One of my top 3 travel destinations is Bali, the island of the gods. I visited this beautiful, serene island with its charming people, and fabulous food in 2008. I was there for three weeks, so I had plenty of time to relax, sight see, be pampered in different spas, and travel around. I stayed in 4 different luxury hotels and used them as a base to explore the area: the design boutique hotel Alila Manggis in Candidasa, the five star Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort, Spa and Golf club in Tabanan, the Royal Beach hotel in Seminyak, and the Maya Ubud Resort and Spa in Ubud. All four of them were fabulous and unique in its sort, and I would recommend them all. But the one that really made an impression on me was the Maya Ubud Resort and Spa in Ubud.
The Maya Ubud Resort is everything it says it is. It’s a haven of tranquility, set in the hills of Ubud and between the Petanu River valley and the verdant rice fields of Peliatan. After a 12 hour flight you are majestically welcomed with a cold fruit cocktail and a refreshing towel. The landscape and architecture of the resort breathe the culture of Bali. Everything is in conjunction and harmony with nature: bamboo, teak, river stones. The decor is a mix of traditional and modern furniture. In the lounge, large comfortable chairs, ottomans, day beds and upholstered teak furniture invite you to take a seat and enjoy the open, breezy space. It’s a beautiful hotel with lots of authentic Balinese art and antiques, mixed with hip accents and much simplicity. The calm in and around the hotel is lovely.
There are 108 rooms and villas at the Maya Ubud resort. My room was on the ground floor overlooking the rice fields. In the entry way is a huge bale, a traditional Balinese day bed. Another day bed in the room provides the perfect hang out to view the private patio and garden or watch TV. The room’s decor is traditional , yet hip. One of the amenities I truly loved was a plate of fresh fruit on the coffee table that was supplemented with new exotic fruit each day. What a treat!
Mornings at the Maya Ubud Resort are fantastic. Every morning at 6 o’clock I was awakened by the crowing of roosters. I then threw open the doors to the garden and looked out over rolling rice fields covered in an orange glow of the rising sun, with a layer of dew which gave it a mysterious look.
The Resort has three public swimming pools, and each villa also has its private pool. If you follow the “Ceremonial walk” – a very long path along the villas and pools- you’ll end up at a deep ravine. If you carefully look down you encounter a very unique pool pavilion that ends at the edge of another canyon. And there flows the Petanu River, between the hills and lush forests. To go down you need to take an elevator built in discreetly into the stone wall.
Once downstairs you enter a world that is indescribable. You can hear the murmur of the river, birds chirping, leaves rustling in the breeze and nothing further. Numerous colorful butterflies flutter around. And in the midst of this peaceful haven a designer swimming pool and 6 private spa treatment rooms, built in the rocks as it were. I had the best spa treatment ever there, but I’ll leave that for another blog post.
At night, tens of candles are lit around the resort, creating a magical and romantic atmosphere.