There is potential for you to have a very satisfying stay at the Puri Saraswati, however, there is also scope for your stay to be truly horrendous. I have stayed at this hotel on two occasions - my last stay was with a group of friends who booked the entire hotel as part of wedding celebrations at the neighbouring palace and lotus pond. The benefit of the group stay was that I got to see almost all the rooms the hotel had to offer and hence my opening remarks. Let's go through some of the things you may need to know :
Rooms : There really is a wide variety on offer here that range from "GET ME OUT OF HERE" to "Oh this is quite pleasant". The rooms that are directly on the main road (of which there are only a couple I believe), despite being more economical are to be avoided at all costs. My friends were staying in one of these rooms, not by choice, they were simply the last ones to arrive and were given no other option. This room was in fact purpose built to be a mould farm it would appear. Mould on the floors, walls, ceilings - you name it. The poor girl staying there was even dreaming of mould. You get the idea, it's the stuff nightmares are made of. Then there are the average rooms of which most are - these are simple but quite comfortable, perhaps not as clean as they *could* be as others have noted. Then there are the deluxe rooms which I have to say for what you pay (circa 70-80 $USD - we received a slightly favourable price owing to the group booking) are really quite nice and you'd have to be a bit pedantic to complain for the money you pay. To cut a long story short - spend the little bit extra and get a deluxe room if you can - any of the rooms on the eastern side of the property adjacent the palace will satisfy most people I believe - unless you are truly accustomed to 4+ star accommodation.
The gardens/property : It is genuinely surprising just how nice the hotels grounds are in light of what you see from the road and even the impressions you may get based on what you see of the hotel lobby. It provides quite the sanctuary from the hustle and bustle that awaits if you step out on to the main road. I was definitely somewhat impressed with the gardens and sculptures. The pool is small but refreshing. Not sure if it the kind of pool you'd want to spend all day sitting by (if you are into that kind of thing....I'm not so I may be a poor judge), but great if you just wish to cool off or do some laps.
Staff : Friendly for the most part - other reviewers have made some negative references to a particular woman on the front desk. I am reasonably certain I know the lady to which they are referring and whilst I didn't have any issues with here myself, I can see how what they described may occur - she can quite abrupt but is very bubbly for the most part. I think it would be fair to say that the staff don't bend over backwards to go out of their way for you like in other hotels, but by the same token if you are not a particularly demanding guest then I don't see how you will have too many issues with them.
Breakfast : Soul destroying would be the most accurate description of this complimentary meal you receive as part of your room cost. In theory the breakfast sounds nice - you will have a choice of juice/coffee/toast/eggs any which way/banana pancakes/fruit salad - you will probably think it's OK on the first day. On the second day you will be less enthused and by the third you will probably be dreading it. I noted that the toast consistently had mould in it, not a great deal, but if you looked closely it was there alright - which whilst despite being understandable in the humid Bali climate, I never noticed this anywhere else I ate. My suggestion to those that are fussy over their breakfast (which I admit I am) is to go over the road to Casa Luna and spend $4-$5USD getting "real" coffee and a breakfast that doesn't send you into a deep depression. Another negative aspect of breakfast, is that this is the time you can expect an attempt to be sold a bike tour or spa visit by the staff. I found this intensely irritating but I would attempt to rationalise it by telling myself that they were no doubt simply trying to supplement their meagre incomes. But yes, despite trying to understand their motives, I hated it and would dread it each morning - yet another reason in case you needed one to go to the Casa Luna across the road for your morning meal.
Their website : Hasn't been touched for at least 18 months from what I gather. They quote 200k rupiah for transport to and from the airport but you can actually expect to pay 250k once you speak to them. The going rate at other hotels is circa 200k so they do charge a slight premium for this service relatively speaking.
Location : Great - provided you like.being right in the middle of things. which I must admit I didn't mind. It is on on Ubuds main road and a short walk to most of the popular eateries in Ubud. It is also very close to the Ubud markets (not a place to visit in my opinion...but that's another review..), banks, mini marts and within walking distance to neighbouring Campuhan.
Internet Access : Free wifi is available though you will struggle to receive it in your room - you will need to be in the breakfast area or lobby to enjoy it. Certainly better than not having it at all!!
So overall a bit of a mixed bag here with both positive and negative aspects to consider as a prospective guest. I would recommend this to friends (or you dear reader!) on the provision you were in one of the nicer rooms and if a very central location was a priority. I would just suggest that you request a deluxe room or any of the rooms on the eastern side of the property when you make your booking. The location is great, the staff are *OK* and the price is not outrageous for what you get overall. You could certainly do worse in my opinion, I know I have!!
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- Also Known As:
- Puri Saraswati Bungalows Hotel Ubud
- Puri Saraswati Hotel
- Puri Saraswati Ubud
- Puri Saraswati Bungalows Ubud, Bali