INTRODUCTION TO VICEROY BALI
Viceroy Bali, owned by the Syrowatka family, is an independent boutique luxury resort that is still to this day managed by the owning family (a rarity for one of Bali’s premiere resorts, especially one that opened back in 2005). Set in the heart of Ubud, Viceroy Bali features 25 private pool villas and offers privacy and unparalleled views of the valley.
Date of stay: September 2018
Room: Pool Suite #7 and Deluxe Terrace Villa #18
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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS by CHINMOY LAD
WHAT WE LOVED
- Location. Viceroy Bali is set in Ubud, the artistic, cultural and medicinal heart of Bali. The resort overlooks the beautiful Petanu Valley, also known as “The Valley of the Kings”, and Petanu River. Ubud has undergone many changes over the past decade though, especially after the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ released in 2010 made it a popular destination, bringing mass tourism to the region. Thankfully, the resort is situated away from the main streets of Ubud, but the town centre is only a short drive away. Overlooking the ravine and valley, its verdant setting offers peace and tranquillity, setting the mood for relaxation and romance that Ubud is better known for.
- Rooms: There are five categories of rooms at Viceroy Bali: Pool Suites (4), Terrace Pool Villa (4), Deluxe Terrace Pool Villa (14), Vice Regal Villa (2), Viceroy Pool Villa (1). Our stay was split between the Pool Suite and the Deluxe Terrace Villa.
- Deluxe Terrace Villa (150 sqm/1,615 sqft). These are among the newest villas at Viceroy Bali, built in 2011. The Deluxe Terrace Villas are designed with modern features whilst retaining Balinese authenticity, and have a large infinity pool overlooking the jungle ravine with a suspended traditional Balinese bale hanging over the edge of the villa over the ravine – probably some of Bali’s most spectacular bales. The villas can be linked via the terrace to make a two-bedroom family villa. The key difference between the Deluxe Terrace Villa and the Terrace Villas are the orientation of the outdoor bale and the size of the private pool.
- Viceroy Pool Villa (400 sqm/4,300 sqft). The presidential villa at Viceroy with two-bedrooms. Viceroy Villa is ideal for families with its two master bedrooms with ensuites, large outdoor heated pool and garden, or for honeymooners for its incredible regality and 15-metre private pool. The villa is situated at the bottom of the property, offering maximum privacy and the lush valley and river as the backdrop.
- Service. Service at Viceroy Bali was excellent, welcoming and warm, as we would expect from a Balinese resort of its boutique and family-owned nature – with 150 staff to 25 villas, it also shows the dedication of the resort to serve each guest to their maximum capacity.
- We were greeted by first name at the front office and they were very helpful in helping us with small issues including fixing our broken spectacles, and arranging transfer for our friends staying at a nearby resort.
- The restaurant and poolside staff were excellent and were very attentive to minor details, including remembering our room number and greeting us each time with warm smiles everywhere we went.
- The housekeeping and turn-down service was flawless – we were never disturbed when we were in our villa, and we enjoyed the daily caramel chocolate for turn-down.
- Unfortunately, the service did not go beyond expectation or offer any pleasant surprises: for example, setting the sun loungers with towels without asking, or no sign policies at the restaurant, etc. But on the whole, the service was some of the best we’ve had in Bali.
- Main pool. The main infinity pool at Viceroy Bali is one of Ubud’s and Bali’s most iconic, with an infinity-edge overlooking the panoramic views of the Petanu Valley and tropical forest, where you can occasionally spot monkeys on the other side. However, as the only common pool at the resort, it is not very big, and can get quite packed in the afternoon.
- Heated pools. We have mentioned this before, but all pools, private and common, at Viceroy Bali are heated. In Ubud, which is naturally elevated, in a valley and blanketed in foliage often making the temperature much cooler than by the coast, the pools can get chilly (as they also see little in the way of sunlight). They have somehow managed to ensure that pools are heated to a comfortable temperature, which is something even some of Bali’s more famous resorts have struggled with.
- CasCades Restaurant. CasCades is recognized as one of the finest dining restaurants in Bali, and has been awarded numerous accolades throughout the years by The Miele Guide, American Express and Indonesia Tatler. Executive chef Nic Vanderbeeken seamlessly combines European cuisine with unique Asian taste. A new restaurant will open in 2019/2020 to give an alternative dining venue to CasCades since the restaurant can get quite packed at night with guests coming from outside. CasCades has 2 fantastic additions complimenting Chef Nic Vanderbeeken, Sommelier and Manager Rafaella Pons and Chef Miles.
- Breakfast: Guests may choose to have breakfast at Cascades, which has an absolutely beautiful view of the valley in daylight, or guests can pay an additional fee to have in-room breakfast at the villa. Guests start the breakfast with mixed fruit smoothie (which varies daily and is something we looked forward to each morning!) and pastry. The extensive choices from the a la carte menu also offer some excellent dishes, and we strongly recommend the coconut rice pudding and french toast. However, we were slightly disappointed with the egg omelette and the breakfast ends quite early at 10am, although Viceroy Bali will do their very best to accommodate.
- Dinner: For dinner, we would recommend the Sous-Vide Pork (BBQ pork) and Seared Foie Gras. If guests book in advance, they may also choose to have romantic candlelight dinner at the main pool.
- Helipad. There are only three resorts with helipads in Bali, and Viceroy Bali is one of them. It offers an incredible and picturesque (and easy, beating the traffic) arrival or departure option, and also provides a great starting point for any heli-led excursions in the vicinity or around Bali.
- Complimentary transfers within Ubud. Viceroy Bali provides complimentary shuttle car service to Sacred Monkey Forest or Ubud City Center between 07:00 to 22:30. Guests can make arangements at the front desk, and Viceroy will pick you up whenever you want to get back to the resort.
POINTS TO NOTE
- Decor and maintenance. The decor is clearly a ‘regal’ twist on traditional Balinese, utilising lots of teak and marble. There are elements of the decor that we really loved. But we did find the decor to be somewhat dated (espeically some of the furnishings) on the whole, and the maintenance to be lacking. Even with the refurbished rooms and the newer villas, we think the furnishings and interiors are in serious need of a makeover and better upkeep.
- Natural light and darkness. Ubud doesn’t enjoy too much natural light. As a result, the villas can be a bit dark at times, even during the day.
- Pool Suite (150 sqm/1,615 sqft). The Pool Suite is the entry level room at Viceroy Bali and is considered very spacious for Ubud. However, the Pool Suite might not appeal to everyone:
- The bathroom is located in the outdoor terrace, and with the lack of air-conditioning, it can get very uncomfortable under the hot weather, and as it is open to the elements, it can also attract bugs and other insects
- The room can get quite dim even in the morning and afternoon, mainly due to the low terrace ceiling blocking the sun. This is the only room category that doesn’t have high ceilings, something else to be aware of, and it suffers greatly from it with regards to spacing and light.
- The plunge pool sits in the middle of the open terrace, with a part of it covered and shaded. It would be much better without the outdoor ceiling.
- For most of our discerning clients working with a sizable budget, we recommend booking at least Terrace Villa and up.
- Exhaust vents. The exhaust vents of the air-conditioner are located next to the pathway near CasCades, which guests have to walk past and it can be annoying to have heated air blown at you while walking through the resort.
- Construction. Viceroy Bali is undergoing major changes, with the addition of new proposed villas (including, from our understanding, more family-friendly options) and more. As a result, stays from now until the end of 2020, when the entire project is estimated to be complete, may experience inconvenience due to construction noises and general disturbance of scenery and peace.
- Viceroy is located 90 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport, although it can take upto two hours or longer if traffic conditions are poor.
- In 2005, Viceroy started with 11 villas. In 2011, 14 Deluxe Terrace Pool Villas were added, and the 11 older villas were refurbished. Viceroy targets to add 15-20 villas by the end of 2020.
HOTEL FACT SHEET
- LOCATION: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
- OPENED: 2005
- HOTEL ROOMS: 24
- RESIDENCE VILLAS: 1 (Viceroy Pool Villa)
- RATES FROM: USD 400/night++
Rates are only an approximation and subject to change and availability
OFFICIAL HOTEL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
An interactive 360-degree virtual tour of the resort can be viewed here
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