Unique is a word so often used for experiences which are, in truth, very ordinary.
But for this place, unique really applies.
It's a superb hotel, with a restaurant, and theme park experience rolled into one.
Mara River Safari Lodge is attached to the Bali Safari Park, which features a variety of African and Asian animals roaming the grounds. The hotel offers hut-style rooms with all mod-cons, ranging in size and how many people they can comfortably fit.
Our family stayed in the Twiga Room - a comfortable hut for two adults and one child - for 4 nights. There are family rooms for larger families, or inter-connecting Twiga rooms for those wanting a bit more space and privacy for all.
Most rooms at the hotel feature views of the animals roaming in the safari park - for your safety separated by a moat. Our Twiga room was elevated, and featured daily morning visits from rhinos, zebras, two storks and a gnu.
The safari park is excellent and I'll review that elsewhere.
One of the hotel and park's highlights is the excellent Tsavo Lion Restaurant.
The food is of the highest quality, and though expensive by Bali standards, it's mid-range by Australian.
It's worth every cent, and I couldn't think of any other restaurant where you can eat and watch lions roaming or meerkats playing - as it's walled by glass allowing 360 degree views into the park. It's especially spectacular at breakfast.
There is one negative with the hotel and safari park - and it's one you should watch closely. We found a couple of workers in both places touting heavily. With one particular hotel staff member, it was transport, and it was evident he was in league with the transport vendors who sit adjacent the property. Because it is fairly remote, you will need transport to visit other parts of Bali if you stay here.
From the moment we arrived, the hotel worker was urging us twice a day not to book transport through the hotel direct. A few days later when we wanted to trek outside, he delivered us to the transport boss outside the hotel grounds, who tried to charge us an exorbitant price for transport. Having been to Bali several times, we knew it was a set-up.
Instead we walked away, returned to the hotel, and pleasantly found the transport prices better booked at the hotel desk.
You'll save yourself a lot of hassle if you deal with the hotel direct on this.
But while it was a negative, it wasn't enough to outweigh all the positives of this wonderful place.
Most staff were great in our experience. I wouldn't let that episode put anyone off staying here, nor would it stop us returning.
If you go to the safari park, you'd be mad not to consider staying here for at least a night, and also eating dinner or breakfast in this wonderful facility.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mara River Safari Lodge is a themed resort that offers a truly unique experience. Accommodation is composed of a series of comfortably appointed thatched dwelling orientated towards a landscaped inhabited by wildlife. With the shadow of Bali's sacred Mount Agung looming in the distance, embrace the rare tranquility of this retreat as rhinos, zebras and oryx graze contentedly at close range. Savor the raw beauty surrounding the lodge, while lions majestically roar declaring their status as the king of the beasts. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Mara River Safari Hotel Gianyar
- Mara River Safari Resort
- Mara River Safari Lodge Bali/Gianyar