This post is the second part of our Bali adventure – for parts one through six, please see below.
Travel to Bali – Cathay Pacific
Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah, Ubud Bali
Ubud – The Tour
Amankila – Part One
Amankila – Part Two
Seminyak, Bali – The Legian Hotel, Shopping and Eating
After we landed in Bali, we were immediately greeted when we stepped off from our plane by a representative from our hotel – Chedi Club – holding our names on a sign. Like many other higher end resorts in Bali, Chedi Club offers a service where your VOA (visa on arrival) is “expedited” – meaning you basically are walked past the immigration counters, while a representative takes your passport and gets all the stamps and forms. It’s can be a very useful service, especially if immigration lines are long (which does happen). When that occurs, you may be stuck in a very humid, non air conditioned environment for hours waiting.
However, we were one of the first off the plane and wouldn’t have had to wait anyway, so our VOA service wasn’t needed. The cost was about $30 extra for the two of us, so I was fine to pay it just for that extra insurance (I requested it before our flight). Then, we were escorted over to an air conditioned van with waters inside, and off we drove to the Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah! It was about an hour drive to the area of Ubud, where the hotel is located. When the van pulled into the hotel, we were then taken by a golf cart up to the main reception.
The main reception is the first building you see at Chedi, and the immediate detail I noticed was that this gorgeous place was completely empty! All of the couches and seats were free. It was almost surreal, especially since I’m used to resorts being full of people. This experience though was not unusual for Chedi, as you will soon see in all the photos – usually wherever we walked, we were the only people except for staff. It is because Chedi Club has only 20 villas and suites but huge grounds, so you often feel like you have the whole resort to yourself even if the hotel is full.
After we checked in (and feasted on some banana fritters that were brought to us), we were then driven in the buggy to our villa!
Our villa was a very nice size – you walked in and immediately saw the bedroom which was decorated with some great art pieces.
The bathroom had separate his and hers sinks (on two opposite sides) and a shower, all indoors. There was also a large soaking bath tub outdoors. I used the provided sea salts and had a very enjoyable time reading a book in the bath.
My favorite part of the villa though? The pool.
We booked a pool villa, and I was happy to see that it was actually a decent size (compared to the tiny plunge pools you see sometimes) and the water was always warm enough for us to just hop in and swim. There were also three separate areas for lounging – a large daybed (on the far right), two sun loungers (on the left), and a big dining/lounging area (center).
Another cool feature about our villa was that the doors facing the pool opened, so you could see out on the rice paddies (in complete privacy). You could also close the doors – we’d always leave ours open in the day, and someone would come by and shut ours during turndown service.
I loved our pool villa and I was really happy that we ended up booking it. I would recommend it to anybody. That being said, I know Chedi also offers a similar villa (without the pool) but a larger indoors space that comes with two 90 minute spa treatments daily for about the same price, which I also thought was very tempting. If you do go with this spa villa or one of the suites, rest assured that the general pool was beautiful and usually empty whenever we walked by. See?
Though we loved our villa, Chedi was too beautiful not to walk around some and explore the grounds. I mentioned earlier that the hotel was next to beautiful rice paddies (where farmers actually come and farm rice). There were plenty of areas where you could just sit and enjoy the atmosphere and view.
The reflection of the rice paddies. In May when we went, the rice was just being planted – when it’s fully grown and green and lush I think it must look stunning.
There were also ponds everywhere, with lily pads and lotus flowers. I pointed and said, “iPhone wallpaper!”. My husband didn’t find this clever at all, hmph.
A staff member told us that Chedi was near an elephant temple. You see them everywhere around the resort!
Frogs also made an appearance.
There was also an aviary which had a few birds. We dubbed this one a bird of the “Night’s Watch”, I’ve never seen one like this guy here before.
There was also a beautiful small lake on the property, which at any given time had a small flock of white and black swans, babies and fully grown. I can’t remember the last time I saw so many black swans all in one place.
I never actually fed the swans, but couldn’t help pretending that I had some food to very briefly win their interest.
Several times a day, we’d usually find ourselves walking over to the Chedi restaurant, which was a two minute walk from our villa.
The restaurant itself was very grand and open, but was kept cool by fans and never too hot.
There were musicians playing during breakfast and dinner, I loved it!
Each morning, we would walk over and eat at the furthest center table, which gave us a direct view of the rice paddies. You could also do room service though I thought the view was too beautiful not to be enjoyed.
Each morning we started off with some tea, coffee, and fresh juice.
Then we would have a fruit plate, some bircher muesli (my favorite), or maybe a fruit salad.
Then – the entrees would come! Breakfast at Chedi was ordered entirely off the menu (no buffet) and a multi course offering. Some simple poached eggs, chicken sausage and mushrooms.
An Indonesian breakfast entree – martabak, which at Chedi meant either a seafood or chicken savory “pancake”. It was delicious, and was served with some vegetables on the side.
And a sweet offering – fresh banana pancakes.
Each morning my husband and I would usually choose one Indonesian and one Western entree, and share. Every morning we’d also receive a bread basket (with the BEST pain au chocolat!). See the view?
The jams were freshly made each morning and seemed to vary. Below was a banana, strawberry and orange day.
We also had a few other meals and snacks at Chedi – our favorite was probably the classic Nasi Goreng fried rice dish.
Our final night in Chedi I booked us a private dinner in the middle of the rice paddies. The staff set up a private table and lit candles along the path for us to walk along, so we could dine in complete privacy, lit only by candlelight. The food was a set four course menu and was very yummy. I wish I had photos but it was too dark, so I found this on Chedi’s website.
This was exactly how our table was set up. I would highly recommend this activity if you’re on a romantic trip. The price was quite reasonable in my opinion – at $200 it was in line with other top resorts in Bali (including food, service and tax – but not drinks).
I was very impressed by all the food at the Chedi Club. It was also the only hotel we stayed at where the chef (Chef Dean) came and introduced himself and asked us to please let him know if we had any special requests. Kudos to Chef Dean!
Overall I really enjoyed our time at Chedi Club. The villa was lovely (and I hear they are going to be updated this year), the food was delicious and the setting was unbelievable. The first morning we spent at Chedi eating breakfast over the paddies, I just felt so lucky to be in such a lovely place.
I know that quite a few readers are very discerning luxury travelers, so I will mention a few details. Service was almost always excellent at Chedi, with a few minor exceptions. Chedi operates under a “butler” system where each villa has its own butler. While this sounds nice, I think multiple villas (3?) share a butler and there were a few times when ours was randomly unavailable and things were missed. You are also for the lack of a better term, “stuck” with your butler. Some are really great, some are okay. Ours I would probably rate as “good” – he was fine, but was slightly too aggressive in pushing us to try some of the resort’s paid activities. We also had a miscommunication with our VOA service but I didn’t pursue it.
These are super small issues though, and I have no doubt that the hotel would 100% rectify any service related issues you might come across. We would return back to Chedi in a heart beat, and I can only imagine how the hotel will be with newly renovated rooms. Highly recommended for a Bali stay and I hope I will be back!
One last photo of this magical hotel, at sunset.
Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments, I have been receiving emails from quite a few future Bali travelers and am happy to help if I can. My next post will cover some of the sights we visited in and around Ubud (and I have two more hotel reviews coming up as well).