Staying at The Ubud Village Resort & Spa is a sojourn into a lush verdant oasis where you can drift in luxuriant laziness within the resort, or walk out of the door to be in central Ubud in less than 10 minutes.
A flight of creamy white stone stairs leads into the lobby, a large open pavilion with towering dark wood posts holding up a steeply angled, timber-beamed traditional thatch roof. The ambience, the view and the service are Bali through and through – the air is permeated with the scent of frangipani; rice fields, lotus ponds, palm trees and thatch roofs are all around; and all the staff have smiles and gentle voices.
Check in takes place seated at one of the groups of sofas, sipping a cool welcoming guava juice. The relaxed administration process gives you the chance to start unwinding while you look out across the resort gardens, sweeping infinity swimming pool, little fish ponds and the numerous open gazebos in nooks and crannies around the grounds providing a myriad places to sit and laze.
Check in done, it’s off to our one-bedroom villa suite. Opening the Balinese gate, we are greeted by a lovely touch – a plaque welcoming us by name to The Ubud Village Resort & Spa. Around the corner are two raised gazebos, one right next to our private pool and the other, large enough to sleep on, right by our fully equipped kitchen and a dining table set on a covered area of decking! Relaxation in comfort certainly seems to be the focus of this gorgeous place… Overlooking the pool, through a discrete “curtain” of plants, we could happily stay hidden away here for days…
The villa itself, with a steeply angled Balinese roof like the lobby’s, has two walls of top to bottom glass windows, a dark wood four-poster bed draped with white muslin, a window alcove with cushions to lie back and while away time, TV with DVD player, iPod docking station and comfortable armchair in the main room. While behind all this is ample wardrobe space, his and hers washbasins, an outside shower and inside shower overlooking ponds with fish swimming between the pond plants and lotus flowers. And outside, on yet more decking and in a secluded garden, is a huge sunken stone bath just waiting for us to fill and climb in.
In a world where how to get more done, everywhere and at all times is the focus, The Ubud Village Resort & Spa offers a converse reality where relaxation is encouraged not only by the prevalence of places to stretch out and dream away some time, but also the quietly efficient but super-relaxed peaceful atmosphere. Looking around our home away from home, I am torn whether to lie in the sun on the sun lounger by the pool, curl up in the alcove with my book, or swim in our own pool. If only all decisions were so burdensome!
Deciding to make the most of the relaxation theme, we have a one-hour Balinese massage at the spa, located on the edge of the resort by the swimming pool. Soothed by the fragrant oils and the strong hands of our masseuses, we walk back to the villa watching the farmers working hard in the rice fields, one harvesting while others scare away the birds from their almost ripe crops. A path winds through the countryside, accessible from the resort, which was very tempting, but unfortunately we ran out of time before we could explore.
The grounds are beautiful. According to the literature, up to 65% of the space is natural with some of the original large trees and rare plants maintained while the resort was being constructed. The buildings are all Balinese style, dark wood, thatched roofs and open and airy. Afternoon tea is served in The Paddy coffee shop overlooking the pool, where the waitresses sit and make offerings, in the way of Balinese women the island over, in between taking orders.
Dinner is served in the towering two-storey building that is home to the spacious Angkul-Angkul restaurant, with its water features scattered around. Candles romantically light the resort grounds and dining areas throughout the evening, and the food is exquisite. Selecting a roasted lamb rack marinated in star anise and cider vinegar, with garlic potatoes and vegetables in a rosemary sauce, and a stuffed chicken with mushroom and bell pepper in a cream barbeque sauce, when we bite into the beautifully presented, super-fresh, food, we wonder why we’ve not heard of this restaurant before. It is surely on a par with other fine dining establishments on the island.
Back in the villa, the comfortable bed with its crisp white sheets and mosquito netting awaits, with a bedtime story about the full moon and its meaning to the Balinese printed on thick cream card. We slip into dream world.
The Ubud Village Resort & Spa prides itself on preserving and presenting the Balinese culture, from its building materials, to suppliers, food and personable staff. That morning, all the staff are dressed in traditional Balinese dress and have gathered at the resort’s temple for the full-moon prayers, while we were snoring.
Our stay here has been delightful and full of thoughtful touches. Nothing is too much trouble and everything is made easy. Checkout questions are foreseen and a letter left in your villa noting the checkout time, what time bags will be picked up, who to call if that’s not convenient, and an invitation to continue to use the facilities, including shower and changing rooms and recreation area after checkout. For those who can resist the lure to do nothing, a good Wi-Fi signal is consistent throughout the resort area.
We reluctantly leave this oasis, smiling to see the Balinese offering adorning our car. As we drive away, I reflect that it’s good to see there are still places were the Balinese stay true to hosting guests in their own style and you feel like you are really on the Island of the Gods.
The Ubud Village Resort & Spa
Jalan Raya Nyuh Kuning, Pengosekan, Ubud, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Tel: (+62) 361 978 444