Review: Hoshinoya Bali - Ubud

By James Fordham, January 4 2018
Review: Hoshinoya Bali - Ubud

Recently we covered the Hoshinoya property in Tokyo, a ryokan-style business hotel that makes an interesting alternative to standard chain hotels in the area. We also spent some time at the Hoshinoya resort in Ubud, Bali. While this isn’t a business focused hotel, if you’ve got some time at the tail end of a business trip to Bali it can be a great way to unwind and decompress.

Join us as we explore the Japanese brand’s Bali property and what it has to offer.

Location and Impressions

Located in the popular region of Ubud, which is favoured by those seeking surrounds that are a little more serene than the hustle and bustle of Bali’s more frenetic destinations, the Hoshinoya Bali styles itself as a resort village.

Getting to the Hoshinoya Bali from the main Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar takes around 90 minutes to cover the 50km distance.

As Hoshino Resorts’ first hotel outside Japan, the Hoshinoya Bali is markedly different to what you’d expect to see at their Japanese properties, but follows the same philosophy of infusing local culture into every aspect of your stay – we certainly experienced this in the Hoshinoya Tokyo’s ryokan-like setting, and you get a similar feeling of authenticity and cultural awareness at the Bali property.

Ubud offers up plenty of luxury accommodation, so the Hoshinoya Bali set out to distinguish itself – located about a 25-minute drive from central Ubud, and perched on a hilltop, the Hoshinoya Bali puts tranquillity and relaxation above all else.

An aerial view provides glimpses of the Hoshinoya Bali's layout
An aerial view provides glimpses of the Hoshinoya Bali's layout

The design of the resort village is centred on three, large pools that offer guests and their villas semi-private access to the pools without cutting you off from the rest of the hotel. The Pakerisan river runs nearby, and you’ll also hear the sounds of the traditional subak irrigation system – water is very much a big part of the Hoshinoya Bali’s overall environment.

Villas

There are a few different villa types on offer, ranging in size from 208sqm to 187sqm. The villas come in three flavours, with certain types geared more towards different styles of relaxation – for example, the Villa Bulan option features a poolside living room with a jutting deck that lets you relax by the water all day, while Villa Jalak offers stunning views over the jungle, with wide balconies to take advantage of the natural setting.

In any case, the Hoshinoya Bali pairs these Villa types with minimal clutter and traditional Balinese architecture accentuated with a Japanese touch, creating a relaxing fusion of the two styles.

Inside you’ll find intricately carved Balinese art made by local craftsmen...

...low futon beds (the Japanese style of futon, not the typical sofa bed you may be thinking of)...

...and simple furniture.

While there are Bluetooth speakers provided, don’t expect to see a television in your villa – an understandable choice considering the ambience they’re going for, but perhaps not to everyone’s taste.

The sparsely decorated (but well-sized) bathrooms are kitted out with his-and-hers sinks, a large bath tub and a shower. 

Relax

At the Hoshinoya Bali, there are plenty of options to explore when it comes to taking it easy. While you can stay in your villa and laze by the pool...

...our recommendation is to try the Café Gazebos – a series of cushioned jungle perches.

From high on up, you'll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy some snacks and drinks while taking in the view. 

You can also undertake excursions to nearby beaches recommended by the hotel, or participate in cultural activities if that’s more your speed.

There’s also a well equipped spa...

...with treatments that incorporate natural ingredients, poolside meditations, and morning and evening yoga sessions.

Eat

The Hoshinoya Bali offers up a number of different dining experiences – try an authentic Balinese breakfast while looking out over the treetops…

…and then graze on some snacks high above the jungle at Café Gazebo.

For a special treat, the dinner at the Hoshinoya’s restaurant can’t be missed. You’ll try multiple dishes, all with a fusion of Japanese and Balinese influences. We start off with an amuse bouche with hints of lemongrass...

...followed by tuna tataki with sambal...

...and a consomme of Kaffir lime, foie gras, eggplant and banana dengaku.

Next up was the Wagyu beef tenderloin steak with Balinese condiments....

...and a dish that the Hosinoya dubs the 'Eight Kinds of Micro Menu', consisting of eight small dishes including mackarel and paprika, conger fish cake, crispy Sakura shrimp, chicken and tempe manis, okra and mentaiko, cashew nut cream and salmon, shrimp with mango mayonnaise, tofu mousse and century egg.

If you're after something different, you can also head into town for Mozaic, a highly regarded French restaurant with a lush, open setting.

Our tip if you’re heading to the Hoshinoya Bali is to also arrange your own driver (or self-drive if you’re comfortable) as the hotel is around 25 minutes away from central Ubud. While the Hoshinoya does provide a shuttle service, it only operates 4 times per day, which can limit your movements. 

james_fordham

James has been interested in aviation ever since his first flight. When he’s not travelling, he’s still on the road indulging his motoring hobby, or trying a new whisky.


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