What’s it like?
This hotel was everything I imagined it to be and more.
The drive from Ubud town up to the hotel is long and winding, passing lush rice paddies, snaking through the woods and curving up the hill but the sheer postcard beauty of the journey negates its length.
The hotel has a top-down structure with the entrance at the top and the rest of the facilities descend from there, all connected by inclinators rattling up and down the sides.
The main attraction of the hotel is its spectacular two-tiered infinity swimming pool that juts out into the forest. It is an architectural feat that took more than 2,000 workers over 18 months to complete. Whichever way you look from the pool, you are greeted by a thick wall of greenery and the sounds of birds chirping overhead. The rest of the hotel is built around this spectacular pool – the bar and the restaurant sit adjacent to it and the villas and spa sprawl out on the levels beneath it.
And the rooms?
There are a total of just 38 villas at this hotel so even at peak season with almost 90 percent occupancy, it still won’t be as crowded as your global brands that tend to cater larger numbers.
In traditional Balinese fashion, the villas are designed to break down barriers between the indoor and the outdoor worlds: high ceilings, walls made up of large windows and sliding glass doors flooding the room with natural light, thatched roofs and simple wood furniture. The bathtub actually extends out to the porch from the inside. Each villa also has its own infinity plunge pool with more views of the surrounding rainforest. It all feels rustic, authentic and cosy.
However, the only drawback is maybe also part of the hotel’s charm – the lack of swish techy amenities. There aren’t that many power points so if you’re travelling with a laptop, camera and phone, you’ll quickly run out of charging spots. The air-conditioning in my room threw a temper tantrum in the middle of the night and refused to switch on.
But there is free wifi and that makes everything better, doesn’t it?
What are the restaurants and bars like?
There is just one restaurant, which is also where breakfast is served, and one bar. I was pleasantly surprised at the menu’s variety, which had plenty of vegetarian options too. All dishes are cooked up under the watchful eye of chef Adriano Ricco who hails from Brazil and was working in America before moving to Bali for this gig. With him, he brings an international, creative flair.
Hotel breakfasts are my all-time favourite meals and I was quite impressed by their spread, from the exotic jams made fresh at the property to the perfect cup of coffee that Bali is known for.
What about the spa?
As mentioned above, the spa is located on the level beneath the pool, right by a river. Like the villas, the treatment rooms are all designed to be in sync with the surrounding nature; minimal walls and doors, plenty of natural light and the sounds of the river gushing past. It’s soothing before you even begin your treatment (for more on my experience at the spa, click here).
A must. It is a sweet escape from our fast-paced, tech-fuelled lifestyles.