The Yak’s intrepid scouts are on point to discover more cool places for your R&R …
AYUNG RIVER RESORT
THE Ayung River Resort is a unique and luxurious blend of breathtaking natural charm, an eclectic collection of art and the best service this island has to offer.
The unforgettable setting and dramatic scenery is only one aspect of this extraordinary property. Lush, tropical trees of all shapes and sizes, fecund with exotic fruits and flowers, showcase many of the traits that makes Bali one of the most popular tourist attractions worldwide.
As you enter the grounds of the eight-hectare property – nestled in the midst of dramatic rainforest greenery, and perched on the banks of Bali’s most sacred and important waterway – you are taken on a journey back in time by the sight of colonial style buildings with tall, white marble pillars and vast wooden statues that make up the lobby and the entrance into a world of eclectic décor and the mystic presence of the river below.
Accommodation options range from villas with private pools, single bedrooms to the Residences, all bearing names from two of the greatest and most treasured epics from Hinduism – the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
A unique aspect of the resort is its signature art collection displayed throughout – the culmination of one man’s passion and lifetime achievement of collecting dramatic and rare artifacts from Asia and beyond.
Take a tour of the grounds – by foot or by one of the resort’s many electric buggies – and be mesmerised by the spectacular rendition of Indonesia’s oldest Buddhist temple, Borobudur, carved in stone along one of the mountain walls – giving you the impression of walking onto an historic site.
For those who are looking to unwind and rewind the many stresses of modern life, start the day with a yoga class in the amphitheater and temple area.
Allow the soothing and purifying sound of the river rushing by below drift you off to new heights of rejuvenation and relaxation at the Dewi Sri Spa and Beauty Salon. This mystical riverside haven – drawing on the vitality of the Ayung River and the fertility of the tropical rainforest – is a sanctuary with the ultimate spa experience.
The Ayung River Resort is truly a haven within heavenly grounds and should not be missed if you are looking for that unique and transcendent holiday experience.
WHILE ecological awareness has filtered into many a hotel these days, being green can mean many things.
Being fundamentally sustainable and environmentally sound, however, is something completely different. Imagine a place of natural beauty where the buildings blend seamlessly with nature, where the pool is kept clean and natural without chemicals or chlorine, where the ground’s organic produce makes up the majority of your breakfast, lunch and dinner and where the impressive buildings are either hand-built from bamboo or are 100-year-old timber joglos from Java.
Welcome to Bambu Indah, an eco-jewel in Bali’s crown of boutique luxury accommodation. The brainchild of famed jeweller and co-founder of the Green School, John Hardy, Bambu Indah was created in 2005 with just five antique Javanese joglos tucked tastefully among lush permaculture gardens overlooking the magical Sayan Gorge, only minutes from Ubud in Bali’s central highlands.
It soon expanded with a massive open sided bamboo building, which follows the traditional design of a Javanese community space, called a mingan, with its impressive architecture of black bamboo, a crescent-shaped straw roof with three peaks on either side and a unique harp installation that gives the place an added serenity as you listen to the harmonics through the building.
The moment you arrive and settle into your wooden cottage, you relax and feel time slowing as you gaze out over the intriguing Sayan valley with its tall bamboo, coconut palms, rice terraces and the Ayung River rushing over rocks some 50 metres below.
The excellent customer service starts with a warm welcome as soon as you step onto the woven bamboo reception dome and are led to sit on brightly cushioned timber benches overlooking the organic gardens. Then you are introduced to the unique sound chair – a solid timber installation with dozens of strings tuned to harmonics by renowned sound artist Ruediger Schoedel.
A stay at Bambu Indah also includes the choice of breakfast served with home-baked bread and house-made jams in your room or at the restaurant, as well as afternoon tea brought to your verandah. One must-do is a dip in Bambu Indah’s natural swimming pool that extends between some of the Jogolos and walk bridge – an experience that will stay with you longer than your average swimming pool experience.
THE CHEDI CLUB
THE Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah on the outskirts of Ubud spreads out over five hectares of undulating rice fields and landscaped gardens offering travellers a true respite from the world.
Tucked away only 10 minutes from the centre of town on grounds dotted with Ganesha statues and lily ponds, meandering paths lead to exquisitely appointed villas that range from one-bedroom suites to spa and pool villas with elaborate light-filled semi outdoor bathrooms, and to the spacious two-bedroom family pool villa.
Hard to miss is the Chedi Club’s palatial open dining room planted amidst the rice fields and featuring one of the most impressive eateries in Bali, thanks to executive chef Dean Nor. With calming views that stretch out endlessly toward lines of coconut palms in the distance, dining at the Chedi is second to none.
Not only does Singaporean-born Nor ensure refined presentation and thoughtful pairing of flavours and textures, using the freshest ingredients underpins what he does and he does it well.
Classic design contrasts with traditional furnishings in the Chedi Club’s villas. Bold whitewashed walls let the colours of artworks pop in these living spaces. The bathrooms are generous with a massive free-standing bath tub and an indoor and outdoor shower, while wooden blinds offer privacy and allow the light to gently filter into your room creating a relaxing ambience.
As the name Tanah Gajah (Land of the Elephant) suggests, the pace is slow and sacred here, the ambience lets you unthaw from the stresses of life beyond – a contrast to the often busy holiday life found in more crowded resorts.
FOUR SEASONS AT SAYAN
THE Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan is renowned for its five-star opulence and impeccable service, but despite knowing that, nothing prepares you for the unforgettable experience that awaits at this sublime sanctuary sprawled across a lush valley next to the Ayung River.
We are greeted at the beginning of the walkway by beaming staff members dressed in Balinese finery, and they invite us to join in a Balinese ritual blessing before entering a new space. They tie bright silk sashes around our waists, dab our palms with holy water scented with fresh frangipani blossoms, place sweet-smelling flowers behind our ears, and we’re ready to go.
There aren’t too many places that can make your jaw drop even before entering the building, but the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan does just that. Walking along the footbridge we are treated to views that seem as though they’re straight out of Jurassic Park – steep cliffs cloaked in lush greenery, palm trees jutting out from the canopy and swifts darting overhead. Far below the river snakes its way through the undergrowth, its faint murmuring barely audible amid the sounds of the jungle.
To say that our villa is swank would be a bit of an understatement. A tranquil lotus pond lines one side of the entrance, and solid wooden doors open onto the patio, which acts as an outdoor living area with a long sofa and coffee table, a dining table covered by a huge canvas umbrella, and a marble-topped bar stocked with cold drinks, snacks and sparkling glassware.
The stone floors of the living area give way to a wooden sundeck fronting the aquamarine plunge pool, which is surrounded by tropical bushes and trees for total privacy. In front of the pool there is an oversized sunbed with a retractable sunshade and huge cushions, perfect for lazy afternoons spent next to the pool in our secluded garden.
The bedroom inside is furnished with rich carpets, a large wooden bed with plush pillows and a gossamer canopy, a gorgeous writing desk inlaid with shells, and a sitting area with a sofa and coffee table sporting a platter of fresh fruit.
Attached to the bedroom is a spacious bathroom with brand new marble floors, a deep soaking tub, a walk-in wardrobe, separate chambers for the toilet and rain shower, and a door leading to an outdoor shower.
It’s Friday night at Ayung Terrace, which means a lavish barbecue feast is on offer. Gourmet appetisers include a full salad bar with crisp greens, veggies and dressings, cream of asparagus soup with garlic toast, and potato salad with bacon and chives. Mains consist of chicken, pork ribs, prawns and lamb medallions grilled to order, and a carvery with a succulent leg of lamb, plus sides like steamed veggies, baked potatoes with all the fixings, and ratatouille. Adding to the indulgence, there is a decadent dessert table set up with seductive treats like raspberry crème brulee, chocolate mousse and blueberry cheesecake.
Before checking out, we visit the award-winning spa to indulge in the signature Muladhara treatment. As the expert hands of the spa therapists soothe our sore muscles and the stress slips away, we think that there couldn’t possibly be a better way to end our Four Seasons Sayan experience, which was pure bliss from start to finish.
LOCATED on the beach in Tabanan, and having undergone extensive renovations, WakaGangga is open and ready to take its guests on an exquisite journey through a rustic, village-style resort.
Upon entering the grounds, your eyes will initially be drawn to the restaurant structure, which from afar, looks as if it is unfinished. But as manager Juliana Rosenbom says, “the Waka Bar and Restaurant is deliberately designed – by Japanese architect Nara – to be rough and rural looking, with a few soft touches.
“This is part of our concept honouring the beauty of Mother Nature, with untouched wooden finishing.”
With executive chef, Putu, leading the gastronomical charge, the Waka Bar and Restaurant offers a homey selection of reasonably priced dishes from Thailand, India and Indonesia as well as a varied selection of Western cuisine. WakaGangga is a mere 25-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak and welcomes outside guests at any time.
WakaGangga leads the new wave of luxurious eco-friendly resorts and is one of the most stunning beachfront hideaways in Bali for you to relax and rejuvenate – whether in the comfort of cozy villas with private pools or the signature Waka Spa.
This boutique style resort is a playground for pampering set amongst one of Bali’s most stunning natural landscapes. Swaying rice paddies meet azure swimming pools and dazzling black sands peppered with gazebos and sunbeds to laze away each day.
When your rejuvenation getaway calls for the absolute best, the resort’s accommodation is sure to make you feel both at home and at ease. Designed with simple indulgence, comfort and peaceful escape in mind, all WakaGangga’s villas make for an idyllic, soothing retreat.
These tranquil sanctuaries are a haven for relaxation, with the option of having a private pool, ocean-front or garden view, outdoor living facilities and luxurious amenities.
Within the walls of these rustic conically-roofed villas are beautiful decorations blending both Balinese heritage and tradition, with a touch of the modern.
The opulent bathroom is a particular highlight, adorned with his and hers basins and fully stocked with organic bathing products on the huge vanity counter. In the center of the room stands a magnificent egg-shaped bathtub.
Head over to the signature Waka Spa for a new dimension of wellness treatments. Thanks to the recent makeover, the spa features beautifully decorated rooms with sacred geometry and spa therapists ready to spoil you and make your stay just that much better.
WakaGangga exudes sophistication in all of its villas and surrounding buildings. Each villa is decorated in hues of brown and terra cotta with wooden furniture and a feature wall that compliments the overall design ethos.
WakaGangga is committed to supporting the local community, making use of produce from nearby villages, and also respectfully encourages guests to be environmentally conscious by reducing water and power usage. The resort continuously strives to contribute to an ecologically sustainable society.
With sun, surf, superior service and a first-rate restaurant all at your fingertips, WakaGangga offers an ideal Bali escape.