Umajati Retreat-Exquisite Tradition

House - Entire home/apt · Jalan Tirta Tawar, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia

The Space

When my husband William and I first came to Bali in the late 1980s, staying in Ubud for months at a time, it was easy to access the local culture and meet the people. In building the Umajati Retreat we wanted to make that same personal, cultural experience available to those who can’t stay for months yet still wish to touch the real Bali.

The Bugoharjo house at Umajati Retreat is surrounded by tranquil rice fields and set in a lush garden. It is one of two elegantly converted hundred-year-old Javanese teak wooden homes, made throughout with recycled timber, that provide 21st century living in 19th century houses.

• Bugoharjo house accommodates 3 people.
• An elegant 15-meter swimming pool in a lush garden offers poolside lounging.
• A master bedroom with queen-size bed has an en suite bathroom with a shower.
• A single four-poster bed in the main living room has a private bathroom and shower.
• All beds are draped with mosquito nets and cooled with ceiling fans.
• The bedrooms have lots of windows that can be opened to catch the cool evening breeze off the rice fields, and the windows have elegant ironwork to maintain security.
• The living room has comfortable couches and chairs, with a large dining table indoors.
• A second dining table on your own private patio overlooks a woodland and river.
• The house has wrap around porches with several private garden spaces and your own sitting pavilion overlooking the river. Great space to do yoga or meditate.
• Wifi

• There is a fully equipped kitchen with wine, beer and soft drinks available for purchase in the refrigerator.
• Full breakfast is included in the rental price – with our own homemade muffins or scones, yoghurt and homemade granola, choice of eggs and the best tea and coffees offered in Indonesia!
• Healthy, home cooked meals are offered for lunch and dinner.
• Afternoon complimentary traditional Balinese cakes from our village are served with our own special blend of tea.

• This antique house has been refurbished throughout with recycled wood.
• LED lighting minimizes the carbon footprint.
• Wastewater gardens safely handle all gray and black water.
• We recycle and compost and do a weekly river clean in the sacred Tirta Tawar springs, 5 minute walk from the house
• Umajati staff is happy to guide you on a rice field walk to see the herons roost in Petelu Gunung, a 20 minute walk away.

The house is hosted by English-speaking Balinese housekeepers and cooks who specialize in healthy cooking. Most of our food is grown in our own gardens! We offer daily home cooked meals for lunch and dinner. If you would like to join us you just let the staff know the night before or enjoy the many restaurants in Ubud.

Just 10 minutes north of Ubud, in the cultural heart of Bali, Bugoharjo grants easy access to the village’s many restaurants, spas, and cultural opportunities.

We offer free shuttle service to and from Ubud during your stay and are happy to arrange your airport pick up and delivery. The going price is IDR 250,000 one way (about US$28).

Our house staff always have time to sit and talk, and will take you to the local ceremonies; and the houses are quiet and spacious, giving you the space to take in all that Bali has to offer.

In making Umajati, we also wanted to incorporate the values of our other business, the Threads of Life textile arts gallery in Ubud. Jean and I, and Made Pung founded the fairtrade-certified Threads of Life gallery in 1997, and the Bebali Foundation in 2002, with three inter-related aims: to initiate community business for the rural poor across Indonesia by establishing women’s weavers cooperatives to make high-value traditional textiles; to catalyze community forest stewardship by encouraging weavers to work sustainably using natural dyes; and to nurture aspects of traditional culture that strengthen contemporary society by supporting the integrity of heirloom textile motifs, dye recipes, and traditional knowledge. Umajati is also about cultural integrity, care for the environment, and sustainable livelihoods. A percentage of sales are committed to conservation and livelihood development across Indonesia, giving targeted, long-term mentoring to community groups for sustainable change. This work is done through the Bebali Foundation and the network of communities with which it works.

Traditional passive solar design creates naturally cool and breezy living spaces. Wastewater gardens safely filter all grey and black water. LED lighting offers a low carbon-footprint by significantly reducing energy usage. All organic waste is composted on site and reused in the garden. Material that is not compostable is recycled. Wifi is available in each house, connecting all this local thinking to the global context. Each house at Umajati is decorated with select art from the Threads of Life gallery in Ubud. The 4.5 meter (15 foot) wall in each house’s living room showcases masterworks from traditional weavers across Indonesia. Cushion and pillow coverings display how these heritage arts can make beautiful homewares. Basketry made for traditional functions finds new roles around the house. Combined with the hundred-year-old timbers of the house structure, the effect is intimate, accessible, redolent of the past and yet expressive of the present.

Room type: Entire home/apt
Bed type: Real Bed
Accommodates: 3
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 2
Beds: 1
Extra people: $15 / night after 2 guests
Weekly Price: $985 /week
Monthly Price: $3980 /month
Check In: 2:00 PM
Check Out: 12:00 PM (noon)
Cancellation: Moderate
  • It is a lovely villa close to ricefield. If you like nature and this is definitely a great choice. It looks exactly like the picture. Jean, William and their team work very hard to ensure their guest to have best experience. We enjoyed our stay there very much. Some highlights:
    1. Breakfast included is homemade, healthy and tasty
    2. I guess the service is indeed 4-5 star level.
    3. Jean and William are very experienced in Ubud and Indonesia culture. They can be your perfect guide for a more meaningful trip in Bali.
    4. The house isn't very easy to find but it is definitely a nice surprise when you walk in. It is very nature friendly and make you enjoy true Ubud.

    November 2013
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Threads of Life Gallery
Hi! I came to Bali in 1986 with all that I owned in a backpack after working in the corporate world for many years. I was looking for a new way to see the world and my life - Bali gave me this in ways I will remain eternally grateful for! For me it is the Balinese people that have kept me here and have so enriched my life and it is this rich connection that I hope to share with people who come and visit us at Umajati. In 1992 I married my brilliant British husband, William and together we lived with a Balinese family in Ubud and became even more fascinated by the culture, community, customs and spirituality of the island. Darta, the head of the family we stayed with, was a wonderful storyteller and cultural guide and in 1998 William published a book called ‘A Little Bit One O’clock’ about our experiences and Darta’s tales that is still considered “a cult classic”. For most of the 90s, William and I worked with Darta and his brother-in-law Pung organizing cultural tours to Bali and to the remote islands of eastern Indonesia. While leading these groups we saw the value of the traditional textile arts. Due to the many uses of traditional cloth -- as everyday clothing, ceremonial dress, rituals gifts, religious offerings, and shrouds for the dead -- explaining the textile arts to the groups we led became a powerful way of accessing the culture of any community we were visiting. The more we learned, the more we saw that the textile arts, and by extension the cultures we were visiting, were in crisis. People were struggling to maintain their cultures and identity in the face of modernization and globalization. In 1997, William, Pung and I founded Threads of Life in Ubud as a fairtrade gallery to work directly with weavers and support cultural continuity. By 2002 it was clear the business could not support all we wished to do in the field, and the Bebali Foundation was established to support sustainable resource use and cooperative development in the communities where Threads of Life worked. Both organizations now work with over 1,000 women weavers in 40 cooperatives on 11 islands across the archipelago. The Bebali Foundation has been well funded -- with grants from the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, the Toyota Foundation, and the Australian and the US governments -- to build community income and alleviate poverty in a sustainable way. Our commitments to communities are open-ended as we recognize that building community enterprise, maintaining community forests, and learning new skills can take many years more than the average funding cycle. This means that we often have ongoing projects for which we need privately sourced funds. The Great Recession made such fundraising difficult, and we saw the need for a new income stream to support this work. Umajati Retreat is intended to be that source. It is our values of personal service, high standards, deep cultural experience, and community engagement from our years leading tours that we now bring to running Umajati. As you can see from this bio, William and I are very mission-driven people. We work together all the time, and most of our friends are Balinese. Umajati is also a way for us to make ourselves take time off! It’s really necessary for us to test out the swimming pool several times a week. And it’s important that we take the time to rediscover the rice field trails we walked 20 years ago to create hiking routes for our guests. We built Umajati as a place we would want to live, as a refuge, a retreat, and as a place of meeting between our culture, the Balinese culture, and the spirit that makes itself so clearly felt in Bali.
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