We created our business, a small boutique hotel, in rural, traditional Bali to share the cultural uniqueness of Bali through the lens of a traditional village experience nearby. At first we wondered if this location would be situated too far away from the centre of Ubud for guests, but we didn’t need to worry. The guests, who wanted to learn about another way of life, to see firsthand how the Balinese lived their lives, full of rituals and ceremonies, soon made their way to our hotel. We provided a free village tour for every guest so everyone who came could have this experience to learn from our staff and to be welcomed into Balinese homes to learn about their lives. Most of our own staff came from Keliki Village, so it wasn’t long before invitations were being issued to visit their homes, as they were equally delighted to meet guests from faraway places.
Our guests learned about “Tri Hita Karana”, the special relationship the Balinese have between the spiritual, human and environment, and realized how much they could learn from the wisdom of the Balinese. This sharing of knowledge has been a very important part of our hotel’s philosophy over the last 20 years, as it has provided our Balinese staff and village neighbours a reason to be proud to share their way of life to those visiting the island. The outstanding feedback we have received from guests has been the friendships forged with our staff, with many returning to visit their “Balinese family” at Alam Sari.
At Alam Sari we believe in making these connections for guests as we wanted to show that the traditional Balinese lifestyle through their Hindu, and also a meld of Buddhist beliefs in Keliki, was very much alive, and that we, from the so called developed countries, could learn much from this ancient wisdom.
There is so much beauty to be savoured in their practices, and we loved to invite our guests to local temple ceremonies, where they were often the only foreigners attending. Guests donned sarongs, and temple sashes, to enter a ceremony, join in the prayers with flowers, incense and bells, and mingle with the Balinese families in their beautiful attire, as they carried their offerings into the temple courtyard. It is an experience that stays in your heart long after you have returned back home.
As our connections to the village grew stronger over the twenty years, we started adding courses in the village.
The traditional cooking course, offered in Dewa and Jeru’s home, has become quite famous. Guests participated in the preparation of a traditional meal, learning how to mix the spices with mortar and pestle, while Dewa shared stories from his life about the balance that Balinese seek in their work, play and definitely food.
Of course eating a feast at the end and taking away the recipes is always the highlight! We now have a myriad of opportunities for guests to learn, from dance, miniature painting, coffee and chocolate making, Balinese offerings, woodcarving, and in fact any chance to share in the life of the village. It brings needed income into the village, and guests can even choose to stay a night with a Balinese family, and perhaps do some rice planting with them too!
We have always loved the tropical environment of our area, away from the busy towns, and shared this with our guests when they visited our resort. We planted hundreds of varieties of plants to attract butterflies and birds, local herbs and spices, which have now become trees, always working to keep our hotel garden in tune with the local environment. Now our tropical garden has mushroomed in all directions and provides guests with surrounding beauty during their stay at the hotel. Recent drone photos show a resort hidden in a mass of surrounding trees, vegetation, and nearby rice fields, a sanctuary for those seeking a green tropical experience when they come to Bali.
We are proud of Alam Sari, but even more, we find our guests are proud to feel part of a Balinese experience they will always savour when they visit Alam Sari.
The following is a video a guest made of their stay with their family, featuring many of the experiences we invite you to come and enjoy with us at Alam Sari.