mylifestylenews

2015-04-08

Hanging Gardens Ubud @ A Hideaway Boutique Retreat


Getting to Hanging Gardens Resort is a more mysterious journey than some, the mythical resort nestled 20 minutes north from the spiritual heart of Ubud, surrounded by ancient trees, steep terraced gardens and jungle forest on a site that was once a barren, 45 degree angled hillside! mylifestylenews spent a good 24 hours to discover the charm and hospitality offers……


After a 20 minutes drive through up and down the hilly and narrow passage ways and several small villages, we arrived in good shape at the Hanging Gardens Resort on a hot and less breezy early afternoon. The resort lobby is away from the villa as well as the most talk-about double-decked split level “suspended” swimming pools. We couldn’t help but to look for the most instagrammed swimming pool’s view from where we were at the lobby while trying to cool ourselves down with the cold towel served but failed. The only visible view from the lobby is the Dalem Segara Temple right across the valley in which it is still quite spectacular surrounded by lush of green. It is like a flower opening when you look down from the lobby at the staircase and see the unfolding beauty down the stepped hillside.



Naturally, on such a steep gradient, you need help to get to all parts of the resort, so say hello to your best friend at this resort: the inclinator lift. As we were being escorted to our villa, you begin to realize the uniqueness of the landscape and the design by wonder why it was called the Hanging Gardens. The villas allocation by the forest cliff gives the effect of floating in the air or hanging on the tree while you look at it from the opposite direction. Our panoramic villa is perched high enough up the hillside to give breathtaking views focus directly out to the villa pool and the valley beyond.


Lush and green are everywhere within the resort



There are 38 villas on gravity-defying wooden pillars are thatched with alang-alang roofs in a contemporary Balinese style. The concept is to create something magical and authentic in the heart of the Balinese jungle and allowing you to kick back and relax amongst the beautiful and natural tropical environment.


Despite the villa was looking a little tired, the layout is simple and the room is comfortable. With an open bathroom at the rear that separated by a partial wall serving as the bed head, the bed and living area. Unless you weight like a feature, otherwise, you can't avoid walking on the old creaking floors which makes a substantial amount of noise especially in the quite evening.The elevated Bale next to the villa plunge pool is an ideal hanging corner to lay back and watch the sunset with much intimacy sweeping across the Ayung River gorge to the ancient Dalem Segara Temple. The only drawback is lacking of privacy at the villa pool as your neighbour is too close and other higher elevated villas can have a real visual from above as well as passers by create noise interruption.


After our luggage is delivered, we decided to wonder around in this spiritual nirvana with such a magical setting especially to have a good closer look at the most anticipated two levels swimming pools and other facilities in the resort.



The villa plunge pool



The reflection of the villa plunge pool at dusk


As the resort is inspired by nature and built harmoniously into the landscape, no one would like to leave this award winning designed swimming pools without having your selfie/wefie taken. The killer view of the double-decked split level swimming pools is “hanging in the air” right in the middle of the valley (depending on which angle you are looking at) will instantly stimulate you to have your smart phone or camera out at once.


The curved pools are lined with Batu Chandi stone and featuring a vast geometric wall from solidified volcanic ash, suspended high over the surrounding jungle, appears to float in its setting. With its undulating curves, it was designed to echo the lines of the steep, terraced rice paddies commensurate the feature of the Ubud landscape and the contours of the land working with the existing natural habitats.


The most talked-about Hanging Gardens signature curved pools


The upper deck has an expansive deck, which flows out from the resort’s bar, while the lower level’s deck is almost hidden from sight for ultimate privacy, with the natural rain forest as a backdrop. The bottom pool additionally features a stone bench for swimmers to bask in the exhilarating spray of waterfall from the level above.


Yet, this vertiginous swimming pool does need further consideration, we find it on the small side and with an underwater concrete platform rise in the middle of the main lower pool section (which we were told it is for romantic private dinner setting usage), it limits one’s ability to enjoy a proper swim. Besides, it creates hazard even if you try just to pass through the gap to have a dip at the pointing edge.


It is more like a recreation plunge pool instead. We couldn’t stay long as we are not a huge fan for a “live BBQ” sun bathing type as the pool area are totally exposed to the sun. Moreover, the pool servicing staff could also take some lessons in etiquette, as they were less than helpful when we requested some chilled water yet strongly suggesting we should be purchasing drinks from their menu with a less warm way.


The Restaurant



The Piano Bar



The Sun Deck



The Villa Bale is the ideal venue to watch the sun goes down.



The restaurant interior



Breakfast is a buffet affair at the main restaurant with a morning view of the temple, which you can’t stop focusing on – this is one example of mystical Bali that draws you in. The buffet ticks all the boxes for Asian and Western dishes, but the spread surprisingly underwhelming especially when reflecting on other smaller boutique resorts in Bali. The standouts were the cute jars of homemade yoghurts, the egg station and the homemade jams.


The Indonesian style mie goring was disappointing in flavor and texture, we wondered how could that possibly went wrong? Everything in general is rather on the safe side and lacks that WOW factor which we were expecting from a resort like this. Another downside is that breakfast finishes at 10am which is quite unreasonable for a resort that wanting their guest to relax and lay low. Hence, an early wake up is duly and highly recommended in order for you not to sleep in and miss your breakfast.



Apart from the lacking standard of service that we experienced from the poolside, staff from various area are gracious and attentive, as befits the expectation of this resort. All in all, a great resort that could do with some tweaking here and there and luckily there is more to it than just “one of the world’s great swimming pools”. It is all about location! Location! Location! And this resort has it in spades, with a spectacular perspective the moment while you stand in front or on the swimming pool ledge, it has a great ambience and fabulous elevation with panoramic natural rain forest views but it ain't no jaw-dropping effect as expected. However, a picture says a million words and sometimes you don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture the best shots from this stunning view in front of you to inspire the other while collecting most likes from your very own social media platform.


Tried & Tested:
Location: 4/5
Ambience: 4/5
Design & Decor: 4/5
Food & Beverage: 3/5 
Room Amenities: 3.5/5
Housekeeping: 4/5
Service: 2.5/5

Highlights:
Swimming Pool

Flaws:
Service
Villa Pool Privacy

Desa Buahan, Payangan
Bali Indonesia
Tel: +62 361 982 700