One month, 5 countries later and a load of hotel wifi’s saved on my computer, here I am back from my incredible South East Asia Adventure! Today’s review features my favorite part of my trip, the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia in the lush jungle region of Ubud! Ever since I started traveling, and with the rise of social media to show off it’s beauty, Indonesia has always been one of the countries I wanted to visit the most, and last month I finally got the opportunity to do so for the start of my journey! After a 13 hour trip from Scotland to Thailand, I was sitting in Bangkok awaiting my flight to Bali when suddenly I received a text saying my flight had been cancelled due to an EARTHQUAKE in Bali! Instantly so many thoughts came into my mind; ” what the hell Layla, is this a sign!? Am I supposed to visit Indonesia; Am I going to be able to get another flight; Is it safe to travel there; Is this going to affect the rest of my trip; Where am I going to stay that night…..STOP over analyzing you crazy person!” After composing myself, I got the information that the earthquake wasn’t that bad, of course this was my opinion as I am from the earthquake capital of the world Los Angeles and I’ve been through a 6.8 magnitude earthquake and slept through it (with loads of aftershocks of similar magnitudes following a year after!) So I rescheduled my flight for the next morning and figured everything was safe to be on my way to my dream destination, Bali!
Plataran, Ubud, Bali
There are many regions you can choose to stay during your stay on the island of Bali; I picked Ubud as I believe this lush haven of tranquillity is truly the the heart of Bali, where the island’s vibrant cultural traditions remain untouched. My stay for the week was with Plataran Ubud, a signature hotel & spa which is a part of a homegrown Indonesian hospitality group whose vision is to contribute to Indonesia and Indonesians by showcasing to the world the rich and diverse natural and cultural heritage of this remarkable archipelago. I contacted Plataran to let them know of my flight delay and new arrival time and they couldn’t have been more helpful! I landed at Ngurah Rai in Denpasar the next day and the hotel had sent a driver all the way from Ubud to pick me up! I have to say, they made a great choice in who to send. My driver, Oka, was the first Balinese person I’d ever met, and as I would come to find out, he perfectly encapsulated the people of Bali. He was humble, helpful, informative, sociable and very proud of his culture. On the 90 minute journey back to the hotel he showed me so many sights, described them in great detail, told me each town we were passing through and some background information for each place, if he ever decides to take up a career as a tour guide, he’d have my full recommendation! Oka was THE MAN!
On arrival at the hotel, I found Plataran to be one of the most unique hotels I’ve ever been to. Driving up the busy Jalan Hanoman Road, it’s hard to tell what’s a hotel, restaurant or shop. The Location is unbeatable as it is super close proximity to the sacred monkey forest, which is about a 10 min walk down ubud monkey forest road to the sacred monkey temples. The one-way street follows on further south from Jalan Hanoman and turns at Ubud’s main town centre, across the road from the Puri Saren royal palace and Ubud’s famous art market. As we pulled into Plataran you are welcomed by the hotels Teras restaurant, which in itself is beautiful, and you could easily mistake the place as only a restaurant. However, you have no idea what awaits you. The check in area sits just behind the restaurant; both are filled front to back with wooden flooring and beautifully furnished in traditional Balinese style. The reception staff greeted me with a cold towel and refreshing drink, got me checked in very quickly and had my bags on the way to my room. After passing through the check in area, this is where Plataran really started to amaze.
From here it’s like you enter your own private, endless jungle. A beautifully lit pathway lined with hanging orchid flowers, exotic plants, and smells of the rain forest jungle leads you all the way to the hotel suites. In every corner or turn there is a lovely array of flowers, Balinese traditional statues, fountains and decor. There’s also a large work station, a gym, a private bar, a swimming pool and even Plataran’s own Balinese art gallery on the path! I love the feeling of arriving to a new hotel room, standing outside the door excited to open the door and see what awaits you….that is one of my favorite feelings! Scanned the card, opened the door and DAMN it was awesome! Marble floors, a huge king bed, floor to ceiling sliding windows with an amazing balcony overlooking the pool and rice fields, flat screen TV, a large work station and yet still so spacious! I loved the mix of modern design with traditional Balinese decor. I also loved the waterfall shower and large bath tub in the bathroom, as well as the large window beside the bath connecting both rooms. Of course the fresh exotic Indonesian fruit bowl where I discovered snake fruit (which is now on of my favorite fruits! Thanks Plataran!)
On top of the beautiful accommodations and great service, Plataran also has amazing Cuisine, and being the foodie that I am (aka LAfoodiegirl !) I had to try everything! On my first night the hotel arranged dinner for me at the Teras Ubud restaurant with a variety of traditional Indonesian dishes which I loved, my favorite being the bebek Crispy duck…MMMM! The restaurant also had a local band playing throughout dinner, The Wayan Band, and they were amazing! I’m not a morning person at all, but Plataran changed me over the course of my week stay as I loved waking up everyday for breakfast, and admiring the view at ‘The View’ restaurant is truly worthy of sharing the name! Overlooking the main infinty pool and rice fields, you feel like you’re eating above the jungle. With the sounds of the birds and occasional rain and the smells of the surrounding flowers and plants I took my time over an hour at breakfast enjoying every moment and every bite! Breakfast offers a full fresh buffet including fresh bread, Indonesian pastries, exotic fruit, and even fresh squeezed juices which were so perfect with my meal. The breakfast also offers menus of International and Balinese dishes as well and every dish was delicious! You can sit down for lunch at the Terrace and be treated with a 4 course set menu of traditional Balinese dishes that I would absolutely recommend!
Not only did I have a wonderful stay at Plataran, they also organized a wide range of activities for me to participate in during my stay. On my first morning I selected the morning walk option and was given a guided tour through the local streets and neighborhood tourist do not venture though in Ubud, including: 4 local temples, and through the rice fields surrounding the hotel. Later I took part in a traditional Balinese cooking class, preparing my own 5 course meal which was a lot of fun. I also took part in a morning yoga class and a fruit carving class (the instructor Madi has crazy skills!). My favorite part had to be an amazing massage for me which really topped off the stay! The spa is located on the top floor and has a wonderful panoramic view of the jungle that surrounds the hotel. All of these activities were great and I would definitely recommend that everyone tries them during their stay.
Finally, I have to give the biggest thanks to Fariz, the general manager at Plataran Ubud. From my initial communication with him, he couldn’t have been more helpful and he organized the most amazing stay for me. I truly can’t praise Plataran enough. The feeling I had during my stay was exactly what I imagined Bali would be like and more! Not only do I give Plataran a 5 star rating, I fully recommend to anybody visiting Ubud that you choose Plataran as your place to stay during your visit!