Suite of the moment: Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Ubud/Bali


A perfect blend of contemporary design and local architecture

I have seen my share of wonderful hotels, but Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, just outside of Bali’s cultural and spiritual center of Ubud, left me in awe at its sheer beauty! After stepping into the breathtaking open-walled common area,
you find yourself on the edge of a cliff looking down at a verdant valley descending 100 metres to Bali’s longest river, the Ayung River. What a sight!
An array of gracious buildings unfolds before your eyes, 35 suites nestled into the hillside and 25 pool villas down by the river. Amidst of them, there are three acres of rice paddies and a century-old Hindu Temple. That is all what remained of the 24 acres property that consisted previously of rainforest and rice fields farmed by a neighboring village. By the way, one to two villagers still work the ground of the rice terraces, now employed by the hotel.

Hotel at a glance

Following features/amenites can be found on site. In terms of restaurants, you can choose between four eateries. Sawah Terrace serves breakfast as well as local cuisine for lunch and dinner. The setting high above the river is idyllic
and the food is great, be it for breakfast
or dinner.
Kubu is the signature restaurant with exquisite, elaborate fare
and its location by the river is scenic indeed, be it because of the intimate bamboo cocoons
or the beautiful Ayung River.

There is also The Pool Bar and The Library offering small bites during daytime.
The resort’s pool with views of the rice paddies is a great place to relax
and a spa/fitness center completes the offer.

Apart from the state of the art infrastructure, Mandapa has also the most dedicated staff I have ever experienced. From the first to the last minute, the employees spared no efforts to make the stay memorable. 

Just in case, my husband and I visited Bali twice in two years and explored large parts of the island. If you are interested, here are the posts of our Bali adventures.

Mandapa Suite in detail

After this overview on the hotel, I will have a closer look at our suite, the Mandapa Suite. Before, a few words to the Ritz-Carlton Reserve and the architect of the place.

Ritz-Carlton Reserve is the high-end brand of the well-known hotel chain and puts emphasis on design and sensitivity towards the surroundings when building a new hotel. New resorts must fit in with local culture and landscapes. As most local people are Hindu in Bali, this was chosen as theme for the resort’s construction. A Mandapa is in Indian architecture a pillared outdoor hall leading to a Hindu temple. Jeffrey Wilkes, the architect of Mandapa by Ritz-Carlton Reserve, let himself be inspired by this ancient architecture and did an amazing job showcasing traditional Balinese decor. At the same time, modern architectural elements were used. Mandapa resulted in being the perfect blend of old and new.

Our Mandapa Suite (145 spm) had a layout similar to a penthouse apartment minus the facilities you do not need when staying at a hotel. When you enter the foyer
and turn left you get into the bedroom
with an adjoining walk-in closet. From the bedroom you can either step out to the oversized terrace with 270 degree views of the rolling hills of the Ayung River valley
or enter the bathroom.
Here, the eye-catching element is certainly the center tub with view, but also the sinks, which are opposite each other, are a feast for the eyes. Rain-shower and toilet are behind two large glass doors. When you leave the bathroom at the other side
You come to a spacious living/dining room,
from which you can go to the terrace once again
or reach the foyer after pacing through the magnificent room with a baylike seating area.

When it comes to the decor of the suite, it is – as the whole property – a mix of traditional Balinese and modern elements. The predominant color is a dark brown – chocolaty, color of the earth, as the architect calls it. He brought it into the wood paneling, which gives the suite warmth. On the paneled walls, you find colorful artworks featuring local themes. Pillows and seat cushions in shades of lilac, soft blue and green bright up the rooms. Modern lamps give the suite a contemporary touch. On balance, our Mandapa Suite is an extremely well designed room with a strong sense of place but also an accommodation where you feel instantly at home as a guest.


The heavenly high country of Ubud, no stranger to high-end tourism, is home to a resort that is second to none. The lush rolling hills of the Ayung River valley are the backdrop for Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, an unique secluded paradise with extremely luxury accommodations but first and foremost a place where the magic of Bali has been captured in a exemplary manner.
Date of stay: September 2016

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