The Hanging Gardens of Ubud is home of the world’s most photographed pool and deservingly so.
Fearing that this might be all there is to the resort would be unfair for the Hanging Gardens is a very well rounded resort with much more than just the pool. Read this Hanging Gardens review for the inside scoop.
Perched on a hillside in the middle of the lost jungles of Ubud the resort is made of around 40 rooms set on a slope and surrounding the famous pool. All guest rooms have infinity pools that hang into the jungle and a sun deck to relax. To have an extra special experience, the two panoramic villas have an additional living room and larger deck area and are set at the top of the hill for even more breathtaking panoramic views.
Because the hotel is on a steep slope there are two cable cars ferrying guests up and down the resort.
Wandering down for breakfast after a late night check in the double level infinity pool appeared pinely. The jungle is lush, dark green and thick and in the distance you can almost guess the sound of the nearby river flowing. The pool, and the entire resort, faces a relatively new temple perched on the hillside across the river valley and the undulating dark grey stone pool dissolves into the horizon. It is a sight to behold and which will stay with you for hours and days. Breakfast goes on, for several minutes, and you want the hunger to never end to have an excuse to continue staring at the water from above.
And then you descend and get up and close with the clear water and the flowing cascade splashing onto the second lower pool. The water is cold as the sun’s heat does not manage to warm it in between the clouds and the cooler nights.
Cameras are on a constant shooting mode. Guests take turns awaiting for the previous guest to take as many photos as they would if they were in front of other world famous sites like the Tour Eiffel or the London Bridge. They pose and turn, they lay, they sit, they stare into the horizon. And then, they swap, to take photos of each other. It is Saturday morning and the breakfast rush is in full swing. Guests who, like us, checked in late the previous night are feasting on the view and the background. The best frame, I think to myself as I hear the cameras snapping on repeat.
Finally it is our turn and I make the most of it. All other guests have dissipated and we take shots from above, from the pool level, close ups, perspective ones, panoramic photos, blurred, focused… Until we exhaust all ideas.
Beyond the pool the Hanging Gardens is an extremely pretty, well done and well managed resort. The staff has worked at the resort for a long time and things simply work as they should, no unexpected surprises and lots of small details that make your stay extra special.
Although Ubud is in Bali, in the dry summer months, the island can be slightly cooler at nights and the lush jungle stays like that thanks to copious amounts of rain. Often times resorts with private pool villas will end up having really cold water that makes the enjoyment of the pool difficult. The Hanging Gardens has solved this issue by heating the pools. Get in and relax.
Just like anywhere else in Bali the staff is very kind and have a sense of pride for working in such lovely surroundings. Who wouldn’t. Most of them are from the surrounding villages and usually go the extra mile to make you feel at home.
If you manage to overcome the gargantuan laziness and leave your private villa without making it down to the pool there is a long list of activities the hotel can hep organise. From river rafting to cycling tours to climbing Batur volcano.
With a setting like this the hotel is the perfect romantic destination. Beyond private dinners in your villa there are a few experiences that are worth mentioning. The hotel organises picnics in secret locations, dinners in local villages where the village chief will explain the meaning of each traditional dance or even a dinner where an Indonesian quartet will serenade your meal. But there is a special experience that stands above the rest: the Temple dinner.
Across the valley in front of the resort there is a Buddhist temple which descends onto the side of the hill into a small patio. This area is a magical setting for that memorable dinner. A private BBQ with your own chef, you own waiter and your own giant gecko which you can only hear and not see. A large candle shaped heart awaits at the bottom of the stairs leading you towards the gazebo where the table rests. A full Indonesian meal is served as you stare into the night. It is hard to find a more beautiful setting. From this vantage point the resort looks even more majestic. After dinner, you will receive a blessing from a Buddhist priest and then end the night with a relaxing massage by the river.
If you are ever in Ubud this is the place to stay and if you are ever in Bali, consider spending a couple of days in Ubud to experience the island life away from the crowds that fill Seminyak or Jimbaran.
Have you been to Ubud Hanging Gardens?
Once in a Lifetime Journey paid for this stay. All reviews always my own.