Having just left a quiet, jungle paradise, the the chaos and people of Ubud was a strange site. I wondered how we would get to a hotel that advertised itself as a retreat and boasted peace and tranquillity. Then, just as quickly as we entered the madness, we left it. Just a few minutes later, we turned into an unassuming, small parking lot. Really? This was it? This was the Wapa di Ume resort? But after checking in, we made it past the reception area, and discovered a vast resort, hidden away in rice fields, that provided us with the most luxurious room and experience we had on the entire trip.
We were fortunate to have had our travel agent book a pool villa. We walked into this room and were immediately blown away. The room was massive. On the left, there was a huge master bed surrounded in romantic netting. On the right was a traditional Indonesian sitting area, with comfy cushions and a table furnished with fresh fruit. The double bed tucked in the corner, also with netting for privacy. There was a twin bed in the room as well, but that was only used for my daughters stuffies. Both kids wanted to sleep in the double bed with the netting. Go figure.
Through a hallway, there is a massive bathroom. The bathroom has a giant tub that you could sink your whole body in (both my daughter and I took advantage of this). But the coolest feature of this bathroom, an outdoor shower! I had seen these on Instagram and was so excited. It’s romantic, it’s a novelty. It’s also a bit weird. You can hear people talking as they walk by, and I couldn’t help thinking about the fact I was naked and there was only a wall between us. That’s my personal hang-up. My son actually quite enjoyed it!
However, the best part of a pool villa, as you can imagine, is the private pool! Out the back of the room were sliding glass doors onto a private outdoor area. There were two loungers and a pool for our own use. I will admit it was much deeper than we all expected. Neither child could stand in the water. Thankfully, my daughter had started to master swimming at this point, but we made sure an adult was always outside or in the pool with her when they were swimming.
Next to the pool was a covered outdoor seating area. My husband and I would often have an afternoon coffee sitting at the table, while the kids played in the room or in the pool. I loved to sit on that table, look out at the rice paddies, and write. It was my favorite place, and I imagined being able to do that forever.
The Resort Grounds
The Wapa di Ume advertises itself as a resort that offers peace and tranquility, and that’s exactly what you get at this resort. Set along rice paddies, each villa is enclosed so you feel like you are in your own personal oasis. But as you walk the grounds, you see the amazing architecture, and other amenities it offers. There are paths through the rice paddies, so you can take a quiet, peaceful walk. There are actually two sides to the resort, with a bridge connecting the two. The bridge, with it’s greenery covering it, is a sweet place to look out, think, and enjoy the view. All around the grounds are status dedicated to Hindu dirties. As we were there, it was close to the festival of Galungan, so we saw many of the statues and mini temples were decorated with flowers and other offerings.
The Wapa de Ume only two restaurants, but we only ever made it to Wapa’s Restaurant on the other side of the resort. Every morning, breakfast was served on a terrace of Mr. Wayan Balinese Restaurant that overlooks the rice paddies. We were able to eat a main entree, fruit, bread, juice of the day, and of course, coffee and tea. The kids found out on day two they could request a hot chocolate for which they were ecstatic. The food was a mix of Indoenisn favorites and western breakfast options. While my picky daughter gorged on french toast and pancakes, my son was able to experiment. My husband and I enjoyed all the Indonesian dishes. We both agreed that the Burbur Ayam was the best dish we had for breakfast anywhere. The chicken broth was perfectly seasoned, the mix of white and red rice made up the porridge that added a nutty flavor, and the dish was spiced just right.
After breakfast Mr. Wayan is opened to the public for lunch and dinner. The menu focuses on the intricate Balinese cuisine with it’s rich spices, and focus on sea food. There is a kids menu, but the kids menu is kid friendly Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng and Sate. You won’t find pasta or pizza on this menu. Here my husband and I indulged in some dishes with more of a traditional twist. My husband enjoyed Bebek Megoreng, a crispy duck dish with a trio of sambels. I at a braised beef dish called Be Sampi Mebase Bali, with a side of red rice. And we all enjoyed the Bergdel (corn fritters) as a starter and Bubuh Injin(black coconut rice) for dessert. The prices are a bit more steep here compared to town, but not as high as other resorts.
Besides the grounds itself, the resort had a whole series of amenities you could take advantage of. To be honest, we only took advantage of a few.
The resorts boats two beautiful infinity pools. One was actually very close to our room, but we didn’t discover it until our second to last day. (Our private pool was a little too inviting. ) In addition, there is a supposed to be a lovely spa right on premise. We found ourselves in town most days where we could get good massages at extremely reasonable prices. In Ubud you can easily find an hour massage for 100,000 Indonesian rupiah (about $7), so it didn’t use the hotel spa facilities at a higher cost. However, I hear it is highly rated.
We did take advantage of a few amenities. I was determined to get some yoga in, so the last day, my daughter and I made it to the morning yoga class in the onsite studio. It was a full class, and it was a wonderful mix of light, easy breathing, stretching, and body conditioning. Nothing too taxing as the heat and humidity start early on the island. It was my daughters first time, and the teacher was very patient with her, coming over and correcting her posture and helping her into the more difficult positions. I’m out of shape, so he also had the straps, blocks, and bolsters I needed to get myself anywhere close to some of the positions.
In addition, my son and husband checked out the fitness center while my daughter and I were at yoga. My husband watched my son go on the treadmill for 10 minutes. My husband that vacation is a time free of workouts, and it was too hot to even try. My son wanted to make sure we tried it so he took one for the team. He seemed to enjoy it, so we will give it a thumbs up.
I always believe there are two sides to every story and no hotel is perfect. There were a few cons to this hotel I feel the need to highlight.
The biggest con one was the WiFi situation. The hotel boasts a place of peace and tranquility, and so there are no televisions or radios in the room. That’s fine, but they claim to have WiFi in all the rooms. I don’t know if we had a bad receiver, (they came to fix it twice but it didn’t change the situation), but we had almost no WiFi in the room. One minute, you thought you had a signal. Just as you were about the post, see the site you wanted to see, get the show to start, etc., the signal dropped. The WiFi in the reception was excellent and thankfully, we were not too far from it. But even in the restaurant right above the reception, the WiFi signal would often be spotty and drop. We found ourselves sitting in the reception at night uploading photos to the cloud, doing our video calls, etc. The kids were regulated to their downloaded shows and they complained bitterly about no access to Netflix, YouTube, or even real TV (the horror!).
The second con was the shuttle. The hotel does have a shuttle to town, but it only leaves every hour on the hour and only has nine seats. If more than nine people wanted to go into town, you had to wait until the shuttle went back, drops off the passengers, and then turns around to pick you up. Same with the return trip. If there is traffic this could take up to 30 minutes. If you are going into town, it’s pleasant to by the baron the hotel. But in town, you were waiting at the corner of the palace, where there was no seats and almost no shade. One night we paid way too much for a 10 minute taxi ride back to the hotel just so we wouldn’t have to wait with the kids that were basically asleep on their feet.
The third con, and it’s mostly a pet peeve, was the depth of the private pool. I know, I know, I’m a spoiled brat complaining about the private pool. But it seems clear to me that the pool villa is set up for a family. So it was surprising to me that the pool was so deep. Even I, at the shallowest end, was almost up to my neck. At the deep end it was over my head. Thankfully my children can swim. But if you are coming with younger children, you will need to make sure they are confident swimmers, or bring flotation devices with you.
If you are looking for tranquility, luxury, and beauty then this is the place to book in Ubud. Just outside of town, but close enough to still enjoy all the shopping, spas and restaurants that Ubud has to offer. It’s simply beautiful, and we enjoyed every minute we spent in the resort and the room. Everyone was relaxed after our stay at the Wapa di Ume. It was a beautiful place and we would stay again. This place I to get away from it all and relax. This is a place to connect as a family and enjoy each other’s company. WiFi is a bit sparse, but the atmosphere is worth it.
This trip was part of our series Robin Turns 40 – Celebrating in Bali, Indonesia
* Stared photos taken by Atma Photography
** The family photography session was done by Gusmunk for Flytographer