Tag Archives: Spa

Murni’s Warung – Epicure – Bali Guide

Murni’s Warung – Epicure – Bali Guide

murni's warung, epicure, baliBali Special

Famed for its pristine beaches, striking sunsets and rich culture, the sought-after Indonesian destination also boasts a burgeoning number of highly lauded hotels, restaurants and bars. Meredith Woo goes on a gastronomic eight-day journey to the Island of the Gods.

An Ubud Invitation

An hour from the closest beach town, inland Ubud offers other attractions: art and culture, serenity and some of Mother Nature’s best views.

A day trip to the central foothills of Gianyar regency will not suffice. Ubud has so much more to offer – from meditative sunrise mountain peak views to villages known for intricate silver-smithing and the delicate craft of egg painting.


If you seek museum quality relics, visit Murni’s Warung Shop. A plethora of rare pieces such as a Balinese comb bearing green and red carnellians (Rp 5,750,000) and intricate batik stamps (from Rp 385,000) feature in this 41-year-old establishment, which is part gallery.

The adjoining four-storey restaurant offers daily specials such as stir-fried duck (Rp 79,000) and beef rendang. Beyond Murni’s expertise in Asian antiques, textiles and food, she has expanded her portfolio to include a spa and guest houses in downtown Ubud.

Murni’s Warung – Epicure – Bali Guide






Murni’s Warung – Epicure – Bali Guide

Murni’s Houses – Contented Traveller

Murni’s Houses –  Contented Traveller

Murni and Murni’s Ubud, Bali

Murni's Houses, Contented Traveller26 February, 2015
Contented Traveller
Paula McInerney

It was by great fortune that we found Murni’s Houses, Ubud, Bali through FlipKey by tripadvisor who had given us carte blanche to pick wherever we wanted to stay in Bali and we chose 6 nights at Murni’s Houses. This is all part of our Travel Series, Bali for Baby Boomers. We found Murni’s Houses but also found out that Murni is a living legend in not just Ubud, her hometown, but in all of Bali.

Straight away our interest was piqued about both the lady and the many businesses that she owns throughout Ubud and the reverence that she is held in. We quickly booked with Flipkey knowing that we were on to something unique and we were right. We also had read that Richard Gere, Richard Branson and David Copperfield the magician have visited Murni’s, so we thought that Gordon and I might just join this illustrious cast.

About Ubud

Ubud is Eat. Pray. Love territory and a book that I have yet to read, though I did see the movie and discussed whether Ubud had changed since that book and that movie. We have been here before and we have noticed the increase in visitors. That actually takes nothing away from this amazing place. Ubud is an artistic and culturally rich regency with its own king and royal family. Many tourists come here as do many expats seeking the alternative lifestyle. Food abounds and you would be hard pressed to find better foods than dining at streetside warungs. It is the home of art and you cannot avoid the skill of the Balinese artisans. It is also home to yoga, massages and all things alternative. You should head to the Sacred Monkey Forest at the end of Monkey Forest Rd. This is a magnificent jungle sanctuary, that is full of mysticism and lots of monkeys. The best way to see Ubud is to walk. Walk a lot, have a meal at a local warung and then treat yourself to a massage. It works.

Our first impressions on arriving at Murni’s Houses

This is a traditional Balinese compound where the houses are set in amazing gardens. Often referred to as the Villas of the 33 statues, there are waterfalls, and lush gardens and you hear the sounds in the distance of village life. There is Balinese art everywhere and there is serenity about this compound. There is also seclusion despite being a couple of minutes from the main road of Ubud.

Our traditional Balinese rooms, and we did have a number of rooms, and our outdoor areas overlooked the gardens yet protected us from the occasional Ubud rain storms. We loved it. We had Wi-Fi and were well taken care of, being given ginger tea to help a cough I had developed in the snow in Japan. This is a Balinese cure all and these herbal medicines known are known as ‘jamu’. (Turmeric and lemon grass also work).

This gave us a very real local experience meeting with the people who work here and getting to know a little more about the real way of life for the Balinese.

More About Murni’s Houses

In the early 1980s Murni started to build these open-air pavilions amongst the lush gardens and next to open fields. It is here that you can attest to her eye for tradition and art with the fountains and the statues everywhere you look.

About Murni the Lady

Ni Wayan Murni was born in Penestanan, Bali about 9 kms from Ubud to a farming family so it is no wonder that hard work comes naturally to her. During the early 1970s she owned 4 shops on Sanur beach. It was here, selling sarongs, that she actually sold some to president Sukarno and Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones. This was not to be her first brush with fame, and Mick has some serious street cred.

She returned to Ubud and opened a shop and here she used to make her husband soup and a sandwich for lunch. Tourists stopped and wanted to have some too and that is how Ubud’s first real restaurant, Murni’s Warung, came into being. This institution has seen its fair share of celebs and tourists coming to savor her signature dishes. Try the famous Balinese smoked duck. Murni’s Warung is like her style in all of her ventures – traditional Balinese. There are four levels that cascade down a steep hillside overlooking the Wos River. The thatched roofs, traditional open wooden architecture, and a vast collection of stone carvings gives you a very Balinese experience. Talk to Ketut and he will share with you what it is like living in Bali.

She was also the first person in Ubud to open two antiques shops in the 80s and 90s. These galleries showcased many antiques, textiles and costumes and other pieces that she knew were special. Nowadays, many of the prized pieces are in Murni’s Warung,

Murni is active in the arts and culture scene of Ubud, and has lectured in the US on Balinese textiles.

She also plays in a women’s gamelan group at important religious ceremonies.

Tamarind Spa

Murni has also created Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses and this spa was listed as the top spa in Ubud on Trip Advisor within 3 months of its opening. It is here that she continues with her ethos of everything Balinese, with traditional Balinese massages located within the stunning and serene gardens and waterfall. It is not the cheapest massage that you can get, but the staff are trained and located as it is in the art garden, it is a total experience.

Thank You to FlipKey by trip advisor for making this property available to us for 6 great nights. Great find, highly recommended and a perfect inclusion for our Travel Series.

Murni’s Houses – Contented Traveller

Bali – Green Utopia – Ubud

ubud, bali, murni, murni's warung, tamarind spa, massage, eat, restaurantBali – Green Utopia – Ubud

Stephanie Brookes

iFly – KLM in flight magazine

July 2016

The ultimate palms and paradise destination? There are many, and Bali is definitely on the shortlist. But there’s more to the Indonesian island besides white-sand beaches and clear blue water…

For me, the town of Ubud is the best place to base myself. I find myself among the tranquil, terraced rice fields and beautiful mountain scenery …  my adventurous week … aimed at exploring and experiencing Bali’s local way of life.

Rejuvenation treatment 

The next day, my body tells me it is time to take a rest. I book a three-hour relaxation and rejuvenation treatment at Murni’s Tamarind Spa in Ubud. Locally, Murni is affectionately known as ‘the Mother of Ubud’. She pioneered tourism in Ubud in the 1970s by setting up her legendary restaurant, Murni’s Warung, where artists, adventurers and academics hung out, drinking mango lassies. 42 years later, Murni still lovingly presides over her dream creation on the jungle-clad Campuan Gorge above the Wos River. The stellar-rated Tamarind Spa is the latest addition to Murni’s business. Under a beautiful tamarind tree, I find out that my massage therapist, Kartini, was the former personal therapist of the President of the Seychelles.

After a welcome drink, cold towel and foot ritual, Kartini starts to weave her therapeutic magic on me. She begins with an hour-long traditional massage, deeply relaxing, mind- soothing and muscle-relieving. A full-body exfoliation follows, with a fragrant green-tea scrub and a yoghurt rub down. After that heavenly treatment, my skin feels softer than that of a baby. I end up soaking in a warm bath with multi-coloured flower petals floating on the water’s surface. Finally, after a pot of organic herbal tea and fresh tropical fruit, I leave feeling relaxed as can be.

Places to eat 

Murni’s Warung

This four-level open-air restaurant overlooks a jungle- clad ravine and raging river. Not only does the restaurant serve excellent Indonesian and western dishes, it also houses a shop with textiles, jewellery, tribal artefacts and collectables. Try their famous apple pie.

Things to do 

Murni’s Tamarind Spa

Located in the heart of Ubud, this beautiful spa in quiet tropical gardens offers aromatherapy massages, traditional Balinese boreh herbal scrubs and more.

Bali – Green Utopia – Ubud

The Best Spas in Bali for Your Money

The Best Spas in Bali for Your Money

Tamarind Spa ,Just LuxeJust Luxe

By: Jon | Posted on May 24, 2012

The Best Spas in Bali for Your Money

For many travelers, a trip to the spa for some pampering is one of the highlights of any trip. A few hours spent in a tranquil environment, getting massaged, cleansed and relaxed can do wonders for any stressed out globetrotter.

In the tropical paradise of Bali, the spa experience goes to a new level. Nestled in lush gardens or along sandy shores, the spas in Bali are legendary and thousands of travelers book flights to this tiny nation every year for rest and rejuvenation. From full service spa resorts to simple day spas, these are some of the best bets for your money in this paradise. All prices are in Australian dollars.

Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses

Located under the shade of a Tamarind tree in the tourist hotspot of Ubud, Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses is one of Bali’s most consistently top rated spas. With trademark Balinese hospitality, the spa is surrounded by tranquil gardens and fountains, and offers a full range of spa services from massages and rubs to manicures and pedicures. Tamarind Spa is also unique in that it is an artistic as well as relaxing experience. Murni, the owner of the spa and adjacent guest houses and villas, has a background in fine art and has filled the spa with Balinese and Indonesian art, offering a glimpse into the local heritage. Prices for such luxury are surprisingly reasonable, with full day packages average about $100.

The Best Spas in Bali for Your Money

Grand Nikko Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali

Grand Nikko Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali.



Grand Nikko Hotel, Nusa Dua, Bali certainly has a ring to it. We had to go down to Nusa Dua for a wine-tasting and it was just too far, after all that wine, to drive back to Ubud, so we picked a hotel that had a grand sounding name.  Grand Nikko Hotel fitted the bill perfectly and is part of the worldwide Nikko Group of hotels. It’s the only one in the group called Grand. It’s also a grand place for families and kids.




We drove up to the entrance and were met by smiling staff. A nice Balinese man with glasses took our cases. First impressions are so important. We both felt good immediately and went through a smooth and efficient check in and were escorted to our room. There is a wide choice of rooms, suites and villas.




We had an Ocean View room. As you can see, it was spacious, clean and comfortable. I was pleased to see a traditional Kamasan painting hanging on the wall. There was a television with all the international channels, an electronic safe, which could fit a laptop, and complimentary water in the mini-bar.




We didn’t need a buggy, but if your villa is far away, they will actually take you by buggy, driven by a wonderful, smiling girl called Yeni. It’s almost worth booking a villa just for the fun of riding in the buggy.




It’s a big hotel with two wings, built on a 40-meter cliff. The central core of the hotel has an incredibly dramatic view of the Indian Ocean. My jaw just dropped gazing out at the view.




We immediately went down to explore. There’s a really imposing staircase from the entrance down to beach level. They also have elevators.




We saw a very impressive buffet being set up in the garden. They were getting ready for Balinese Night and we felt beautiful, soft breezes on our cheeks wafting off the Indian Ocean.




They had a sucking pig, babi guling, still untouched, but I’m sure not for long, as that’s one of the island’s most famous dishes. There was a vast array of food and there were drinks too.




I’ve got a small hotel in Ubud, Murni’s Houses, grand in its own way, and I know a good hotel when I see one. A good hotel has good energy and the Grand Nikko has lots of energy.




The staff are incredibly helpful – if you look lost, they come up to you and offer to bring you to where you are going. When you pass them in the corridor or meet them in the lift, they say hello and give you a big smile. How nice is that?




The hotel is large. I’m sure I haven’t seen it all, in fact, I know I haven’t seen it all. It has interesting statues and structures all over the place.




Balinese stonecarvers and sculptors are talented and I’m delighted that their works are on display. I particularly liked the three fishermen, back to back, with their shared catch on their heads. It was very appropriate for the ocean setting.




There are many comfortable places to sit and chill out. Tastefully decorated. Of course the whole place has wifi, which is vital these days.




There are eight restaurants, yes, eight, including a Japanese one called Benkay and one called Olooloos. Don’t ask me what that means! They serve Mediterranean food, but outside a Balinese couple welcome you in.




Breakfast is served in The Brasserie. It was very good indeed, regally and lovingly supervised by the charming Balinese sous-chef, Luh Sibang. She has worked there for eighteen years and is still loving it.




There are freshly baked breads, croissants, bagels, muffins, and doughnuts. Orange, tomato, watermelon, papaya and carrot juices. Scrambled, sunny side up, omelettes, poached and boiled eggs. Really whatever you want.




Western, Chinese and Japanese food. Indonesian fried rice, Indonesian fried noodles, chicken or pork congee and Soto Ayam (the famous spicy chicken broth). Unlimited smoked salmon too. Service was impeccable: lots of helpful staff helping you within seconds.




After breakfast there are a whole range of activities – the wonderful beach, of course, but also a fun jungle camp for children, a camel safari ride, fitness centre, tennis courts and sauna. There are probably even more things that I haven’t yet discovered.




There are four, maybe more than four, amazing inter-connected swimming pools, that just have to be seen to be believed, and a 30 metre water slide into one of them. One of them actually has sand coming up to it, which is a genius and safe way of keeping an eye on young childen at the beach.




Just wandering around I came across a wedding in the grounds. Not surprising as it’s a perfect place to get married with the well-kept beautiful lawns, pools and beach. I am sure that the wedding photographs were stunning. Grand Nikko has it all.




The Shore restaurant is ideally situated, yes, on the shore. We had lunch there and Komang, our kindly waitress, suggested that we join One Harmony for free and have 10% off all meals and future stays in the hotel group. We joined straightaway.




I love spas, and in fact, I have one in Ubud, Tamarind Spa at Murni’s Houses, so I am always keen to try them out. It was a real pleasure going to Mandara Spa. I had an excellent therapist, Oka Astini, and enjoyed the experience in a private villa immensely. I can certainty recommend it and have become a member of Mandara Spa.




The only bad thing was leaving, but, for sure I will return soon.


There are more photos in the Gallery.