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A Sanctuary in Bali: Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

A Sanctuary in Bali: Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Ritz Carlton Mandapa Bali

Whether you’re seeking a romantic villa for your Bali honeymoon, a sanctuary that serves a yoga retreat, or simply in search of the latest in five-star luxury, Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve promises a lavish experience that might reign above them all.

Nestled where lush rice paddies and sacred Hindu temples converge, enter the jungle paradise at Mandapa. Translating to ‘temple’ in Sanskrit, Mandapa embodies its name, imparting a serene and almost transcendental experience that lingers long after your departure.

While Bali has no shortage of plush stays, Mandapa stands out as a premier five-star destination straight from the Ritz-Carlton Reserve’s exclusive collection. As one of only seven properties worldwide, this collection features rare estates tucked away in the most lush and remote corners of the earth. Experiences at Reserve properties surpass the usual cushy robes, deep soak tubs, and impeccable service characteristic of luxury properties. We had a chance to see what the Reserve was all about in Bali.

The Atmosphere

The serene experience at Mandapa begins as the staff greet you with a bow, before eagerly racing to open your taxi door. Stepping onto the breathtaking premises, you’re immediately enveloped by a sense of tranquility. The hotel’s open-concept hillside lobby offers panoramic views of the meadowy valleys, towering cliffs, and the lively river below.

What truly sets Mandapa apart is that there’s no hurry here. Even mundane tasks, like the check-in process, are paused to prioritize serenity. Rather than rushing through paperwork, the staff encourages you to stow away your passport and soak in the moment with a welcome drink called ‘loloh cemcem.’ This concoction, made from a blend of crushed leaves, coconut water, honey, and lime, is more than just a beverage—it’s the first taste of peacefulness that sets the tone for a truly calming stay.

The Accommodations

Reminiscing the heart of an indigenous Balinese village, Mandapa boasts 35 suites and 25 villas dotted across 24 acres of land. Positioned along the Ayung River, the rooms offer picturesque views, where now and then you’ll see rafters navigating the white waters below. Traversing the hillside property becomes a little easier with staff that scoops you up and transports you in golf carts throughout your stay. And yes, that means encounters with other guests are rare, leaving you with a truly private resort experience.

Our time at Mandapa was spent in our villa, and the experience was unlike any I’ve encountered before. Villas felt palatial, offering space and luxury in ways unimaginable by traditional hotels. Each villa features a generously sized walk-in closet, a separate living room, a king-sized bed complete with convenient bedside controls, and the pièce de résistance: a private infinity pool large enough to swim laps. The walls are adorned with Balinese art and regal design details that complement the elegant wooden furniture. Floor-to-ceiling bedroom windows welcome botanical views that invite the outdoors in from the moment you wake up.

The spacious bathroom, rivaling the size of most bedrooms, was equipped with a deep-soak tub for two, two wooden sinks, a high-tech Toto toilet, and a rainfall shower. And if that weren’t enough, opening an adjacent door revealed an outdoor waterfall shower nestled in a peaceful alcove, surrounded by lush foliage and greenery.

Each guest was assigned a personal patih or butler, available round-the-clock to attend to our every need. From thoughtful treats left in our room each evening to their unwavering willingness to assist at a moment’s notice, I was convinced the staff at Mandapa could anticipate our needs before we even thought of them.

The Dining

Sawah Terrace

Sawah Terrace, the resort’s flagship restaurant, offers a fusion of Indonesian and international flavors for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guests are seated at tables strategically positioned to provide stunning panoramic views of the Ayung River, creating a moment of serenity to savor your morning coffee.

Sawah Terrace in Bali Indonesia

You’ll forget that you’re at a breakfast buffet because Sawah Terrace takes even that to new heights. Breakfast here triumphs not only as one of the best buffet breakfasts I’ve had but also as one with the most magnificent views. The spread caters to every palate, featuring everything from Sawah soup and salmon sashimi to a perfectly cooked sunny-side-up egg – all on a single plate. With noodle bars, congee stations, and even a coffee section offering customizable caffeine strengths, the options feel endless. For those seeking à la carte options, the Coconut French Toast is a must-try —a luscious and creamy dish topped with a jackfruit compote, clocking in as one of the most creative French toasts I may have ever eaten. As night falls, the terrace takes on a more whimsical charm, illuminated by flickering lanterns that cast a warm glow around the space.


For a truly intimate dining experience, look no further than Kubu, Mandapa’s fine dining establishment. The restaurant’s name, ‘Kubu,’ draws from the Indonesian word for ‘hut,’ reflecting its essence—nine private bamboo huts reminiscent of the structures where Balinese farmers traditionally stored harvested rice. Nestle into a cocooned hut perched over the river, where you’ll feel completely immersed in nature, and that much closer to the person beside you.

Curated by Chef Sunarya, the menu features an array of Mediterranean-inspired dishes with a sensory journey in every bite. Like many guests that dine here, we decided to indulge in the creatively crafted 11-course tasting menu. We were spellbound by several of the artfully plated dishes including the Farmer’s Toast, featuring mascarpone-truffle and air-dried beef, and the Kelor Risotto infused with ricotta cheese, pine nut, and crispy moringa leaf. Each morsel was a feast for our senses and left us longing for more. At Kubu, no detail is overlooked – from the polished service to the distinct wine pairings, you’ll wish there were a few extra courses.

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As the sun dips below the horizon, visitors from far and wide trickle in for a cocktail at one of the most sought-after sunset spots. Meaning ‘sky’ in Sanskrit, Ambar is a hanging bar that overlooks the Mandapa village, providing yet another brilliant perspective of the thundering river beneath the colorful evening sky. Beyond its arresting vistas, expect to find nightly jazz performances filling the airwaves.

At the helm of Ambar’s cocktail offerings is head mixologist Adi Saputra, who has conjured up a collection of cocktails inspired by the healing properties of plants. Embracing a farm-to-bar ethos, Adi crafts his concoctions with sustainability in mind, sourcing fresh, herbal ingredients locally. We sampled a few cocktails with nourishing ingredients like the betel leaf, pandan, and the vitamin C-rich, Kintamani tangerine, each sip a testament to Adi’s botanical expertise and love of craft cocktails.

The Activities & Wellness

No matter your vacation preferences, there is a thoughtfully curated itinerary for you at Mandapa. Embracing Bali’s renowned eat, pray, love ethos, I was eager to lean into the tranquil side of things. Lucky for me, Mandapa offered a series of workshops meant for inner reflection through their daily Disconnect to Reconnect program – from Chakra balancing sessions to Kundalini Yoga and Balinese Medicinal Plants workshop. With classes capped at seven participants, expect the kind of personalized treatment you’d find from a high-end wellness class at home.

During my spa visit, I even had the chance to sneak in a trim and Kerastase shampoo treatment at the newly opened Barberia shop. Clocking in as one of the most restorative salon experiences I’ve had to date, I settled into the plush leather chairs and savored the vintage-inspired details while sipping on a refreshing tea. With minimal guidance, my stylist tailored the trim to suit me. A stay at Mandapa also means full access to the spa facilities, including a spacious sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi, all tucked away in an idyllic riverside setting. An array of massages and Ayurvedic treatments are also available to book.

All things considered, a stay at Mandapa is not your typical Bali vacation—expect a transformative experience where you’ll leave a little more connected to yourself and the world around you. We guarantee you’ll be back in no time.


Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Jl. Raya Kedewatan, Banjar, Kedewatan,
Bali, Indonesia

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