Ubud, upcountry Bali. Everyone knows where it is but no one’s quite sure these days of what it’s all about. Traditional Bali? New Age maypole? Eat-love-pray buffet? None of the above? Its centre is now a thriving strip of accommodation, boutiques and vego-vegan-GF eateries, plus rolling maul traffic jams. To escape this sometimes-excessive success, just duck next door to The Mansion Baliwood.
Where is The Mansion Baliwood Resort Hotel & Spa?
The district of Sayan, five minutes drive from Ubud CBD, is home to the unique Mansion resort and its sprawling, adjacent sibling known as Baliwood. Their combined grounds cover a peaceful four hectares, which you enter from Jalan Penestanan.
First Impressions of The Mansion
The resort’s namesake Mansion building could be an Asian “Tara”, the grand antebellum plantation home from the movie, Gone With the Wind. It’s a fantasy in white, replete with palms, pagoda roofs and a dash of old colonial Indochine.
The style might be, to coin a phrase, Occidental Orientalism. Meanwhile, the complex’s Baliwood section, despite the pun, is not at all “Bollywood” but instead embodies, literally, plenty that is both Balinese and of wood. (Of the two entities, The Mansion, ironically, could be right at home in Bollywood.)
The overall complex contains much — two private art galleries, pools, dental and cosmetic clinics, convention facilities, tropical gardens, gym, spa and Kids Club.
What are the rooms like?
No one answer suffices — perhaps 20 might — because there are multiple accommodation configurations, including villas, pool villas, family compounds, deluxe suites and more.
In all, there are 150 well-appointed rooms that range from the Baliwood section’s locally-themed spaces to The Mansion’s enormous Rajah Suite. The latter is presidential, almost Trump Tropical, in its vastness — the bathroom alone is larger than an average one-bedroom apartment.
The least impressive rooms are a few on the Baliwood side with no apparent windows – what was the architect thinking? That said, there are many family friendly niches, with shallow pools, etc. Free WiFi throughout, too.
Eating at The Mansion
The Mansion’s Indochine Restaurant offers (and delivers) excellent options at lunch and dinner, with a broad menu that covers Vietnamese, Indonesian, other Asian and Western dishes.
Already delicious, they’re even tastier when abetted by a house special Bali Bagus arak cocktail. Breakfast, on the other hand, seemed lacklustre in terms of variety, display and flavours.
The Mansion – The Lowdown
The Mansion was built originally as a private residence in 1998 and was subsequently adapted to a resort. Which means that you can descend to its marble foyer via sweeping double staircases — very Tara or very Bollywood, if either of these is your fantasy.
The mezzanine art gallery carries a combination of local paintings ranging from delightful to kitsch. In all, it’s hard to not enjoy a place like this that is so different, indeed eccentric, that even tiny finches flit and settle among the branches of the grand lobby’s chandelier.
John Borthwick was a guest of The Mansion Baliwood.
The Mansion Baliwood Resort Hotel & Spa, Jalan Penestanan, Sayan, Ubud, Bali.
Getting There. Fly Garuda Indonesia to Denpasar. Arrange in advance a transfer to Ubud, about 90 minutes inland.