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Villa Sarna Ubud
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Reviewed 24 October 2013

I read all of the reviews before deciding to stay at Sarna. I am well traveled and have enjoyed accommodations of all levels. I understand 3rd world stays and and the leeway that's needed at times. However, there is NOTHING LUXURY about Villa Sara. It is not a 4 STAR as it advertises. First, the villa is a good 25-35 minute drive every time to and from the city. It doesn't matter which shuttle and what time. There is no reception or staff onsite after 8pm. There are only 2 guards on duty. My sheets had an old blood stain on it. Along with the bath towels sheets were dingy grey, even when changed. The toilet was dirty and the seat had not been lifted to clean under the rim. There was feces. I was locked into the purchase with Expedia and stuck it out. On day four I awoke to a stench beyond belief - some pipe problem in the sewage system that completely polluted my room. The loudspeaker from the ceremony that went 24-7 next door (for weeks) kept us all up each night. Ceremonies happen in Bali all the time and they are wonderful. I fully respect this and I even attended. Yet, Sarna's management does not warn guests. I experienced the owner as a surly Indian businessman who was never friendly or even acknowledging. He was belligerent when it came to problems with the villa. One more thing - the villa does not have a restaurant as advertised. It's down the winding road at another villa entirely. So, "room service" is below average and cold. The positives were the friendly staff (aside from owner) and guards who did their very best in the even to address concerns that were out of their realm.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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5  Thank journeycoach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Villasarna, Owner at Villa Sarna Ubud, responded to this reviewResponded 28 October 2013

I must say that after all the reviews we have read over the years, we have never been so shocked and angered at such a blatant attempt by an individual to try to defame a small hotel family business with bold faced lies. I translate all reviews for our entire staff, good and bad, so every single member of Villa Sarna can learn from their mistakes and also take pride in their successes. Most of our staff was in tears and many were fuming after reading the review, more so because 90% of the review consisting damaging lies and not truthful constructive criticism -- undermining the honest hard work and beautiful hearts of our staff and Balinese culture as a whole. To further explain:

1) The guest's claim that there was a blood stain was an absolute lie. It is not true at all. The small red color stain on the sheet was from a beautiful red colored flower that we always put on the bed after cleaning the room. The guest probably lifted the flower and discarded it, and incorrectly assumed after looking at the sheet afterwards that the stain was blood, which it absolutely was not. The staff explained to the guest that the stain was from the flower and not blood, but we would change the sheets immediately anyway so she would feel comfortable. So even after we explained to the guest that the stain was from a flower and not blood and she agreed and affirmed this, she still had the audacity to lie about it on Tripadvisor and write it as the heading of the title. This is very disturbing and resentful. We don't know why a person would do such a thing and lie. We take enormous pride in cleanliness.

2) As we've explained many times, the villa is an average of 15-20 minutes from Ubud depending on traffic. The guest saying that it is 25-35 minutes every time is again another lie. Even a recent review of a guest mentioned that he or she actually timed the commute exactly and it was 19 minutes.

3) Saying that there is no staff on site after 8pm is another lie. There are always security guards protecting the villa and at least 10 staff members on site who reside on site and answer the phone 24 hours a day. The guest says in a derogatory tone that that there are "only" 2 guards on duty. We are a small 7 room hotel and having 2 guards on staff and 10 staff members on site in the middle of extremely safe green area of Bali is sufficient in our opinion. It's ridiculous to claim otherwise, as most 200+ room hotels in Bali only have 1 or 2 visible security guards out front.

4) To say that the toilet was dirty and there was fecal matter on it was also another lie. As I have mentioned before and as evidenced by almost all reviews, we pride ourselves on cleanliness. We even checked with our Housekeeping staff and they said they have always cleaned the bathroom and toilets until they are immaculate. For everyone's information, the guest never complained about this to our staff. If this were true and I was in the same position, I would have been grossed out and would have called to complain right away. The guest did not do this, which makes me believe that it was a lie, just like most of the other things written in this review.

5) There was no problem in our sewage system pipe whatsoever. The guest called our staff to complain of an unbearable stench in the room. Our staff could not sense or smell of any problem, but still called our plumber right away to check the lines. We asked the guest if she wanted to move to a comparable room, but she refused and told us to fix the problem first. We obliged. While the plumber got his equipment together and was about to work on the "alleged" problem, a span of 20 minutes passed. During this time, the guest could no longer smell the “stench” and said she the problem was fixed to her satisfaction, so we left. When we went to check with the plumber and tell him that he fixed the problem, he told us that he hadn't even started checking the pipes! We couldn't fathom how all of a sudden the stench (that we couldn't smell from the beginning), had miraculously disappeared according to the guest!

6) Yes, there were religious ceremonies going on that week. But it is a lie when the guest claims that the ceremonies were going on 24/7 and for a few weeks. The ceremonies were going on a couple hours during day and occurred only during that week, and definitely not all night. As the reviewer below who stayed that week mentioned, we did our best to tell the temple to keep it down as best they could and not use the loud speaker at night so our guests could sleep -- and they obliged. But we could simply not tell them to stop, as we would never stop or prevent religious ceremonies. But I want to make it clear that these ceremonies are every once in a while, and not for constant weeks on end like the guests incorrectly says.

7) Regarding our room service food, the guest in the review just two days prior to this one stayed during the same exact time period as this guest said that "they ordered room service on 2 occasions and found the food of high quality." So how one guest who stayed during the same time period could say that the food was high quality on multiple occasions, and this guest said it was not -- is something I cannot answer. If the food is not served warm for any reason, we urge all guests to tell us so we can make it right. And regarding the restaurant claim, we said in many reviews that breakfast is on site, and that room service is made by our sister villa next door whom we partner with. They are a very famous restaurant that has been around for many years and is featured in all the major travel guides.

8) Referring to the owner as a "belligerent, surly Indian businessman" is not only a bold faced lie, but is borderline racist. Firstly, the owner is of Indian descent, but was born and raised in Indonesia. He studied in India and moved to the United States 40 years ago to start a family, is happily married with 3 grown children, and is a proud American. He is one of the nicest and most honest men and goes out of his way to make sure all guests are taken care of. What hurts even more is the fact that this guest makes this horrible characterization of my father, when the guest had never even met or spoken to him before! My father is a wonderful man who is loved by all his staff and would do anything for him. I'm sorry but one would be hard pressed to find an owner of any hotel or restaurant in Bali who treats their staff and guests like my father. He is one of a kind.

9) The guest claims that our Villa is not 4 star and is not luxury. That is also a blatant lie as we have been awarded with Expedia's Insider's Select award in 2011 and 2013. It is such an amazing honor that only 600+ hotels receive out of 150,000, and we are one of them. Only 3 hotels in Bali have received this award, and we are the only one who has received this honor twice in 3 years. If that doesn't give us credence as a legitimate 4 star hotel, I don't know what does.

What the guest fails to conveniently mention is that in response to her complaints, we bent over backwards to offer her things to make her stay more pleasant and make her as happy as possible. She was quick to complain with many lies on this review, but she deliberately didn't mention that she had amassed over $80 usd worth of incidentals which we made complimentary due to her complaints, including a very far multi-hour trip to the other side of Bali island. Although I am not going make any claims of the personality of this guest because neither my father nor I met this guest, our staff told us she was not the nicest of people and was extremely condescending and dismissive towards them. I'm extremely proud of our staff and Villa, and we're always trying to constantly improve. We will not let these negative reviews derail us from our path to continued excellence. Thanks so much for reading this review and I appreciate everyone's time.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 October 2013

Our family stayed at Villa Sarna the second weekend in October. We have stayed in Ubud 4 times previously so have some point of reference and reasonable expectation for accommodation in the area.

First, the good: the property and rooms are nicely appointed. The staff is genuinely eager to please and works hard. They arranged a car for us to tour one day and also massages for my wife and daughter. All were satisfactory. We ordered room service dinner on two occasions and found the food of high quality.

However, I would be remiss without mentioning two critical issues that negatively impacted our stay significantly.

First, the property is located on a hillside. Directly behind the property there is a local temple. During the weekend that we stayed there, there was little noise during the day. However, at night, loud chanting over a microphone could be heard. On the first night we stayed there there was noise until 1:45am. The second night it went on until nearly midnight, at which point we spoke with management. To management's credit, they contacted the local authorities, who ceased the use the microphone around midnight. In both cases this prevented us from sleeping, even with a loud AC unit and earplugs. The next morning we spoke with other residents who also had trouble sleeping, including some who had experienced earlier in the week prior to our arrival. This does not seem to correspond to their claim of their property being a "haven of tranquility".

We certainly had no intention of preventing religious ceremonies from taking place and have the utmost respect for Balinese culture, but at $175/night is getting a good night's sleep an unreasonable expectation?

Secondly, there are serious issues with the water pressure at this property. We live in Indonesia so did not have excessive expectations. However, the water flow varied greatly and would cut out completely for 5-10 seconds from time to time. Two other residents at the property told us they were experiencing similar problems, including one whose shower fixture collapsed on them. Previous responses in July from the owner state that there was work being done on the pumps, but that clearly has not solved the water pressure problems.

Overall, this is a good property that requires some plumbing work to bring it up to standard. Also, the property, who obviously has a relationship with the local authorities (one of their drivers told us he was attending the ceremonies) should honestly advise guests of potential noise issues before they arrive at the property. This is not dissimilar to advising guests well in advance of renovations or similar annoyances that might impact the quality of their stay. Not doing so smacks of incompetence or worst of dishonesty.

I have noted from previous reviews the reluctance of the owner to accept constructive criticism, so I imagine there will be a 3 page response. But please take this into account when booking the property, you have been forewarned.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank bruin4life93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Villasarna, Owner at Villa Sarna Ubud, responded to this reviewResponded 27 October 2013

Thank you for the response that has been given and the appreciation of our hotel and staff. We go through great lengths to make sure our service is outstanding and care for the well being of all our guests. That's why we are so proud and honored with being awarded with Tripadvisor's Certificate of Excellence every year and also Expedia's Insiders Select Award in 2011 and 2013!

Regarding the negative aspects that were experienced, we apologize for the inconvenience that was caused, but please allow us to explain to all Tripadvisor readers. Yes, there were ceremonies going on for just a few days that week Although we try to do whatever we can to alleviate some of the noise, we really cannot stop or prevent highly religious ceremonies from taking place. It is simply impossible, nor will we disrespect the beautiful religious culture of the Balinese. The guest at first was very irate about the noise and I know, but soon understood and respected our explanation. Even such, we still did our best to try to tell them to keep the noise down and it ended before the guest would retire for bed. For their troubles, we offered a bottle of wine and massages and anything we could to make the guest happy. And the guest was gracious enough to understand and even mentioned that all this was not necessary and they appreciated our great efforts to help alleviate the situation. Please be aware that ceremonies such as these do not happen all the time and are a rare occurrence, but when they do happen, we try our best to make the guests feel as comfortable as possible and to the best of our ability. We did tell guests that such ceremonies were going on at check-in, and we would do our best to keep the guests comfortable and notify our guests in advance, but again, these are very rare.

Regarding the water pressure, as the water supply comes from the Village in Ubud, sometimes when several people take showers at the same time - the water pressure becomes low. We apologize for this and even with our renewed pumps, sometimes the water pressure will be a little light for a few seconds at a time. But for the most part, the water pressure is very good 90% of the time. We are built into the rainforest so we try our best to get the best supply possible. We are looking into getting even stronger pumps to see if we can improve the pressure even more. Thanks so much for the review and we look forward to serving you in the near future at Villa Sarna.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2013

lovely quiet privacy are just some of Villa Sarna qualities. we loved our stay there. the staff is great, very friendly, always with a smile and willing to make the best of your stay.
we were supposed to stay for just one night and we ended up staying for three days :)
would love to go back
keep on with your sympathy and good work.
marvelous gardens

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Sara M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2013

A bit out of Ubud, but there are free shuttles to town, and the staff are very helpful if you want to hire a car to nearby attractions. Great food, awesome pool / lounge area, reasonable rates!

We were going to just stay for two nights, but ended up loving it and luckily they were able to offer us the same room for the same rate for additional nights. Relaxed at Villa Sarna, went into town, visited temples, did some rafting and bicycle riding down the volcano, got some local culture in town (including kecak dance). Would go back.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Hbonwit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2013

My hubby and I stayed here for 4 days and we really enjoyed our stay here. This villa has got the best service team especially their driver, PUJI, who provided us with great traveling tips and advice when we booked the driver's services to various destinations such as Tanah Lot, Gunung Kawi, Batur, Seminyak and Sanur beach. They also provide very punctual free shuttle services to Ubud. We will definitely come back again when we visit Bali next. This place is really like paradise!

  • Stayed: October 2013
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Thank Snowswallow1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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