There are a lot of reasons to fall in love with Ubud... there’s the laid back vibe, all the amazing food on offer, the lush greenery and friendly atmosphere and, of course, all the amazing local artisans displaying their craft. Ubud is all things Earthly, green, wholesome and relaxing, which is why I love escaping there any chance I get. Something about the place just slows me down and helps me relax and unwind, which is exactly why it needs to be on your travel bucket list if it isn’t already. We spent three nights staying in a part of Ubud we hadn’t before, tucked away at the gorgeous Jungle Retreat Ubud. Here’s the scoop…
Where the heck is it?
I really liked the location of Jungle Retreat, just outside the main centre of Ubud. We’ve stayed in the heart of Ubud a few times and loved it but were super keen to experience something different. It’ll take you 10 minutes or less to get to the retreat from the heart of Ubud, which you can do by scooter or by transport/taxi. Matt and I hired a scooter and loved zipping around each day, making our way into town or avoiding the centre altogether if we felt like it. I really liked escaping the hubbub of town and finding peace and relaxation overlooking the jungle, it made us feel as though the days were longer and there was less pressure to get up and get going immediately – we could take each day slow.
Why would I want to stay there?
Jungle Retreat provides a haven, tucked away from the busy streets of Ubud. It’s part of the gorgeous Kupu Kupu Barong, so when you arrive, you’re greeted with a friendly welcome then whisked away on a buggy, through the jungle, to the retreat. I love the little journey each time, it kind of transports you to another world and makes you feel like you’re away from it all and, really, that’s what Jungle Retreat really provides.
It’s a great escape for anyone looking to experience Ubud but still feel as though they’re ‘away from it all.’ We loved the restaurants and things to do within scooter or transport distance and the Retreat served as a great base for all our adventures and activities. Most importantly, the rooms are very comfortable and the service is fantastic – I cannot rave about the staff enough, they were fantastic.
What are the rooms like?
We stayed in a deluxe jungle view room and really enjoyed it! The room was very spacious, with more than enough room to spread out and get really comfortable. The queen size bed was cosy and comfortable, with pillows you just kind of melt into. I was a bit sick while I was there, with a cold, so made the most of snuggling up in bed and watching movies. The room was also equipped with free wifi, air conditioning, a mini bar, safe, lovely robes to float around in and tea and coffee making facilities.
The fit-out of the rooms is pretty cute, with lots of local flavour and plenty of earthy tones with splashes of red. We both loved the bathroom, with its huge spa bathtub and shower-over-head. The whole room just has a really open feel to it and a nice warmth that makes you feel totally comfortable, at ease and at home. Again, the service was amazing! The front desk team was so incredibly helpful, answering any and all questions we had and really going the extra mile to help us out with anything they could.
Talk me through the food situation…
Kupu Kupu Barong is famous for its gorgeous table with a view and Jungle Retreat guests can enjoy it too! Breakfast each day is hosted at La View restaurant, offering stunning views over the jungle below and, really, it’s a freaking great way to start the day. We were also treated to a special breakfast in the Bird’s Nest, a private dining cove overlooking the jungle, something I’d highly recommend doing. There are also two on-site restaurants at Jungle Retreat – Tamiang and Oishi Tei.
Located out of the heart of Ubud you might think it’d be hard to find great food close to the Retreat, but that ain’t true! Matt and I discovered quite a few fantastic spots close by, including Uma Cucina, The Sayan House, Gaya Gelato, Made in Ubud and Blanco par Mandif – you can read more about them here in my guide to 5 of the best places to eat in Ubud.
But, what would I do?
There are a wealth of things to see and do, with Jungle Retreat as your base. We took off on a few scooter adventures, including visiting the Tegalalang rice terrace, exploring the incredible Green Village and working our way through the heart of Ubud, visiting local stores and wandering the Ubud market. Basically, don’t let the fact Jungle Retreat isn’t right in the middle of Ubud throw you off because you can still get around and see, do and eat all the things you want to! You may also like to read this epic guide on 22 awesome things you absolutely must do in Ubud, for inspiration.
Matt was lucky enough to take a guided jungle trek with a local and loved every second of it. His amazing guide took him down to the river and showed him how Jungle Retreat and Kupu Kupu Barong are working together with local farmers to support them by purchasing rice from them. What I love about this is you won’t hear them bragging about it, it’s just something they do behind the scenes. Matt learned a lot about the culture of Ubud locals on the trek and even received a blessing from his guide.
Another great thing to do is schedule in some time at the on-site Mango Tree Spa by L’Occitane. We were treated to massages in this incredible little treehouse overlooking the jungle and river and it was ah-mazing! Seriously, it was so good. The massage therapists knew exactly what they were doing, taking Matt and me to the outer limits of relaxation. This ain’t one of those dodgy, $5 massage situations, this is one of those, ‘oh my gosh… I didn’t know my body could feel this way,’ super professional situations. It was so peaceful unwinding in the treehouse, the sun setting in the background, Matt and I melting into the massage tables. Jungle Retreat also has two rooftop pools, perfect for spending an afternoon (or whole day) swimming, sipping cocktails and catching the sunset.
I absolutely loved the location of Jungle Retreat, it was a side of Ubud I hadn’t experienced before and I really loved it. It got us away from the really touristy, busy parts of Ubud and made us fall back in love with the area. We connected with the jungle and spirit of Ubud again, finding peace, tranquility, and relaxation.
We had so much fun buzzing around each day on our scooter, taking trips to discover local sights and flavours. It was great to have the freedom of our own transport, knowing our luxurious little slice of Jungle Retreat heaven was there waiting for us when we were ready to head back and relax again.
I’d recommend Jungle Retreat Ubud as the perfect base for anyone who has visited Ubud before and is looking to experience something different, away from the middle of Ubud. I’d also recommend it for any first-timers out there, looking to experience the jungle and have a really peaceful stay, while still being nice and close to all the main things to see, eat and do.
We loved our stay and that’s largely in part to the great service we received during our entire stay. Everyone who works there is so genuinely lovely, kind and considerate – it made our stay an absolute pleasure! As I always say, amazing customer service is what separates a good hotel from an exceptional one. We would definitely stay at Jungle Retreat again and would also love to experience a stay at Kupu Kupu Barong too!
Watch our Ubud Must-Do experiences video
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.