Review: Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Ubud, Bali

Review-Mandapa-Ritz-Carlton Reserve-Bali-View from Lobby

 

This 2018 Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bali Review is from our recent stay, after Amanwana. Dreaming of a Bali vacation? See all our posts tagged Bali.

TravelSort Clients enjoy the following Virtuoso benefits. Note that, as is typical with Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties, the resort does NOT participate in Ritz Rewards or Marriott Rewards.

Mandapa Virtuoso Benefits

  • Upgrade at time of arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Buffet and A La Carte Breakfast for two daily in the restaurant for duration of the stay
  • $100 USD equivalent Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (Not valid on Car transfers, not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/Late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

See our Mandapa YouTube Video Review:

 

Mandapa Location and Check-In

Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, is located at Jalan Kedewatan, Banjar Kedewatan, near Ubud, in Bali, Indonesia. Ubud is Bali's artistic and cultural center, and while downtown Ubud is now very crowded and touristy, quite different from when I first visited in 2000, Mandapa is about a 10-15 minute drive from the center.

Keep in mind that traffic in Bali is often horrible, due to the sheer number of vehicles, narrow roads, and many festivals and family celebrations that further narrow or block roads. Ignore Google Maps, which puts the time between Denpasar DPS airport and the resort at a bit over 1 hour, and expect it to take 2 hours or more.

Once we finally arrived, we enjoyed a pleasant welcome, and were greeted with cool towels and refreshing lemongrass drinks:

Mandapa Bali Review-Welcome

 

The General Manager, Ana Henriques, explained the magnificent overview we had of the resort, noting that the original villagers' temple still stood and was used by the community, and some of them also help with the rice harvest from the resort's own rice terraces. A number of locals work at the resort, both front of house, as butlers, servers at the restaurants, spa therapists, and back of house, in housekeeping, maintenance, landscaping, etc.

 

Mandapa 1 Bedroom River Front Pool Villa

There are 25 1-Bedroom Pool Villas, although only a few are River Front, with a view of the Ayung River. Keep in mind that the river is popular for rafting, so there are periodic shouts from the rafters below. If you aim to relax by your pool in complete silence, you'd be better off choosing a non-River Front Villa.

Review-Mandapa-Bali-One Bedroom River Front Pool Villa-Infinity Pool

 

The pool villas have 4630 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space. There's a separate living room area by the pool, which could be used by a 3rd adult or an older child.

The main villa includes a bedroom, with an alcove that can be made up as a bed for a younger child (this is where our son slept), work desk and mini bar.

Review-Mandapa-Ritz-Carlton Reserve-Bali-Villa Bedroom

 

Between the bedroom and bathroom is a walk-in closet, with slippers and a tote bag for use during the stay (unlike Aman Resorts and even the St. Regis Nusa Dua where we stayed subsequently, I was told that the bag was not complimentary for me to take with me, and I'd be charged ~$50 if I took it).

The bathroom features two vanities and sinks, a high tech Toto toilet, soaking tub, separate rain shower, and even an outdoor shower reached by opening the door from the rain shower.

Review-Mandapa-Ritz-Carlton Reserve-Villa-Bathroom

 

Mandapa Spa

The Mandapa Spa treatments are very pricey, close to NYC spa prices, but fortunately you can enjoy the Vitality Pool as well as separate men's and women's sauna, steam room and experience shower facilities even without a treatment.

Review-Mandapa-Bali-Spa-Vitality Pool

 

Mandapa Restaurants and Dining

Sawah Terrace is Mandapa's all day dining restaurant, and is where the extensive daily breakfast buffet is served. You can also select from several a la carte options, in addition to the buffet; see the above video for the menu options.

Review-Mandapa-Bali-Breakfast Buffet-Fruit

Review-Mandapa-Bali-Breakfast-Fresh Squeezed Juice

 

Kubu is Mandapa's fine dining restaurant, open only in the evening. Be sure to request one of the private cocoons by the river, for an especially romantic dinner (ok, we managed to fit our family of 3 in one, but they're especially great for couples).

 

Service

I'd reserved a Pool Villa for our stay, and since I have clients that are often interested in the River Front Pool Villas, asked if we could stay in a River Front Pool Villa if one was available. Our Butler assured me that he'd check, but after several hours in the early evening, with no call from him, I followed up, since I could see one still being sold on the resort Web site.

Our Butler gave the rather weak excuse that he figured we wanted to relax and not be disturbed, and then told me there were none available, which clearly was not true. Eventually I got the assistance I needed by speaking directly with Reservations, and after that, I lost quite a bit of trust in our Butler, also since his English wasn't good at all. We'd ask him things and he'd say “yes,” even though he clearly had no idea what we were asking about.

Service was also lackluster at our first meal at the property, lunch at Sawah Terrace. There were barely any guests during our late lunch, and we'd ordered local comfort food, Mie Goreng and Nasi Goreng, so it wasn't clear why it took the better part of an hour to prepare them. That said, in view of my expressed dissatisfaction, they did provide a couple complimentary glasses of champagne that evening at Kubu, which was a nice gesture, even though we don't care too much for champagne.

Service at Kubu was quite attentive, although even with our request for a faster paced dinner, our a la carte dinner was slower than we'd have liked, so much so that we skipped dessert, which normally we would have ordered, and took the petits fours with us.

The male associate at the spa was, however, friendly and very helpful.

So overall, service and English skills were a mixed bag, and not as good as I'd have expected for a property at this price point. I found service and English skills much better at the nearby Amandari, which I visited for a site inspection.

The Verdict

Mandapa is a stunning property, and the hard product is beautiful. I love the views from the open air lobby over the resort, including the rice terraces, and the privacy and space of the pool villa. I don't care for the dark wood used in the villa interiors, but this is a matter of personal preference. The bathroom is great, especially the double vanities, Toto toilet, large rain shower, and outdoor shower. And what's not to like about your own private villa pool, large enough to swim laps in.

Food, once it arrived, was also very good, especially the Nasi Goreng with lamb satay and sambal, the delicious if pricey Hokkaido Scallops from Kubu's tasting menu, and the fresh squeezed juices and fruit selection, as well as chocolate chia pudding at breakfast. The petits fours/mignardises at Kubu, however, were lackluster, and a disappointing ending to an otherwise very good although not amazing meal.

If you've stayed at Mandapa recently, what was your experience?

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3 Comments on "Review: Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Ubud, Bali"

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Jay
Guest
My experience staying there was very similar to yours. The facilities are fabulous but the service was not top notch. I would rate the level of service as just average for Bali. I have received much better service at many other hotels in Bali that were in a lower price range, which was very disappointing to me. Most of their butlers unfortunately either lack training, competency, or just don’t understand what top notch service is. In all fairness to the butlers, they are mainly from poor villages and therefore most likely have never personally experienced top notch service and therefore… Read more »
Miss Spaist
Guest
I found the service to be very artificial from the top down. Smiles but shallow service from senior management. I’m shocked they would play room games with an advisor of your caliber though! I twisted my ankle almost at the end of our trip going in from their outdoor shower. I called for the butler and they brought a nurse in since it was Indonesian Water Festival or something like that. Doctors were unavailable. I was pretty worried about the KE flight home and tried to reduce the swelling. They did provide ice compressesbbut no service recovery. The SUV ride… Read more »