There is something about doing travel research that draws you into a magical vortex of excitement. When getting into the TripAdvisor or Booking.com exploration-zone, time seems to slip away and all of a sudden you realize three hours have passed and you’ve somehow become an expert on your destination of choice. Inspired action like this is my favourite!
This was the precise case for me when researching where to stay in Ubud, Bali.
While we wanted to experience a varying degree of accommodation throughout our travels – a little shabby-chic, a little indulgent, a little in-between – somehow through wave of unbelievable forture, we were offered an extremely special rate at Kamandalu Ubud, a 5-star luxury resort that is a honeymooner’s dream come true.
We left our bungalows on Monkey Forest Road, a little dusty from dragging our luggage through the stone streets for longer than we anticipated, and took an 8-minute taxi ride to the securely monitored Kamandalu resort. As we drove up to main building, our eyes widened and smiles formed on our faces as we propelled into the state of indulgence we would experience for the next two days.
We were greeted by a bellman appropriately named “Wish”, who gently placed an orchid behind my ear and escorted us to the special guest check-in area.
Immediately upon arrival, there was a marked level of customer service that was omnipresent amongst all staff. Somehow they already knew who we were, and were greeted as Miss Angela or Mr Mark. I loved this tremendously.
The check-in process was an experience similar to when you visit a world-class spa. The area itself was not your typical hotel lobby; instead we were taken to a private parlour, which had patio seating overlooking the custom-designed rice paddies and oversized koi pond.
One fabulous thing that happens in Bali is that when you arrive at your place of stay, you are greeted with a cold towel and a welcome drink. Here at Kamandalu, they spared no effort in this custom, offering freshly squeezed tropical juice garnished with an orchid – and a cool towel doused in eucalyptus. I draped the refreshing towel over my face, reclined back on the rattan furniture, and basked in the luxury of the moment.
After being given our room key, we were assigned a butler (yes- a butler!) for our stay, with whom we had 24-hour access, and were escorted to our villa (Villa!). I’ve never felt so fancy!
We made our way through the property, which was designed in the style of a classic Balinese village. There was a certain romantic yet peaceful quality about the entire space that left us mesmerized.
We arrived at our pool villa, where the entrance of our door was decorated in typical balinese wedding decor and shown the unique doorbell that was made from a coconut. Please just watch the below video ’cause its perfect.
We were then given the grand (grand is definitely the operative word!) tour of our pool villa. It was spacious, clean, opulent, and tranquil all the same.
The high-level service we felt upon check-in echoed to the presentation of our villa – there was care and attention put into the intricate details of our stay. Flower petals everywhere, sparking wine, and even a honeymoon cake (apparently thats a thing!) welcomed us.
A canopy bed with the traditional balinese style was the focal point of the room…
With a large bathroom that boasted a sunken bathtub, and led to an outdoor shower!
This was our backyard, with meticulously manicured gardens to enhance the specatular jungle views.
Nestled in the mountains of Ubud, each of the villas overlook the Petanu River and rainforest filled with wildlife. That first afternoon as we were relaxing in our pool, we had front-row seats of watching a family of monkeys swing from tree-to-tree – I couldn’t believe this was real life!
With an elaborate cocktail in hand, we decided to explore the grounds of Kamandalu.
The resort was quiet since it was the shoulder season, but through a stroke of good luck we enjoyed perfectly sunny weather that typically occurs during the peak months of July, August and into September. Canada never felt so far away as we strolled through the architectural masterpiece that clung to the traditional Balinese culture, while injecting the perfect amount of modern amenities.
In Sanskrit, Kamandalu refers to the vessel that contains the water of life; the entire resort links to this life-enhancing rejuvenation, with two glorious pools being at the centre of this.
We took time to get acquainted with the swim-up bar and enjoyed happy hour cocktails, while later noshing on traditional Balinese cuisine at Petulu Restaurant. For those of you who enjoy prawns, I highly recommend the Udang Balado – stir-fried prawns in a spicy chilli tomato sauce – this was mouth-watering beyond comprehension and brought us back there for our second night and ordering the exact same meal. We needed to experience those flavours one more time.
Each morning, we arose to enjoy an elaborate buffet breakfast in Petulu- selecting from an extensive array of items ranging from omelettes and fruit, to traditional Balinese items involving rice that I usually wouldn’t consider trying for breakfast foods. But, as they say, when in Rome… er… or, Bali….
While our stay was lined with next-level experience, for me, one of the best highlights of our stay was enjoying a yoga class in their stunning “Rumah Yoga House”, an airy building suspended high above the jungle surrounding the property. I had never experienced yoga in such a peaceful setting, with sounds of water flowing, exotic birds, and even monkeys in the distance. The class was an hour-long restorative hath a class, and set a tone of gratitude and appreciation for the day. Both Mark and I felt infinitely peaceful while at one with nature. And who wouldn’t, with a setting like this…..
Our hosts at Kamandalu, including the lovely general manager Miss Deasy, with whom I had the privilege of enjoying a coffee with, felt more like long-lost friends than simply resort staff. We basked in every beautiful moment during our two-day stay, and one day aspire to return to our friends at Kamandalu.
To learn more about Kamandalu, check out their website at: