Surya Shanti is definitely a special place to stay and very different from other options in Bali. (The taxi driver who drove us there from the airport, +- 2.5hr drive, said the ,last time he had been asked to take a tourist to the area was 10 years ago.) The hotel is beautfully built with stunning views out over the stepped rice paddy hills. The staff are also very friendly and you do feel like you are staying in a very special place.
We did 2 excellent activities at the hotel both of which I would recommend. The first was the cooking course which is very authentic. They have a special Balinese kitchen with a wood fired stove in the gardens which makes for an amazing location to have the lesson and is a special touch. The second was the guided rice paddy walk which went up to a temple at the top of a nearby hill where we had breakfast. For me this was the highlight. The staff member who took us was really knowledgeable about the plants in the area and we had beautiful views along most of the walk. It was a relatively hard walk though, so i wouldn't do it if you aren't reasonably fit.
Overall as you can probably tell from this review it was a great place to stay, but there were some negatives which I just want to point out so that nobody is disappointed. Firstly the cupboards are extremely full of mould and there are so many mothballs in them that you actually can't put your clothes in the cupboard or they smell like mould/ mothballs. Secondly Sidemen, being in the mountains, seems to get a lot more rain that places along the coast in Bali. Lastly we had a personal experience where we wanted to go on a day trip to Ubud and the hotel wanted us to pay about 2X - 3X what the trip should actually cost. This left a bit of a bad taste since it felt like they were trying to rip us off. If you are there and also want to do this trip to Ubud, then I would recommend not going through the hotel and instead walking up the hill to ask about a driver at the tourist "office" which is near Sidemen village. We got a driver called Ketut to take us for the day and he was great.
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- Also Known As:
- Surya Shanti Villa Sidemen, Bali