Tanah Gajah – Like an art museum, with opulent and individually-designed villas among vast gardens.
Formerly a private guesthouse owned by a Balinese art collector, this is one of the largest, oldest, and most memorable hotels in Ubud. The grounds feature statues, rice fields, and ponds packed with swans, and are extensive enough to feature an organic vegetable garden, tennis court, temple, and art gallery. There are only twenty suites and villas (with private pools), each separately designed and traditionally furnished, featuring carved bed-stands, outdoor sunken bathtubs, and even fireplaces. Accommodations are spread out, providing genuine privacy, and the long pool is surrounded by lotus ponds and immaculate lawns. Downtown Ubud is a short ride away by free shuttle service, and the impressive Goa Gajah temple is within walking distance.
Tanah Gajah – The Location
- Address: Jalan Pasung Grigis, a side-street from the main road (Jalan Raya Goa Gajah). About 4 km east of central Ubud, the most popular tourist region in central Bali.
- Area: Along the road between Ubud and Goa Gajah temple. Isolated, with almost nothing close by and accessible on foot.
- How to Get There: Best to arrange an airport pickup with the hotel, which is about 75 minutes (40 km) away (depending on traffic). See other options under “Local Transport” below.
- Handy to: Goa Gajah cave temple. Yeh Pulu rock carvings.
Tanah Gajah – The Basics
- Guests: Caters mainly to couples, mostly older ones who appreciate the setting and seclusion, but families are welcome and would cherish the spacious setting.
- Views: Views of the heavenly countryside include rice fields, lawns, and ponds (with swans). On a clear day, the distant Agung volcano can be seen.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Some villas feature private pools, while the single Hadiprana Villa has a pool and a jacuzzi.
- Extras: Afternoon tea, best enjoyed in a gazebo on the lawn. Yoga lessons. Free transfers to central Ubud.
- Wi-Fi: Available free throughout for all guests.
- Parking: Plenty of free and secure parking spots, but think long and hard before driving anywhere in Bali.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: (0)361 975 685
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: tanahgajahubud.com
Tanah Gajah – Amenities
- Pool: The main pool is long and lovely. Surrounded by immaculate lawns and lotus ponds, and lined with fountains inspired by Hinduism.
- Spa: The spa is very elegant. Offers special rooms facing rice fields, signature massages, and cream baths.
- Fitness Center: Fair size and well-equipped, also with exquisite rice field views. Free yoga lessons.
- Activities: Tennis court. Cooking classes. Rice field walks. Tours, treks, and trips to ceremonies.
- Other Facilities: Hindu temple. Organic garden. Art gallery with works collated by the owner. Souvenir shop.
Tanah Gajah – Food and Drink
- Restaurant & Bar: The restaurant is impeccably located within a secluded section of the extensive grounds, offering rice field views in all directions, and is decorated with Balinese arts and crafts. Many ingredients (including rice) are sourced from the hotel’s organic gardens. The bar is alongside the pool, and restaurant meals can also be enjoyed there.
- Breakfast: Included in all rates.
- Room Service: Available from about 7 am to 9.30 pm.
Tanah Gajah – Rooms
- Room Types: Suite • Pool Villa • Family Villa • Hadiprana Villa (1 only)
- Smoking Rooms: Contact management about its strict policy regarding smoking on the grounds.
- Best Room: The sole Hadiprana Villa is designed for Balinese royalty. Named after the owner/founder, it resembles a mansion, with 2 bedrooms packed with arts/crafts, as well as a jacuzzi, separate living area, and extended pool.
- For Families: Family Villas are spacious, each with a private pool, lush gardens, and even a butler (who can double as a childminder). Easily caters for a family of 4. The 2-bedroom Hadiprana Villa can accommodate 6.
Tanah Gajah – Local Transport
- Walking & Cycling: The main road just up the quieter lane from the resort is ugly and noisy, with potholed sidewalks, and very little is within walking distance anyway. It is possible, but not that enjoyable, to cycle from the resort to Goa Gajah and Yeh Pulu (see “Attractions” below). Ask about bike rental at reception.
- Public Transport: There is no reliable public transport anywhere in or around Ubud.
- Cars, Motorbikes, & Taxis: Car rental can be arranged at the resort, but driving anywhere in Bali is not recommended. Motorbikes are easy to organize from agencies in Ubud and popular for visiting local attractions without the traffic of southern Bali. Metered taxis from southern Bali can drop passengers off in Ubud but are forbidden to operate here. So the best (and really, only) option for day trips is to charter a car with a driver through the hotel.
- Shuttle Bus: For towns popular with tourists (e.g. Kuta and Lovina) shuttle buses are comfortable and cheap, if a little overcrowded at times. Local operators, as well as the major island-wide company, Perama, will normally pick up (but not drop off) guests from hotels. But they won’t come this far, so get a hotel transfer to/from Ubud. The Kura-Kura Bus company links Ubud with southern Bali, but schedules are convoluted and routes confusing.
Tanah Gajah – What’s Nearby?
Best Nearby Restaurants & Bars
- Bebek Tepi Sawah – The only place worth visiting on foot. One among a chain of much-loved cafés specializing in crispy duck. Gorgeous garden setting and exquisite food. About 1 km west along the main road.
Otherwise, organize a lift from the hotel to one of these special places in Ubud:
- Ibu Rai Restaurant – Been around since the ‘70s (but moved since). Still one of the finest for its elegant setting and extensive menu.
- Ibu Oka – Offers almost nothing but babi guling (roast pig), a Balinese specialty. The outlet along Jalan Suweta is more spacious, and guests can peek into the kitchen (animal lovers beware).
- Murni’s Warung – On 4 levels, facing a river and ravine. Local favorite since 1974 for Indonesian, Thai, and French food. Art shop inside.
- Bridges Bali – Super-swish and award-winning, with an extensive wine list, live music, valley views, and 5-star service.
- Minimart at the turn-off to the hotel from the main road, but nothing else nearby, so organize a hotel transfer to Monkey Forest or Hanoman road, and/or the produce and art markets in central Ubud.
While the main road from the hotel to Goa Gajah is busy and a little steep in parts, the area between Goa Gajah and Yeh Pulu is delightfully shady, flat, and quiet.
- Goa Gajah – Mysterious and fascinating ‘Elephant Cave’ with a divine setting. Open from 7 am, so arrive before 9 am to avoid the bus hordes. Only 700m east along the road from the hotel.
- Yeh Pulu – Ask directions from Goa Gajah to these rock carvings. They are a little underwhelming, but the general area and the access lane among rice fields are heavenly.