On a recent trip to Bali to celebrate our anniversary, we spent a few nights in Ubud and decided to splurge on a stay at Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. This would be our first time at a Ritz-Carlton Reserve property, and when paired with an anniversary, I was particularly excited for this stay.
Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties are luxurious, one-of-kind resorts found in remote locations around the world, chosen for their natural landscapes. The brand aims to provide a more intimate, luxurious, and cultural experience to their guests.
In particular, Mandapa has a focus on wellness. The resort endeavours to relax and rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul, and not only did our stay surpass all my expectations, but it set a very high standard for future stays with this brand.
In This Post
- Resort Layout
- Reserve Suite
- Mandapa Camp
- Mandapa Spa
- Other Facilities
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Booking
As one of Marriott’s top-tier brands, you can expect a stay at a Ritz-Carlton Reserve to not come cheap. At Mandapa, nightly rates go from 15,000,000–27,000,000 IDR ($954–1,718 USD, $1,329–2,216 CAD) before taxes, ranking it among the most expensive properties in Bali. By comparison, a night at the nearby Element Bali Ubud may cost under 1,500,000 IDR ($95 USD, $140 CAD) per night.
If you were to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for your stay, you can expect to pay between 94,000–132,000 points per night, which is what I did. I booked my three-night stay on Bonvoy points at a rate of 110,000–118,000 points per night, when the going cash rate was $1,400 (CAD) per night plus taxes.
With our current valuation of Bonvoy points at 0.6 cents per point (USD) or 0.8 cents per point (CAD), I came out ahead by redeeming points. Keep in mind that redemption costs do fluctuate, so monitor for price drops diligently.
Alternatively, if you’re booking a cash rate at Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, be sure to get in touch with a travel advisor with access to Marriott STARS, Marriott’s preferred partner program. Doing so will afford you exclusive perks, such as breakfast for two, a $100 (USD) experience credit that you may use at the spa, and more, all at the same cost as the best-available public rate.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Location
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is located in Ubud, the uplands of Bali, Indonesia.
Set amid a backdrop of temples, rice terraces, waterfalls, rivers, and lush green rainforests, Ubud offers stunning landscapes, making it an Instagram fan favourite. Likewise, the city is often considered the cultural heart of Bali, known for its traditional dances, handcrafted goods, and wellness retreats.
If you’ve ever been to Bali before, you’ll understand that even short distances on a map may take a long time because of the terrible traffic congestion. Of the Marriott properties, this resort is the second-closest to Ubud town centre, taking approximately 7–30 minutes to get into town by car, and 15–45 minutes to get to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, a popular tourist destination.
Coming from I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) in Denpasar, the journey to the resort takes between 1.5 and 2.5 hours.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Check-in
Approximately a month before our arrival, the hotel sent an email requesting additional information, including our flight details, to prepare for our stay. They also briefed us about on-site activities and dining options at the resort, so they could assist in pre-booking them.
On the day of arrival, we were coming from Element Bali Ubud, and although the two properties are only 6.6km apart, it took us over an hour to get there by taxi because of traffic in town. If possible, I’d highly recommend travelling either early morning or past 4pm.
From the main road, you’ll drive down a tiny side street, which leads to the driveway for the resort. Once within the confines of the resort, you’ll drive further down a road and through Balinese temple gates.
As our taxi pulled in, we were immediately greeted by the guest relations manager, who presented us with yarn bracelets in red, black, and white, which represent the three main Hindu gods they worship in Bali.
Another staff member helped us with our luggage as we were ushered into the wantilan, a Balinese pavilion, where traditionally, a village’s community would gather and do activities together. The view from there was stunning – we could see the rest of the resort below, presenting a perfect opportunity for the staff to give us an overview of the property.
Here, we were welcomed again with an herbal drink and a cold towel, and we were introduced to our butler for the duration of our stay.
We were then ushered into a buggy and taken on a tour of the property, ending off at our suite.
Surprisingly, our luggage had already been delivered and stored into our closet when we arrived. Our butler gave us a walk-through of our suite and all its amenities, before sitting us down to handle the check-in formalities. Seemingly, the hotel prefers to get people into their rooms as quickly as possible, and therefore, handles the check-in process in your hotel suite, which I appreciated.
She welcomed us as a Titanium Elite member and went over our benefits. We weren’t automatically upgraded to the next category room, but I also didn’t request it this time around. Given the size of the suite, I was actually quite impressed, and didn’t bother to request anything further.
If you are hoping for an upgrade, I’d make the request prior to arrival, just by how the resort’s check-in process works.
Your personal butler is available via WhatsApp 24/7, as is the buggy service that takes you around the resort.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Resort Layout
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, was built in 2015, with the aim of maintaining the natural state of the environment it was built upon. As a result, the resort is surrounded by lush rainforest, rice paddies, and the Ayung river. It even houses a village temple, which is still used by the locals.
All aspects of the resort pay homage to the surrounding area and traditional Balinese culture – from the structural details of the buildings, to the light posts along the paths.
The décor is decked in stone, water, and wood, with local vegetation scattered throughout. Being at the resort feels like you’re in your own exclusive sanctuary.
Suites are spread out across the resort to ensure everyone has their own privacy and space to find their own bit of tranquility.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, is comprised of only 35 suites and 25 villas.
The one-bedroom suites, with either one king or two queen beds, are spread over four towers. They’re quite spacious, and each has its own expansive balcony. There are only two categories of suites: Reserve Suites and Mandapa Suites, with the latter being larger in size.
On the other hand, villas range from having one bedroom to three bedrooms, and each has its own private pool that overlooks the rice paddy, rainforest, or river.
I was glad to hear that the Reserve Suites with two queen beds can accommodate up to two adults and three children. While the online description says the beds are twin-sized, I can verify that they’re actually queen-sized beds.
For those with larger families, you may request connecting Reserve Suites with a king bed and two queen beds, but you should do so as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Wheelchair-accessible suites may also be requested.
Booking a two- or three-bedroom villa comes with a slew of added perks, such as a complimentary suite for a nanny. As well, you’ll be offered a $250 (USD) resort credit rather than the standard $100 (USD) credit through Marriott STARS.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Reserve Suite
All suites are located in low-rise tower buildings towards the entrance of the resort. From the outside, the towers may look uninspiring, but don’t judge a book by its cover.
At the entrance of the suite is a small foyer area, which then opens up into the massive living room and bedroom.
Large glass windows line the suite on one side, flooding the space with natural light. Blackout curtains can be drawn at nighttime.
The high ceilings contribute to the opulence of the place, as well as the coffered ceilings made of dark wicker.
The floors are laid with large off-white travertine tiles, which contrast well with the dark brown wooden panelling of the walls. The furniture pieces, made of rattan and wicker, are supported by black wooden frames.
The living room area has an armchair and a large, deep wicker sofa, which can be converted into an extra bed for a child if need be. Behind it is a massive painting by a local artist depicting aspects of Balinese culture.
On either side of the sofa are side tables with decorative pieces of art, as well as information booklets about the resort’s services and in-room dining.
On the coffee table is a welcome note and a basket of local fruits, including mangosteen and passionfruit, which was replenished daily.
Above it is a massive chandelier composed of seashells – this and the lamps beside the sofa provide a dim glow in the evening.
The bedroom space consists of a king-sized bed atop a black wooden frame. The two night tables, attached to the headboard, have a Bluetooth stereo and a phone on either side.
I was impressed by how technologically friendly these night tables were. Not only did they have lighting controls for the room, but in the drawers are two USB ports and two outlets each. With the need for charging cables for every gadget these days, small little conveniences like these make a big difference when travelling.
Additionally, all electrical outlets in the room are universal, meaning you don’t need to worry about packing an outlet adaptor.
There’s plenty of lighting around the bed – from a bright pot light for reading to two glass hanging lights above the night tables.
Between the living room and bedroom is a simple black wooden desk, with a low-back wooden chair, outlets, and USB ports, making it ideal to be your personal workspace.
Opposite of the desk is the TV, which is mounted onto a wall panel that swings open, so you can watch from the comfort of your bed.
The living room and bedroom each have a set of double glass doors that open up to the balcony. On the balcony is a small wooden dinette set with two cushioned chairs, and a cushioned sofa with a marble side table.
The view from Building 5 isn’t the greatest, as it’s obstructed by the trees and buildings below, yet you can see the rainforest in the distance. Buildings 1 and 2 in front appear to have better resort views with less obstruction.
Located in the corner of the bedroom is the bar cabinet, and on top are bottles of water and jars of dry snacks, which are complimentary and refilled daily.
Inside the bar cabinet, you’ll find a minibar with a selection of pop, juice, and alcoholic beverages. On the other side is an Illy coffee maker, a kettle, and a tea set. In the drawers are additional glassware.
The bedroom opens up into the ensuite, but if you’d like a bit more privacy, the bathroom can be closed off with wooden floor-to-ceiling sliding doors.
The centrepiece of the bathroom is a large standalone bathtub that can accommodate two comfortably, with headrests on each side and a privacy curtain canopy.
Behind the tub is a double vanity with mirrors and teardrop lights, which provide a soft, warm glow to the space.
Various amenities, including toothbrush kits, a vanity kit, a sewing kit, a shaving kit, a hair brush, a comb, a shower cap, and bath salts, are provided.
On either side of the vanity are the shower and the toilet, each with a frosted glass door. The shower is equipped with regular shower head and a rainforest one. With the aim to be eco-friendly, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner are provided in refillable porcelain dispensers. There’s also a heavy white terry bathrobe hung up on either side.
The automated toilet comes with a bidet function, as well as a motion sensor that opens the seat and flushes it automatically.
The large vanity desk has a large mirror and a smaller light-up Miami mirror on the table. In the drawer is the hair dryer, with the added convenience of an outlet right by it.
In the evening, the lighting around the room is rather dim, maintaining an ambient setting throughout. In the bathroom, meanwhile, there are candle stands with LED candles.
By the entrance are the temperature control panel and buttons for the “make up room” and “do not disturb” lights for staff.
The walk-in closet is spacious with plenty of space for your luggage and hangers for clothes. Its sliding doors have mirrors on either side.
A second set of robes can be found here, and during turndown service, the robes in the bathroom are swapped for these lighter cotton ones.
Also for your use, you’ll find insect repellent, sunblock, aloe vera after-sun lotion, and a bottle of body mist in the closet, along with slippers, laundry bag, and shoe bag. There’s also a cute woven straw bag with a straw hat.
Every evening with turndown service, they’ll exchange your robes, put your slippers out, and leave a local Balinese treat.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Dining
Despite having a small inventory of rooms and villas, there are several dining venues on site.
Sawah Terrace is the main restaurant of the resort. It serves traditional Balinese food, and it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 6:30am until 11pm. Here, you can enjoy views of the green fields, rice terraces, and lush rainforest beyond.
Included with all stays, breakfast is served from 6:30–11am, as a buffet with the option to order additional dishes à la carte.
The spread is quite lavish. To start, there are bread and pastry, fruit, salad, sashimi, charcuterie, cereals, yogurt, and smoothie stations.
Meanwhile, in the middle of the buffet is a large island serving traditional western breakfast items, in addition to Indonesian fare. There also are made-to-order egg, Balinese pancake, noodles, and congee stations.
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Although I didn’t get to experience it myself, I’m told that the Sunday brunch is even more spectacular, which is hard to imagine, given how amazing the normal breakfast is.
Since we enjoyed our breakfasts at Sawah Terrace, we opted to have lunch there as well. As usual, the food and service were spectacular.
Being an open-air restaurant, be prepared for a couple of flies to come around. If they get too bothersome, staff are prepared with a small fan to deter them.
Kubu, which means “hut” in Indonesian, serves as the resort’s European-inspired fine dining venue. It offers only two evening seating times at 6:30pm and 9:30pm.
The venue was designed by John Hardy, and its defining feature are the nine bamboo huts, which resemble the same ones used by local farmers to store their rice after harvest.
Set on the banks of Ayung River, each hut provides an intimate dining experience, though they must be requested at the time of reservation.
There are two set menus offered: a five-course one and a seven-course one. My husband and I tried the seven-course option, and we had no regrets. The food presentation and quality were on par with North American standards, but at a better value. For a more comprehensive review of the dining experience at Kubu, read Rohin’s review here.
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If you’re hanging out by the pool, you can also dine at the Pool Bar. Whereas Sawah Terrace serves hearty Balinese fare, Pool Bar serves lighter Western fare, cocktails, and juices, and it’s open till 6pm daily.
Right across from the Pool Bar is the Library Bar, serving similar lighter fare, afternoon tea, and cocktails until 6pm daily.
Ambar is perched atop the resort. There are a variety of seating options for you to take in the cliffside view – from lounge chairs and sofas to bar stools around high tables.
The view overlooking the resort is spectacular throughout the day, and at dusk, you can watch the sunset.
The bar mainly serves Japanese fusion, but there are a few special offerings throughout the day. In the afternoon, between 2–5pm, high tea is served. If you’re a Gold or Ambassador Bonvoy Elite Member, you can enjoy complementary canapés from 5–7pm.
It certainly seems odd that Gold members can partake in this, and not Platinum or Titanium Elite members. However, the reasoning is that the evening reception is the resort’s way of congratulating Gold members, who are starting their Marriott journey.
Every evening from 7–10pm, there are live performances by local musicians.
In-room dining is also available 24/7. One morning, we couldn’t make it out for breakfast at Sawah Terrace because we had a tour that was departing early. Our butler arranged for us to order breakfast through in-room dining instead.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Mandapa Camp
Mandapa Camp is the resort’s kids club for kids aged 4–12. It’s a lovely open-air building made of bamboo and sustainable materials.
The program strives to deliver educational activities and games that get kids closer to nature and help them experience the cultural side of Bali. There are no digital devices to be found, which is a nice change for everyone.
Rather, there are bean bag chairs to lounge on, a table for arts and craft activities, books, puzzles, wooden toys, a large slide, and a mini petting zoo with chicken, ducks, and cows that are brought in twice a week.
The program runs from morning to late afternoon, with the option of having the kids stay for lunch. It can accommodate up to 50 kids under the care of up to 10 supervisors.
Kids under 4 are allowed in the facility, as long as they have parental supervision. Should you require childcare outside the camp hours, babysitting can be arranged at 150,000 IDR ($10 USD, $13 CAD) per hour, for a minimum of two hours.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Mandapa Spa
Mandapa Spa serves as a luxurious riverfront retreat against the backdrop of the rainforest. It’s open from 9am–9pm daily, and it offers a variety of wellness services, including facials, nail and hair treatments, body treatments, massages, and special holistic packages designed to pamper and rejuvenate.
The spa treatments are reasonably priced, despite being at a luxury resort. We opted for a Blissful Marma Massage, and honestly, the experience was amazing. The staff were professional, and they truly make you feel pampered from the minute you enter the spa.
Upon arrival, they serve you a vitality tea and cold towel, followed by an intake questionnaire.
Shortly after, our massage therapists introduced themselves to us and ushered us into the facility. From the reception, you’ll take a wooden boardwalk to your treatment room.
There are five large treatment rooms overlooking the river, and each has its own changing room, shower, and washroom. Our room was set up with two tables for a couple’s massage.
The spa had been notified that we were celebrating our anniversary and had prepared a package of bath salts for us as a gift, which was thoughtful.
After being asked to change, we were brought onto the deck of our treatment room, where the staff confirmed the treatment we were receiving. They also went over our intake forms, and showed us a selection of massage oils to choose from. They then proceeded with a foot bath and scrub before our massage as part of the ritual.
We indulged in a Balinese-style massage, consisting of firm strokes at just the right pressure, each one accompanied by the relaxing hum of the river’s rushing water. If you prefer your treatment with tranquil music instead, the glass doors can be closed.
The massage was truly blissful, and I was so relaxed that I’m pretty sure I fell asleep near the end of the treatment.
After the treatment, we proceeded to the relaxation room, a minimally lit area with comfortable loungers facing the Ayung River.
Here, we were served a warm ginger tea and had the choice of some light snacks to go with it.
After spending some time in the relaxation room, we went to check out the other spa facilities, such as the steam room, sauna, and a heated vitality pool – all of which are open for all guests to use.
The vitality pool is a large hot tub with jets and massage fountains, and it overlooks the rainforest. I found the warmth of this pool very welcoming, compared to the colder water of the resort’s main pool.
If you’re looking for a quiet space to just lounge at while taking in the tranquility of the rainforest, this is it. There’s plenty of seating around for you to take it all in.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Pools
There are two pools side-by-side in front of the Pool Bar and Library Bar. Both overlook the rice paddies and rainforest beyond.
Around the pools are a variety of seating and lounging areas, which come with reclining loungers, round day beds, and private cabanas.
The cabanas, which provide more shade, are separated by rows of plants to provide more privacy. They have curtains that can be drawn as well.
All seating is first-come, first-served. Unlike some resorts, where you need to be by the poolside by 8am to snag a spot, we didn’t see people trickling in until closer to 10am. Staff place rolled-up beach towels on untaken chairs.
Once you find a seat, staff quickly notice and bring over water, a bowl of fresh local fruit, and pool amenities, such as sunblock and insect repellent. Before we knew it, staff returned with fresh coconuts for us as well – all of these are on the house.
A trolley by the poolside also offers self-serve lemonade. The complimentary offerings just never seemed to end.
Food and beverages can be ordered poolside from the Pool Bar menu. Feeling slightly guilty for partaking in all the complimentary offerings, we ordered a couple of cocktails to enjoy.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Activities
In maintaining their aim to nurture guest wellness, the resort launched a new program this year called the Disconnect to Reconnect Program. It’s designed to help guests reconnect with their inner selves through activities that nurture the mind, body, and soul. Several programs are offered throughout the day.
In addition to the program above, there’s another schedule of routine complimentary activities. Yes, there are enough activities to fill up your entire day, should you choose to stay at the resort.
We tried out a few sessions. I really enjoyed the rice pounding session. A staff member brought us around the rice fields, explaining plant development and farming processes.
The medicinal plants class is an interesting lecture on how everyday herbs and vegetables can cure ailments. On the other hand, the cooking class taught us how to make sambal, a popular Indonesian chili sauce used in local dishes.
Another activity the resort provides to every guest is a complimentary photo session with their in-house photographer. The session lasts approximately 30 minutes, and it was fun to do. Everyone receives one free photo, but packages are available should you wish to keep more than one photo.
Aside from the activities above, the concierge team can also arrange a number of tours and cultural experiences for a fee should you wish.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Other Facilities
The fitness centre is located just outside the spa and is open 24/7. It has a variety of Precor cardio machines, weight machines, and free weights. Water, cold towels, and apples are on offer.
Across the gym is the yoga studio. Every morning from 8–9am, there’s a complimentary yoga session. The studio can only accommodate up to 10 guests, so pre-registration is encouraged.
To maintain cultural ties to the neighbourhood the resort once belonged to, local villagers still retain access to the temples on the resort’s grounds. You may see them bringing their daily offerings or witness a ritual during your visit.
Should you need swim gear, a nicer outfit for Kubu, or a locally-made souvenir, then check out the resort’s boutique, Butik Gift Shop.
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Service
From the moment you arrive, staff will strive to treat you like kings and queens. We couldn’t have felt more welcome and at home at this resort.
The staff were absolutely wonderful. From the caretakers of the property to the servers at the restaurant, all staff were courteous and really did their best to give you a memorable stay.
Staff are quick to introduce themselves by name. Not all staff will know you by name, but they’ll always greet you as ‘Ibu’ if you’re a woman, or ‘Bapak’ if you’re a man, as a sign of respect.
They’re proactive in what they do, like ordering a buggy for us as whenever we finished a meal, or lighting the way for us in the dark with a flashlight as we left the restaurant or spa.
At breakfast one morning, we didn’t have time to enjoy a full meal because we had an activity reserved. The manager of Sawah Terrace simply told us to come back after our hour-long activity, and continue our breakfast after.
Above all, our personal butler takes the prize for hospitality. She was always quick to respond to our messages and helped us arrange on-site dining and activity reservations, as well as shuttles to go off-site. Knowing it was our anniversary, she also arranged for a cake and a lovely floral arrangement for us to enjoy in our suite.
As we left, she presented us with a small parting gift of two bamboo tea strainers, as well as a personalized box of rice crackers for the road, as she knew how much I enjoyed them in our suite.
Electric vehicle buggies are available 24/7 for transportation around the resort, so you can fully enjoy the facility even with mobility issues. There are plenty of them too, so you never have to wait long for one.
Most of the time, we opted to walk though, since it was just as nice to stroll around the property and admire the surroundings.
The resort offers a free private shuttle service to and from a fixed location in Ubud’s main town centre at specific times throughout the day. If the service isn’t busy, your butler might be able to arrange a transfer outside the designated hours.
We had a very memorable stay at Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. It fit the bill in every way for what we were looking for in a resort.
It’s a luxurious property that highlights Ubud’s natural and cultural roots, while providing a serene environment for pure relaxation.
Along with its impeccable, personalized service and seemingly endless complimentary offerings, we found it hard to leave this place to do much else. If you plan on doing a lot of touring while in Ubud, leave at least two full days here at the end of your trip. You won’t regret it.