A hidden boutique hotel in Canggu: La Reserve 1785

These days, most Bali boutique hotels  are very beautiful, but lack a soul to them. This definitely doesn’t apply to La Reserve 1785. This boutique Canggu hotel has a very defined personality, a soul that you can feel from the moment you enter. Its origin story is particularly interesting.   

When she was a young girl, Laure Juhen met and became friends with an older lady in France. The more they became friends, the more that Mademoiselle Henriette Reboul revealed to Laure about her life as a young lady. Mademoiselle Henriette Reboul was a renowned French antiques collector and a love priestess. She reputedly had numerous famous friends and lovers from all over the world. Many  took abode in her magnificent residence. From very famous artists, poets and writers, Reboul’s beautiful home in Provence was visited by some of the most exciting and interesting people.

When Reboul passed away, Laure decided to keep her legacy and colourful life alive by turning her old residence into a boutique hotel. Laure Juhen and partner Louis Mariotti gave  Henriette Reboul’s residence a new lease of life and it became the most sought after Provence boutique hotel.

Fast forward some years and change the location to Pererenan Bali. Laure and Louis decided to open a boutique hotel. Canggu was the perfect location to open their second location and maintain the legacy of Mademoiselle Henriette Reboul, this time in Bali.

This boutique hotel is romantic and charming from the moment you walk down the lane that leads you to it. The cobblestone street immediately evokes a French flavour. When we enter the hotel, we are greeted by a huge renaissance painting that adorns the lobby. The mood is set. The dark blue background colour of the wall, the marble columns and the huge library of books are all scenes that are not common in Bali. I’m excited! I know I’m in for a treat. I meet Laure the owner of the hotel and I immediately feel at ease. She tells me the story of both her life, and that of Mademoiselle Henriette, as well as what has led her to be here now. I’m transfixed. I can’t wait to go in and explore the rest of this incredibly charming French hotel. 

There are 14 rooms, a spa, a huge swimming pool and even a front courtyard with a very French fountain in the middle. The garden has been planted with herbs and flowers. I feel like the front courtyard is a homage to France and Provence. It’s so lovely I want to stay there, sit down, and read a book.

The restaurant overlooks a massive pool. It is hard to believe I’m in Pererenan Bali, but the beautiful black stone lava temple and jungle views give it away. The restaurant is beautifully put together. The architecture is Joglo style but the interiors are very French. I love that every table a set with a  white tablecloth, just like in Europe. The hotel utilises accents of red in the restaurant, in the outdoor cabanas and in the staircase to the upstairs rooms. Laure mentioned she lived in Hong Kong and the red comes from this. But I also think it evokes the love life, sensuality and mystique of the late Mademoiselle Henriette.

The rooms are all named after old lovers and friends of Mademoiselle! One of the things I loved about La Reserve 1785 is how spacious the rooms are. They are all a little different. The ones down below have their very own plunge pool, while the ones above have large balconies to enjoy the beautiful views of the pool and jungle below. They are decorated with canopy beds, adding to the romance of the setting. The flooring of each room is different and in some rooms the pool tiles continue into the bedroom, which is something I’ve never seen before. The bathrooms are beautiful and also a little French. The mirrors are carved and the walls are full of texture. The bedrooms come with a desk and also stationary to write notes or thoughts. I love these little touches. I can imagine writers and artists coming here and staying for months at a time. Just as I imagine artists and writers would have taken residence at Reboul’s house in the early to mid 1900’s.

The rooms are equipped with everything you may need, including my favourite French cake, Madeleines. Who doesn’t love some authentic pastries? The rooms are so beautiful, spacious and comfortable that it’s easy to fall into your own little daydream as you experience this French boutique hotel that has been transported to Bali.

La Reserve has a very sensory spa. The Spa entry is Balinese, with ornate black stone and  gold and red painted carved doors. The three rooms of the spa are dark and atmospheric, perfect for relaxing and enjoying your treatment. The walls are made from black but shiny rough rocks. The spa awakens your senses but also deprives them by having very low light so you can easily enter a state of relaxation. 

La Reserve 1875 is fascinating and romantic. It has a charm, a je ne sais quoi, that I haven’t seen before in Bali boutique hotels. It’s not trying to be cool because cool is temporary. It has sophistication. And sophistication crosses oceans and timelines. It is forever. This hotel has a soul, but actually is the fusion of two souls. Laure Juhen and Mademoiselle Henriette Reboul, and Bali and Provence.

Words and Photos by Sheila Man for Bali Interiors

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