Great for: Romance
What is it? Villa
Will set you back: USD $300 – $350 p/n
Shamballa Residence is one of three villas in Ubud owned by the lovely couple, Atsu and Wendy. They make a good impression in the booking stages, and this only gets better on arriving at the villa. It is simply magical. Perhaps I am a rookie when it comes to experiencing the unique welcome that you only receive in Indonesia, but regardless, being greeted by a small Balinese family laden with hand-made flower leis, their two kittens in tow, is enough to convince anyone they have arrived in a tropical paradise. Having been picked up from our previous accommodation in Seminyak, the driver brings us to the entrance of Shamballa Residence about an hour later. A humble door awaits us, before walking into a completely open, authentic villa that is open to the elements. A trail of yellow plumeria flowers leads the way on a brief tour of what will be our sanctuary over the next few days, and it is a wonderful feeling that even the most discerning traveller (ie. me) will buckle under.
The villa is extremely large, with two levels and open “walls” that close out the elements only with rustic bamboo blinds. There is a gorgeous feel to the place, with lots of white and an almost colonial tone to the interior styling. The large infinity pool with a view to the jungle that can be seen from both levels, is the selling point of the villa. That, and the luminous upstairs open bedroom that features a canopy bed with mosquito net and bamboo furniture that makes you feel like you really are in the jungle. The large ensuite is again open –air with a spa (unfortunately not working during our stay) and rain shower. I’ve got to say, there is something about showering in the open air makes you feel pretty darn relaxed. To be honest, there is nothing I would change about the design of Shamballa Residence, it is near perfect.
Shamballa Residence has been designed with couples and honeymooners in mind. It is extremely comfortable and you could quite happily stay put there for the length of your stay, swimming, taking private yoga classes and relaxing by the pool. There are two large lounge areas, both upstairs next to the bedroom and downstairs where there is a TV and a selection of DVDs. Lying on the pool sun beds is just as comfortable, they haven’t put a foot wrong here. The only downfall is the nights can be a little noisy due to the open-air design, and the motorbikes frequenting the nearby road beyond the valley.
The villa has been designed for relaxing, so the amenities are naturally limited. However you have the option of private yoga in the villa, cooking classes, or spa services at an extra cost to take place in the villa.
Shamballa Residence is serviced by a lovely small Balinese family that work on a butler service during your stay. Anything you require, from booking restaurants, to putting in your breakfast orders or asking for a car to take you into town, is no big task. The family work from a separated quarters at the back of the villa, and in the evening the villa has a security guard on the premises. The staff are lovely and incredibly hospitable.
The best way to experience Shamballa Residence is to allow the staff to cook for you and serve it in the villa by candlelight. You can select an entrée, main and dessert from the menu offered that morning or the day before, and the staff will happily go to the local markets to buy the produce. The meals are a generous size, really delicious, and a reasonable price not to mention all the better for the romantic setting you eat them in. The only thing is, you need to think ahead regarding meals if you will be staying in the villa all day as there is no access to a kitchen, the staff generally need some notice to cook you anything, and the closest food places are a twenty-minute walk away. All meals cooked are naturally at an additional cost, however breakfast is included in the tariff and includes a tropical fruit platter, Balinese coffee, juice and a cooked breakfast.
Ubud is the cultural and spiritual centre of Bali and a must see while in this world-famous island. A far cry from the hustle-bustle of Seminyak and the garish Kuta, this is the bali of the locals. The natural landscape is beautiful and lush, as Ubud is in the centre of Bali and so receives more rainfall and is generally cooler. Rice paddies are the archetypal image of Ubud, and for good reason. They are quite spectacular and I highly recommend a day trip to see the local environment and experience the local cuisine. Babi guling or suckling pig is the local delicacy and this is another must-try while in Ubud. The local town centre with its markets and hawkers is typically Indonesian but its vibrancy, colours and smells are all a part of the Ubud experience. Be sure to check out the local art stores, visit the temples and book in for a massage in one of the many spas in this area. Book your stay at Shamballa Residence here!