Ubud’s Bisma Eight – shining example of boutique ‘lifestyle’ hotel

In-house restaurant Copper is a breezy, modern space

IN an age where large hotel chains are scrambling to woo millennials with flashy social media campaigns and gimmicky tech features, it’s refreshing when independent operations, like Bisma Eight, nail exactly the kind of savvy, non-conformist crowd it demands.

Here’s a property that understands the concept of design and functionality within an enclosure that’s so contrastingly lush.

Ubud’s gentrification may be something of a thorny debate, but Bisma Eight seeks less to disrupt than use its surroundings to create a “lifestyle venue”.

Flanked by vast sawah, dense rainforest and hilly silhouettes, the hotel’s interior is a melding of coppers, ambers and woods, making up an aesthetic that leans to Scandinavia rather than traditional Balinese elements.

Bisma Eight director Tarun Melwani told Travel Wire Asia, “We also looked at tropical modern and modernism-inspired hotels like The Zetter Townhouse, WIESERGUT Hotel, Chiltern Firehouse, and Heritance Kandalama.”

Despite its influence, much of the hotel’s elemental and textural qualities were derived from Indonesia and inspired by a “monolithic style pre-cast concrete design” often practised by legends such as Oscar Niemeyer, Le Corbusier and Tadao Ando.

A great branding effort for the hotel is in-house restaurant Copper, a swanky space where local and regional chefs often congregate for degustation dinners and cocktail parties. A new project – Copper Co Labs – highlights the works of regional chefs and Ubud’s stunning produce.

It’s not far-fetched to suggest Bisma Eight wouldn’t be the “lifestyle” hotel it is without the buzz that surrounds Copper.

At breakfast, chicken frankfurters are swapped out for granola with labneh and a ladling of Balinese honey, or waffles with citrus parfait and toasted pepitas.

At the end of the forested pathway is the infinity pool that looks out to Ubud’s wild foliage. It’s not difficult to spend hours sprawled on one of the daybed, armed with tropical fruit cocktails, as many young couples do in the evenings.

On the way up to the pool area, take a second to stop at the deep valley terrains with creepers snaking southward. Where some forest resorts may take pains to showcase meticulous landscaping, there’s a sense of rusticity with the way plants are encouraged and maintained at Bisma Eight.

In the rooms, shades of brown, gray, and burnt orange are used to counter intricate wood features and coarse burlap. And in the second-floor Canopy Suites, private balconies with bamboo railings look out to cascading ivy and the chatter of literature-themed coffee house The Library Café.

The pièce de résistance, if you will, are the bathtubs.

Majestic and imposing, the tubs that feature in each suite are crafted by Snorkel Hot Tubs of Seattle using Canadian cedar wood. It takes 45 minutes to an hour to get the tubs filled up, but when the water is warm and scented with bath salts, you’ll learn there are worse things you’ve had to wait for.

Flourishes of care pop up in details such as minimalist lampshades, yukata-inspired bathrobes, a range of Taylors of Harrogate teas, scented body lotion in pear-shaped bottles and linen Muji-like rugs to conclude Bisma Eight has the “understated luxury” concept down pat.