Bali: ZEN Rooms Ubud Sayan Review
In July, on my first adventure to Bali, I was finally able to go and see the dazzling rice terraces of Ubud with my very own eyes. After a rather exhausting few days of non-stop diving, and an absolutely worthwhile but totally tiring 4-hour sunrise hike up Mount Batur, I was definitely ready to relax.
Thus, with my companion, I made my way from Seminyak to Ubud, headed straight for ZEN Rooms Ubud Sayan Hotel. The hotel looked amazing online, and the user reviews were generous. Through ZenRooms Indonesia, the booking was instantly made. Before long, after looking forward to Ubud since I first touched down in Bali, I found myself waking up to the soft sounds of trees swaying, with sunlight pouring in from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
LOCATION & ARRIVAL
Ubud Raya Hotel – different from the Ubud Raya Resort – is nestled in a backstreet in Sayan, an area about 10 minutes away by scooter from Ubud Central. By motorbike or car, the hotel is mere minutes from Ubud’s main touristic attractions, including the Ubud Monkey Forest, Tegallagang Rice Terraces, Campuhan Ridge Walk, and more.
After getting lost in our taxi, we finally pulled up to Ubud Raya Hotel. It didn’t disappoint. We were immediately welcomed into the hotel grounds by two members of staff, who took our bags and invited us to the reception, where a huge, gleaming golden buddha head smiled down over the gardens.
As the receptionist checked the booking, a waiter came and served us a glass of fresh pineapple juice. It was great to be pampered with the small, welcoming touches – especially after slumming it in a hostel for a few days. The staff’s attention to detail was fantastic.
ROOMS & AMENITIES
We were handed the keys to Room 209 after checking in without any fuss. The reception staff informed us that the double bed rooms were fully booked until the day after, but we ended up staying in our room rather than switching, since it did the job just fine.
We had an enormous twin room between the two of us. Seriously, you could host a yoga class in there. Outside on the sun-catching balcony was two chairs and a coffee table. Inside the room were items including a flatscreen television, lamps, a wardrobe, an indoor sofabed, and a modern bathroom with a natural stone washbasin. I really liked the washbasin! Also, the fact that the tap was higher up meant I didn’t have to break my back bending down to rinse my face.
In the bathroom we were also given some classic hotel amenities, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, and showercap inside a drawstring bag labelled with the hotel’s logo. Inside the shower, shampoo and shower gel were readily available on the wall. The shower curtain rod fell down at one point when I was rinsing – but luckily, it was made of very light plastic. The rod wasn’t screwed in, but rather, had rubber grips on each end. Long story short: don’t play with the curtains!
From our balcony – which was a dream to sunbathe on in the morning – we could see the hotel pool to the left. Four stone fountain sculptures trickled water into the pool all day – it was like a work of art. There were plenty of sunloungers and umbrellas to relax on under the blazing Balinese sunshine, plus a drinks bar at the end of the pool.
We spent one day chilling out, reading books and lazing around. Much needed R&R. So happy it didn’t rain whilst we were there! On the other side of our room, by the door entrance, there was construction going on – plus a massive pylon being erected – but there was no noise that affected us during our stay.
BREAKFAST & FOOD
The al-fresco restaurant dining hall is situated next to the reception, decorated with bamboo pillars and plants. On our first night, since we were too tired to go into town for dinner, and we’d missed the hotel’s last shuttle, we opted to eat in the hotel. Unfortunately, whether it was an “off” night (it was a Sunday) or not, the restaurant was severely understaffed, with only one waiter running around taking everyone’s orders, and only two dishes left on the menu.
The gado-gado dish I ordered was overcooked – the tempeh and boiled eggs were rubbery, and the defrosted vegetables tasted off. It was disappointing to the point where I told the manager that I couldn’t eat it, nor pay for it. My companion’s spaghetti Bolognese seemed okay, although it had a weird aftertaste. Wayan, the receptionist, was incredibly understanding, patient, and responsive when I explained my frustration. On the upside, I had an excellent papaya juice. Every night after that, we had dinner outside.
Breakfast, however, was great! After waking up and having breakfast on the first day, it seemed that the restaurant’s poor service and food was a one-off. The breakfast buffet featured an array of Indonesian and Western breakfast foods, including fresh fruits such as papaya, pineapple and watermelon, scrambled eggs, vegetable omelette, bacon and sausages, vegetables, cake, crepes, fresh watermelon juice, coffee, and more. Breakfast at the hotel helped us prepare for a day of trekking around the rice paddies!
SERVICES & COSTS
The WiFi at the hotel was very good, with more than three different hotspots – one at the pool, one at the reception, one at the restaurant, and then several covering the rooms. The WiFi in our rooms wasn’t so strong, but going out onto the balcony and hooking up to either the pool or restaurant WiFi gave us perfect reception.
The hotel runs a free and frequent shuttle service into Ubud Central from 10am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm, and 5.30pm. Very handy for zipping off into town without any worries. There’s no return shuttle after 5.30pm, however, so for a night out on the town, you should rent a motorbike or bicycle, or take a taxi back.
We rented a motorbike – brand new and in excellent condition, with labelled motorbike helmets – from the reception desk for 75,000RP per day. It was the best decision we made, since it allowed us to be completely independent and explore the area much better than if we were just on foot or dependent on taking taxis all the time (which would have gotten fairly expensive).
I have to congratulate the reception staff on being so thoughtful and attentive. They frequently checked on our wellbeing, brought up our laundry, and helped us print our boarding passes during check out.
After the initial palaver with dinner on our first night, I grew to like Ubud Raya Hotel a lot. Even though it’s located a way away from Ubud Central, it feels like a private getaway.
The ambiance was relaxed, the pool was well-placed beneath the sun, and the gardens were gorgeous to look at in the morning.
The hotel’s guests were a pleasant mix of couples, friends, and families, and we felt very comfortable throughout our stay.
Couples and families especially looking for an affordable slice of luxury or tranquil getaway in Ubud would do well to stay here!
Disclaimer: My stay at Ubud Raya Hotel was free of charge as part of my collaboration with Zen Rooms Indonesia.
As always, all opinions are my own.
I strongly recommend using Zen Rooms Indonesia’s fast, reliable, and customer-based service for your next budget-friendly, quality hotel stay in Bali and across Asia for a fuss-free booking.
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