Our buggy was waiting. The staff of The Sanctoo Villa smiled at me apologizing for the delay. In front of us, an elephant trundles slowly along the path to the entrance of the hotel. It was one of the 13 elephants that live in Bali Zoo.

The Sanctoo Villa is located directly opposite to Bali Zoo. The paths that the elephants take on their treks around the grounds go past the villa.

“No need to apologize,” I said. “I don’t mind waiting.”

I sat in the buggy watching the elephant. Having an Elephant near you is something special. Eventually the path split. The elephant walked off down a different trail and we sped up. It’s not very often that you can say an elephant delayed you.

The resort is surrounded by parkland. Lush green ferns and trees grow on the grounds of the resort. It wasn’t only the elephants that made me feel like I was surrounded by nature. We turned into the entrance to The Sanctoo Villa. The lobby of the hotel is simple and beautifully designed. It speaks of intimacy and tranquility.The Sanctoo Villa. The lobby of the hotel is simple and beautifully designed. It speaks of intimacy and tranquility.

lobby area of Santoo Ubudpath from the lobby to the villa at The Sanctoo

The Villa

I was staying at one of their luxurious garden view villas. To reach the villa I followed a cobbled path with bamboo and other plants growing on each side. The doors to the villa are spaced out evenly along the left-hand wall. The setting creates a calm and peaceful ambiance.

The villa is set in its own walled off grounds. The villa itself was spacious with a large garden out the front with a view of the countryside on the far banks of the river. It has a large bathroom, bedroom, dressing room, and beautiful private swimming pool. It was easily 300 square meters.

bedroom of Sanctoo villa Bali

I was a big fan of the villa design, particularly the design on the wall behind the bed. It was simple, eye-catching and beautiful. Sliding doors are used throughout the villa to separate the different rooms and give you access to the bathroom.

The villa has put a lot of thought into how to provide the best service for their guests. Let me give you some examples. Some of my favorites include the fact that they provide several (good) magazines the bathroom, which you can read when taking a bath. They had nice smelling bath foam and even offered a toiletry kit, complete with razor, for guests.

the bathroom of the Sanctoo Bali

bathroom and some amenities of the villa

Another thing I liked was the beautiful woven bag and hand fan that they provide to guests. The bag especially is great for keeping stuff in as you wander around the zoo (more on that later). The last thing I’ll highlight is that they actually provide a choice of premium tea and coffee in the villa. These little thoughtful touches can mean the world to someone, right?

Btw, given the fact that there are only 12 villas in The Sanctoo, plus the super comfortable bed, the sleep quality is unquestionable.

Breakfast at villa in Bali

The Food

Breakfast at The Sanctoo was pretty great. There is a large menu of dishes to choose from. They have fresh fruit, bread from the bakery, European breakfast, Indonesian breakfast and also cereal. One of my favorite choices of breakfast from the menu was the Egg Benedict (poached egg, sautéed spinach, hollandaise sauce with smoked salmon). It was accompanied by fresh fruit juice. They provide breakfast by the side of the pool. It made a great start to the day.

We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at The Sanctoo Villa. The menu for lunch and dinner is pretty unique. One of the starters I enjoyed was the Seared Tuna Salad. The dish was chunks of tuna with ginger, lemongrass, shallot, watermelon, mint, coriander leaf, and lime. Yes, watermelon. It was something really different, but it tasted so good. I also loved their Salt and Pepper Squid and the Duck in Galagal Curry.

Romantic Dinner at The Sanctoo Villa Ubud Bali

If you are on honeymoon or want to have a remarkable holiday, The Sanctoo villa can arrange a romantic candle lit dinner at your villa, by the pool. This was a really nice experience; tasty food and a romantic ambiance with your loved one. Priceless.


Before I came to Sanctoo Villa I had never visited Bali Zoo. Part of the reason why I hadn’t visited is that many of the zoos’ in Indonesia have a bad reputation. So instead of seeing something fun and exciting, I often leave the zoo feeling disappointed and frustrated. Thankfully Bali Zoo is very different and I’m really glad I visited here with Sanctoo Villa.

Bali Zoo experience with The Sanctoo villa

Bali Zoo is very well maintained and there are a large variety of animals to see. Some of my personal favorites were the Bengel Tigers, the elephants of course and all the monkeys. The staff at the zoo, especially my guide, was all super friendly and you could see they enjoyed where they worked (which is always a good sign).

Sanctoo Villa is located next to Bali Zoo. From the villa it’s a three-minute drive, unless there are elephants, to the zoo. It is one of the big advantages of staying at the villa. Depending on your length of stay at the villa you receive benefits such as inclusion for entrance to the Bali Zoo, breakfast with elephants, the night zoo adventure and more.

Apart from being close to Bali Zoo The Sanctoo is conveniently located 20 minutes from Ubud city center. The villa offers you a free shuttle service to Ubud, though during my 3 day 2 night stay at the villa I was happy just relaxing and exploring Bali Zoo.

Of course, the Sanctoo Villa also has many of the other amenities that you would expect from a luxury resort. This includes a spa where you can get treatments as well as massages. I had a very nice and relaxing Balinese massage at the villa. Yes, they can arrange the massage in your villa if you want to.

the private swimming pool with garden

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed my stay at the Sanctoo Villa. Each of the 12 villas at the resort is beautifully designed. The Sanctoo Villa has all of the amenities (plus the little touches) that you need for a really relaxing holiday. I had a great time connecting with the nature, interacting with animals and also connecting with myself at The Sanctoo villa. The resort is a perfect Bali getaway.


I was invited (February, 2016) to The Sanctoo Villa as a guest, however, the views expressed in this article are, as always, are my own opinion.