The Chedi Club

Ubud: one person’s idea of an exotic, culture rich retreat and a place to find one’s inner peace, another person’s idea of tourism gone crazy as a result of fame from a best selling book and follow up Hollywood movie. Luckily there’s a way to ensure you always end up in the first camp and it’s by following one simple piece of advice.

Choose where you stay wisely. Staying at The Chedi Club is one of these wise choices, possibly the wisest. It’s hard to avoid the travel magazine clichés when describing this place, so forgive us in advance please.

Lobby Entrance at Chedi Club Ubud
Ornamental Pond at The Chedi Club

This is no ordinary hotel or resort, partly because that’s not how this place started life. In the mid 1980’s it was the personal residence of Mr Hendra Hadiprana, one of Indonesia’s foremost architects and art collectors. He built a home, and a place where he could entertain his guests, and the property remained as such until 2004 when the family opened what is now The Chedi Club which is a managed by luxury hotel operator, GHM and is a member of The Leading Hotels Of The World.

But don’t be fooled into thinking this is some kind of small luxury homestay. Instead think 20 unique villas filled with art from the owner’s private collection, set in 5 hectares of lush gardens and rice fields. Think organic gardens supplying a breezy open air restaurant, world class cuisine and the very best in personal service that the industry has to offer.

This once family home still has staff that worked on the estate before it transformed into a hotel and has helped to retain the feeling of being welcomed into a family home perfectly (albeit a rather beautiful, spacious and dreamlike kind of home).

Aerial view of The Chedi Club
Elephant Statue at The Chedi Club
Restaurant View at The Chedi Club
Lobby at Chedi Club Ubud

If you love a sense of history then you’ll love the rooms at The Chedi Club. They have a wonderfully traditional feel (you’ll make no mistake you’re in Bali) with antique hand carved beds, all kinds of different Indonesian art and even moss covered grey stone, (so typical of Ubud), in your indoor-outdoor bathroom. Some have private pools with rice field views, all have a sense of space and calm that is synonymous with this property.

Rooms come complete with a range of complimentary perks (which fit seamlessly with the hotel’s homely atmosphere). Fancy a tipple? There’s a fully stocked mini-bar (we loved the clearly labeled vegan juices) and 3 carafes of spirits on the coffee table (gin, whiskey and vodka), all replenished daily free of charge. There’s also a selection of loose leaf tea, a proper coffee machine, jars of nuts, a fruit bowl piled with local seasonal fruits. And every day, guests are invited to take afternoon tea (more on that later) and to enjoy cocktails or wine at the end of the day (these are delivered to your room or you can choose to enjoy them in other areas of the resort too). Oh and they’ll also take care of 6 pieces of laundry per day, per guest.

And you should be pleased to hear that your room won’t be full of tiny plastic bottles of water (neither will you find plastic straws on the property), they’ve banished the plastic and switched to glass bottles. Yes, yes, yes.

We certainly felt welcome, well cared for and at home at The Chedi Club.

1 Bedroom Suite at The Chedi Club Ubud
1 Bedroom Suite Bathroom at The Chedi Club
Private Pool at The Chedi Club
Vegan Juice at The Chedi Club

We could easily have spent all our time at The Chedi Club just listening to the quiet peacefulness, wandering about the trees and gaining inspiration from this rather magical place. But there are quite a few other ‘not to be missed’ things to do too (although soaking in the peacefulness should be one of your top priorities here). There are complimentary yoga classes and rice field treks organised through your personal butler; did we forget to mention you get a personal butler? Well you do, and ours was lovely.

Food fanatics (us) as well as anyone who has an interest in Balinese food (surely that’s everyone?) should book a cooking class with the enigmatic Executive Chef Dean. We got serious garden envy as he walked us round the organic vegetable garden (where, incidentally, his house is located too) showing us fruits, vegetables and herbs (ever heard of cinnamon basil? us neither). This man literally breathes the ‘garden to table’ philosophy.

We watched him make traditional Balinese favourites, tasting, picking up tips about cooking (turns out we’ve been using a wok incorrectly all these years) and listening to stories about local people who make his palm sugar (uniquely smoky in flavour as it’s cooked over wood) or his method for making their speciality rosella salt.

Stay on a Tuesday or a Friday and you’ll be lucky enough to see a traditional Kecak fire dance performed by 60 local, neighbouring villagers. Think this sounds contrived? Well think again; the same village has been performing this fascinating traditional dance here since it was a family home in the mid 80’s where guests would be entertianed in the open air amphitheatre and it has continued ever since. Imagine a kind of ancient chant-come-beatbox soundtrack with crazy martial-arts-esque moves and fire. Lots of fire flying about. It’s a marvelous spectacle.

And the newest not to be missed activity? Bali’s only hot air balloon.

Step into a tiny basket, feel the roar of the flames and float up above the rice fields to see Mount Agung in the distance. Oh Ubud, when you’re staying somewhere like The Chedi Club, you really are a beauty to behold.

Restaurant Exterior at The Chedi Club
Chef Dean at The Chedi Club
Kecak Dance at The Chedi Club
Balloon Experience at The Chedi Club

The Vegan Food

Awesome vegan food alert. Don’t expect to come to The Chedi Club and miss out.

Start your day with breakfast, taking in the rice field views and enjoying the climate; The Chedi Club’s ‘The Restaurant’ has floor to ceiling glass doors which remain open to the breeze. Drink loose leaf tea (why don’t more poeple serve tea properly?) and freshly brewed coffee, fresh fruit juices from a selection on the menu or create your own. Order tropical fruit platters and Balinese favourites like Nasi Goreng with tempe and tofu satay or go for a Western option where fresh tomatoes are grilled, spinach is wilted, mushrooms are sauteed and fingers of tempe are breadcrumbed and fried until crispy.

Homemade Jam at The Chedi Club
Vegan Nasi Goreng at The Chedi Club
Vegetable Curry at The Chedi Club
Western Style Breakfast at The Chedi Club

We ate lunch after our cooking class, meaning we got to eat the things we’d seen cooked by Chef Dean (whilst proclaiming that we will definitely be cooking them again in the future). Traditional Rojak salad made with sour tamarind, that smoky palm sugar and fresh chilli tossed with jicama, cucumber, pineapple and carrot. A traditional salad made with young jackfruit, tempe and tofu muddled with ‘Bumbu Bali’ the local name for the Balinese spice paste that is the very heart of all the cooking here. A perfectly cooked and veganised Mie Goreng, or fried noodles to the uninitiated. And there were sweet things too, an out of this world basil sorbet with strawberries, a black rice pudding with banana chips and the most heavenly coconut sorbet.

Vegan Cooking Class at The Chedi Club
Vegan Rojak at The Chedi Club
Vegan Mie Goreng at The Chedi Club
Vegan Sorbet at The Chedi Club

Afternoon tea is definitely a meal which is very underrated. Who doesn’t love tiers of tasty treats served at that time in the afternoon when you’re just a little peckish? The tea should be good quality, served in a pot and there should be savoury and sweet things to nibble on; small morsels of food so you can pretend you haven’t really just squeezed an extra meal in to your day.

We have to say, The Chedi Club really delivered with their Balinese inspired afternoon tea, full of delicious things made from tempe and deep fried or coconut milk, sugar, pandan and glutinous rice flour.

The Chedi Club - Afternoon Tea 1
The Chedi Club - Afternoon Tea 2

Dinner consisted of more Balinese food (we can’t get enough) and we tested out room service as well as the ‘Royal Balinese Dinner’ after the Kecak performance (life and transition to vegan king and queen is complete). Both were excellent.

Room service arrived perfectly hot, perfectly vegan with no fuss. A tofu tempe satay, a crispy tempe dish with carrot puree and pretty vegetables and a braised tofu and mushroom served with yellow rice. It’s worth noting that guests can have food delivered all at once or course by course and there is no extra charge for delivery; this is room service par excellence.

The Chedi Club - Room Service 1
The Chedi Club - Room Service 2

Our Royal Dinner was served on trays balanced on the heads of very smiley Balinese women; luckily the taste of the food wasn’t upstaged by the rather grand entrance. Spiced tempe pressed around lemongrass stalks, corn fritters and tofu baked in banana leaves; long beans in creamy coconut, a jackfruit salad, another salad that was just as good; a creamy coconut milk rich vegetable curry and spicy potaoes; a basket of yellow rice fragrant with fried shallots. If your mouth isn’t watering and you’re not thinking about booking a flight to Bali now then you should probably go and see a doctor.

Royal Balinese Dinner at The Chedi Club
The Chedi Club - Vegan Royal Balinese Dinner

The Vegan Essentials

We had the choice to swap our pillows for a synthetic option by DACRON, these fibre filled pillows are known for their quality and being 100% synthetic are suitable for vegan guests. The bathroom amenities were in re-fillable containers which is of course great for the planet. We were unable to find information about the current product being used but were informed that they will soon be moving to Sensatia who make natural products in Bali.

The wonderful spa with enchanting rice field views uses products from a selection of luxury brands who all offer vegan options within their range, our favourite was SpaRitual as they are certified cruelty free and all of their products are suitable for vegans.

ila have a range of vegan products that are clearly listed on their website and some of these are used for the massages at The Chedi Club. Voya is an Irish company that uses organic seaweed throughout their product range, and are cruelty free therefore not testing on animals. A number of products from Ren Skincare are also available at The Chedi Club and they again, clearly list vegan products on their website.

The Spa at The Chedi Club is extremely vegan friendly and the perfect place to enjoy a treatment (or two).

Spa Suite at The Chedi Club
Vegan Spa Products at The Chedi Club

The Vegan Food Quest Verdict

Check in to The Chedi Club to experience the very best of Ubud’s natural beauty and rich culture whilst enjoying all the complimentary perks on offer. Leave any concerns that you’ll struggle as a vegan at home as you are treated to delicious vegan food and have access to one of the most vegan friendly spas around.

Try to visit on a Tuesday or Friday when the fabulous Kecak fire dance is being performed and don’t forget that hot air balloon ride too, it’s a must.

Vegan Food Quest small banner logo

We were guests of The Chedi Club but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.

The Chedi Club
Jalan Goa Gajah
Ubud
Bali 80571
Indonesia

Telephone: +62 (361) 975 685
Email: reservation@thechediclububud.com
Cost From:
£375 / $495 (July 2018)