Asia Hotels Travel

Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah, Ubud Bali

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.

Chedi Entrance

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!

Chedi Villas

Our villa was a very nice size – you walked in and immediately saw the bedroom which was decorated with some great art pieces.

Chedi Bedroom

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.

Chedi Bathtub

My favorite part of the villa though? The pool.

Chedi Pool 2

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.

Chedi Pool

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?

Chedi Main Pool

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.

Chedi Rice Bale

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.

Chedi Paddy

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.

Chedi Lotus

A staff member told us that Chedi was near an elephant temple. You see them everywhere around the resort!

Chedi Pool Elephants

Chedi Statue

Frogs also made an appearance.

Chedi Frogs

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.

Chedi Aviary

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.

Chedi Swans

I never actually fed the swans, but couldn’t help pretending that I had some food to very briefly win their interest.

Chedi Feeding Swans

Several times a day, we’d usually find ourselves walking over to the Chedi restaurant, which was a two minute walk from our villa.

Chedi Restaurant

The restaurant itself was very grand and open, but was kept cool by fans and never too hot.

Chedi Dining

There were musicians playing during breakfast and dinner, I loved it!

Chedi Musicians

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.

Chedi Rice Flower

Chedi Farmer

Each morning we started off with some tea, coffee, and fresh juice.

Chedi Juice

Then we would have a fruit plate, some bircher muesli (my favorite), or maybe a fruit salad.

Chedi Muesli

Chedi Fruit

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.

Chedi Eggs

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.

Chedi Martabak

Chedi Vegetables

And a sweet offering – fresh banana pancakes.

Chedi 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?

Chedi Breakfast View

The jams were freshly made each morning and seemed to vary. Below was a banana, strawberry and orange day.

Chedi James

We also had a few other meals and snacks at Chedi – our favorite was probably the classic Nasi Goreng fried rice dish.

Chedi Nasi Goreng

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.

Image Gallery 1 The Chedi Club Ubud - Dining_Rice Field Private Dining_v-1 - RICE PADDY ROMANTIC DINNER

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.

Chedi Paddy Night

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).

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  • Ella Pretty Blog
    June 3, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Thanks for taking us on a virtual holiday 🙂 my favorite was the food pics – everything looks so fresh and delicious! The secluded atmosphere seems wonderful – like it would immediately get rid of a year’s worth of stress!

    I’m trying to book a resort holiday for my family – and I’m going slightly cross eyed trying to figure everything out … Apparently there is a resort within a resort which is more family friendly… And I have to be sure to get a room with a concierge or we’ll have to wait in the lobby to make dinner reservations! All the insider information is really good … but I wish it wasn’t such a chore to figure out :-p

    MY BLOG: ♥♥♥ Ella Pretty ♥♥♥

    • Ella Pretty Blog
      June 3, 2013 at 9:28 am

      I meant to add in case it wasn’t clear – we’re not planning it at this lovely resort LOL … But I wish someone has wrote such an in depth review of the place we are looking at (its in Punta Cana)

      • Katherine
        June 3, 2013 at 9:31 am

        Thanks Ella! I hope you find the information you’re looking for in Punta Cana (which I’d love to visit one day, by the way!).

        • Jean
          June 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm

          I agree, all of your travel posts are like little virtual holidays for me! Love the plane reviews and all of the food and scenery photos.

          • Katherine
            June 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm

            Thanks Jean! I hope you enjoyed your holiday too, I’d love to go to Scotland 🙂

  • Emily
    June 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Katherine:
    Thanks for another great travel review. How was the weather? Was it very hot and humid? You and your husband should consider a trip to South Africa. I think you would really enjoy it.

    • Katherine
      June 3, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Emily, you are right on point and we are planning on going! Any recommendations?

      • Anonymous
        June 3, 2013 at 8:39 pm

        Make sure you go in their summer. We went in April and the weather was not great. In Cape Town we stayed at the 12 Apostles – which is off the beaten path but in a beautiful location. In Johannesburg we stayed at The Saxon – incredibly luxurious, I also recommend a trip to Livingstone, Zambia to see Victoria Falls in the spring. We stayed at The Royal Livingstone Hotel which was lovely. You can take a day trip to Botswana and go on a game drive in Chobe national Park. We had a great time.

        • Katherine
          June 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm

          Thank you – we are scheduled right now in a few months which I am not sure is the best time but I hope it will be okay 🙂 You stayed at some great hotels! I remember seeing photos of the 12 Apostles and it was so beautiful. No Victoria Falls for us this time but I already think we are going to have to make several trips to Africa. It is so far though..

      • Emily
        June 3, 2013 at 8:41 pm

        Cape Town is beautiful, Johannesburg is worth a Two day visit to see how everyone loves behind high walls. We also went to Zambia (Victoria Falls) and Botswana (day trip to Chobe Park for a game drive).

        • Emily
          June 3, 2013 at 8:42 pm

          Oops meant lives behind walls!

          • Katherine
            June 3, 2013 at 8:46 pm

            Oh I didn’t know that! I’d love to see that.

  • Tabitha
    June 3, 2013 at 11:33 am

    That looks glorious, I see heat and humidity and want to the nth degree.

  • Belen
    June 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    It feels truly like going on a virtual vacation. Thank you for such detailed posts! Looking forward to the rest!

    • Katherine
      June 3, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks Belen!

      • Belen
        June 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm

        BTW, I forgot: the bird is a palm cockatoo. I own a few parrots myself (not like that one though!).

        • Katherine
          June 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm

          Oh thank you! I LOVE birds and want to get a parrot myself one day 🙂

  • Jess
    June 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Always love your travel blogs Katherine! I’ll be sure to look back at these when I plan a trip to Bali in a few years!

    • Katherine
      June 3, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks and lucky you Jess to go back! Let me know if you need recommendations.

  • Robin
    June 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Loved seeing this! I went there on my honeymoon about a year ago, brought back so many memories. We stayed in Nusa Dua and Seminyak, though and only went through Ubad on day trips. Thanks for this!

    • Katherine
      June 3, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      Thank you! I hope you enjoyed your honeymoon.

  • Marlene @ chocolatecookiesandcandies
    June 3, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Can you believe it? I’ve never been to Bali and the hubby grew up in Indonesia. Shame on us. The photos are breathtaking. Would so love to go there one day.

    • Katherine
      June 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      You have to go! It’s amazing!

  • Sonita Lontoh
    June 4, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Awesome post, Katherine!

    Next time you guys are in Ubud, try the Como Shambala Estate (used to be called the Begawan Giri). It’s amazing! http://www.comohotels.com/comoshambhalaestate/about

    And should you want to go to beaches, try all the great villas/hotels in Seminyak.

    Cheers,
    Sonita

    • Katherine
      June 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      I almost stayed at COMO! I would love to next time. We were short on time and I wanted to see a few other places outside of Ubud. Did you enjoy it, and which villa area did you stay in?

      • Sonita Lontoh
        June 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm

        Katherine,

        We stayed at the Wanakasa, one of the residences. It’s amazing! (all of them are). It’s a huge, gigantic tree house with its own hanging infinity pool. Look at this photo: http://www.comohotels.com/comoshambhalaestate/accommodation/residences/wanakasa
        We also liked the Tirta Ening residence: http://www.comohotels.com/comoshambhalaestate/accommodation/residences/tirta-ening
        Como’s ground is just breathtaking as it’s situated on a cliff off the Ayung river. It’s very rustic with beautiful twists and turns (almost like an Indiana Jones setting for adults, but luxurious) 🙂

        Yes, you should explore outside Ubud next time. Go the beach villas in Seminyak or Jimbaran. I found Nusa Dua a bit too sterile (but nice, though). People say the Bulgari resort is also breathtaking (haven’t been) because of the setting off of a cliff towards the ocean.

        Cheers,
        Sonita

        • Katherine
          June 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm

          Thank you! We did go to Seminyak 🙂 But yes, Como is on our list for next time!!

  • Naaj Rona
    June 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    OMG, the place is damn beautiful and the view is just breathtaking. The food looks yummy, those mini cones are just so cute.

    naajronaslifestyle.blogspot.co.uk

  • Mel
    June 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I honestly would not have thought of rice fields as stunning — but your photos proved me wrong! Gorgeous resort.

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living
    June 4, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    We stayed in Seminyak when we visited Bali, but I would visit Ubud for sure!
    By the way, if you have time during your next visit, you should consider Mozaic restaurant in Ubud. The chef’s table tasting was incredibly well priced at around $100/person and it was a nice setting with a few other tables.

    I will definitely look into Chedi Club for the next visit! Random aside – my friend stayed at new, open villas in Bali (I forget the area) and was terrified because she said there were lots of rats in the rice paddies. Did you ever have the problem?

    xoxo,
    Chic ‘n Cheap Living

    • Katherine
      June 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      I’d love to go to Mozaic, we heard great things and just were too jet lagged to make it out those first few nights. And NO I hadn’t heard of the rats – that is disturbing. Were the villas Alila?

  • Chic 'n Cheap Living
    June 4, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    p.s. I just put up a post on Paris sights and thought of your prior posts. I am aiming to get to a few major consignment stores and report back!
    I will also do a macaron taste test post, hehe.

    xoxo,
    Chic ‘n Cheap Living

    • Katherine
      June 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      Ooh looking forward to that! Please do!

      • Chic 'n Cheap Living
        June 6, 2013 at 8:47 am

        The Macaron post or consignment store post, hehe? I feel like I didn’t have enough Laduree macarons to warrant a true taste test.
        I did get to a few high end consignment stores in Paris and it was quite an experience. I hope to cover a few more next time and really compare the selection.
        I’ll report back in September!

  • Adele
    June 5, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I really enjoyed seeing your photos Katherine, it brought back fond memories of our holiday to Bali. The resort looks similar too & when you go out & about you soon realise that all those beautiful carved statues are made locally.
    Happy Wednesday Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • candace | yogabycandace
    June 9, 2013 at 10:39 am

    These pictures and your descriptions are amazing – I felt like I just got back from vacation after reading it haha. I hope to one day make it to Bali – I have friends who just came back from Ubud and LOVED it.

  • Angeline
    June 10, 2013 at 10:25 am

    thanks for the awesome review from your cathay flight and now the resort! bali is on my to-do list. i am not a nature person and was wondering how eating in the open restaurant for breakfast and the dinner in the rice paddies was. were there any mosquito/bug issues? that is what i am afraid of the most. was your room air conditioned? thanks!

    • Katherine
      June 10, 2013 at 10:54 am

      The open area was totally fine and no bugs for me. The resort I believe lights citronella candles everywhere and also in each room there is a natural (non chemical) repellant lotion that you can use. I think you’d still enjoy it, it was just like a regular restaurant but with anice view 🙂

      In Bali because of the heat you will always see a few bugs even in the very top resorts but they are harmless and I think you will be fine. I am also scared of bugs!

      Yup the room was air conditioned!

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