If you don’t know much about South East Asia, you might not know that with the American dollar exchange rate, it’s a pretty cheap destination over all (other than the initial plane ticket). When I was searching for places to stay in Ubud, I found hostels that were only FIVE dollars a night. Yes, you read that right. But if I was going to fly 24+ hours to get to Bali, I wanted to stay somewhere a little nicer than $5 a night. So began the search of where to stay in Ubud on a budget.
Ubud On a Budget: Sankara Resort
I cannot say enough good things about Sankara Ubud Resort. I actually hear about this hotel while browsing a travel group on Facebook that I’m apart of and from the moment I saw it, I knew it would be perfect. The photos were beautiful, reviews amazing and the best part is that is allowed us to stay in Ubud on a budget. Skeptical? Make sure to check out how I spent a week in Bali (including my flight) for under $1,000.
To be honest, I booked this hotel BEFORE I even had airfare to Bali. Some would call that wishful thinking, but I call it planning ahead. I booked through booking.com (I’ve used this site for multiple trips and have never had an issue with it) and the room had free cancellation up until a week before our intended dates. Since it was such a good deal, I didn’t want to miss out on it. When we finally nailed down our travel dates, I had to amend the reservation slightly and had no issues with it.
Our flight landed in DPS around midnight so instead of fighting with taxi drivers and negotiating prices after traveling for over 24 hours, we booked our taxi straight from the hotel. We provided flight details and as we walked into baggage claim, sure enough there was someone holding a sign with our names on it. This was the first time anyone has ever held up my name on a sign at an airport, so you know, I was pretty giddy and feeling fancy.
You will pay more to book transportation through your hotel vs. negotiating with another driver. We used an independant driver on the way back to the airport but had no regrets about booking through Sankara initially after so much traveling. It was late when we arrived to check in but we were greeted with the most smiling faces and even some surprise news! There was an issue with the room we booked online and were upgraded for one night into a private pool villa.
It was the dreamiest moment walking into a gorgeous hotel room and being able to walk right out into our own private pool. The staff led us to our room and even provided a late night snack for us! It was a breeze getting from the airport to the hotel and checking in, even at such a late hour.
I will say the first night was the nicest night in the hotel since we were upgraded to a pool villa. Given the chance, I think I would even spend the money to stay in one for the whole week next time. We shared a giant king bed that looked out to an outside living room and kitchen space and to our own little pool oasis. The bathroom was just as beautiful, with a skylight over the shower and a large stone tub. You could even roll up the shades by the tub to give direct access to the pool.
The next day we transitioned very smoothly to our new room where we would stay with for the duration of our time in Bali. It was super easy and the staff even carried our luggage. The second room was bright and open with two twin beds draped with mosquito nets. These were tied at the corners during the day and opened up at night. We had sliding french doors that opened to a little porch that looked like we were in a little jungle.
Everything we could possibly need was in that room. The bathroom had a basket of shampoo, conditioner, soap, laundry bags, shower caps, tooth paste, and even water bottles to brush our teeth with (don’t drink the water in Bali). The tub was built in so it was as amazing as the stone from the first night in the villa but it was still beautiful. Each room had books with room service menus, spa services and tours you can book directly with the hotel or their daily activities.
Breakfast and Restaurant Food
Can I be honest with you guys? Breakfast was one of our favorite parts of the day. It was included in the price of the rooms and was 3 courses every morning! Most mornings I ended up with a green smoothie, mei goreng and pisang goreng. Mei Goreng was essentially fried noodles with egg and vegetables folded in. The first day I was skeptical because that’s not typical breakfast for me but I was sold after one bite. There were 4-5 different menu options including an American option and bread baskets. Oh what I wouldn’t do for some mie goreng overlooking that pool.
We ate a few other meals at the restaurant. The prices were okay and the food was good but honestly, if you are out and about in Ubud, I would eat there. You can get meals much cheaper in central Ubud with a lot more options. We did have one free dinner included with our stay due to the amount of nights we booked. We saved this for our last night and a nice perk before having to leave for the airport (midnight flight).
When I booked this hotel, one of the biggest draws was the pool. It is gorgeous. The restaurant overlooks it and it’s just such a beautiful spot. The downside? We never actually went to the pool. We used the one in our private villa because it never closed but the common pool does close and it was normally around the time we got back from sight seeing and having dinner. It was really nice scenery to look at during breakfast but honestly, we didn’t use it. Each chair did have a beach towel so you didn’t have to worry about luging though around.
I’ll admit, I don’t do yoga regularly. But when in Bali, am I right? The first day we decided to do morning yoga at the hotel (free!) but we didn’t return. I liked the overall experience and felt calm and collected after, but much of the practice was a lot of repetition of the same moves. I’m glad we tried it but if you’re looking for serious yoga in Ubud, I would look elsewhere in town (but hey, free is free when you’re in Ubud on a budget).
I cannot say enough good things about the people who work at Sankara. Each member of their staff took the time to learn our names and make sure we were always taken care of. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, there was always a smile on their face and a willingness to answer all of our questions. They helped us arrange taxis, order room service, send postcards and even helping us with the blinds in the bathroom.
During the day, our room was made up, most of the time when we were out sight seeing and in the evening there was turn down service that included arranging the mosquito nets around the beds for us. So relaxing to come home to after a long day of exploring.
Sankara is not in central Ubud so you can’t really walk anywhere. This wasn’t a huge deal for us because we used the shuttle the hotel provided a few times or we arranged relatively cheap taxis. It was normally only a ten or so minute taxi ride to where we needed to be, so really a perfect spot. It was away from the hustle and bustle of central Ubud but close enough to be able to go back and forth during the day. I never had one instance where I felt unsafe at the resort (or really in Bali in general).
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone looking to stay in Ubud. There are a lot of hotels to choose from and the search can be overwhelming but if you are traveling in Ubud on a budget, look no further than Sankara! It’s close to town, has beautiful views, an amazing staff and A+ breakfast included with your room. Need I say any more?