”

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Mara River Safari Lodge
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Gianyar
Certificate of Excellence
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
“Very special experience”
Reviewed December 29, 2012

We stayed for 2 nights and had plenty of time to see and do everything on offer here.

The room was lovely, themed African style, with a balcony that over looks zebras and rhinos roaming around and the elepahnt safari rides - very special to have these animals to view so close. The room was away from reception, however, the staff more than happy to drop you off or pick you up in the little golf cart if you wanted to ( some times they insisted they drive us to the room as "too hot, missus!")

The pool was cool and refreshing, and again able to see the animals wandering around.

The night time safari was excellent and what an experience with the tigers! During the morning before the park opened we had all the animals to our selves to look at, the elephants however were our favourite.

Used the Uma restaurant in the park twice for lunch. The food was fine and had a large choice available. The Tsvaro Lion Restaurant for buffet breakfast with the meer kats was great and the dinner menu was OK - perhaps some more simple options would be an improvement. The outdoor grill restaurant offered a buffet, the food was nice but perhaps exepnsive for what was on offer. However, there is not a lot of choice once you are on site and our meals were all very acceptable. Where else can you pat an elephant between mains and dessert??

Very relaxing, the animal and bird noises at night were lovely, great start to unwind for our Bali holiday.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank 888Jules
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed December 23, 2012

My wife and I stayed here for 2 nights, but one night is enough. The room is lovely with a pretty big bed. One morning there were 2 rhinos literally 5 metres away from our patio. People on elephants go right past the rooms. If you throw a banana at them they spray water at you from the river to say thankyou. It is quite a unique experience. One night we found a live crab in the bathroom...which was interesting.
The staff are all very friendly. The restaurant is great because you can see meer cats, a hippo and 2 lions up close while you eat. The hippo is awesome. The food is moderate, pick something safe like a cheeseburger. Skip on the fajitas and banana split...
Swimming pool is fantastic, an infinity pool looking towards rhinos, elephants and zebras.
Major gripe is getting out of the place. The concierge took us down to the taxi stand, but there are no meter taxis, only guys saying 'transport?'. I walked to the road to find a meter taxi, but there aren't any around. I recommend calling a meter taxi from reception. They dissuade you from doing this by telling you it will take an hour for a taxi to arrive and there is a 30% surcharge. This is because the hotel (probably informally) has a deal with some of the transport guys.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Rix E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sydney
Level Contributor
39 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed November 19, 2012

The accommodation : we stayed in an upstairs room. The accommodation is two levels in a kind of horseshoe shape. The rooms have an African feel to them and we had a little balcony overlooking an area where there are rhinos and zebras. I have to say its pretty amazing to open your door and see that. The bed was comfy and has a mosquito net around it. The bathroom goes with the theme, nothing fancy but adequate. You do get a bucket of carrots to throw to the animals. I have read reviews saying that the animals are not close enough but for the safety of you and them its common sense they are not going to be at your back door. The elephant rides go past the accommodation as well, which was nice to watch, although after seeing a few elephants out of control we decided against having a ride. All in all it is unique accommodation and very different. The pool is great, you can get a drink and float around watching the elephants pass by. The only downfall is it closes a bit early, around 8pm.

The restaurant was a disappointment. We booked the accommodation/dinner/lunch package and they give you a set menu which doesn't offer much. We ended up paying and ordered off the main menu. The positive is watching the lions while you are there. Yes they have a couple of jeeps keeping the lions from wandering off, but I am sure people would complain if they didn't get to see one. The lunch was in a restaurant inside the park itself. You are herded into a crowded room with a buffet that was constantly running out of food. Once again I would opt for paying and ordering something nice if I went again.

The park itself is great. We got to hold a baby orangutan which was so good. The elephant show was great also. We did the night safari (included in our package) and yes, most animals are away, but you still get to pat zebras and feed them from the car and get really close to the lions etc, its not often you would get that experience.

As a couple we stayed 2 nights and that was perfect as we got to do everything and relax and enjoy the view and pool as well. There is a rice field behind the accommodation and they do burn occasionally but then that's bali. We would definitely stay again, as its peaceful and so very different.

Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank jessiemax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
72 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2012

I wouldn't stay here anymore than 2 nights only because of the distance to the beaches but for the experience this is SOOOO worth it! Your room overlooks the game reserve and they leave buckets of carrots in your room so you can feed the rhinos and any other animal that comes to under your balcony.

A MASSIVE bonus (and I've visited the zoo on previous trips to Bali) is that during the day when you are visiting the zoo you can pop back to your room or the pool to have a rest before going back to the zoo!

The restaurant here at the resort is lovely always good food and reasonably priced!

I really loved this hotel, the pool is amazing and you can wave to people on the safari bus as they go through the game reserve

I loved how they drive you to the pool in the little safari mans jeep :)

I am only making sleep quality down because you hear animals all night :) adds to the charm though!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank sarebear007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
irela
Level Contributor
43 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed November 15, 2012

Stayed there 3 days ago for two nights. Traveling with family consisting of a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old boys. Arrived late at night around 8pm by taxi after a 2 hour drive from the airport. and entered the dark main gates of the park to arrive at the parks main reception. Nobody there as the park was already closed and it felt like a scene from 'night of the walking dead'. U need to arrive late at night to fully appreciate what i mean. I was expecting man eating zombies to pop out of nowhere as it was pretty quiet and isolated. When the driver arrived in the great big safari truck, he smiled and started to load our luggage up. Then we were driven in the dark windy roads past several scary looking statues and my 3 yr old wanted to turn back. But once we got to the main reception, the mood picked up and we were greeted by smiles all round. Speedy check in, a room close to reception (but far from the pool- had to walk for like 5 minutes, tsk tsk tsk...)and tired legs, we were soon fast asleep on the large and comfortable beds. There are 2 AC in the room but it took almost an hour for it to cool the room. The rooms are as previous reviews, large, decorative and kids friendly. The next morning, we woke up to zebras and rhinos grazing the land outside the patio. Very cool. The animals are released at around 7am hence expect a few birds prior to that. Breakfast was okay. Tsavo restaurant- a brilliant view of the pair of lions messing around with each other. But dinner here is priced at european standards so it is pretty pricey. The food, i think they try to combine western flavours with a bit of asian twist but all i tasted was chillies. The kids menu was alright. The boys ate and that is always a good sign. After breakfast activities involves free prowl of the park to see elephants, komodo dragons, tigers, snakes, etc etc etc. They rent out strollers just past the parks main reception for about 10euros which is reasonable. Shows are held to link the different parts of the park. You really want to be there around 10am otherwise youll miss the start of the piranha feeding. The beauty of staying in the park means we could head back to the room when the heat was too much! That we did after a quick lunch, a quick nap and woke up around 5 to head to the pool around 6. We had the pool to ourselves and swam with zebras about 10metres from us.
The hotel is pretty isolated hence we took a guide the next day. The hotel guide will overcharge by 10-20 euros hence we chose our taxi driver from the night before who gave us a full day's tour for around 450 000 rp.
Downside?
1.Poor wi fi signal in hotel room as well as hotel reception. It really did feel like we were in the middle of africa.
2.Expect to see some bugs crawling around the place. Didnt phase us much but cud imagine them frightening a lot of ppl.
3.Isolated, not much transport options to get out of the park apart from hiring a driver.

Overall the hotel is a good stay, good for kids, good exercise for parents, well equipped and different. Will be recommending this to friends in the future!
Enjoy!

Room Tip: We were upgraded to the upstairs tandala with a balcony. The balcony has nettings on the sides but o...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank xchalee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed November 15, 2012

Warning: We are two single, environmentally conscious people who like good local food and don't have a huge budget. This would be a different review if we were rich, loved meat, didn't care for the environment and had lots of kids. Or put another way if you don't mind tourist traps, caged animals and like going to Vegas, then you will enjoy this place.

Pros
- The Zoo part of this isn't that bad. The animals seem to have space and seem well treated. So many zoo-parks, especially in developing nations, are just prisons for animals. The one outside of Jakarta should be shut down and is Alcatraz compared to Mara River Safari Lodge.
- Friendly staff that really is trying. Not only are they friendly, but they seem to be really trying and are trained in customer service. That said ...well read the con.
- Room was clean, though basic with lots of little things wrong - see cons.
- The prices are high for the level of accommodation and food, but obviously you also get the animals so I suppose it balances it out.
- Tiger jumping on car - its a gimmick. But if you go take the night safari, they put you in a caged car and have pretty big tigers jump and climb around the car.

Cons - there are a lot of these:
- Restaurant is terrible. I don't know who they paid off for all the framed awards. They put sugar in everything. The sauces, juices, dressing. No concept of vegetarian food and too expensive and everything has meat. The two vegetarian dishes are smothered in sauce and cheese. Salad wasn't bad - just a lot of iceberg lettuce. I am not vegetarian, just like to eat veggies most of the time. Also the restaurant is laid like like a massive dormitory as if they expect 2000 people to come. It was a creepy and empty place to eat since the place seemed to be at 5% capacity.
- Though the staff is friendly (see Pros), they all seem like they just got out of training. I had to open my own bottle of wine, they messed up our order at the restaurant, didn't check us in properly, messed up our bill ... so many little things that you get the feeling everyone is new.
- SPA was terrible. My partner probably had the worst manicure of her life.
- WiFi didn't work.
- No concept of animal and environmental responsibility. What is happening to the environment right now in Indonesia is tragic. This type of place should have some education component. There weren't any recycle bins, no information on epic challenges befalling wild animals, no concept of social responsibility. They were most interested in creating Vegas-in-Bali-safari than anything else. Their animal "education" show ask people to take care of animals but says nothing to problems palm-oil plantations, corruption and illigeal logging. All the products came from non-sound-environmental background. No idea where the food comes from that we ate.
- Room was basic and clean, but so many little things were not work - Sink would detach if you pushed it, tv had no sound, no soap or toilet paper, etc...
- There are two type of tourists that come here - rich indonesians because the prices are way out reach for the average Indonesian. They were fine but tended to come with 10 kids. The second batch were mostly loud Australian tourists that must have weighed 400 pounds. Perhaps it was just a special week or something, but somehow word has gotten out that this is the place to be if you are white, pasty, unhealthy, don't care for the environment and want to eat massive sweetened steaks in a sweet stake sauce.
- Many weird little things - They had a DJ spinning music at the out door resturant with a club scene thing which is tragically out of place. Its like they tried to create the "W" experience and expected kids to show up at midnight. It was always empty and the thumping music was annoying. Fortunately you could only hear it in the restaurant, not your room. Another weird thing - we went out for our second evening (didn't want to eat at their resturant again) and came back around 11:30pm. There was no night watch man at the entrance. We had to guide the taxi through the dark park. We made a mistake (there are no signs) and it left us somewhere in the middle, right next to the white tiger and we had to find our way in the pitch black. Imagine staying at the Disneyland hotel and the taxi dropping off at a shutdown park right next to Pirates of the Caribbean and having to walk back in a dark park.

We feel bad leaving these negative review, but the reviews here are very misleading and thought we would get the word out.

Room Tip: Stay only one night, come with kids and eat outside.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank JamesGolder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
44 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed November 6, 2012

I have visited the Safari and Marine park a number of times, this was the first time I had stayed there. I loved the room and the bathroom, we were in the most basis, but it was still large, clean and well equipped. Was pretty amazing to open our curtains and look out onto a Rhino standing 20 metres from out small balcony. We stayed 2 nights and I loved being able to go back and forth into the park as often as we liked and have two days to see everything. Loved the restaurants, great breakfast and great overall service, the spa was great with lovely services. Lovely pool area overliking the Zebras and Rhinos
The only thing I would way was a disappointment is after staying at the hotel I would like to get a little bit more 'special' treatment at the park itself. We had to pay to use the pool area in the park and to use the rides. It was not much, however we had paid for two nights and all meals in the park, it would have been nice to get this extra little special deal.
Overall this was a nice place to stay, I would not return every year but I would stay here again in the future.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank TropicBali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mara River Safari Lodge

Property: Mara River Safari Lodge
Address: Km. 19 Jl. Prof Ida Bagus Mantra, 80551, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Bali > Gianyar
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Gianyar
#2 Spa Hotel in Gianyar
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Mara River Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 39
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mara River Safari Lodge is a themed resort that offers a truly unique experience. Accommodation is composed of a series of comfortably appointed thatched dwelling orientated towards a landscaped inhabited by wildlife. With the shadow of Bali's sacred Mount Agung looming in the distance, embrace the rare tranquility of this retreat as rhinos, zebras and oryx graze contentedly at close range. Savor the raw beauty surrounding the lodge, while lions majestically roar declaring their status as the king of the beasts. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mara River Safari Hotel Gianyar
Mara River Safari Resort
Mara River Safari Lodge Bali/Gianyar

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