In her Bali travel article Melanie De Lacy Staunton heads for the jungle… and a few luxury spas.
In the heart of Bali lies a place of pure tranquility. Picture a soundtrack of rushing rivers and birdsong. Views filled with a million shades of green, punctuated with bright floral colours. A haven, where worries simply can’t resist melting away. This is Ubud.
If you are craving peace and feel the need to truly extract yourself from life’s pressures, then Ubud needs to be next on your travel list! A location historically popular for yogis and wellness enthusiasts, it also has many adrenalin prickling activities for those seeking a little more adventure.
As this was my first trip to Ubud, I was looking to experience true Balinese authenticity in the heart of the jungle and this is exactly what The Royal Pita Maha delivered. Everything about The Royal Pita Maha resort makes you feel like you are living and breathing history and tradition. Perched seamlessly along the bank of the magnificent Ayung River, the location is a key ingredient for rejuvenating the body and mind.
Entering the lobby, it was hard not to trip over my own feet, as I stared in awe at the countless sculptures, some towering over 40 feet high. Intricate maze-like stone carvings adorned every surface and provided a sensational welcome. Craftsmanship throughout the whole resort is so unbelievably detailed, there is no place I have experienced quite like it.
When we arrived at our room. A stunning, meticulously engraved door greeted us. I’ve genuinely never seen a more ornate entrance to a hotel room; it felt like a piece of art beckoning you into your villa. We stayed in a deluxe pool villa and considering this is the standard room category, I couldn’t quite get over the size; it was bigger than my flat back in Hong Kong! The opulent four-poster bed is the centerpiece of the room and faces floor to ceiling windows that look out over your own private pool. The pool faces towards the astonishing valley below. On the left side of the villa there is a small living room and, on the right, a gigantic bathroom, with a heart shaped bathtub that I’m convinced could fit 10 people.
The terrace was truly the most remarkable part of the room. Firstly, the pool was not a plunge pool, but a sizable kidney shaped emerald green oasis, with the jungle acting as your personal privacy screen. Then there was the view. Wow. We were positioned up at the top of the resort, so we could look down into the gorge below and watch the river rush past, whilst being surrounded by an endless sea of trees, flowers and wildlife. It was a sanctuary of total seclusion, perfect for relaxation.
The Royal Pita Maha offers lots of great activities from wood carving to authentic Balinese cooking. We decided to avail of the complimentary morning yoga. Having arrived the evening before in the dark, in the light of day I felt like I had been transported to another time, as we snaked our way through the myriad of resort pathways resembling a scene from Indiana Jones. The yoga pavilion was positioned down at the bottom of the valley hugging the river. This yoga spot was particularly stunning because the roof of the gazebo was so high, which allowed for uninterrupted views of the mighty river. It was certainly one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever attempted chair pose.