If you are in serious need of a luxe getaway where rest and rejuvenation are a priority then you won’t be disappointed by a stay at this Balinese gem, writes Kylie Oliver
Picture yourself in this moment.
A butterfly flutters past and there is the distant chirping of birds as you stretch out in your private infinity plunge pool and gaze across the lush rainforest below.
You smile to yourself as you watch a squirrel scurry into a towering treetop and you wonder whether you are in some kind of dream before lying back in the water and breathing deeply to take in the beauty and serenity of the scene.
There is no sound of traffic, no work to do and the warmth of the humid morning air fills your lungs and relaxes your mind.
Heard enough? Want to know where you are?
Welcome to Como Uma Ubud – where the real-life experience matches the picture-perfect posts you have come to expect to see on your swoon-worthy Instagram feed.
I found myself soaking up this exact holiday scenario just before Christmas and the threenight stay at this luxury resort exceeded any expectations my partner and myself had when we booked our Balinese escape.
From the moment we arrived a feeling of relaxation set in which is clearly all part of the Como Uma experience. It is no accident that the resort staff speak softly and move slowly. You cannot help but follow their enticing lead.
Set on 2.3 hectares, the resort is hidden on the fringe of Ubud – a small but lively town regarded as the island’s cultural hub, having a long history among the painters and artisans who live and work in the region.
Como Uma overlooks the Tjampuhan Valley amid paddy fields carved out of hillsides, with a magical backdrop of coconut palms and banyan trees.
It offers 46 rooms featuring contemporary Asian design and we treated ourselves to an Uma Pool Villa which offers a private swimming pool with a sprawling sundeck and views across the Balinese jungle.
The interior aesthetic is the work of Japanese designer Koichiro Ikebuchi and creates the feeling of an elegant rural home in the hills.
The centrepiece of the light-filled villa is a king size bed draped in crisp white linens which sits beneath a lofty thatched ceiling.
The bathroom features a bathtub and an oversized shower that maintains privacy while opening out onto a small patio to give you an indoor-outdoor feel.
When you venture away from the villa you can take a yoga class or simply admire the resort’s lush gardens.
A 25-metre pool and bar which sits at the heart of the property is the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail while watching the rather large but harmless native bees as they collect pollen from the prettiest of tropical flowers that hang over the tables in the bar area.
Occasionally the white blossoms float to the floor which only adds to the romance of it all.
There are two restaurants within the resort – Kemiri and Uma Cucina. Both have a focus on fresh, locally-sourced produce and won’t dissapoint.
While it feels a world away from everything, Como Uma Ubud is a only five-minute drive or 20-minute walk into the township where there
are eateries, marketplaces and shops.
There is plenty to see and do in Ubud and its surrounds but my recommendation is to get out and about early in the day as it can get hot in the afternoons, particularly when the sun comes out.
If you love to shop while on holiday then Ubud is probably not a go-to destination in Bali in comparison to the bigger tourism drawcards such as Kuta or Seminyak.
You will see the same thing over and over again in both the markets and shops, but there are countless Bali staples such as cane bags or baskets, sarongs, silver jewellery and small trinkets to bring home for loved ones.
Days can be filled with visits to temples, galleries and museums or guided walks through the hinterland to admire the paddy fields and forest views.
We particularly enjoyed a visit to the Gunung Kawi Temple – a stunning 11th century temple complex centred around royal tombs carved into stone cliffs. It is worth the hot and humid walk up the 300 steps when it comes time to make your way out!
Other popular tourism activities in Ubud include watching a Gamelan orchestra or traditional Kecak fire dance.
If you want something more physical, you can go trekking, white-water rafting, mountain biking or volcano climbing.
That wasn’t on the agenda for us – at least not this time around.
Instead we chose to make the most of the resort and the rare opportunity for some guiltfree relaxation in such lush surrounds.
Oh, and I would be tempted to go back just for the signature COMO Shambhala Massage.
Seventy minutes of bliss to complete what was a magical four days in Ubud.
While it is tempting to spend all your time at the resort, the Ubud township is a 20-minute walk away and offers an array of eateries, shops and market stalls to peruse. The monkey forest, temples and terraced rice paddies are other popular tourist pursuits when visiting Ubud which is regarded as the artistic heart of the island of Bali. Photos: Supplied and iStock