Sep 6, 2016

Secret Garden Village, Luwus/Bedugul, Bali

On Sunday, September 4, 2016, the five of us went to Secret Garden Village. It is a relatively new place to eat, or a kind of touristy place in Bali. There have been quite some postings here and there on Social Media. The most published one is 3D photo of 'coffeeboat'.
Check out here:
Photo on Facebook
Photo on Local News

Well, as we are working in the hospitality industry, and we often have to propose site to visit, we have to get our own experience.

First of all, let me tell you that my blog post is my personal review and it is only based on our first visit on the date stated above.
Ini semua berdasarkan pengalaman kami mengunjungi Secret Garden Village pada hari Minggu, 4 September 2016. 

As I felt asleep in the backseat someway along Dalung to Beringkit, I cannot tell exactly how long was the trip. The location itself is on Google Maps, easy to reach to the place.

First impression when we reached the place, entering the spacious parking lot, I can tell that the place is well-designed, well-built, well-maintained. It surely takes taste and effort to have such venue. I did not take any photos of the front-look :(
Tampak luar tempat ini keren, terlihat rapi dan disainnya spesial. Tempat parkirnya luas. 

The greeter (I recalled there was a greeter) asked us to purchase ticket. Hmm... ticket to a restaurant, that was my first thought. He explained the ticket can be redeemed with food or anything in the gift shop. Good deal. It is like a gift voucher. Or like FDC at a club.

But then, I saw an acrylic stand on the ticketing desk:
Domestic @ Rp 50,000
Foreigner @ Rp 100,000

Hey, this does not look right. I asked why there is a price difference between domestic and foreign visitor. The girl inside ticketing replied because the foreigner will spend more money at this place. Ah, not a right answer, my friend. I don't see the rationale. I told them price discrimination at ticketing booth like this is not right. If we go abroad and get this kind of treatment, I surely will complain. I would understand if the price difference is hidden in agent's contract rate. Or, there will be certain different treatment for the foreigner because they will get a different liaison officer. All the staff there basically were speechless about this policy.

There were several EDC machines at ticketing so we can easily swipe for non-cash payment. Pretty convenient.

Untungnya, di ticketing ada mesin EDC BCA dan Mandiri. Kita bisa gesek langsung jika di dompet tidak ada uang tunai untuk membayar tiket. 
Bought 4 Tix

As it was quite a long trip from home (about 1.5 hour), our first needed stop was the toilet. The toilet was clean and also cutely designed. The place is also using a cleaning service company, I think it was ISS, judging from the cleaners' uniform.

*We also did not take photo at the toilet.

Then, we were asked by a receptionist, do we want to go to Coffee Tour, Beauty Tour or Restaurant? Hmm... I asked about the coffee tour. The staff there told us that we have to wait 5 to 10 minutes before getting ushered to the tour.

Let me tell you something :) My husband and I hates waiting if there is no good reason for it.

So, we told the staff that we want to go to the restaurant because we were hungry.

Then there was a staff who walked us to the restaurant. I asked the lady, did we have to wait for a tour guide? (I saw her hanging headset mic) She smiled and said she was supposed to be our tour guide. Then why we had to wait while she was sitting behind the reception counter? She replied that was their SOP. SOP to inform guests to simply wait 5-10 minutes before starting a tour guide. Why? Do we have to wait for certain number of guests for this tour? Nope... So? Just SOP.

Jadi ada standar dari perusahaan bahwa tamu yang ingin tour (kopi ataupun produk sabun) harus menunggu 5-10 menit. Bukan dengan alasan harus ada persiapan teknis atau menunggu kuota jumlah pengunjung. Hanya karena demikianlah standar operasional yang ditetapkan. 

We checked both, the restaurant and coffee shop, and decided to eat first, then my husband will go for coffee. Both are well designed, well built, and the staff were wearing nice uniform. The barista looked very trendy with the leather strapped black apron. Very barista look :)

The view is beautiful. It was currently developing the Secret Garden chapel and playground, which is scheduled to finish in October/November. We understood why Secret Garden Village applies ticketing, in order to filter people who just come in for 'Social Media' check-ins, sight-seeing and other no-spending group who would make the place overcrowded.

Jadi tiket sebesar Rp 50ribu tersebut, menurut kami, adalah cara tempat ini menyaring pengunjung yang memang benar-benar datang untuk berbelanja/makan di Secret Garden Village. Kami yakin tempat ini memakan investasi besar. Jadi memang harus ada praktik dagang 'jual mahal' untuk mencegah banyak yang datang 'gratisan' dan membuat tempat cantik ini terlalu ramai. 

Inside the Restaurant
The restaurant offered buffet food and a la carte. Buffet was @ Rp 99,000 ++. Food on the menu is fairly priced to my opinion. The most expensive one is their best food, which was Bebek Timbungan. I recalled it was over Rp 200,000++.

My husband had the buffet. It was Asian food. The taste is very acceptable, high above Bedugul standard. Seriously. I ordered Sate Ayam for kid #2 and kid #3. I ordered Lumpia Semarang. Kid #1 ordered Nasi Bali. I also asked for Dragon Fruit + Orange juice. All food came and we all digged in. All were yummy.

Another Selfie in the Restaurant

Saya sengaja memesan Lumpia Semarang. Tau kenapa? Karena Secret Garden Village ini dimiliki oleh pengusaha Indonesia asal Semarang. Naah.... Rasanya? Enak, sih :)

After paying the bill, which half of it paid using the entrance ticket, kid #2 and kid #3 wanted to see how to make soap. That was their expectation from the beauty product factory tour. Husband and kid #1 went to coffee shop to get cappuccino.

The three of us went to reception area and asked how long we had to wait to get the tour to the beauty product factory. Well, we did not have to wait, as there were a couple who had been waiting :)
We were greeted by Vita, a friendly staff who looked like she was just memorising all her script. But she was friendly. We had to wear headset so the tour guide's speech can be heard by each and every persons, and Vita does not need to shout.

We went inside Herborist, and the first room displayed several posters of natural ingredients of Herborist product. Yes, apparently, Secret Garden Village is owned by a producer of spa product.

Then afterward, we had to put our belongings inside locker because going inside the factory, photo takings are not allowed. We had to put on white-lab jacket, hair cap, shoes cover, and face mask. Everyone, except kid #3 because she's too small :) In this room, we were offered photo opp with 3D backdrop. It costs Rp 25,000. Well, we took the offer and had fun with the photo taking.

From that point forward, it was kind of boring. No real soap making was shown. We only walked at a corridor, and all the workers were behind glass-window. I was disappointed with that tour. I would not recommend that tour to anyone, except you want to go to that 3D backdrop room and to the gift shop. Before the gift shop, we went to a theatre. Hey, I thought here we will watch the movie of their much bigger factory in Java. But apparently it was just a TV ad of their product.

Edu-tour ini mengecewakan, karena tidak ada pembuatan sabun atau lainnya yang terlihat. Kita hanya berjalan di koridor, melihat para pekerja di balik kaca jendela. Kecuali mau berfoto dengan backdrop 3D (dan bayar Rp 25ribu) dan mau masuk ke gift shop, edutour ini buang-buang waktu. Saya pun tidak tau apakah ini cocok disebut Museum, seperti yang tertulis di temboknya. Sebelum masuk ke gift shop, kami diajak masuk ke Theatre hanya untuk menonton iklan sebuah produk mereka. 

At the gift shop, kids had fun because the soaps were displayed in such attractive ways. I made a short clip and posted on our YouTube channel. Please subscribe to our channel :)

I bought the avocado body scrub (tested it yesterday. Did not like it) and kiddos bought body wash (which was okay, but the smell is far below Body Shop products). No, we didn't buy any of the fancy looking soap because we never like using soap bars. Mommy did not want to waste money :)

We reunited again with Dad and kid #1 at the coffee shop. There were several well-kept Luwak in a large cage. They were producing their own Luwak Coffee. Coffee was good, but not better than Anomali. There was a live acoustic band. I did not know where they were from. They sounded okay. My husband said there was a guest who was crazily angry yelling at these musicians because it did not match the ambience. After hearing the musicians live next to us, I can say I agree with that crazy guest. Better to play some playback music for ambience.

The famous 3D photo spot at Secret Garden Village

View of the Black Eye Coffee & Roastery

Between the Coffee Shop and Restaurat

It was time to continue our Sunday journey. We wanted to go to Kintamani then to Bali Pulina at Tegalalang. Just when we were about to get on the road, the village security guy handed over a parking fee slip to us. We had to pay Rp 5,000. Hmm..


We will NOT return to Secret Village Garden on our own will. We may go there to take our family from Jakarta, or when we were super hungry on the road up north.
We will NOT take our foreigner friends and moreover our client, not until Secret Garden Village stop the price discrimination.

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