During my pre-trip planning for Bali, I came across blogs that said the same thing over and over again; spend time outside of the touristy areas in Bali. That’s the only way to get a real sense of the Balinese culture. Enter Sukawati, a central location in the heart of Bali that not only has an authentic Balinese feel but is convenient for avoiding traffic!
After spending three weeks in Seminyak and Kuta, we were looking forward to a place that is quiet and remote. And remote it was! We knew that we were staying in a hotel entirely different during the ride up to Sukawati. For starters, traffic isn’t as bad up here compared to the hellish traffic delays in South Bali. We also read online that The Swaha Hotel Bali is a bit hidden, and we were right.
The Swaha Hotel is a secret gem, situated between residential homes and rice fields. As we pulled up into the driveway of The Swaha Hotel Bali, we could feel the warm and cozy ambiance immediately. With only 14 rooms, this family-owned property allows frequent interactions that made us feel well attended. We were also able to catch a glimpse of the Balinese lifestyle through interactions among the family members.
This post was written in collaboration with the Swaha Hotel Bali
The Hotel Room At The Swaha Hotel Bali
Upon arrival, Kadak checked us in, and as she walked us to our room, she did something different from our other stays. She took off her shoes even before stepping onto the patio ledge of our hotel room. Given that I am Asian and it’s standard practice to remove shoes before entering a home, I appreciated this gesture. I already feel like home where I don’t need to draw my invisible line and remind people to take off their shoes before crossing that line.
The hotel room is functional, clean and modern. We stayed on the main floor of the property and had immediate access to the pool.
Not only did we have the basics of everything that you’d expect in a hotel, but we had a few extra surprises…
A small little kitchen area at The Swaha Hotel Bali!
We also noticed that our room had a microwave! And it came with cutlery in our cabinets! Perfect for people like us who like to supplement our meals with groceries!
While we didn’t make use of the microwave, the kitchen sink came in handy for the two of us because we can now both wash our hands at the same time! You know, Gary and I ARE spending a whole year together in confined spaces. Sometimes I wonder if he may have built up resentment from me hogging the bathroom sink all the time haha.
Like most hotels, The Swaha Hotel Bali had a fridge full of snacks and drinks for those midnight munchies. What I appreciated most was the price list; it wasn’t outrageous pricing as you would expect in hotels. I liked that prices were fair because there will be days when we will have no energy to hunt for food, and we will simply want something from the fridge.
The bathroom is clean, modern and has a rain shower. The shampoo and body wash was in cute refillable jars.
A comfortable sleep at The Swaha Hotel Bali
The bed, bedsheets, and pillows were all very comfy during our stay. On our first day at the hotel, I passed out like a baby and slept straight throughout the whole night. I was feeling a bit under the weather and felt I needed a night of 10+ hours of sleep, which I got by going to bed at 9 pm.
I woke up and heard roosters crowing from the neighbours. This sound brought back childhood memories of when I spent a summer with my family in Vietnam, where the family chickens were our alarm clock. However, unlike our family rooster who would wake up at the crack of dawn, this one would wake up later in the day at around 8 am.
The Service At The Swaha Hotel Bali And Why It has Exceptional Reviews
Ah, now onto my favourite part of the hotel. The service transforms the stay from a hotel room to a memorable stay. And don’t take my word for it, you’ll see high ranking on TripAdvisor and Booking.com. The common theme you’ll read are the customers praising the owner, Mr. Wayan and his staff.
You see, Mr. Wayan isn’t any hotel owner; he is a man who dedicated his whole life to the hospitality industry. Mr. Wayan’s career is a beautiful story that reflects decades of hard work, starting from entry-level jobs to where he is today. I had the chance to sit down with Mr. Wayan and learn a bit more about his character. The more I heard of his life, the deeper my respect for this man grew. His story is a reminder that success often comes from decades of hard work.
A Glimpse Of Mr. Wayan’s Fascinating Life Story before he opened The Swaha Hotel Bali
Mr. Wayan’s life story is a true tale of rags to riches, as he grew up from humble beginnings in a small village in Bali. Thanks to his intellect and his hustling skills, Mr. Wayan worked his way from the bottom to where he is today. In the early years of his career, Mr. Wayan would work long days cleaning rooms. Once he finished one job, he would turn around and help customers with their bags, helping him to gain tips and extra money. He rarely spent time at home; wherever he had the opportunity to earn money, he was there.
“Nothing worth having comes easy”
Over time, his work ethics landed him a promotion to the front office. From there, he moved in various roles and worked in different hotels as he worked his way up to resort manager. “Can you imagine, I was accepted to many universities but could not attend because I had no money. It wasn’t until much later when I was able to complete my degree. Only AFTER having four kids!” Now, on top of being an owner at The Swaha Hotel Bali, Mr. Wayan is also the director of a luxury villa and is overseeing a prominent hotel project.
The more I learned about Mr. Wayan, the more I understood why this hotel can deliver exceptional service. Because honestly, he’s seen it all and has worked in many notable hotels in Bali. When you combine the experience of a hotel veteran with a passionate entrepreneur, it is evident why the hotel does well in hospitality.
What’s interesting is why he loves his hotel so much. Not only is it his baby that he tends to with love and care, but it also reflects his belief in giving back as a leader to his community via stable employment.
Transportation and Itinerary Feedback from Mr. Wayan when you stay at The Swaha Hotel Bali
Because Mr. Wayan is very experienced in Bali’s travel industry, he can help arrange the itinerary and transportation. This feature is fantastic for first timers in Bali who have no idea where to start with touring the island. You’ll soon realize when you get to Bali that this island is HUGE! And there’s quite a bit of thought needed to plan the most efficient route for your day trips. As well, the price of the tours through The Swaha Hotel Bali is considerably less than what you’d find on the street because Mr. Wayan has secured fantastic prices for his guests.
Shuttle services from The Swaha Hotel Bali to various locations
The hotel also offers shuttle services to different locations such as the Coco mart and Sanur beach. Transportation to Ubud is also available on select days and is only a 30-minute drive from Sukawati.
The little surprises at check-in at The Swaha Hotel Bali
Check-in was simple and straightforward. Since it is a small hotel, the check-in process was quite efficient. And once Kadak showed us to our hotel, the interaction didn’t stop there. We walked outside to check out the pool once we dropped our stuff only to see Kadak walk towards us with welcome drinks!
After finishing our welcome drinks, we went back to our room to settle down. At some point, I peeked out the window to find a little gift at our table!
It was a sweet and unexpected gesture that warmed my heart. You know that feeling when you get the mail, or when your neighbour leaves you a gift at your doorstep? It felt like that.
The Food At The Swaha Hotel Bali
A la Carte Breakfast was available to us every morning. There were six options to choose from which covers various tastes, from the health conscious to those craving western food. Or people like us, who want to eat only local food where possible.
Orange juice or watermelon juice is in most choices. What they failed to mention is that all the juices are blended with fresh fruit!
For coffee lovers galore, their Balinese coffee is delicious and similar to what you’ll find in Bali.
The Location Of The Swaha Hotel Bali
The hotel area is pretty safe, and I felt comfortable walking around with my bag and camera. This experience was a stark contrast to Kuta where tourists are advised to not walk around with belongings due to bag snatchings.
Homes and rice fields surround the hotel, along with small businesses catering to residents. There is a local laundromat (with a CUTE dog named Mimi!) and plenty of convenience stores in the area. If you venture a bit further, you’ll find a large grocery store with street food near the entrance. However, the selling point of The Swaha Hotel Bali is the convenient location for exploring north Bali. Afterall, this is where the beauty of the island lies.
If You Want To Avoid Crazy Bali Traffic, Stay In Sukawati
If you’ve never been to Bali, your only sense for the bad traffic probably comes from forums. Well, you can read all you want about the horrendous traffic in the south of Bali, but it’s different experiencing it. The traffic coming from Kuta and Seminyak is as terrible as you may have read on the Internet.
Traffic conditions are not bad at all coming from Sukawati, and it makes touring the island so much easier. On our second day at The Swaha Hotel Bali, our driver took us to explore the northeastern part of Bali. There was no such thing as bad traffic, and it felt nice to be able to get back to Sukawati at a decent time.
This day trip was a contrast from our previous experiences when we drove from south of Bali. The few times we ventured to explore north Bali, traffic was dreadful. Most times, we were crawling at a slow pace of 10km/hour when driving back to Kuta or Seminyak.
Relax At The Swaha Hotel Bali
The pool at The Swaha Hotel Bali is indeed another great feature of this hotel. It was as if the design of the hotel and our stay revolved around this tranquil spot.
What I loved about this pool was a calm and serene place to relax thanks to the location of the hotel.
While we didn’t have the chance to get a massage at the hotel, we took a peek at the spa menu and saw that the prices were quite reasonable for massages.
The Swaha Hotel Bali, an ideal place for Bali travellers
We enjoyed every moment at The Swaha Hotel Bali and found it to be an excellent hotel for anyone who is planning to visit Bali. My only regret was not staying here sooner. We would have saved so much time touring the island because Sukawati is so central. Most of all, we would have leveraged off or Mr. Wayan’s years of knowledge in planning our itinerary.
Check them out on their hotel website or contact them at email@example.com.