As soon as I saw the Village Above the Clouds website, I knew we had to go there. I’d found it while searching for eco-hotels in Bali and it was the most charming and visually stunning one I came across. A few weeks later, I chanced across the owner at one of the many workshops I’ve been to in Ubud and he told me some more about the village where the hotel sits, and the school he’d started there. It was the obvious choice for our road trip away from Ubud, and I couldn’t wait to see it for myself.
The first things that strikes you at Village Above the Clouds is the view. Set amid farming lands in a tiny mountain village, the hotel offers vistas across the countryside, all the way out to sea.
The bungalows themselves are charmingly unique,
…with stylish decoration and the most comfy of beds.
There’s even a space for yoga, and the food is divine. Each night alternates between Indonesian and international cuisine, and includes four delicious courses. The homemade chocolates and sorbet are especially tasty.
Almost as soon as we got to there, we were introduced to the jewel in the hotel’s crown – a school started by the owner, offering free education in English, music, arts and more to local Balinese children. It compliments the existing school system by offering free after-school lessons three times a week.
The project is fittingly named the Freedom School, with a mission to empower the children with choices to live their lives in a sustainable, healthy way. It’s been welcomed by the village and means Josep has been accepted into the local community as one of their own. One of the elders even told him that he’d had a vision of his arrival way before he arrived. It seems the project was meant to be.
We arrived to find Josep, the kids, and some other guests playing on the lawn. The hotel also offers a volunteering scheme with reduced rates for a full-board stay in return for teaching at the school.
The kids were super friendly and soon had us playing cards,
…giving piggy backs,
…exploring photos on our phone,
…or posing for ones of their own.
Steve’s helicopter rides were especially popular.
Music is a big part of the Freedom School and we think this kid could be a star.
Permaculture education is another important aspect and their first project is strawberries, proudly displayed here by two budding gardeners.
Once school time was over one of the girls invited us back to her place. She wanted to show us her snake! We’ll share the photos of that excursion next week.
The Village Above the Clouds is a truly memorable place to stay. Not only is the hotel stylish, charming and peaceful, it’s also a rare example of a tourist endeavor that successfully integrates with and respects the local community. We felt like we were guests of the village, not just the hotel. If you find yourself in Bali, be sure not to miss it, and, even better, try to volunteer.
Thank you Josep for offering us a discounted rate. All opinion, of course, are our own.
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