Sandy beaches, big waves, good food, and that quintessential laid back surfer vibe. We really liked Ubud, but we absolutely LOVED Uluwatu. After being in Central Bali with arguably more congested areas and absolutely no ocean nearby, we couldn’t wait to get to our next airbnb in this cozy little pocket of the Bukit Peninsula. I had read up a lot on the Uluwatu area, and I knew it would be the perfect spot for us in Southern Bali, with less crowds and the best surfing beaches that mainland Bali has to offer (and I will admit, Bali beaches are not the best by any means, but we still enjoyed them). We wanted the perfect central homebase while down south, close enough to restaurants, shops, and as many beaches as possible and we got that and more at our second airbnb….
Oh my, I don’t even know where to begin with this lovely compound. It was the ultimate paradise and totally unique! First of all, this place is very private and quiet. You turn down a less frequented road off of the main road and then take a right turn down a private unpaved rocky dirt path, which can be kind of scary riding a scooter on if you are inexperienced. That is probably the only downside to this place, but I assure you, you’ll quickly get over that. When you walk into the compound, it’s like being transported into a beautiful and relaxing isolated tropical haven. You are greeted by a cheeky bird in a very large caged area up front. The bird is funny and will “talk” to you from time to time. As you walk further into the compound, you start to see all the private villa areas encompassed in their own little tropical gardens which is great because the other guests can’t really see you. You will also see the hosts art studio and room (more on this later). As you continue to walk further into the compound you will finally reach the common area which is also in a beautiful tropical garden setting and has such an awesome laidback vibe. There is plenty of seating, loungers, daybeds, and a hammock to lay in the shade and relax. The pool is the main attraction here though. An 11 meter concrete infinity pool set way up high, with the most beautiful turquoise colored water. I couldn’t get over the color of that pool water! It also has the most fantastic view, overlooking the whole Uluwatu area. You can see the ocean and Mt. Agung in the distance, and plenty of green. It is one of the most gorgeous views, and is especially breathtaking in the morning at sunrise. It is also pretty awesome at night, where you can watch the scooter lights weaving through the pitch dark roads down below, see the airport lights in the far distance, and watch the planes come in and land. There is a nice breeze that comes through in this compound as well which made the heat bearable. It actually got pretty cool at night by the pool. It was a welcome change from the heat in our villa in Ubud. Another convenient perk: a telephone with numbers to cabs as well as takeout menus from several restaurants nearby. All you have to do is tell them to deliver to Mr. Carlos’ house and they know exactly where to go! It’s pretty awesome that he is so well known to the locals in the area. We knew right away we had hit the jackpot!
There are 5 different accommodations offered at Carlos’ House: Surf Pool, Surf Bungalow, Surf Cottage, Surf House, & Surf Lodge (listed in order from smallest/cheapest to largest/priciest). We stayed in the Surf Bungalow which was $79 a night (I believe it may have gone up, but only by $2 haha). The Surf Bungalow had everything we needed! The villa had the thatched open roof concept just like our villa in Ubud, except the bedroom area had a hard plastic encasing the open spaces near the roof to keep the room cool, because all of the accommodations have A/C in the bedrooms! The living room is all open concept which we loved. I felt like an island girl living in my little hut, with the breeze blowing through, the occasional giant frog jumping around the house, and my tropical garden plants peeking their way through the open spaces into the living room. The living area also had a little kitchenette which our host did a great job stocking. There are plenty of dishes, pots, pans, cups, and silverwares. He also had olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, eggs, bread, chips, and cold lemon and orange water in the mini fridge for us. I really adored the big wooden door to our villa, I’m a sucker for beautiful doors. The bedroom was homey and definitely had a Mediterranean feel. The white stone floors, teakwood bed, and white and blue color scheme of the bed was totally giving me Greece feels! The bathroom is connected to the bedroom and is separated by a glass door. The bathroom has open spaces in the roof, which sometimes freaked me out as I hate bugs and I had anxiety using the bathroom sometimes (I know first world problems, I’m such a wuss) but it was totally fine. The bathroom also has the white stone floors and the shower was nice and hot with good water pressure. The only downside of the bungalow is you can tell that it is a little older than some of the other accommodations. I think it may have been one of the first villas built in the compound and it does show a little. Especially in those stone floors. The bathroom floors didn’t always look the cleanest, but they cleaned the rooms every single day and I knew it was just because of the age of the room. If we get the pleasure to stay again I think I would try out the Surf Cottage which has its own private outdoor roof terrace and is newer. The Surf House also looked pretty fantastic. The surf pool is the newest addition, just added this year in 2016. While we were there, it looked like they may have been building another one as well. I have attached the link to the bungalow we stayed in down below:
Now to the most crucial component of this place, the thing that really made this slice of paradise truly special and stand out…our host Carlos Goyeneche. An old Spanish painter that has been living in Bali for over 33 years now. From the moment we arrived, Carlos was so welcoming and so kind! He greeted us at the entrance and immediately took us to our rooms, showing us around the compound and gave us a map of the area that he drew by hand (it’s a beautiful map, and you will definitely be receiving one if you stay). He showed us on the map all of the best restaurants, shops, and beaches in the area. He showed us which roads to take and avoid and also what places were his personal favorites. Carlos seems to be really great at reading people (I read other reviews on the airbnb site that have mentioned this), and he said he could tell my boyfriend and I were a very laidback and nice couple, that didn’t like pretentious high maintenance people and things and told us which places to avoid at all costs and which places he thought we would really enjoy, and boy was he spot on!! He also complimented me, told me that I seem like a very happy person, very beautiful, and that Joe is a lucky guy, and boy did that make me smile! It really felt like it was coming from the heart and that is the best trait about him, he was incredibly genuine and refreshingly honest. He was also very humorous and was always making us smile. Carlos is a superhost on Airbnb with over 300 raving reviews, and once you meet him you will instantly see why. He is so nice and attentive and will do everything he can to make your stay comfortable, easy, and special. He gives you plenty of privacy but also checks in on you just enough times that you feel like you have a host that cares about your stay and also your safety. He even went out of his way and booked our Nusa Lembongan trip for us, scheduled the boat, taxi, and everything which helped us from dealing with any communication barriers (Carlos speaks Indonesian and Balinese). He also informed us we had been being ripped off in Ubud and made sure that our taxi rides to the fast boat for Lembongan and to the airport did not rip us off. Carlos lives in the compound in his art studio which is underneath the main house. You will most likely pass it everytime you head over to the pool. He has some big magnificent pieces in there and is truly talented. The link below showcases some of his work and gives a brief bio about him:
Not only is Carlos fantastic, but so is his staff! Vincent (his main right hand man and probably the one picking you up from the airport if you arrange for transfer) as well as all of the women and men working on the property were all so very nice and welcoming. I believe the staff lives on site and they all seem really happy to be working there and seem to enjoy being around Carlos. Vincent is the one who will arrange scooter rentals for you at a very cheap price (if I recall, we paid $5 or less a day for them). I highly recommend a scooter for this area as it’s the easiest and cheapest method to get around. There is a ton to do nearby, but not necessarily walking distance (it can be done, but won’t be the safest or easiest option by far). With the scooter, everything you could possibly need is about a 5-10 minute scooter ride (including a pharmacy, small supermarket, and ATMs!). There are also so many beaches nearby that are easiest to get to by scooter. I believe there was over 7 beaches that I can think of just off the top of my head nearby, but I know there was more. Padang Padang Beach was only a 5 minute scooter ride. We were so scared to drive the scooter, especially after our stay in Ubud and witnessing the crazy driving there. After the first day though we were totally comfortable with it and really enjoyed it! The freedom you feel on the scooter is so rewarding and also the traffic is nowhere near as congested or crazy as in central Bali. Petrol is also very cheap. In the Uluwatu area, traditional gas stations that most Westerners are used to are few and far between, so you’ll most likely be buying your gas from a little petrol stand on the side of the road in glass vodka bottles!
All in all, this place really helped in making our trip down south truly something special. Carlos helped take it a step further, and it is now one of my most favorite lodging experiences to date. If you are looking for reasonably priced accommodation that is quiet, private, peaceful, comfortable and still offers a somewhat unique and authentic Balinese experience, I highly recommend staying here! Even if you are more of a resort type person, you should at least try one or two nights out here for the experience alone, because it is truly relaxing and magical. Carlos, if you ever read this, thank you so much once again for your amazing hospitality and opening up your wonderful home to us. Thank you for making Uluwatu a terrific experience. I do hope I get to stay at Carlos House’ again one day soon.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our second Airbnb in Bali and that you’ll tune in for my next post! All about the 3 beaches in Uluwatu we were able to fit in during our short stay there. I’ll be giving it to you straight, the good and the bad of all 3!
Here are some more photos from the villa, mostly of the picture worthy pool:
Morning glory, reflecting the clouds like a mirror
Up in the clouds!
Haha, sorry Joe, just had to 😛 This is my handsome dork.Nap time
Not the best night pic by any means, but you get the point.
This frog was HUGE. About the size of Joe’s hand and it came out of nowhere!