On my recent trip “Bali on a Budget” I was looking for an affordable hotel under $50/night in Ubud that is a reflection of the town: a small, independent guest house near the center of town, with typical Bali decor, friendly service and modern amenities. Based on online and a site inspection, I picked the Padma Ubud Retreat, a short walk from the center of town and the surrounding rice paddies – a great value choice!
Location: The Padma Retreat Ubud is on a quiet street with a 5 minute walk to Ubud Palace on one side, and a leisurely walk to the rice paddies on the other. This makes it the perfect location, if you want to go on one of the many hikes through the fields and forest during the day and to the restaurants, shops and entertainment in town in the evenings! It’s in a very private setting at the end of a small alley and I had no street noise throughout my stay. It’s about 60 minutes by taxi or 90 minutes by bus from Kuta or the airport.
Service: The staff at the Padma Retreat was typical of many small hotels on Bali: They were very friendly and attentive, English was sufficient for the typical tasks and questions and any request I had during my stay was promptly addressed. The front desk is not permanently staffed, but somebody is around all day and had me checked in with little paper work quickly. I was shown to my room – the same one I had inspected. The front desk will also arrange transportation or tours for you or assist with any questions you might have! My room was nicely made up with a towel swan on the bed and flowers on the steps to the shower and was cleaned every morning as soon as I would leave. Towels were replaced on request.
Room: My large room was facing the pool and you enter via the patio through large glass doors. It has white tile floors, a queen size bed with a very firm mattress and wooden night stands and side table. The sheets were basic and a colorful, quilted cover was available in case you get cold. Colorful artwork on the wall and carvings in the wood added a local touch to the decor. The floor-to-ceiling windows making up the front of the room let in a lot of light, curtains add privacy as needed. The small wooden wardrobe was difficult to open, but lockable for extra security as there is no safety box in the room. The patio has a table with two chairs overlooking the pool and is the only sitting area provided. The bathroom was unusually large with a sink, toilet and large open shower. The stone steps up to the shower and the little pebbles on the floor gave it a unique feeling. Only two large towels were provided and the bathroom amenities of little soap bars and sachets of shampoo were the most basic I have received in a while. I liked the bathroom window for fresh air. The air conditioning unit was properly sized and worked well to get the room cooled down quickly.
There are two outlets by the bed, used by the lamps and two at the side table, none outside by the table, so you’ll be able to charge your devices, but your work time is limited by the battery of your laptop. The internet varied a little throughout my stay, but was very fast for Bali at an average speed of 5.9Mbps – some of the best I’ve had on the island!
Restaurant/Amenities: The room does not have tea/coffee facilities, but the hotel makes up for it with a thermos can of hot water and tea, coffee, sugar and milk powder delivered to your patio in the afternoon.
The room rate includes a make-to-order breakfast and they take your order from a short menu in the afternoon for a scheduled time or in the morning if you prefer that. It’s delivered to your patio, making for a very nice setting for a leisurely and private breakfast – it certainly beats having breakfast in a large, noisy restaurant! I ordered an omelette with toast one morning and pancakes the other. It came with a plate of fruit, juice and coffee each morning. The staff was very friendly and willing to make adjustments as you request them. The food was made fresh and tasted good, making for a good start into the day.
In front of my room was the small pool with a deck and loungers to the side. It’s all surrounded by lush greenery for a natural setting despite the town location. While the hotel doesn’t have the much celebrated rice paddy views, I really enjoyed the small and well maintained property and landscaping.
Bottomline: At a price of only $38 you get a large, basic room with Bali decor, a unique, oversized bathroom and a view of the pool and greenery. The tasty breakfast and afternoon tea served on the patio made for a relaxing experience and the friendly staff made me feel at home. The quiet location between Ubud Palace and the rice fields is hard to beat. The Padma Ubud Retreat delivers a much more authentic Ubud experience than the more modern and slightly more expensive evitel Ubud on the other side of town. I wouldn’t mind a little nicer sheets, towels and amenities, but at this price point it’s a bargain and I’d recommend it for a quintessential Ubud experience on a budget!
If you want modern and authentic Bali and a little more comfort, check out my review of the Ubud Wana Resort for a more upscale Ubud experience!