“Chic boutique hotel and spa set on a hillside on the edge of Ubud, Bali's cultural hub”
Its rooms are set on a hillside overlooking a deep gorge. Many of them open out to this valley vista and open-air showers remind you where you are. All you see and touch has a soothing effect, from creamy white bedrooms, bleached wood carvings and super soft bedding to the tranquil COMO Shambhala spa for yoga and Asian-inspired treatments. The cuisine is light and imaginative, and the low-slung bar area serving espresso Martinis lets you pleasantly drift into conversations with whomever you wish. This is pure understated quality as you would expect from Mrs Ong.
- The stylish rooms are light, airy and comfortable, with all the latest techno-gadgets
- It's close but not too close to centre of Ubud and is very tranquil
- The excellent COMO Shambala Spa
- The funky curvaceous bar serves superb cocktails and inventive fresh food
- There's a sleek infinity pool
- The genuinely charming staff are always happy to help
- The Bali Bird Walk and other guided trips give personal insight into the surrounding nature and culture
- It's great value for money
- A new batch of rooms were added in 2013, including the Ubud Rooms, Pool Suites and Pool Villas, so we haven't seen these first hand yet
- The Water Garden Rooms lack a valley view, but they have fantastic bathrooms with freestanding tubs
- The ponds and tropical plants attract mosquitos, but the gardens are sprayed daily to keep them at bay
- Ubud's centre is a 20-minute walk, but there is an hourly free shuttle service which takes 5 minutes
- You'll be up against competition amongst taxis to give you a lift when in town. It can irritate some - but not us
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurants and bars
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
Japanese architect Kochiro Ikebuchi has made the hotel and its steep hillside work well together thanks to his use of local wood and alang alang thatched roofs. Inside, the rooms blend Zen simplicity with traditional Balinese elements, making them light, airy and calming. Fine white mosquito nets, silky smooth linen, pale stone flooring and limewashed wood carvings make a refreshing change from the usual dark wood furnishings found in Balinese hotels.
All rooms have garden terraces or private courtyards, open-air showers, fabulous baths (with a selection of delicious COMO Shambhala soaps and shampoos), WiFi, flatscreen TVs, DVD players, waffle dressing gowns and yoga mats.
The Uma Pool Villas and the COMO Villa are the most extravagant, boasting the largest square footage, sitting rooms and their own infinity plunge pools overlooking the trees and the valley below. The COMO Villa also has a private spa treatment area and a Jacuzzi. The Uma Villa is equally large but lacks a private pool.
Of the other rooms, we liked the Terrace Rooms which have large shuttered doors leading out to garden terraces, where you can sit out and admire the view of the valley. The bathrooms are spacious and light, decked out in creamy limestone with sunken baths and Venetian style-glass mirrors.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
- Yoga mat
Wander down some hidden steps, past a small waterfall and fish pond and you'll discover the main restaurant, Kemiri. It's an open pavillion affair with scattered marble tables and teak armchairs inside and out - never far from lush vegetation (banana palms, hibiscus, frangipani) and of course the ever-present temple.
The cuisine can be described as modern Indonesian with a Western twist. We found it delicious, light, fresh and imaginative. The grilled Lombok lobster with black chili sauce, the smoked quail salad and the stir-fried longbeans with tomato sambal were all jolly good. Other dishes to mention include crispy skinned chicken with wild Uluwatu vanilla and tangerine sauce, and warm chocolate and cardamon fondant with poached tamarillos.
Eating at homely, Italian-inspired Uma Cucina (added in 2013) makes for a relaxed evening of communal dining on the outdoor terrace. We haven’t had the chance to try it yet but the menu, strong on fresh and locally sourced produce, sounds scrumptious. Try handmade pastas, fresh seafood or woodfired pizzas, finished off with classic Italian gelato.
For health swots, the COMO Shambhala spa offers special alternatives to maximise energy levels, all using organic foods rich in enzymes, vitamins and sea minerals.
The breakfast menu (usually extra to the room rate) tempts with dishes such as pancakes with grilled bananas and cranberries, tropical fruit platters with yoghurt and bee pollen, freshly baked pastries with homemade jams and lime- and cardamon-scented French toast. The coffee's great (it's from the island of Flores) and the selection of teas and juices is wide - we went for petal tea and fresh watermelon, lime, ginger and mint juice.
Back up at the main pool area, the curvaceous low slung bar is a real eye-catcher. The cocktails definitely hit the spot, from zingy Caipirinhas to espresso Martinis. You can fall into conversation easily with other guests here. Dinner down in the main restaurant is candlelit but we preferred to eat at the convivial bar.
If you want to venture beyong the hotel, for casual drinks not too far away you could try Naughty Nuri's just opposite (a simple shack serving wicked Martinis, popular with the expat brigade). For dinner, nearby Mozaic is one of Ubud's top restaurants and Arys Warung in town is also recommended.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Laze by the 25m swimming pool on one of the comfy wooden loungers, where waiters automatically bring you chilled water and a cold face cloth, or sip cocktails at the groovy bar
- Soak up Ubud's culture by visiting some of the many temples, galleries and museums. You can enjoy traditional music and local dancing at one of the many colourful and impromptu ceremonies
- Shop till you drop in Ubud, renowned for its antiques and homewares. The hotel can also arrange appointment-only meetings with artists and craftspeople at work in their studios
- Take a walk through the paddy fields - the hotel offers simple guided walks (complimentary, 3 times a week) among the villages, temples, rice paddies and jungle gorges surrounding Uma
- For extra cost, Victor Mason's Bali Bird Walk is a real highlight. His knowledge, eccentricity and enthusiasm is infectious
- Practice yoga in the tranquil open-air pavilion overlooking the valley, or come for a dedicated yoga week led by a world-renowned teacher
- Be pampered and indulge in the many Asian-inspired holistic therapies in the COMO Shambhala Spa, including reflexology, Ayurveda, massages and facials
- Go trekking in the surrounding hills
- Join a Balinese cooking class, held in the Kemiri restaurant
- If coming from the coast you can stop at the the Burung Bali Bird Park, with its winding paths, lakes and truly impressive array of tropical birds
- Climb a volcano then mountain bike down again. Various trails for mountain bikers have been mapped by the resort
- Whitewater rafting can also be arranged (the Ayung river is 10 minutes away and is generally class 2, with a few rapids reaching class 3 - considered fine for beginners)
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Mountain biking
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
- Well being
Children under 12 stay free of charge and can sleep on a complimentary extra bed. Children under 5 dine for free too. Additional charges will apply for children aged 12 years and above. Babysitting and baby cots are available on request.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
All Villa categories can host a family of 3, while the COMO Villa can take a family of 4
Children's menu, under 5s dine for free
Kids Activities on site:
- Swimming pool, many rooms have their own private plunge pools
- Families can do a cooking class together
Kids Activities nearby:
- Bespoke family day trips can be arranged e.g. volcanoes, white-water rafting, temple tours, walks through rice paddies and local villages, cycling
Families Should Know:
If staying with a toddler, note there are staircases and steps about the property
- Airport: 1 hour
- Hospital: 25 minutes
- Shops: 1 minute