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“Fantastically private family retreat”

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Iman Villas 'Real Bali' Luxury Ubud Villas
Ranked #203 of 554 Speciality Lodging in Ubud
Fremantle, Australia
1 review
“Fantastically private family retreat”
Reviewed 1 August 2014

Pondok Iman was amazing never have we treated ourselves to such a gorgeous and luxurious stay. Like most we were apprehensive about the pictures matching the actual experience - well it does. The place is immaculate. The living space is enormous and would be a great place for two couples with small babes or a large family. The pool was perfect and a must personally, especially with children who simply just want to play in the water most of the day.

It is a slight walk (5 min) off the main road in Penestanan, but its beautiful one and felt all the more special and intimate because of it. A 15/20 minute walk will take you into Ubud otherwise drivers are easy to find and will happily have you in the centre in a matter of minutes. We actually chose the latter option as we found the road into Ubud a little busy with children. Don't forget to visit the Yellow Flower Cafe (Penestanan) this became our second home - the food is delicious and the atmosphere is cool shady and relaxed and Sari organics while a longer hike is oh my... so definitely worth it.

We personally feel that a place is only good as the people you meet and how they make you feel during your stay. The staff here were amazing, Helen is warm and welcoming and was very helpful organising medical help for our daughter who unfortunately dislocated her elbow. Her staff were kind and always willing to help and make our stay more enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this place for people to stay.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Leceile F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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39 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
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English first
Shah Alam
Level 6 Contributor
125 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 December 2013

First things first, this villa is not for those who want to walk to Ubud town centre. It's a 20 minute walk from Ubud Market to the junction on Jalan Penestanan that leads to the villa. From this junction, it's a 5 minute walk to the villa on an unpaved walking path. At night, you will need a torch (provided in the villa) to ensure that you do not step into a water puddle.

With that out of the way, Pondok Iman is a lovely place right smack in the middle of rice fields (although at the rate that new villas are popping up left, right and centre), you may not find rice fields if you don't make the trip soon! There are countless villas on your left and right as you make your way in with most of them not listed in the usual booking websites and on Tripadvisor.

Kadek (the head housekeeper) is what makes Pondok Iman so special. She's extremely sincere (Balinese are generally very friendly and honest people) but Kadek is in a class of her own. She really went out of her way to ensure that we are all settled in. She even cooked porridge for one of the kids who had slight food poisoning on our 2nd last day. We followed her to the Ubud Market at 6am to see how the locals shopped and she gladly obliged.

We had a terrible first night though, thanks to a rustling sound coming from the ceiling. It was moving from room to room, so much so that we were certain that it was an animal of some sort. As the ceiling was made out of interwoven leaves held up by the roof trusses, you could actually see parts of the ceiling sagging down as the animal in question moved around. We could not sleep at all the first night as we thought that it was a snake but after speaking to Kadek in the morning (we did not want to wake her up in the middle of the night as she lives off site), she assured us that it was probably a rat. We slept much better after that even though the rat was still with us for the rest of the week.

Everything was provided for in the villas. Books, a reliable WIFI connection, an insane DVD collection (think it was 40+ individual titles), lots of day beds in the out of the villa. Perhaps we were lucky to be allocated to the owner's personal villa so the kitchen was very well stocked. We asked Kadek if we could use the items in the kitchen and she told us to help ourselves. A big thanks to the owner for being so generous.

The sun comes up early in Bali at just before 6am and the ducks who live behind the villas get up even earlier! First morning, we were woken up by the quacking ducks but we quickly got used to them by the next morning onwards.

There are 2 main cafes (warungs) on the walkway leading into Pondok Iman. Closer to the main road is Gratitude Cafe, further in and closer to Pondok Iman is Dream's Cafe. Our vote goes to Dream's Cafe as they have a more extensive menu, food is off generally better quality and they have a better setup.

As you walk in, there is a small provision shop, a laundry, motorbike rental shop, 2 cafes, and many villas. On the main road, there are 3 or 4 other restaurants.

It is common for guests at the various villas to rent motorbikes at IDR50k a day. Recommended as opposed to a one-way taxi ride to Ubud town which costs IDR50k as well.

The rates quoted by Pondok Iman for their recommended driver, Wayan (who doubles up as their gardener) are market rates. We did find a taxi driver who charged less so it would be good if Wayan could charge a lower rate since we were giving him the bulk of our business. Wayan needs to brush up on his English skills and sincerity level to be on par with Kadek.

What would make Pondok Iman even more special would be to provide for the following items which were not provided:
- full set of toiletries in the bathroom (we were only given a bar of soap and some handwash).
- more torches with new batteries (our provided torch had batteries which were almost dead).
- evening turndown service where our villa's external lights will be turned on so that we don't have to return to a dark villa if we left early in the morning.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank travelbugvee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 November 2013

Very peaceful surroundings, right in the middle of the rice fields. It's a little walk from the main road past a few warungs, which is great as the food is fantastic and you don't have to go into Ubud.
The villa itself provides everything you need for complete relaxation. The staff (which are lovely) will organise anything you want. Loved the massage ladies who came to the villa, the breakfast that was cooked every morning and the fact that you have a kitchen at your disposal. You don't have to leave this place if you want a few days to hide from the world! The pool was another great feature! Our next visit to Bali will certainly include another couple of days at Pondok Iman Villas. Excellent stay!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Saaboz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 October 2013 via mobile

I purchased this stay here through groupon and was very skeptical because you hear stories if how those places can not be quite up to scratch. However I was not disappointed when I arrived to see the villa was just like the one in the pictures and as described! Each bedroom had its own bathroom with an outdoor shower. I liked the outdoor shower concept as it meant the bathroom didn't get a musky, moist air smell, however I think the toilet paper holder should be located on the other side of the toilet as it may get slightly splashed when taking showers. The bedrooms are ample size with storage and rice paddy views. The bedrooms also had ceiling fans and air conditioning. I liked the option of a fan as you didn't feel so guilty about wasting electricity and also meant you didn't dry out your body from the aircon running all night. The open plan kitchen, lounge area and dining gives a great sense of space and you can happily have people at each end of the room and not feel like you are on top of each other. The pool was in a fantastic location so it was always nice and warm. Overall I think the villa itself is a great design and well maintained.
The staff were very helpful though there was some language barriers (but hey, I only speak one language so I'm sure it would be the same if I tried speaking Indonesian). Breakfast every morning was simple, eggs, fruit, toast, but perfect for Mum and me. We also had one cooked dinner for us which was lovely but cost $20 each even though we were only meant to be paying the cost if ingredients and not the standard price for the service. I did raise this but was assured that $40 was the total for the ingredients. There was a driver available to take us around where we need to go and the rates were quite reasonable.
The location of the villa is about 7-10 minutes walk from the main road and about 25-30 minutes walk from the main Ubud area. If you had a scooter(which hire can easily be arranged through the villa staff) it wouldn't be a big deal but Mum and I were not comfortable riding one so we would need to arrange a driver to go into the main Ubud area. However I wouldn't see this as a major deterrent, just something to consider for people not up to the walks.

Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank nziv2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth
1 review
Reviewed 10 October 2013

We stayed at Pondok Iman when I took my parents and younger sister on their first trip to Bali in July. We were picked up in Kuta by a lovely driver who took us to Ubud, where we were met by the lovely head of staff Kadek, who insisted on carrying our suitcases on her head to save us carrying them! The villa is just as beautiful in real life as it appears in the pictures. It is right in the middle of farmland just out of Ubud, which gave us a great cultural experience. It was lovely chatting to the local farmers each day and learning about daily life in Bali. The villa had two bedrooms with double beds and private bathrooms, complete with a lovely outdoor shower in each. The pool and garden area is very peaceful and we spent many hours lounging around on the daybeds and lounges reading and swimming in the pool. The villa is about 15 minutes walk from the centre of Ubud, so we happily walked to and from town a number of times. There are plenty of restaurants, shops, spas etc a few minutes walk away in the Penestanan area so we found the area perfect for our requirements. To reach the villa does require a walk down a narrow village path through the rice paddies which could be difficult for older or less fit visitors, but my 55 and 60 year old parents had no trouble. The head of staff Kadek was very warm and friendly, and was always on hand to organise excursions and give us advice on the local attractions. She also cooked us dinner one night which cost us about $20 all up in ingredients and comprised about 8 dishes. It was delicious and there was a heap left over! We also chatted a few times with Helen, the owner, who was very helpful at all times throughout the booking process and was very friendly and welcoming when we arrived. We had an absolutely fantastic time staying at Pondok Iman in Ubud, and would definitely stay there again. Thanks for your wonderful hospitality Helen, Kadek and everyone at Pondok Iman villas.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Rachel G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hobart, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 4 October 2013

I would not normally review a place after only one night, but Pondok Imam has proved the exception! We've been staying in Bali for two months now, negotiating the fierce dogs on the street where we lived, damp house, mouldy clothes and fairly basic living...Arrived here yesterday and felt like I was stepping into a whole new Bali! Wayan had a scoopy (scooter) ready and waiting for me. Our villa is still very Bali, without the downside of mozzies, mould or no proper lighting! And very close to Ubud central with the rice fields and local feel as well. Love the walking paths with friendly dogs! Great cafes nearby, my daughter has just wandered off for breakfast on her own. Our host, Helen, has made sure that all is ready for us to enjoy our time here. I am looking at a three month adventure, we plan to stay...

Room Tip: The Three villas are all lovely!
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank VarchaS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Helen O, Owner at Iman Villas 'Real Bali' Luxury Ubud Villas, responded to this review, 6 October 2013
Welcome! Glad you're feeling so settled so quickly & we're looking forward to having you here for the next few months too. I agree that Penestanan is a unique place - really the true Bali experience - Village life happening all around you in picturesque rice fields, and all the things a traveller wants as well - cafes. restaurants, spas, a walk away from everything, even nice dogs! Hers' to a great few months
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
1 review
Reviewed 2 September 2013

Stayed for a few nights with two girlfriends and had great service, beautiful area and was close to hustle and bustle of Ubud with friendly locals! Even tough it was a short stay, we had a blast! We even had home cooked breakfast every day with suggestions on what to do. Everything was well organised for us... From the driver, to the activities and we'll definitely be back again next tear

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Tams854
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Helen O, Owner at Iman Villas 'Real Bali' Luxury Ubud Villas, responded to this review, 6 October 2013
And it was great to have you girls here! I love seeing guests really soak up being here not just in the Villas but Bali itself & you certainly did that! Really look forward to having you back - it was a pleasure
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Iman Villas 'Real Bali' Luxury Ubud Villas

Property: Iman Villas 'Real Bali' Luxury Ubud Villas
Address: Jl. Penestanan, Ubud 80571, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Bali > Ubud
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Kitchenette Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #203 of 554 Speciality Lodging in Ubud
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience the real Bali in one of three stunning villas surrounded by rice fields, uniquely located in the centre of Ubud’s artist’s colony, Penestanan. The main road is a leisurely 5 minute stroll away, and boasts fabulous restaurants, cafes and spas. Ubud centre is then only 5 minutes away by car or bike, or a 15 minute walk. Traditional Joglo structures, the Villas are a fusion of traditional and contemporary Bali, with a lush tropical garden surrounding the private pool and shaded bale. Each Villa is fully walled for privacy and security, so you can enjoy complete seclusion. Penestanan’s main road boasts fabulous restaurants & cafes, and Kue, the local bakery, which is regarded as one of Ubud’s best. ... more   less 
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Iman Villas 'Real Bali' Luxury Ubud Villas

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