A warren of stone walkways, lavish greenery and traditional thatched roofs set the mood at this holistic haven just outside central Ubud in Bali
A sense of place
Small, stone garudas peer out from thickset foliage, giant lava stones protrude from the ground, standing guard in front of the lobby, and blocky Hindu shrines have become one with towering tropical trees. Como Uma Ubud pulls off the neat trick of offering quiet luxury while retaining its sense of place in one of Indonesia’s most spiritual towns. These Balinese touches form part of the retreat’s modern Asian aesthetic, where immaculate white loungers dot the poolside and water cascades down stylish natural stone walls, though such design elements never overshadow the gorgeous valley scenery and diverse greenery, both of which remain front and centre.
Beyond the gates
Walkways lined with green bamboo lead guests to their own set of white wooden doors, which part to reveal knockout villas split into two parts – the bedroom on one side and, across a small covered walkway, a huge bathroom with a standalone bath. Whitewashed wood and polished white terrazzo are the order of the day throughout, a design decision that brings calm to every moment spent in the villa – it would be rather difficult to be stressed here. Magnificent four-poster beds come draped in yet more white linen, while patio doors open onto small private pools just in case one requires that extra 10% in terms of unadulterated relaxation.
At the heart of the property sits the 25-metre pool, surrounded by pristine lawns and shaded by towering banana trees punctuated by vivid pink kecombrang, a flower indigenous to Indonesia that is sometimes known as ‘porcelain rose’. The pool’s attendant Uma Bar is housed on the ground floor of a large balé pavilion, open on all sides, with a thatched roof and towering white pillars. Rows of reading material are joined by circular, brown leather daybeds by Balinese bespoke furniture masters Warisan to create an inviting spot for reading, thinking and leisurely drinking.
Kemiri restaurant is set amid some of the loveliest surroundings we’ve come across in Southeast Asia. Along with the verdant foliage that is Como Uma’s calling card, guests descend a stone staircase that overlooks a giant pond full of skittering koi in all manner of oranges and golds before being seated waterside. Breakfast is exceptional, with numerous Western à la carte options, though it’s the daily Balinese specials that stand out – grilled pork belly with a crispy fried egg and rice is still lodged firmly in our memory months after visiting.
A rush for the soul
The Como brand prides itself on its exceptional spa offerings; multiply this with a location in Ubud – arguably the yoga capital of the world – and Como Uma performs exceptionally in the wellness stakes. Free yoga sessions take place in a pavilion with sweeping views of the lush Tjampuhan valley and a soundtrack provided by the rushing Oos river 100 metres below, while Como’s signature treatments include everything from Asian-inspired massages to herbal soaks.