I've stayed in thousands of hotels, but I can think of very few that were as enjoyable as the Tanah Merah. It's a very interesting and unique property. What's going on here is that you have a rich Danish dentist, Peter Bloch, who moved to Bali many decades ago and embraced the culture and lifestyle of the island. He's built this extremely pleasant, low key and "exclusive" resort (movie stars could hide from the paparazzi here) a few kilometers from Ubud next to a very scenic tropical gorge. Everything about the place feels very Balinese -- especially the architecture -- yet everything is also professionally managed. I really liked how the staff is friendly and helpful, but not obsequious. It's almost like staying at the private tropical estate of your very rich relative.
Indeed, you sort of wonder why Peter "bothers" to operate this resort. He doesn't seem to need the money and the rates are low enough (at least the discounted rates which seem to be widely available) that you wonder how the hotel can make a profit given the lavish grounds and plentiful staff. And within the resort grounds are purpose-built rooms to house his remarkable collection of Asian art. Few museums can rival his collection and, as a guest, you can take a private tour of the collection upon request. The tour is very interesting and extremely worthwhile.
Many acts of hospitality are extended to guests without additional charge. Like others, we were upgraded from a studio room (which are more than nice enough) to a villa with private infinity pool and gorgeous vista. No charge to have the included breakfast delivered to our pool terrace in the morning. Unlike some others, I thought they did a good job with the breakfast: the "American" was a tasty "bacon and eggs" meal with plenty of fresh breads, juice and fruits. And on Christmas eve, Peter invited all of the hotel guests to an elaborate dinner of Danish and Balinese specialties. No charge, of course -- when was the last time a resort treated its guests to Christmas dinner?
When my online travel agency accidentally cancelled part of my reservation, the staff cheerfully made things right, even at considerable inconvenience to themselves.
As others have noted, the location of the property a few kilometers from Ubud has pluses and minuses. I think far more pluses, as Ubud is now almost a small city filled with noise, traffic and too many tourists. It's still a pleasant place to dine and shop, though, and the hotel will drop you off in town at no charge. You then need to hail a taxi to get back, which is mildly annoying because you have to find a guy (taxis are unmarked but plentiful) and bargain the price, but with little difficulty you can get back for about US$5.
We stayed 3 nights and made the Tanah Merah our base to relax and sightsee in the area, but I certainly wouldn't have minded a longer stay simply to "getaway" and take things easy. Certainly the price is right for what you get, and you will be hard pressed to find better hospitality elsewhere. As long as you're looking for peace and tranquility -- and not a lively party scene -- I don't think there's a better place to stay for the money in all of Bali. I'd give them 6 stars here if I could!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Unique Tanah Merah Art resort is located only 4 km (4000 m) from the center of busy Ubud. The short scenic route from Ubud winds thru rice terraces with view of the big volcanoes until you arrive at the hotel with the only access in Ubud to the Petanu river in the jungle, where you can swim up to the waterfall. The 18 villas and rooms are decorated with art and antiques. The unique museum and gallery here take you thru 2000 years of Indonesian and Balinese history. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tanah Merah Resort & Gallery Hotel Ubud
- Tanah Merah Resort And Gallery
- Tanah Merah Hotel Gallery
- Tanah Merah Art Resort Ubud, Bali