Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
It's all true!
"This hotel has some of the best reviews on TA and its all true!
The location,architecture ,villas and service exceed expectation and I would only be repeating what others have covered.Only a couple of minor reservations.
The four seasons has an understandable strategy of maximising spend within the location (sometimes a bit OTT)and the food is good, but if you are staying for any length of time you may get bored with the the lack of dining choice in the evening(to say nothing of the severe damage to the pocket!).Some reviewers have mentioned a nearby restaurant called Mozaic.I wouldn't bother.Its all that is bad in contemporary cuisine and does not relate to Bali in anyway. Unlikely combinations(sorry but corriander and chocolate is foul) and too many courses on a fixed menu.
The Spa(in the main building) was technically superb but the location lacked the finesse of other far east hotels.
Ubud village once famed for its artists and tranquility has become a bit of a pit.Whilst Bali has always had its share of street hustlers,transport purveyors ,aspiring tour guides etc it was a shock to see beggars on the street.(More like London!!).
The countryside around Ubud is stunning and none more so than the view from our villa at the Four Seasons.
This resort fully deserves its reputation."
- Travel date: Wed 30th of May 2007
Clean lines and quality
"Just back from a stay at the Four Seasons at Sayan in Bali and very favourably impressed. They have managed to blend traditional Balinese artwork and nature with modern clean lines in a successful way. We stayed in one bedroom pool villa with plunge pool (although at approx 12 x 7 ft, one could do considerably more than plunge in it!) and I was amazed at both its size and the level of privacy it offered. The outside a spaces and pool were not overlooked by anyone except the occasional passing white water rafters for a couple of minutes each day (who to be honest were more concerned with negotiating the rapids some thirty feet below and staying in their boats than looking at us sunbathing above them!). The dÃ©cor and quality of finish of the villa were first rate and the service, in a country where itâs always pretty good, excellent. Unlike other reviewers we ventured out from the hotel in the evening with no problems â they are happy to supply air- conditioned limos â or you can use more reasonably priced but less luxurious local equivalents.
Quick recommendation here for the Mozaic restaurant only 10 mins away but of a truly outstanding level â prices are more inline with the west than Bali â but worth every penny. We ate in the hotel several times and found food and service good â Breakfast is al la carte rather than buffet â which I prefer in this climate with âopen-airâ restaurants - having seen rather too many insects also having a good time at buffets at other hotels.
Used the spa as well, and while it was OK with professional and enjoyable treatmentsâ when the treatment is in one of the âstandard treatment roomsâ they have no natural light or windows and one could be anywhere. Infinitely preferable are the semi-open air pavilions at the otherwise less luxurious Bali Hyatt â or the more locally themed spa suites and rooms at Four Seasons in Chiang Mai.
While, it did not cause us any problems, I was surprised at the fact that there are no lifts in the main building and the lack of hand rails on many of the public stone steps around the facility. That and the lack of guard rails on some of the sheer drops to the river below would make me think twice about bringing young ones or anyone with a slight level of impaired mobility to this otherwise glorious hotel.
These are minor gripes â its not a cheap hotel but if you want a private and laid back holiday, in my opinion it delivers - you get what you pay for and come away relaxed and refreshed â I would go back tomorrow."
- Travel date: Sat 31st of March 2007
A Little Frog and Gecko Music, Please !!
"It's tough when Conde Nast decides you're the best spa hotel in Asia -- so much hubris to live up to !! The Four Seasons responds admirably. Arrival, to the sound of water rushing below and a walk across a footbridge high above the jungle to a roof top lily pond is just the beginning. Now it's time to descend but not to Dante's Inferno, but into something quite like heaven. Highlights: night time frog and gecko music from the rice paddies, a river villa with plunge pool to bask at night and look at the stars while listening to the river. Morning when you wake up, look across at a steep ravine across the river and see nothing but green and flowers. Spa treatments to sink your teeth into. A staff who asks what you've liked best in Bali and then has the chef cook that meal just for you at night (ours was a banana leaf and lemongrass shrimp/fish dish -- not on the menu). The passion fruit souffle was absolutely amazing.
The architecture of the main building is truly unique -- Close Encounters spaceship from the side. The use of many natural materials helps blend what could be a too modernist design into the landscape. Great grounds/gardens.
We spent five nights, two in one of the duplex suites in the main building, then moved to a river villa for the next three nights. The duplexes feel more like luxury apartments, with separate sitting room area/tv/desk etc. But nothing beats the villas with their outdoor showers and exquisite sense of privacy. Also appreciated the dance performances one night -- much more upclose and personal than the Palace in Ubud.
Concierge's shopping suggestions were dead on -- very high quality. We lost the list the day we went to Celuk and really were not impressed by much of the silver until we found one shop, which ended up being on the list when we got back that night.
Downside: wish the shuttle to Ubud ran at night -- but a cab is only $5 back from town, so not really a big problem. Food, as expected, is pricey. Wish you didn't have to book one of the pricier treatments to use the spa villas, though all the facilities were exceptionally nice. The pool restaurant should be open longer hours to give some variety to where you can eat.
Value: Yes, it's expensive. But compared to Amankila, which we visited, much more intimate, not so sterile."
- Travel date: Thu 8th of March 2007
Great hotel but not great value
"Stayed in a suite at the Four Seasons Sayan earlier this month. Had booked their Sayan Spa Package at USD 510 a night directly on the Four Seasons website. For me, staying at this place was the dream of a lifetime, so I must admit right off the bat that my expectations were high.
The welcome was nice, although I would say that the hostess perhaps tried a little too hard - she asked personal questions and told us a lot about herself (more than we needed to know actually), which is really not appropriate in a property of this caliber.
The single biggest asset of this property is its setting: absolutely breathtaking! You feel as if you are deep within a lush gorge, the river sings softly to you, and your eyes are overwhelmed (in a good way) by all the shades of green. Out of this world!
Even though this resort is only a bit more than 10 years old, its age is beginning to show a bit: when you look at things closer, it becomes clear that details are perhaps not getting all the attention they deserve, e.g. wood shutters that don't remain closed at night and a toilet that we had to get fixed twice (they use a push button system on the wall for flushing that sometimes needs to be 'reset').
Among the other good things, I could mention the generally attentive staff, the gym and the excellent (and complimentary) wired Internet connection you get in your room (re. the latter, I say 'excellent' as compared to other Balinese hotels promising a 'broadband Internet connection').
Among the not so good points: this is the most I've ever paid for a hotel room in my entire life, and I sure expected more exclusivity. I don't know whether it was just a fluke, but I found the pool area to be crowded for a hotel of this caliber - all 3 stories were busy on all 3 days. The pool at the Uma Ubud was bigger and much quieter.
Worse still, there were at least 2 or 3 kids with their parents (I mean 2-8 year-olds) while we were there, and one of them even used a large inflatable device in the pool. You don't expect to pay $500+ per night and have to share the pool with a couple of screaming kids and their toy dolphin!
That was really unfortunate, you see, because the pool area is lovely and the service there is awesome: they bring you cold towels and cold water, and even pass around fresh fruit in the afternoon.
The food is generally good, and so is the service. I say generally because it was not totally consistent during our stay. The food and drinks are extremely pricey, even by North American standards, so you are definitely justified in expecting the utmost quality in every detail. By the way, if you like a filling breakfast in the morning, get a package that includes breakfast because it is Ã la carte only and can easily cost you over USD 100 for 2 people to have a decent meal in the morning.
All in all, an interesting experience that I unfortunately will not repeat unless their prices come down or their standards go up."
- Travel date: Mon 15th of January 2007
Sublime Serenity, Saya style
"This resort style hotel offers an exemplary standard of accommodation in a setting that combines the natural charms of the Sayan river valley with the striking architectural form of the hotel itself. The carefully crafted fusion of sandstone, timber, natural light, water, gardens and the valley surrounds allow one's frazzled corporate brain to start to unwind within minutes of arrival. It's easy to see why this place has attracted so many accolades. I can't wait to return.
What I liked:
- truly stunning entrance and open-air lobby; suspended gracefully on the hillside and open to the valley surroundings. I loved it's understated feel - not hint of polishedmarble anywhere! Could this be the best lobby anywhere?
- unexpected upgrade to a villa suite with private pool. Wow. Every possible amenity provided in a spacious and tastefully designed private villa. Gosh, to even think about complaining about this set up would be the height of churlishness.
- hotel pools, gym, activities (cycling, walking) all first rate.
Hardest thing was to decide what to do.
- staff; unfailingly friendly and helpful; nothing was too much trouble. Room serviced to highest standards.
- hotel restaurant shares amazing setting of the lobby (albeit one floor below). Meals were excellent.
- iPod connection to in-room sound system and DVD library.
What I didn't like:
- Restaurant prices. They are steep. Plan to sample the restaurants in Ubud during anything but the shortest stay.
- Evening transport to and from Ubud seems to be entirely a guest responsibility. Not a major drama but needs to be factored into your day plan."
- Travel date: Sat 6th of January 2007
Not that good
"Hotel is very good but it didn't live up to our expectations. Hotel architecture although luxurious has no sense of harmony.
On good side, villas are very spacious and everything seems very well mantained. Service is good although not excellent.
Bali itself was a bit dissapointing. It feels to big and has no sense of intimacy.
Overall, very good hotel, but not excellent. Not worth the cost."
- Travel date: Tue 24th of October 2006
"If you are looking for total peace and harmony then Sayan Four Seasons has it all. We landed at the airport to be greeted by a smiling driver who welcomed us to Bali with warmth and sincerity.
The trip to Sayan takes around one hour passing through small villages with amazing wood & stone carvings. On arrival at reception you are greeted personally by name and escorted over the bridge with truly amazing views of the Sayan Jungle and Ayung River.
Checking in is a pleasure as the front office manager offers you a fruit cocktail and discreetly checks you in with minimum hassle. We opted for a split level suite in the main hotel building, all the normal 4 seasons touches were in place and amazing views of the Jungle, fast flowing Ayung river & rice paddy fields. The split level infinity swimming pool looks directly over the river and the noise of the water flowing downstream is calming and relaxing, from time to time a stream of white water rafters come screaming down the river which is fun to watch, you just need to offer them a gentle wave and peace is resumed.
The main restaurant offers fantastic Indonesian food with juicy suckling pig being one of there signature dishes, the food and beverages are pricy, but the service is second to none and exceeded my expectation.
There is lots to keep you busy for the more active, Yoga by the lotus pond, mountain biking, cooking schools and a must do 2 hour jungle trek! If you are into Spa try a treatment in one of the spa villas, we opted for a two hour couples treatment which was amazing. The five days spent in sayan will stay with me for a long time and we will be back some time in the future."
- Travel date: Sat 21st of October 2006
"First of all I must admit that I didnât want to stay at the Four Seasons in Sayan. Why? âCause its expensive, and being Scottish I like to get a bargain. However, my wife was determined to stay at one of the Bali Four Seasons during our honeymoon, so after shopping a round a little for a good price I booked us in for the last couple of nights of our trip.
So let me say this now, in hindsight â its expensive, yes, but worth every penny.
The location, was, for us, perfect. Located in a river valley, surrounded by treesâ¦ just gorgeous. The hotel itself is famous for its architecture, and while Iâm not much of a fan of modern architecture, I must admit I was very impressed by the Four Seasons in Sayan. I just loved the way that you arrive on the roof (nothing more than a lotus pond and a couple of benches overlooking the valley) and then descend into the hotel.
We stayed in a suite room rather than a villa, which I think was a good decision. The suite was large and fabulously appointed. We had a nice suite at the Intercontinental Jimbaran Bay before coming here, but it had nothing on this place. I could have spent our whole stay here just lounging around our rooms. Iâm sure the villas are very nice, but wouldnât consider the extra expense unless I had kids and needed the space.
Only one problem with the room â bugs! Thereâs a double set of sliding doors from the living room to a balcony (thereâs also a bedroom balcony, too) and both doors close at the corner. Unfortunately the outer set of doors donât close completely, so that sometimes you open the inner doors to discover some wee beasties who have snuck in. Not a serious problem, but as the hotel is in a jungle, they might have made sure that the doors actually keep the wildlife outside your roomâ¦.
As for the hotel facilities, we didnât have time to use the spa/gym, but they both looked very good. My wife and I both loved the twin level pool than follows the contours of the river and spent a very pleasant morning just lazing around beside it writing postcards and occasionally taking a dip.
As you can expect, the food at the hotel was very expensive but also very good. We had one dinner at the Terrace Restaurant and my steak and wifeâs gnocchi were both absolutely incredible. The smaller, more informal restaurant next to the pool was also good as well as slightly better value for money. Of course, there are cheaper alternatives in town.
This brings me on to another problem â the hotels rather infrequent shuttle surface. Ubud is a great place to wander around â full of shops, cafes, museums and art galleries, yet the hotel only runs a free service every two hours from 9 to 5. Itâs not a problem getting back after this time (plenty of people offering âTransport! Transport!â) but I think the hotel should at least extend their service.
Apart from this service at the hotel was top-notch. The staff were professional, yet friendly, and were attentive without making us uncomfortable, unlike in some of the other places we visited. On the last day I wanted to do some sightseeing, and the concierge was very knowledgeable about times/distances/places which was very helpful.
The Four Seasons Sayan has the reputation of being one of the best hotels in the world. Deserved? Absolutely. If I ever come back to Bali, this will be the place Iâll be staying."
- Travel date: Sat 30th of September 2006
"Another great Four Seasons hotel! We stayed at the Chang Mai resort for our honeymoon earlier this year, and while we preferred that particular hotel, that's not to say the Sayan resort isnt fantastic. We found the architecture at Sayan a bit bold and blocky, while the grounds at Chang Mai are more beautiful and spectacular.
Nevertheless, we loved Sayan. The service is fantastic and understated, the rooms (we stayed in a suite) do the job very nicely, and the food is pretty good.
As for restaurants, we tried most of the recommended names. We didnt like Mozaic particularly - we thought the dishes did not work that well and the atmosphere was rather serious/formal. Our favourite meal was at the Amandari (just down the road from the Four Seasons), while Casa Luna was a nice spot in central Ubud. The Lotus Garden was the worst - nice view of the dances at the Palace but poor food. Kafe Batan Waru was pretty good.
We did a lot of shopping for antiques and handicrafts. Generally, we found the shops outside the four seasons to be the best (for some reason much better than those in Ubud). It is true however that if you shop around you can probably find the same products a little cheaper elsewhere, but at the end of the day it's up to you whether you want to put in the extra effort. If you're staying in the one of the beach resorts in South Bali it's well worth checking some of the antique and handicraft shops in Seminyak, Kerobokan and near Jimbaran bay. Particularly worth checking out is Cempaka near the Bali Galleria near Jimbaran, plus a lot of the wholesale outlets on the same road. Cempaka is not cheap, but their mix of main comtempary crafts, furniture and ceramics were the most interesting we saw while there."
- Travel date: Fri 22nd of September 2006
Out of this world
"We stayed here in August for a few days during our honeymoon. I am an extremely fussy traveller and we were hugely impressed with almost everything. The resort is out of this world - really relaxing with beautiful scenery, I couldnât stop looking around at it all! We stayed in a suite rather than a villa and it was fantastic - very modern and minimalist with dark wooden flooring. It was huge - the sitting room had sliding doors onto a large balcony with a double sunbed and table and chairs and the bedroom had another balcony with sunbeds and a fabulous view. The bathroom was also spacious with a good sized dressing room.
We found the staff to be very efficient and friendly throughout our stay. The restaurant and bar were well situated but we didnât frequent them as both were always empty, rather we went into Ubud where we found lots of good cheap restaurants and bars with a bit more atmosphere. The resort is 15/20 mins outside of Ubud and although there is a complimentary minibus service a few times a day, it finishes around 5pm which is quite restrictive. After this time you have to wait for a taxi. The spa treatments we had were good and we went cycling around the local villages and paddy fields which was great.
We did hear the rafters every morning when we were having breakfast and wondered whether it would have bothered us if we'd been in a villa but up in the main building where our room was it was no problem at all. Overall, this is a great place and a nice change from the coast. We stayed there for 3 nights and that was just enough."
- Travel date: Thu 14th of September 2006