We first stayed here in 1988 then 1989 and always try to stay a few nights there whenever we're in Legian. The gardens have an established luxuriance of tall trees shading the lawns, gardens and paths.
Each time we've stayed we've had a different bungalow and these have also been in different styles. It is not some flashy overpriced overgroomed place like those along the Beach. Far more restrained, some even think it's quite 70's.
Our latest room upstairs in a red brick block at the back, over an arched bridge on a Koi pond in a garden laced with ferns and orchids, was like something out of the Raj.
Very peaceful and isolated.
No mod cons other than a TV and air conditioning. A very large room with a tree top balcony and a large plain bathroom.
Nothing luxurious, some might say "a little tired" but the price was very low to match. So it's wonderful value if you aren't expecting glossy luxury, it's more relaxed.
It was only US$44 for a twin A/C room per night (!!!!)
By comparison my travel agent booked me into one of the expensive garden hotels by the beach and forced me to pay almost 3 time the price that we paid here, for a room I found much less comfortable ! (and a pissy attitude too.)
As there are so many styles you may want to see a few rooms, but we were happy with the first one they gave us.
From other reviews I expected the management to have got bored over time, some say difficult but we found them friendly and helpful.
Now, what keeps bringing me back is "Holland" who is a lovely old monkey who lives alone in a wire aviary in the middle of the gardens. She's been there for years, I assume it's her I met in 1988 (?) She's blind in one eye and starved for company, both human and ape. I find her so sweet and her situation so sad that I bring her treats to ease her boredom. I don't eat wheat so I save my white bread and jam from breakfast for her. The look on her face when she got jam on her fingers (utter disgust) the curiousity, a sniff, a tentatively lick, then another. "YUM" then ever finger slowly, something other than the usual routine. A banana, not another banana! ( I assume she got them all the time) So I picked fresh grass shoots only to find I wasn't a connosieur, she taught me the best ones quite quickly though.
In the Seminjak markets I used to find her fruits to try. A smooth swollen passionfruit confused her as she couldn't find the right angle to bite it, well not immediately, then she succeded and tasted it with her finger tip until she was sure.....so-o-o much unstimulated intelligence. (I try to scatter the food around the wire so she has to find it as a hunt rather than hand it all to her, it increases her interest and enjoyment !)
I made the mistake of showing her a mirror, back when we first met. BIG MISTAKE, please don't try it she saw her reflection and freaked out screaming and snarling. She's lost contact with her kind and is probably quite disturbed. As a grooming animal she must miss the rituals and contact.
I noted she was a little unkempt and assumed this was due to not getting mutual grooming (and/or depression) however over a few days of quiet visits and treats we became close friends and she would sit very close to the wire and raise an arm so I could preen her chest and ribs. (so intimate) I wouldn't attempt this until you know each other or if there are kids around to scare her.
Then she asked to preen me, now I'm not going to stick my finger in a monkey cage in case she grabbed or bit me, but gradually I let her reach out and touch me tentatively with her tiny fingertips she was fascinated with the fine hairs on my arm pinching and testing individual hairs. Not pulling them out just studying them intently.
But it was a darker freckle that most entranced her as she very carefully checked whether a very gentle scratch with her finger nail would remove this unsightly, possibly grimy mark (!) hmmmm, she tried again.....at this point I realised it was a mixture of intelligent investigation of something new yet familiar and mutual grooming. Anybody who knows monkey language please inform me, what does it means when she sitting and deliberately turns away from me and crosses her hind legs,away from me, she did this so often it must be have a specific meaning.
I was just too stupid to understand her repeated attempts to get me to comprehend. ..........
So if you're in Legian and you want a relaxed garden retreat with pool and cafe feel free to stay here, there are two entrances one on 3 Brothers lane from Jn Legian (main road) (cheap tailor here and lovely little jewellery shop on left towards main road) and the back entrance straight off Jn Padma Utara running north from Jn Padma.
You are surrounded by affordable but good cafes (Warung Yogya, best fried noodles for a pittance) wonderful Japanese just across Jn Padma and the beach is a short walk to the right down Padma maybe 5 minutes away.
But even if you aren't staying there please, please pop in to visit Holland and take her a fresh fruit treat to brighten her day. I feel so guilty I haven't written this earlier as it was very sad saying good bye to her but I had a plane to catch and had to go or miss it...enjoy!
Check a few as they vary a lot, having been built in many styles in different decades, but don't...
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