Eco & Ethical + Divine + Kid-Friendly
Umajati Retreat is a secluded little sanctuary with two antique Javanese houses that are nestled in luscious gardens and surrounded by rice paddies. We stayed at this blissful abode with our two boys, aged four and six, who spent hours in the beautiful pool and roaming around in the gardens while we soaked up the gorgeous Balinese aesthetics, tranquil vibe, and beautiful surroundings.
Umajati Retreat is located in Petulu village about 10 minutes north of Ubud. When you arrive and meander along the pathway past the picturesque pool to the exquisite traditional joglo houses you know you've arrived at a special place. Once you step inside the stunning houses you can truly appreciate the intricate craftsmanship of the restored century old houses which are utterly charming. The walls are adorned in exquisite traditional Indonesian weavings, and the interiors have been beautifully decorated and furnished.
But, it's not just the adults who will be enamoured by Umajati - the magical gardens and winding pathways are perfect for curious little explorers, who are warmly welcomed and catered for.
What makes it special and unique
What makes Umajati stand apart is it's philosophy of "cultural integrity, care for the environment, and sustainable livelihoods".
Umajati Retreat is the vision of Jean, William and Made, the founders of the fair-trade Threads of Life, and the Bebali Foundation, a non-profit organisation which works with over 1,000 women on 12 islands across Indonesia, with the aim of overcoming poverty by empowering local weavers while conserving traditional dying techniques. The Bebali Foundation botanical dye garden and studio where the batik courses are run are both located at Umajati Retreat.
Jean and William are passionate about ensuring that Umajati is environmentally sustainable, and tropical architectural principles are a key component of its design. Traditional passive solar design creates naturally cool and breezy living spaces and construction materials have been locally sourced, and over 99% of structural timber is recycled. Umajati has also implemented wastewater gardens which filter all grey and black water and they compost organic waste.
There is a two-bedroom house, the Wates Banbau House which can accommodate five people which is perfect for families, and a one-bedroom house, the Bugoharjo House which sleeps three people. They are named after the villages they come from in East Java. They can be rented together if there are two families, but are private and separate enough to be rented individually. The houses are immaculately presented and have been set up with everything you need!
There is a gorgeous shared pool with lounges which is surrounded by lovely gardens. There's a shady shallow section to the side of the pool which is good for little kids. There isn't a pool fence so you need to take care with kids.
We stayed at the Wates Bangbau house which has a divine spacious living room with high wooden ceilings, a lounge area with comfy chairs, a dining table and bifold doors that can opened up to the balcony and gardens. One bedroom has a queen-size bed, a walk in wardrobe, ensuite bathroom and a small private seating area outside. The second bedroom is generous and can be set up with a king-sized bed or 2 single beds, and could easily accommodate a cot. It also has it's own ensuite bathroom and a little garden table outside.
Both bedrooms have aircon, and super comfy beds with have mozzie nets, plush pillows and top notch linen. There's a kitchen attached to Wate Banbau house so you can self cater if you want to which is handy if you have little bellies to satisfy.
The Bugoharjo house has a master bedroom, a spacious living area and two bathrooms and a kitchen. There is a Balinese teak day bed which can accommodate the third guest. There is a wrap around verandah, a kitchen and a fabulous pavilion outside for lounging about.
Meals and food
We loved having meals at the house which you can easily arrange with the wonderful and helpful staff. The pesto pasta was a favourite with the boys. A yummy breakfast of fruit, eggs, yoghurt, home made muffins and more is included when you stay. The omelettes were some of the best I've ever tasted.
But, if you do want to eat out, staff can take you into Ubud which has it all - from cafes overlooking rice paddies serving up organic delights, to swept up restaurants with jaw dropping views over lush ravines. There are also plenty of take away options that will deliver - Italian, Mexican and Indonesian are just some of the choices.
There is heaps to keep kids entertained at Umajati - cooking classes and temple offering making classes are a few options. There are also batik making courses which our boys are keen to do when they are older. If you need some inspiration there's a folder in the house packed with info on things to do and some cool family-friendly tours that can be arranged.
We particularly loved the temple offering making class and it was a definite highlight for our six year old. It was fascinating to hear about anang sari, the daily offerings made by Balinese that you see everywhere and to learn how make them. We also made paku pipid, a Balinese palm-leaf hanging decoration and our boys really enjoyed decorating our house after the class.
Although there is so much on offer in Ubud we were all quite content to spend most of our time relaxing at Umajati.
The boys spent hours leaping off the ledge into the pool practising dives and bombs. They enjoyed taking walks down the road and meeting the locals, looking for lizards in the gardens, exploring the dye gardens and learning about which plants produced different colours. Watching the ducks next door was a favourite pastime for our four year old.
We also organised in-house massages at Umajati which were some of the best I have ever had anywhere - and I'm a pretty tough critic when it comes to massages.
Families, couples, friends and small groups seeking eco and ethical peaceful boutique luxury
A bit about us
We are an Australian family who live in Darwin who have travelled to Bali many times since our boys were little and we love it. I'm passionate about supporting responsible and ethical tourism ventures. Growing up Troppo in mid 2016 which is a family travel blog featuring honest travel advice, tips and reviews for families because I believe that travel shouldn't stop when you have kids, and I want my boys to learn about and experience other cultures.
Happy little boys at Umajati!
Threads of Life is a fair trade business that works with culture and conservation to alleviate poverty in rural indonesia. Their textiles and baskets are made with local materials and natural dyes. You can visit Threads of Life in Ubud which is definitely something you should do in Ubud.
Libby Larsen - Growing up Troppo
Growing up Troppo provides independent an honest advice from parents about special and unique places to stay, play and eat with kids (that parents love too!). I'm not sure about you but when I'm heading somewhere a good friend has been to, I always ask, "Where did you stay? What did you do? Got any top tips? I trust their advice and insights and know they will give me the honest lowdown from a friend's and parent's perspective!