As a typical shallow millennial, I get a lot of my travel inspiration from stalking people with better lives than me on Instagram. I booked Kamandalu solely because I’d seen a photo of their floating breakfast on some beautiful rich asshole’s Instagram and decided that price tag be damned, I was staying at one of those villas, I was going to enjoy that lush jungle paradise, and I was going to eat breakfast in my pool like the fucking queen that I am.
The resort is located in Ubud, Bali, a beautiful, lush, and secluded area which is a much-needed escape from Real Life. Ubud is about an hour’s taxi away from Ngurah Rai Airport, which will run you about 350-400,000 IDR ($25-28 USD). Kamandalu’s villas are pricy, but they’re stunning, and 100% worth the investment. The floating breakfast (~$35 USD, pictured above) is a really nice add-on, featuring a variety of Indonesian dishes along with standard brunch fare. The entire resort has a very serene, calming vibe. It’s modeled off a traditional Balinese village, so there are endless walkways, rice paddies, and gardens. I arrived fresh off my frenetic Komodo adventure and completely exhausted, and left feeling relaxed and totally refreshed.
Upon my arrival, security let me through the ornate gates, and I pulled up to a beautiful white marble building. I had booked a 1-bedroom pool villa (~$400 USD/night – check current rates here), which gave me access to a separate check-in through the downstairs Village Club. Friendly attendants grabbed my bags and escorted me downstairs to another, equally exquisite, building. I didn’t take any pictures, because I’m an idiot. Also, I didn’t have a blog (or plans for a blog) yet. But it was truly the most beautiful place ever – it looks like a palace.
Kamandalu’s check-in starts from 2 pm but I arrived at noon, assuming I’d just chill for a couple hours. The very friendly attendant promised to get my room ready earlier, although I assured him that I would be 100% fine pounding drinks at the bar until then. I filled out my paperwork and grabbed a complimentary drink from the Village Club, then walked around the grounds before settling at one of the bars for a few cocktails. Kamandalu has a spectacular infinity pool that all guests can access, as well as a very cool-looking swim-up bar. I didn’t check out either one, because there were other, richer people around and I felt out of place (lol).
My room was ready a full hour early, and when I arrived at my villa my bags were waiting for me in the room. This is probably standard at fancy accommodation, but as someone who had never stayed at a 5-star hotel before I was surprised and delighted. I immediately set about destroying the beautiful room by throwing my clothes all over the place and tearing into the (complimentary) mini-bar. I was in Bali, the sun was shining, and I had a private pool. This was possibly the greatest moment of my life. I cracked open a Bintang and went for a swim, vowing never to leave my villa and waste the precious dollars I’d spent on it.
I made good on that promise, leaving my villa only for a dinner and for a brief day excursion. Kamandalu is made for lounging. The pool features a day-bed with a spectacular view, and a pair of loungers to chill and get some sun. If you’re staying as a couple, prepare for the most romantic holiday ever. If you are anything like me, prepare to spend all day in your pool drinking cocktails, and all night chugging champagne from the bottle in a luxurious bubble bath.
This is the only photo I got of the villa exterior, unfortunately, but it was honestly stunning. The villas all feature beautiful, traditional thatched roofs and intricate wooden doors. Each one is completely private, thanks to the fence and additional door that you can sort of see at the very left of the photo. If room service needs to bring you anything, they’ll pull on a cord outside the door that makes the most charming little wooden knocking sound. Other than that, no one will bother you, and you’re free to enjoy your little slice of paradise undisturbed.
The staff at Kamandalu are outstanding, and they truly make it a 5-star resort. Everyone seemed delighted by the concept of a solo female traveler, and they actually came by to check on me a few times, which I thought was very sweet. Balinese hospitality is a Real Thing and literally everyone I encountered there was impossibly friendly and helpful. I felt welcomed immediately, and could tell that everyone there genuinely enjoys their work. Who wouldn’t, in such a beautiful place??
The inside of the villa is also exquisite – the entire interior is sparkling clean and just feels luxurious. Everything is gleaming marble or beautifully carved wood. The four-post bed, while stunning, is also really high off the ground, so for us vertically challenged people there’s handy stools on either side! The beautiful stone tub has a shower head, but if you’d prefer, there’s also a lovely (private) outdoor shower. I attempted to take one of those blogger-y sensual outdoor shower pics but failed miserably, so just trust me, the shower is very nice.
There’s also a small dining table with a few chairs, a small lounge, a wardrobe with a rope, slippers, an iron, and of course, a mini-bar! Especially as a solo female traveler, I’m concerned about security, so I’m happy to report that I felt very safe there alone. The doors all had sturdy locks, and the wooden door leading up to the villa bolts from the inside with a large piece of wood.
Food and Amenities
Minibars are my favorite thing ever. So imagine my excitement when I learned that the minibar is complimentary in the pool villas at Kamandalu (not in the other villas unfortunately)! It has all the standard water and beverages, and a couple of Bintang (an Indonesian beer). I basically survived on Bintang in Indonesia, so I was stoked about that. Also, who doesn’t like free beer. There was also a decent selection of little snacks like Ritz crackers and Oreos.
When you check in there’s also a complimentary bowl of fruit laid out for you. The attendant insisted that I try the snake-fruit, a native Indonesian fruit which is colloquially named for its bizarre scaly peel. The fruit looks beautiful, but tbh I hated it. Apparently its texture can vary wildly from fruit to fruit, so I may have just gotten a really dry, crumbly one. It’s a very unique fruit so definitely worth a try regardless.
When I travel, I go full adventure, or full vacation – there is no in-between – and a good room service menu basically guarantees that I won’t leave my room. Pretty much as soon as I walked in the door I ordered a cocktail and the coconut shrimp (above) – the shrimp were delicious. There are a ton of restaurants on the Kamandalu grounds and they all looked awesome, but I was tired and lazy, so instead I sat in bed for the better part of the evening sampling curries and drinking wine. It was lovely, and I regret nothing.
Having just come off a whirlwind in Komodo where I was up at 5 am everyday, climbing mountains, chilling with dragons, and repeatedly fearing for my life, I think I just needed some time to do absolutely nothing and unwind. Kamandalu was the perfect place for that. Basically all I did was lay around, eat, and drink.
The Floating Breakfast!!
This breakfast was the entire reason I came to Kamandalu, and fortunately it’s available both in your private pool or, if you don’t have a pool villa, in the main infinity pool! You pre-select your breakfast the day before from a stupidly large list of options. I chose waffles, croissants, Danish pastries, Indonesian porridge with condiments, poached eggs, muesli with fruit, fried noodles, coffee, iced tea, and a guava juice (I think that’s everything)! It’s enough food to make you want to die afterwards, in the best possible way. I added a Floating Breakfast to my original booking, for just 368,000 IDR (~25 USD!!).
It turns out that eating breakfast in a pool is not practical at all. I got water all over my waffles and nearly knocked over the whole tray while flailing around trying to kill a spider who was perched on the edge of my teapot. I ended up nestled on the edge of the pool overlooking the jungle, tanning and stuffing my face with an array of noodles, pastries, and juices, and that was downright magical.
This photo was taken by the lovely man who delivered my breakfast. As I said before, the customer service here is top notch. This man was a saint, and a surprisingly good (and enthusiastic) photographer! He spent a solid fifteen minutes hopping around my villa, including climbing nimbly all the way around the edge of my pool (lol) until he was satisfied he’d gotten me the perfect shot.
Then, after finally escaping from my surprise photoshoot, he showed back up at my villa a few minutes later with a full bottle of champagne for me! Generally the floating breakfast is ordered for two people since it’s usually couples at the resort, but they couldn’t really give me a half bottle of champagne. So. Let’s just say it was a fantastic morning 🙂
Though this resort is clearly pegged as a romantic getaway, I had an absolutely fabulous time alone. My villa was beautiful and tranquil, the customer service was spectacular, and the food and drinks were on point. I had the greatest stay ever treating my favorite person, me. I’m saving up for my next visit already!