Nick’s Pension Hotel in Ubud, Bali

by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 9, 2019

Review of Nick's Pension in Ubud, Bali.

Nick’s Pension Hotel – Traditional and mid-priced option that’s oh-so-convenient yet oh-so-serene.

Arguably boasting the primest location in downtown Ubud, bungalows face fertile rice fields alongside a quiet suburban street, or front a creek with a bridge and temple. Yet it’s only a few minutes’ walk from so many shops and cafés along Monkey Forest Road. One of Ubud’s oldest and most affordable, Nick’s offers so much charm, shade, and serenity. Most rooms are bright and airy, and all are traditionally designed and modestly furnished, without anything trendy such as sliding doors or open-air showers. The gardens, with mossy paths meandering past Balinese statues, are glorious, while the decent-sized pool alongside the café overlooks the hotel’s own rice fields.

Nick’s Pension Hotel – The Location

  • Address: The main vehicle entrance is along Jalan Bisma, a remarkably quiet street in central Ubud, the most popular tourist region in central Bali. Another side entrance for those on foot is very close to Monkey Forest road, along which there are endless shops and cafés in all directions.
  • Area: Probably the premier location anywhere in central Ubud. Forested setting stretching between 2 main roads: Jalan Monkey Forest and Jalan Bisma. To reach Monkey Forest Road, cross the bridge within the hotel grounds, and stroll 150m up the lane.
  • How to Get There: Best to arrange an airport pickup with the hotel, which is about 1 hour (38km) away, depending on traffic. See other options under “Local Transport” below.
  • Handy to: Pondok Pekak Library. Monkey Forest. Ubud Market.

Nick’s Pension Hotel – The Basics

  • Guests: Main focus is on couples and small groups seeking a mid-priced non-resort in the midst of central Ubud.
  • Views: All rooms face the gardens, with many also overlooking the creek, ravine, forest, or rice fields.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: Not expected or provided at this sort of mid-range and old-fashioned hotel in Ubud.
  • Wi-Fi: Available free throughout for all guests, but sometimes less reliable further from the lobby.
  • Parking: Only a couple of free and secure spots at the Jalan Bisma entrance, but think long and hard before driving anywhere in Bali.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: (0)361 975 636
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: nickspensionbali.com

Nick’s Pension Hotel – Amenities

  • Pool: Unexceptional, but a reasonable size. Enhanced by the location alongside rice fields.
  • Spa & Fitness Center: Not expected or provided.

Nick’s Pension Hotel – Food and Drink

  • Restaurant & Bar: The café along Jalan Bisma street struggles to compete against the more inviting rivals, but offers an impressive range of meals in a quiet setting.
  • Breakfast: Usually included in all rates, but double-check when booking.
  • Room Service: Available from about 7 am to 10 pm.

Nick’s Pension Hotel – Rooms

  • Room Types: Standard Rooms • Superior Rooms • Deluxe Rooms
  • Smoking Rooms: No smoking in the rooms or public areas, but permitted elsewhere.
  • Best Room: Deluxe Rooms are the most spacious. In a tranquil area among rice fields, or facing the creek in the forested lower level.
  • For Families: Each room can fit in at least 1 extra single bed, possibly 2. No connecting rooms, but possible to book 2 rooms sharing a building, i.e. 1 room downstairs and another above it.

Nick’s Pension Hotel – Local Transport

  • Walking & Cycling: Ubud is surprisingly spread out and distances can be deceivingly long, but there are enough places to eat, drink, and shop within walking distance of the resort. A few hardy expats ride bicycles but traffic in central Ubud and hilly roads elsewhere ensure that cycling is rarely enjoyable. However, Jalan Bisma is comparatively quiet and reasonably flat. Ask at reception about bike rentals.
  • Public Transport: There is no reliable public transport anywhere in or around Ubud.
  • Cars, Motorbikes, & Taxis: Driving a car is not recommended anywhere in Bali, but motorbikes are popular for visiting local attractions without the traffic of southern Bali. Both can be arranged at agencies in Ubud or the hotel. 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. This is best organized through the resort.
  • 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, including the major island-wide company, Perama, will pick up (but not drop off) guests from hotels. The Kura-Kura Bus company links Ubud with southern Bali, but schedules are convoluted and routes, confusing.

Nick’s Pension Hotel – What’s Nearby?

Restaurants & Bars

    With 2 exits, the choice is doubled. From the main vehicle entrance (alongside the hotel café), these places along Jalan Bisma are very quiet, with minimal traffic and crowds:

  • Alam Pizza Ubud – Quaint Italian-Balinese eatery, popular for cocktail hours and friendly family-run vibe. 1-minute walk (60m).
  • Balifornia Sushi & Asian Kitchen – Breezy setting and rice field views. Renowned for pizza and crispy duck. Just past Alam Pizza, 80m south of the hotel. 1-minute walk.
  • Honeymoon Kitchen – Superior selection of meals at pleasing prices. Part of the Casa Luna chain, renowned in Ubud. Counter at street level for people-watching. 100m north of the hotel. 1-minute walk.
  • Black Pearl – Exceptionally inviting open-air hangout with comfy cushions, tasty coffee, and shisha water-pipes. Many also come for the grills, healthy food, and rice field views. 2-minute walk (200m).

Any place along Monkey Forest Road will be noisy and often crowded. To reach them, cross the bridge within the hotel and stroll up the lane to the main road.

  • Ibu Rai Restaurant – Been around since the 1970s (but moved since). Still one of the finest for its elegant setting and extensive menu. Directly opposite the lane to the hotel along Monkey Forest Road. 2-minute walk (130m).
  • Wahyu Restaurant (0)361 975 308 – Best of several along a tranquil lane on the other side of the football ground (which is opposite the lane to the hotel). Tasty food, noteworthy views, and gratifying prices. 3-minute walk (210m).

Shops & Markets

  • Plenty of shops along Monkey Forest Road, but considerably fewer on Jalan Bisma. Worth visiting is the Ubud Market, especially early in the morning (6 to 9 am) when the produce sprawls across the roads. About 300m north up Monkey Forest Road. 6-minute walk (450m).

Attractions

  • Pondok Pekak Library – Recently-renovated cultural center and library offering a vast range of lessons in Indonesian language, dance, and crafts. Popular hangout among creative expats. Across the football field, about 200m from the corner of Monkey Forest Road and the lane to the hotel. 4-minute walk (300m).
  • Monkey Forest – May seem a little touristy, and is certainly crowded, but worth visiting for the eerie setting, ancient temples, and pesky inhabitants. (Hang on to everything.) An enjoyable 1km stroll south down Monkey Forest Road. 14-minute walk.

Nick’s Pension Hotel – The Hotel

The hotel is located off Jalan Bisma in central Ubud.

The hotel faces Jalan Bisma, a quiet street in central Ubud, the most popular tourist region in central Bali.

The main entrance is along Jalan Bisma.

The main vehicle entrance is along Jalan Bisma street and alongside the hotel café.

The modest hotel cafe faces the street.

The hotel café faces Jalan Bisma street, but struggles to compete against others nearby.

The hotel offers easy access to Jalan Monkey Forest.

The hotel is unique because it also provides easy access to the main road in Ubud, Jalan Monkey Forest.

One of the oldest hotels in Ubud, it is very welcoming.

The hotel is one of the oldest in Ubud and still very welcoming.

The side entrance is just off Monkey Forest Road.

The side entrance to the hotel is at the bottom of a lane, about 150m from Monkey Forest Road.

The superb setting of the hotel also includes a temple.

The setting is superb and includes a temple alongside a creek.

The lovely gardens are adorned with traditional statues.

The lovely gardens at Nick’s are dotted with traditional statues.

Deluxe Rooms offer creek and temple views.

Many Deluxe Rooms face the creek and temple.

Many Deluxe Rooms offer seclusion and privacy.

Some Deluxe Rooms are separated, and many are secluded in a quieter lower section.

2 rooms in a single building are ideal for families.

Some rooms are either upstairs or downstairs within a separate building, so are ideal for families who want to book 2 rooms.

All rooms come with large porches and outdoor furniture.

All rooms provide substantial porches with outdoor furniture.

Most Deluxe Rooms offer views of the gardens.

Most Deluxe Rooms face the serene gardens.

The spacious rooms feature understated furnishing.

Furnishings are understated, but all rooms are quite spacious.

Rooms come with a subtle and likeable Balinese decor.

All rooms feature a subtle but likeable Balinese décor.

Some rooms offer views of the green rice fields.

Some rooms face the flourishing rice fields.

Alam Pizza just steps away on Jalan Bisma is an excellent place to eat.

The best places to eat are along the quiet Jalan Bisma street. This includes Alam Pizza, only 50m south of the hotel vehicle entrance.

Balifornia near Alam Pizza is also a popular joint.

Just past Alam Pizza is the popular hangout, Balifornia.

Black Pearl nearby offers rice field views as well.

Another quiet café offering rice field views along Jalan Bisma is Black Pearl, 200m south of the hotel.

Honeymoon Kitchen nearby is part of the Casa Luna group.

Honeymoon Kitchen, about 100m north up Jalan Bisma, is part of the renowned Casa Luna group.

A path from within the hotel connects to Monkey Forest Road via a bridge.

A path within the hotel grounds leads to a bridge that connects to a short lane finishing at Monkey Forest Road.

The elegant Ibu Rai Restaurant is at the junction where the hotel lane meets Monkey Forest road.

Directly opposite where the lane to the hotel meets Monkey Forest Road is the elegant Ibu Rai Restaurant.

Wahyu Restaurant is an excellent place near Ibu Rai.

Just opposite the football ground from Ibu Rai is the unhurried but excellent Wahyu Restaurant.

The football ground is flanked by Wahyu Restaurant and Pondok Pekak library and cultural center.

A football ground dominates this section of Monkey Forest Road, just up the lane from the hotel. Alongside the ground are the recommended Wahyu Restaurant and Pondok Pekak library and cultural center.

The lane connecting to Monkey Forest road is lined with souvenir stalls.

The lane between the hotel and Monkey Forest Road is lined with souvenir stalls.

The large Ubud Market is just a short walk north on Monkey Forest road.

Only 300m north up Monkey Forest Road from the hotel is the sprawling Ubud Market.

Monkey Forest houses ancient banyan trees and thousands of macaques.

About 1km south down the main street, Monkey Forest is home to ancient banyan trees and thousands of pesky macaques.

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