Built from a mix of raw concrete and organic materials, Balinese Bisma Eight is an industrial-style retreat with an organic garden and modern restaurant helmed by chef Ben McRae. We’re plunging into the sultry jungle-view swimming pool first.
Get this when you book through us:
High tea for two, 3pm late check-out and a 30-minute photo session in hotel with two professional digital photos to take home
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm. Guests can extend their through the day of checkout for an additional charge of 50 per cent of the standard room rate. Luggage storage is available too.
Double rooms from £234.60 (IDR4,734,000), including tax at 21 per cent.
Rates include à la carte breakfast, fresh fruit on arrival, free daily morning yoga class, and a variety of free daily activities.
In-room massages, reflexology sessions and body scrubs are available; they’re particularly relaxing on balconies.
At the hotel
Gym, organic garden. In rooms: TV, DVD player, WiFi, air-conditioning, minibar, free bottled water, tea- and coffee-making facilities and Republic of Soap bath products.
Our favourite rooms
We love that all rooms come with a Japanese soaking tub made from Canadian cedar wood and natural Balinese soaps. If you fancy stepping from bed directly out onto your private jungle-view balcony, go for a spacious Forest Suite: you’ll wake to the sun glimmering through your curtains and squirrels chasing each other among the trees. Forest Suites are also spacious, with a separate living area.
Enjoy dips in the heated outdoor infinity pool from 7am to 9pm; we recommend swimming to the far corner for the best jungle views. The pool is flanked by a wooden deck with a dozen sunloungers and is steps from the Pavilion bar, which serves all-day dining and drinks.
Pack classically beautiful swimsuits for the aesthetically pleasing pool and outdoor-worthy shoes for guided treks through the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
There’s a shrine to Ganesh in the lobby; at check-in, front desk staff will offer you a garland of flowers to lay at the altar.
Little Smiths are welcome, but not catered to; the grounds are not pram-friendly and the pool was designed with grown-ups in mind. Baby cots, highchairs and extra beds for children can be provided, and babysitting can be arranged with three hours' notice.
Most of the ingredients used in the Copper Kitchen & Bar come from the hotel’s organic garden.
For a gentle breeze and a view with your meals, go for a table on the light and airy ‘bridge’ or the trellised rooftop.
For dinner, it’s relaxed rolled-up shirt sleeves for Mr Smith and a jewel-toned flowing dress for Mrs Smith. On trend cover-ups and sandals will suffice for earlier meals.
From the lobby, a staircase leads up to Copper Kitchen & Bar, helmed by chef Ben McRae. The menu is full of traditional and international dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients, including the hotel’s organic garden. For lunch, start with the tuna tataki on crust and don’t forget a side order of ubi (sweet potato fried with aioli); try the Korean Kal tacos too. At dinner, go for the confit duck gnocchi and wrap things up with a mango-infused rice pudding. You can take your breakfast anywhere you’d like; choose from waffles with yuzu parfait, ricotta dumplings, poached eggs, fresh pastries and more, with freshly squeezed juices, herbal teas and coffee to wash it down.
The hotel bar is one with the restaurant and cranks out some serious cocktails. Try the rose-infused vodka Pinky Malinky; tamarillo-based Tamariloco; rum, cherry and beet juice Le Purpinkle; or the refreshingly citrusy Lemongrass 75. You can also order ice-cold drinks and after-swim cocktails and nibbles throughout the day at the Pool Pavilion, and the Library Café, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee (or cocktail) with a book from the hotel’s collection, is at the far end of the lobby. The cafe brews Kintamani-grown Arabica coffee from local Tetap Happy Coffee Roasters.
Extend leisurely evening meals to 11pm in Copper Kitchen & Bar, and sip cocktails at the Pool Pavilion or in the Library Café until 9pm. The Pool Pavilion opens at 9am, and Copper Kitchen & Bar and Library Café both open at 7am.
Order starters, satay platters, pizzas, steaks and desserts to your room, which also has a minibar stocked with crisps, chocolate, beer and soft drinks.
Jalan Bisma No. 68, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
Bisma Eight is on the west side of Ubud, just down the road from the Sacred Monkey Forest and 700 metres from the front of Bisma Street.
Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar International Airport, is 80 minutes away by car; the hotel can arrange private transfers for a maximum of four people per car for IDR450,000 each way.
From Ubud, it’s a drive of six minutes to the hotel; hail a cab or park your own vehicle for free at the hotel. You’ll need a tourist driving licence to be street legal, but given the road conditions and somewhat casual attitude to the rules of the road, you might have a more enjoyable holiday if you leave the driving to the professionals.
Worth getting out of bed for
If you like to stay active on holiday, Bisma Eight may be your boutique-hotel soulmate. Daily yoga classes are held from 8am to 9am; on Tuesdays you can try your hand at making traditional Balinese goods; and on Wednesdays you can head out for an organic farm visit. Thursdays, whip up Indonesian eats and master the art of mocktail shaking on Fridays; enjoy a leisurely guided cycle on Saturdays and Sundays.
For fine dining Indonesian style, head to Blanco Par Mandif and order a seven-, nine- or 13-course tasting menu with paired drink. Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will find plenty of choice at bijou eatery Locavore; the five-course sharing menu is an excellent way to taste as many local dishes as possible. Open-air Il Giardino Restaurant on Jalan Kajeng dishes out classic Italian dishes, including handmade pasta; try the seafood risotto or pumpkin ravioli. Upscale Bridges serves up beautifully prepared Indonesian and western dishes. To feel ridiculously healthy (and a little bit smug) check out the tasty offerings at vegan and raw Alchemy Restaurant.
For brunch, order eggs many ways, freshly-baked breads, fruit-filled smoothies and lychee iced tea at Folk Ubud; it’s a little over a kilometre away from Bisma Eight on Jalan Monkey Forest Road. Café Lotus is the place for local dishes with a side of traditional Balinese dancing. Indonesian roastery Seniman Coffee (Jl. Sriwedari No. 5) has a wide selection of single-origin coffees from across the country, Central America and Africa. The knowledgeable baristas can brew your coffee pretty much any way; if you’re in need of sustenance, too, you can’t go wrong with a decadent moka-nut waffle.
On Friday afternoons, wine bar Divine hosts regionally themed tastings with canapé pairings and live acoustic music on the terrace. Reservations are recommended for the tasting masterclasses, held in the wine cellar at 5.30pm.
The infinity pool. The rooftop terrace. The jungle views. The lobby shrine. The walking distance to a monkey sanctuary. The book-lined coffee shop. The garden that yields fresh produce for the kitchen. All of these are reasons enough to be drawn to Bisma Eight.
But they had me at ‘poolside peach smoothie’.
Tucked away down what feels like a residential road in Ubud, the entrance to this Balinese boutique hotel might confuse you. Its open-entry lobby could almost be mistaken for a modernist loading dock. But that quickly changes as you step inside.
Mr Smith and I are given a small offering to place in the shrine just past reception. Stepping into the raw industrial lobby it’s hard to miss the gently glowing chandelier that hangs above the entrance. The rest of the hotel stylishly follows suit, effortlessly blending modern industrial design with warm organic elements. Our bags are whisked away up a staircase and we weave our way down a tree-lined path to our room.
With each window is brushed up against the trees just outside, our room feels like it is suspended by branches (it turns out ‘canopy room’ means just that). It’s sleek and stylish, full of muted colors, wood and concrete.
The hotel generally is minimalist in the best kind of way; nothing more than you need but just enough attention to detail to make it special.
A welcome basket of fruit (full disclosure: we had to Google many of its components), a living room to take a rest in during the hot afternoons, an extremely plush bed and a very tempting-looking onsen soaking tub in the bathroom entice us to stay inside... But we hear of rooftop terraces so cocktails beckon.
I wish it were a Saturday afternoon because, it turns out, you can take a turn behind the bar yourself in a mixology masterclass. Instead, we settle for a seat on the patio outside and sip our drinks as evening descends and white tea lights start to sparkle.
We get dolled up and head out to try the Copper Kitchen. While perched at a table on the restaurant’s breezy ‘bridge’ we meet executive chef Ben McRae, an Aussie of few words (‘A weird sense of humor is good – that’s my tip for survival in the kitchen’)but an inventive mixer of flavours in the kitchen. His menu of modern Indonesian dishes is perfect for lingering over as darkness falls.
Bisma Eight sits perched over a vast jungle: a fact not fully grasped until the following day when walking to the very back of the property and discovering its hidden gem: the pool. It’s an almost-too-sultry infinity number looking out over the lush Ubud greenery. A small bar and restaurant, along with loungers for 12 couples, sits at the edge of the water. Our paths cross regularly with guests – we learn to nod at them with glances that say ‘We know: we're rather lucky to be here…’ This is where we want to spend all of our time, it’s agreed, with only our towels, our books and our peach smoothies for company. Later, we order cocktails from the pool pavilion and swim out to the edge for the very best views.
Bisma’s aquatic allure didn’t end at the pool, though. Mr Smith and I meander back to our suite, throw open the windows for that refreshing breeze, order some more of those peach smoothies and let our oversized soaking tub fill…
Add ‘its baths’ to the ever-increasing list of reasons to stay here.