“Chic boutique hotel and spa set on a hillside on the edge of Ubud, Bali's cultural hub”
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. Alternatively, the Water Garden Rooms are set further into the property; instead of the valley view they open onto a small private courtyard with a pond with fish swimming around. They also feature stunning black bathrooms with freestanding tubs draped in muslin.
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 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)
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
If staying with a toddler, note there are staircases and steps about the property