A scenic boutique hotel in central Bali for peace-seekers and cultural connoisseurs
The uplands of Bali offer a change of scenery from the routine party and beach bumming activities found in Kuta. Not that we wanted to shy away from the famed beachside city, but on our recent visit, we made sure to explore an often overlooked part of the island. Our research unanimously led us to Ubud and eventually, the Bisma Eight hotel.
Bisma Eight sits in the middle of a rich Balinese jungle and stands out with its impressive monolithic structure. While it was imposing, we felt immediately at home upon entering the property. The tranquillity surrounding the place reminded us why we’ve always loved to explore the outdoors. Designed by SHL Asia, the landscape blends easily with the hotel, and not once did we feel out of place.
Indoors, the hotel’s 38 suites set a remarkable example of how hotels in Bali, or everywhere else for that matter, should be. The mixed modern and traditional Balinese designs offer a calming, spa-like ambience while also stressing convenience. What we found most striking about our suite is the outdoor seating area. Here, we spent as much time as we wanted admiring the greenery. The Japanese-inspired soaking tub, a first of its kind on the island, also provided a unique touch to our stay. With these amenities, there’s no wonder why Bisma Eight won TripAdvisors’ Travelers Choice Awards in Best Hotel and Romance Categories for 2017 and 2018!
Thinking about where to stay in Ubud? If you’re a peace-seeking family, couple or solo traveller who wants the best of Bali nature and culture, you’ll love Bisma Eight just as much as we do. Know more amazing things about it by reading the rest of our Bisma Eight hotel review!
While the abundance of nature around the hotel is undeniable, there’s something about having a mini garden in your private living space. This is what the 54 sqm Garden Suites are all about. All ten accommodations can be found at the Bamboo Courtyard.
An outdoor seating area serves as an added space for you to enjoy Ubud's natural beauty while sipping a cup of Balinese coffee or tea. Both the living and sleeping areas are spacious enough even when screened off from each other. They made us feel like we could do anything we pleased, unlike in a usually cramped hotel room. The bathroom is especially impressive with the goemon soaking tub paired with Bisma Eight’s house bath salts. In addition, each Garden Suite is equipped with air-conditioning, mini-fridge and in-room safe, which are always a plus for us.
Located one floor above the Garden Suites are all of Bisma Eight’s 54 sqm Canopy Suites. Offering views of the Canopy Courtyard below, each suite comes with its own 8 sqm balcony complete with bamboo railings. Beautiful cascading ivy also gives the right touch of elegance to the area.
The Canopy Suites also have living and sleeping areas that can be easily partitioned for more privacy when necessary. This also helps give the suite the illusion of being bigger than it actually is. Cosy up during the day on your inviting king-sized bed while reading your favourite travel book, or have a much-needed slumber later on. In addition, each suite isn’t complete without its goemon soaking tub and shower. There's also WiFi, air-conditioning, a mini-fridge and an in-room safe.
Guests of the 18 Forest Suites will enjoy passing time inside or outside the accommodation. The suites are tucked in a separate building of Bisma Eight. The same building houses The Pavilion and The Pool, which are two of the guest favourites in the hotel. A private balcony makes for the perfect place to watch the sun go down. It's also a great place for an afternoon bite in the company of tall tropical trees.
Each nook is adorned with Balinese decorations and carefully selected furniture to give your eyes something to feast on. And if a level-up treehouse living is something you’ve always dreamt of, this is the place to fulfil it. What’s more, you’ll find the same amenities including the signature Japanese-inspired soaking tub found in the Garden and Canopy Suites.
Tourists also frequent Ubud for its unique cuisine. Bisma Eight lives up to that through the Copper Kitchen, Bar and Rooftop. Choose from its menu of International-Asian flavours. Then, sit back and enjoy a traditional Balinese dance from your table every now and then. One item you ought to try is the Rockwell Burger, which is popular during lunch. For dinner, you can order the Ikan Bakar (Indonesian) or the Beef AU ribeye and Blue swimmer crab pappardelle with cognac (Western).
The restaurant is known for using locally grown and ethically sourced ingredients. With that, we suggest trying the Organic Farm in a Bowl which comprises hand-picked produce from Bisma Eight’s own farms and rooftop garden. For the conscious eaters, simply look out for items marked with (v) for vegetarian and (gf) for gluten-free.
Bisma Eight also values their guests’ love for literature as much as their appetite. If you’re one of them, head to the Library Cafe, home to tasty beverages like the Matcha Latte, and books you’ll surely adore. Afterwards, feel free to join the fun at The Pavilion for the daily Relaxed Buzz, and at The Rooftop Bar for the happy hour. Order any of Bisma Eight’s signature cocktails and get a second one for free!
In this day and age, it’s not enough to just focus on keeping a ‘perfect’ figure. Bisma Eight offers an array of fitness and meditation amenities to help guests maintain a healthy physical and spiritual well-being.
Located at the hotel rooftop, The Pool doubles as an outdoor jacuzzi with its heated water. This is vital for guests who find it hard to adjust to Ubud’s chilly weather. Like most parts of the hotel, the infinity pool looks over the jungle making your stay here even more worthwhile. A website called Mr. Porter even named the facility one of the best pools in the world!
Inside the main building, you’ll find The Fit Space, Bisma Eight’s on-site gym. The provided equipment are ideal for a slow-paced warm up and a full-blown workout session. To give you more options, the gym hosts classes and workshops. These will turn your visit into a fun learning opportunity as well.
With the perks of the gym and the rooftop space, Bisma Eight hosts a daily morning yoga class. The one-hour class focuses on Hatha, a traditional system that covers postures and breathing exercises. In addition, a Vinyasa Yoga teaches you about better movement and breathing coordination. This consists of Ashtanga, Baptiste Yoga and Jivamukti.
Bisma Eight also offers several more opportunities to help guests learn more about Balinese culture and surrounding.
Start from Monday for a traditional Balinese dance class. The class will instruct you how to use your fingers, hands, head and eyes to convey stories that have artistic and religious roots. Follow it up by learning how to make Balinese offerings on Tuesdays. These include the Canang Sari, which are usually seen in temples and shrines throughout the island.
A trip to Bali is nothing without a visit to local restaurants for authentic cuisine. But in Bisma Eight, you can do so much more than just tasting the food. Every Thursdays, chefs at the hotel teach guests how to prepare Balinese cuisine in a one-hour class. And all ingredients you’ll be using will come from the hotel’s own farm. For a little sophistication, try your hand at bartending at a crafty mocktail masterclass every Saturday.
Finally, get to know Ubud by joining a leisure cycling class around town every Saturday. The tour will take you to rice fields, rivers, museums and even retail shops! Don't forget to inform the front desk in advance to take the classes.
Bisma Eight Group recently welcomed three sumptuous additions to its culinary portfolio. All of them are found on the main road of Monkey Forest, roughly 1 km from Bisma Eight hotel.
Folk Pool & Gardens is a restaurant, day pool and a garden all in one. It is also Ubud’s first swim-up bar and seasonal twilight poolside cinema serving all-day dining. On the other side of Monkey Forest is No Más Bar. A new favourite among locals, expats and tourists, it has live bands and DJs, along with bevvies and scrumptious midnight bites. Just below the No Más Bar, Liap Liap is a modern grilling restaurant. The place highlights indigenous cooking styles found on the island. An Indonesian chef by the name of Roy Qira heads the food and beverage section in all three destinations, along with Chef de Cuisine Mandif Warokka for Liap Liap.
The Japanese-inspired or goemon soaking tubs are the main highlight of the Bisma Eight suites. A first of its kind in Bali, these tubs are made from aromatic Canadian cedar wood. Each tub is accompanied by Bisma Eight’s house bath salts for a truly relaxing soak.
Aside from using reused Indonesian doors, Bisma Eight takes pride in its own permaculture farm in Tegallalang. The Garden, located on the hotel rooftop, is a miniature version of the original farm. The hotel also values sustainability, and it does so by making use of extracted plastic. These include the in-room glass water bottles and refillable shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion containers. The hotel also only uses biodegradable straws and takeaway cutleries.
From spacious suites, healthy dining options and enriching activities, Bisma Eight went above and beyond in making sure its guests are well taken care of. A quality that we could only identify with the warmth given by our parents or siblings. It’s also something that not a lot of Ubud hotels have these days. We were not surprised then, to find out that the management behind the hotel is, in fact, a family of Indonesians. Aside from the owners, the rest of the hotel community is made up of locals. This makes staying in the hotel a cultural experience by itself.
To cater more guests, Bisma Eight is adding a new room category that consists of 12 private villas. Each unit will have its own pool for added pampering. A mock-up of the villa will be shown to visitors by January 2019. In addition to this exciting new project, the hotel will also have a chapel built specifically for its wedding guests. Spearheading its construction is renowned Indonesian architect Andra Matin. The same talent is responsible for the modern architecture of Katamama Hotel by PotatoHead.
Due to the island’s growing fame, travelling to Bali is not as tricky as you might expect. So is getting to its key areas like Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur, Nusa and even Ubud.
The main way to go to Ubud from any international point is by taking a flight into Denpasar Bali Airport. From here, the town is about 38 km away. You can choose to hire a taxi, drive a rented car or commute by bus. Once in central Ubud, you can reach Bisma Eight through Jalan Bisma in less than five minutes.
For your convenience, we suggest booking the airport transfer service of Bisma Eight. This will take you from the airport to the hotel in roughly an hour and a half. Meanwhile, getting to central Ubud from the hotel takes around 10 minutes on foot. This is ideal if you want to spend more time enjoying the area at your own pace.
Ubud isn’t known as Bali’s cultural centre for nothing. Besides taking part in classes offered in Bisma Eight, you can also walk to the town’s tourist hotspots from the hotel. From there, you can explore more sightseeing options.
Before you even make it downtown, you’ll pass by the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Expect to see nearly 800 monkeys on your visit, including the Balinese long-tailed monkey. Tourists also advise dropping by the Ubud Traditional Art Market for authentic art souvenirs. Just across it is the Ubud Royal Palace, an over 200-year-old complex of traditional houses.
The more outdoorsy travellers can make their way to the Campuhan Ridge Walk, a popular hiking and trekking area in the locale. Aside from overlooking nearby mountains, the trek also offers some of the best viewing spots during sunrise and sunset. The trail is relatively easy for experienced and beginner hikers. Feeling adventurous? Make your way to the adrenaline-pumping playground of Bali Swing!
Outside of Ubud are plenty of other attractions that you might have seen at least once on your Instagram feeds. One of them is the Tirta Empul Temple, one of the busiest water temples in the entire country. Balinese Hindus go there for their ritual purification. Like Vietnam and the Philippines, Indonesia is also popular for its rice terraces. Just outside of Ubud is the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, perhaps the most famous and beautiful of them all in the country. The place offers dramatic views perfect for your own photo opportunities. In addition, you can stop by the Tegenungan Waterfalls where you can bathe in its clean and clear water.