December 26, 2017
Tired of the cabanas and crowds, visitors to Bali may find themselves wanting something a little more cultural than the roaring beach life. For that, there is Ubud. There are many reasons to choose Ubud over Kuta and Seminyak – cooler mountain air, empty streets, rice terraces – but it’s the culture, art, and authentic Balinese style that draw most.
COMO Uma Ubud Bali
Found in the bucolic rice paddy fields and hills, the 46-room COMO Uma Ubud Bali has the atmosphere of a rural hill-side home – well, a rural hill-side home with all the amenities of a 5-star resort, landscaped courtyards, and infinity-edged plunge pools.
Biking, trekking, and rafting on the Ayung River are the most common activities in the area, but for those who want a little more excitement there is the Bali Canyon Tubing and ATV Tour, which involves a six-kilometer float down the river and a thrilling quad-bike experience afterward.
For dining, guests can choose between Italian at Uma Cucina, breakfast at Kemiri, and an array of private dining experiences. Afterward, the poolside Uma bar serves expertly crafted cocktails.
Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Those familiar with the Old-World luxury reputation of the Ritz-Carlton brand might be surprised by the laid back cultural richness of Mandapa. Surrounded by the Ayung River and verdant rice paddies, this is a Ritz-Carlton experience with a difference: serenity and peace.
The key to the Mandapa experience is embracing relaxation, with experiences involving crafts, hidden temples, and views from atop an active volcano. Along with those calming activities is the Mandapa Spa.
Featuring the holistic philosophy of treating the body and soul, there are eight treatment rooms, a range of ESPA and local products, yoga studio, vitality pool, and guests can also engage in a session with Mandapa’s Blind Healer.
“Tents” don’t really describe the highly-anticipated Capella Ubud luxury tented camp experience, but the brand features 22 unique tents and an extravagant two-bedroom lodge – all with a private salt water jacuzzi pool, spacious lounge and bedroom, and outdoor decks for intimate candlelit dinners. Found on the sacred sacred Wos River, the Capella Ubud was inspired by early European settlers from the 19th century, a vision created by the inimitable and world renowned architect Bill Bensley. No opening date has yet been released, but 2018 could be likely.
COMO Shambhala Estate
This gorgeous property is for the holidaygoer who wants to recharge in one of the finest spa experiences in Southeast Asia. Travelers not wishing to be treated, massaged, and pampered within an inch of their life should look elsewhere.
From the massage therapy workshops to the yoga and the body care to the holistic wellness programs, this is a resort for proper pampering. One of this resort’s signature experiences is the “Day of Tranquility” in the Water Garden: enjoying the natural spring water, an hour-long COMO Shambhala treatment at Rashmi, and a private meditation class.
Also of note is the dining at Kudus House; the breakfast and dinners are, of course, excellent, but it’s the scenery that really brings this venue to life. The picturesque 150-year-old former Javanese residence is the highlight of every meal.
This mountain retreat is one of the most spiritual luxury options in Bali. In the morning, flowers are offered to the gods; in the evening, gamelan sounds ring through grounds. Indeed, The god Indra is said to have created the famous spring of Tirta Empul that flow into the Hoshinoya’s Pakerisan River, nurturing the jungles of Ubud that grow along its banks.
This is a resort for a secluded mountain spiritual experience, and that is reflected in almost every element Hoshinoya Bali. From the serving baskets inspired by Balinese Hindu disciples to the villa interiors covered in wood carvings related to Ubud folklore, this resort puts the spiritual elements of Bali at the forefront.