Bali, Indonesia

The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah

Rates from (ex tax)$360.00

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD435.60), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

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Style

Rice, rice, baby

Setting

Peaceful paddy fields

The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in Ubud was once the private residence of renowned architect and art-collector, Hendra Hadiprana; luckily for us, he’s turned his home into a (very special) hotel. Along with Hendra’s eye-bogglingly beautiful stash of rare art and artefacts, there’s a rice-paddy spa, superb restaurant and addictive butler service.

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A little wooden elephant, made by a local artist

Facilities

Photos The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah facilities

Need to know

Rooms

20: seven suites and 13 villas.

Check–Out

Midday (but you can stay until 6pm, if you pay 50 per cent of the daily rate). Earliest check-in, 2pm (flexible, subject to availability).

Rates

Double rooms from $360.00, excluding tax at 21 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD435.60), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast, a welcome drink upon arrival, 24-hour butler service, a scheduled shuttle service to/from Ubud in a private car and WiFi. Daily extras include: minibar snacks and drinks; cocktails and canapés (6pm–7pm); papers; laundry.

Also

Consider packing your favourite walking shoes, because the Chedi Club butlers conduct entertaining rambles around the rice paddies. If that sounds like far too much activity, book in for some pampering time. The spa utilises organic products; treatments take place in open-air rooms overlooking verdant fields.

Hotel closed

No check-ins or check-outs are allowed on 17 April 2018, when Bali observes Nyepi (Day of Silence). Bali’s airport also closes for the day.

At the hotel

Spa; fitness centre; tennis court; amphitheatre used for Balinese dance performances; gardens; DVD library; free WiFi. In rooms: TV, iPod dock, Bose sound system, free minibar (including selected alcoholic drinks), espresso machine, bath products made in Ubud.

Our favourite rooms

Feeling indulgent? Plump for one of the villas. The Pool Villas have private 10m plunge pools, alongside a generous sun-deck and balé. Sybarites should consider a Spa Villa, which has the added bonus of your own spa room with two massage beds, a sauna and a partially outdoor bathroom. Easy breezy.

Poolside

The sea-green 35m pool – designed in imitation of Balinese water palaces – sits alongside lotus and swan-flocked ponds, looking out over verdant rice paddies. Well-cushioned sunloungers – sunscreen, fluffy towels and umbrellas are taken care of – are favourite sunshine slumber spots.

Spa

Be wrapped with detoxifying seaweed or have a cream bath – including a conditioning hair treatment – at the spoiling spa, which has two treatment rooms for couples, a yoga studio and a room devoted to manicures and pedicures.

Packing tips

Stylish couples play it down here in Bali’s verdant uplands, but sightings of Missoni bikinis and Chanel flip-flops aren't uncommon. Anything floaty and fabulous is worth flinging into your suitcase.

Also

If you've ever fancied having a butler, now's your chance; all guests in villas at the Chedi Club are assigned one on check-in. Smoking is permitted in public areas.

Children

Baby cots, high chairs and car seats are supplied free of charge. Little Smiths aged 3–11 can share a bed with parents (from US$35 a night) or request an extra bed (from US65 a night). Extra beds for over-11s cost US$100 a night; babysitting costs extra.

Overview

Baby cots, high chairs and car seats are supplied free of charge. Extra beds for older children cost US$100 each a night, and babysitting can be arranged at a cost.

Best for

11 years and up. They're then old enough to enjoy the local cultural activities.

Recommended rooms

The ultimate family nest would be the Two-Bedroom Estate with its considerable indoor and outdoor living areas and two large bedrooms. The living space of the Spa Villas can also be set up with an extra bed.

Activities

During high season, the hotel organises a range of different classes and activities: traditional dance, gamelan playing, painting and crafting Balinese offerings from local flowers and leaves. There are kids' DVDs in the library and, during the dry season (May–October), butlers will take children out to fly traditional kites in the surrounding fields.

Swimming pool

The photogenic communal pool isn't particularly kid friendly. Plunge pools in the villas are more suited for junior swimmers.

Meals

Children are welcome at all times in the restaurant and can even choose from their own menu. High chairs are available for small Smiths and the staff are able to heat milk and baby food if necessary.

Babysitting

Can be arranged for up to three children with 24 hours' notice. It costs IDR100,000 an hour.

No need to pack

Baby cots, changing mats and high chairs.

Also

The Balinese adore kids, so while the Chedi Club feels designed for couples, children are looked after by the entire team who do their utmost to accommodate and comfort the smallest guests, even preparing indigenous recipes to sooth tummy aches and stuffy noses.

Eco‐friendly

The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah achieved prestigious Silver status under the Green Globe Earthcheck Certification programme in 2009. Vast gardens are maintained using recycled water.

Food and Drink

Photos The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah food and drink

Top Table

The best tables are along the open-air dining room’s perimeter, overlooking paddy fields and Bali’s sacred mountains. You can also request a private dinner, served on a platform in the rice paddies.

Dress Code

No need to dress up, although swimsuits and bare feet are a bit too exposed for this refined globetrotting crowd. Evenings call for tropical chic. The air can get chilly, so wrap up in a colourful pashmina.

Hotel restaurant

There are two culinary powerhouses at work in the Restaurant’s kitchen: Executive Chef Dean Nor, a striking Singaporean who has clocked up 17 years in top-notch kitchens, plus 'Mama Bali’, Ibu Ni Myoman Adriani, who prepares local ‘bumbu’ spices daily. (If you want to learn Mama’s secrets, book in for a cookery class.) Spice levels can be modified according to diners’ preferences; rice comes from the local paddy fields (which you can spy on from the sprawling bale). Try rijsttafel (the Dutch word given to Indonesia’s ‘rice table’ tradition, which sees multiple rice-based dishes served together); the Chedi’s version features nine delicious dishes. The sambal udang (spicy prawns) and sapi rendang (beef with coconut milk) are also worth writing home about.

Hotel bar

Sunsets see guests congregrating at the restaurant, which doubles up as the house bar, for signature cocktails such as the Tanah Gajah Purple: a heady, fruity mix of vodka, organic purple basil, lime juice, sugar syrup and ice. There's also a selection of imported cigars at the Bird Lounge. Don't miss 'Street Food Fridays' at the Pool Bar, where guests can nibble on local treats and swap adventure stories.

Last orders

Order in the restaurant until 10.30pm; the last drinks are mixed at the Pool Bar at 7pm. Breakfast is on offer between 7am and 11am (last orders at 10.30am).

Room service

At any time, guests can order from a room service menu of global offerings.

Location

Photos The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah location
Address
The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah
Jl. Goa Gajah, Tengkulak Kaja, Gianyar, Ubud
Bali
80571
Bali
Indonesia

Planes

Fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport (www.baliairport.com), just south of the capital Denpasar, served by carriers including Garuda, Singapore Airlines, Jetstar, Air Asia and JAL.

Automobiles

The Chedi Club is an hour’s drive north of the airport; hotel transfers are usually included in the rates.

Worth getting out of bed for

Go on a guided local trek through the paddy fields (escorted by your butler, natch) or make the most of the morning yoga sessions, gym, tennis courts, cookery classes, twice-weekly kecak dance performances at the hotel's own amphitheatre. Also factor in some poolside lazing, pampering spa treatments and alfresco dining. Watch the sun set over Mount Agung (Bali's holiest mountain) without even leaving the hotel; you'll also want to go for a ramble by the lotus pond, to wave at the resident swans (the white ones are Dutch, the black ones, Australian). 

It's a short journey into Ubud: the hotel has a shuttle service, which takes around 15 minutes and goes via the famous Sacred Monkey Forest (hop out and gawp at the primates for free). This is Bali’s cultural and spiritual heart, so explore the galleries (don't miss Komaneka on Jl Monkey Forest and Rio Helmi on Jl Suweta), visit a temple or two and wander the aisles of the Art Market. Close to the hotel, there's a sacred ninth-century elephant cave, with natural baths that were once used to ward off evil spirits. The mountain setting also means adventure – rafting, mountain biking, elephant trekking and more – is on your doorstep.

Local restaurants

If you’re craving a temporary sensory respite from Indonesian flavours, beat others to a table at Locavore (+62 361 977 733), which serves European food (thanks to the clever Dutch chef) in a swish setting at Jalan Dewi Sita. Sit at the kitchen counter to nick some culinary tips from the chefs in action. Local seafood is given a starring role in dishes such as spiny lobster poached with Lombok seaweed butter and slices of raw Balinese abalone, and Sumbawa Island oyster, served with clam juice and sea urchin roe. Sweet-tooths, save time (and room, natch) for Room 4 Dessert (http://www.room4dessert.asia/; +62 812 3666 2806), a shrine to sweet treats at Jalan Sanggingan. The drinks list is worth appraising too, thanks to its solid wine selection and tempting cocktails. If it’s a balmy evening, sit outside and enjoy your fancy patisserie in the courtyard. Get a true taste of Bali at Melting Wok (+62 361 9299716) at Jl. Gootama 13, whose nine tables are hot property. Pick from rice or noodle curry (with or without coconut milk), topped with meat, fish or tofu. There are usually a few daily specials to try, too; the chocolate crêpes and crème caramel are pretty popular. (Cash only.) For reliably tasty Thai food, spend an evening at Siam Sally (+62 361 980 777), whose airy dining room overlooks one of Ubud’s prettiest streets: Hanoman. There’s live music on Saturday nights.

Local cafés

Frozen yoghurt, wheatgrass shots, organic meals, cakes and good coffee are all on offer at Juice Ja Café (+62 (0) 361 971056; Jl Dewi Sita). Take a seat on one of the two balconies to catch the street action. Looking for a decent espresso-style coffee in Ubud? Warung Kopi Tatmuk (+62 (0)361 975 754; Jl Dewi Sita) roasts the beans it sources from around Bali and knows how to make a decent cup. Downstairs, you can relax cross-legged on the floor cushions or head upstairs to sit at tables on the shaded balcony.

Local bars

Laughing Buddha Bar (laughingbuddhabali.com/; +62 361 970 928) is just a baboon’s jump from Ubud Monkey Forest, but don’t expect a band of primates. Instead, this live-music-loving bar champions jazz, blues rock, fusion and world music on its diminutive stage; there are also salsa nights and regular album-launch parties. Happy hour here is generous – 4pm until 7pm. Continuing the musical theme, keep things lively in Ubud’s Jazz Cafe (+62 (0)361 976 594; Jl Sukma; www.jazzcafebali.com). Despite the name, you’ll hear blues, funk and soul here, too. Ozigo Bar (+62 (0)361 980 358; Jl Raya Sanggigan) is also worth a late night or two.

Reviews

Photos The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah reviews
Rebecca Tay

Anonymous review

No one in the history of looking for their hotel in Bali has ever felt as flustered and sweaty as Mr Smith and I did while searching for the Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in Ubud. To be fair, Bali is sweltering all year round – it’s not unusual to break a sweat while idling in the shade. But we’d missed the turn off for the hotel twice and our driver had decided that U-turning in the middle of a single-lane road was a good idea. Luckily, Mr Smith came to the rescue (as he often does), spotting the little road, with its even littler bridge, leading to the Chedi Club. All was swiftly forgotten as we pulled in and were handed cold towels (how do they roll them so tightly?), icy glasses of juice (orange? lychee? watermelon? Who cares…) and introduced to our butler, Supri (wait, a butler?). 

That’s right: at the Chedi Club, you get your very own butler. (And he’s butler to just one other set of guests – we asked.) Supri’s first order of business was whisking us around the grounds on his golf cart, pointing out the tennis court, which sat baking in the 30-degree heat; the pool, with its trio of elephant statues at one end; the spa; the open-air restaurant; a villa; another villa; the hotel’s sweeping fields of rice paddies; our pool villa (yes!); and the black swans from Perth, before finally taking us back to our new abode. 

It was superb: kind of colonial, with Balinese touches. Wooden shutters. Cool, crisp, optic-white sheets. Huge, down-filled pillows that were heavy in the right way. His-and-hers wardrobes with a woven straw bag in mine; a torch in his. Batik robes. Heavenly scented toiletries in little clay pots. It was all very tasteful, all lovely. Supri also pointed out the third-generation iPod. ‘It has 4,000 songs on it.’ he said – and the pride in his voice endeared us, even if we hadn’t seen one of these retro gizmos in years. We also had our own private pool with views of the rice paddies, a small gazebo for shade and more sofas to lie around on than in our entire house back home. 

As per usual, I set about madly Instagramming everything and bookmarking the page on body scrubs in the spa menu. And – as per usual – Mr Smith kicked off his shoes, emptied his pockets and sprawled across the first sofa he set eyes on. All was right with the world. 

That evening, we headed to the restaurant for a feast of babi guling, an Indonesian speciality of roast suckling pig. There were also lamb chops, chicken satay, tuna steaks and more barbecued meats, as well as a trio of salads, all from the kitchen of Singaporean executive chef Dean Nor. It was more food than we could manage, though we managed pretty well. I pointed at a set of Balinese instruments, mistaking them for a miniature table and chairs. ‘Are those seats for kids?’ I asked. (I can be forgiven; the sun had set and the instruments were heavily silhouetted.) My gesture caught the eye of a waiter, and the next thing we knew, two players in traditional dress were filling the night with shimmering bamboo-xylophone music. 

The next morning, we wandered back to the restaurant. There weren’t any newspapers, but a one-page briefing from papers in the UK, the US, Australia and Germany – meticulously printed out on A4 – is enough when you’re on holiday. We settled in to breakfast – eggs for Mr Smith, Indonesian noodles for me, plus pancakes with bananas and maple syrup – before meeting Supri for a tour of the surroundings. Ubud is known for its monkey forest, its 40-something women on Eat, Pray, Love quests and the beautiful rice paddies that dot the landscape. Supri taught us about rice farming, showing us the irrigation systems (no pipes, just excellent community co-operation and clever terracing) and explaining the harvesting process. We continued on to a local village, where Indonesian children ran up to us, eager to practice their English and giggling when Mr Smith practiced his Indonesian. Somewhere along the way, he had learned to say ‘saya senang berkenalan dengan anda’ (‘nice to meet you’ in Bahasa), and become a real crowd pleaser. 

Back at the Chedi Club, I headed to the spa for my body scrub. It’s best to be properly exfoliated before sun exposure, no? Like the restaurant and our pool villa, the treatment rooms overlook the rice paddies and are completely private, so you can keep the door open if you don’t mind the sounds of nature. I’d love to be able to say the treatment was incredible, but truth be told, I fell asleep pretty quickly under my aesthetician’s deft hands. Mr Smith did comment later on how soft my skin felt – which I suppose is the point of a full-body scrub, isn’t it?

We did explore Ubud too. Much to the dismay of Supri, we arranged our very own scooter and went to the sacred monkey forest. If you’re going to Bali, be sure to have a meal at a warung, a casual, modest Indonesian restaurant: the Fair Warung Bale and the Sweet Orange Warung were our favourites in Ubud. Mozaic is also outstanding. 

When it came time to leave the Chedi Club, it wasn’t easy. I’m only now getting used to life without Supri; I’m not sure Mr Smith will ever get used to not having his own private pool. The Chedi Club truly spoiled us – for life.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Our villa - The Hadripani - was spectacular. Wonderful art, private pool, comfortable beds, spacious bathrooms - very peaceful. The gardens are fantastic and the restaurant setting and food, both wonderful. Our butler, Youni, was lovely. Attentive and ever-present - the ice-bucket never failed to deliver!

Don’t expect

Wild and crazy nights - it's peaceful and calming, although the town is only a short (and busy) drive away.

Rating

Stayed on 31 Aug 2016

We loved

Everything about the hotel. Our Butler Japa was perfect, wasn't too intrusive and did not push for us to book trips when he understood that although we liked eating out in the evening, we wanted to stay around our private pool during the day. Food supplied by the hotel was of top quality however rather expensive. Local recommendations: Siam Sally (Thai Restaurant) Café Wyan (Balinese Restaurant) Café Lotus (Restaurant with weekly show) Local Masters House for Woodwork - We bought Ebony Sculpture as holiday memento.

Don’t expect

Hotel has very large grounds, however only 20 rooms and therefore evening restaurant is very quiet. If you would like something more lively you need to get a taxi into town. (Free from 6am - 6pm)

Rating

Stayed on 22 May 2016

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