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Bali Landmark

History, culture and Bali charm at Ubud’s Hotel Tjampuhan

Nov 07, 2011

The legendary Hotel Tjampuhan was established in 1928 by the King of Ubud as a guesthouse for royal visitors. Walter Spies, the German musician and painter, had arrived earlier in Ubud as a frequent guest of the King’s youngest son Cokorda Gede Agung Sukawati who was an ardent patron of the arts. Spies eventually moved into the hotel compound and built his own house and studio there. His close friend, Rudolf Bonnet, another established painter from Holland, took over Spies’ former home in Ubud.

In the mid-1930s, the prince founded the Pita Maha Association. It operated out of the Hotel Tjampuha, and the property soon became, a beehive of creative activity. Under the guidance of Spies and Bonnet it provided new perspectives and inspiration on styles, subject matter, and the marketing of paintings and sculptures for numerous young – and not-so-young – artists from all over Bali.

Alternatives to the rigid confines of traditional painting style were explored; subjects were chosen from everyday life and nature, well beyond the focus on illustrating Hindu epics for palace and temple decoration; and works of art were not just produced upon commission, but offered for the first time at exhibitions and galleries.

The artistic Bali renaissance inspired by Pita Maha started here. But located at the confluence of two sacred rivers, the Hotel Tjampuhan sits not only on culturally-fertile, but also spiritually-charged ground, adjacent to the 900-year-old Gunung Lebah temple.

The diligently-preserved and renovated Walter Spies House is now the star among accommodation choices. Others include air-conditioned and fan-cooled bungalows with modern amenities and glorious river valley views.

All buildings display traditional Balinese architectural style. The late King’s favorite hibiscus flower is everywhere, often decorating stone carvings along the pathways. It also has been chosen as the symbol for the Pita Maha Group of resorts to which the Hotel Tjampuhan belongs.

The spa next to the river has several therapeutic treatment pavilions, as well as an extraordinary mythical stone grotto with hot and cold spring-water jacuzzi.

Still owned by Ubud’s royal family and just minutes away from Ubud’s Palace, the Hotel Tjampuhan is a venerable Bali landmark.

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History, culture and Bali charm at Ubud’s Hotel Tjampuhan
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