Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Uma by COMO, Ubud

Indonesia

Refreshingly easy on the attitude, relaxed though gracious, with a twist of funky chic Bali

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Uma by COMO, Ubud
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Uma by COMO, Ubud

Location

Uma Ubud's location is perfect for enjoying the magnetic street life of Bali's most spiritual, as well as creative village, Ubud

Travel Information

A 90 minute car transfer from Denpasar International airport

Top Tips

Check out Naughty Nuri's Warung and Grill in Ubud - awash with Ubud's a-listers

5-Star X-Factors

Japanese inspired cuisine

Uma Ubud - rustic chic in the soul of Bali

Uma Ubud is a just a short walk from the centre of Ubud in central Bali. It’s a veritable Balinese homestead and an authentic five star hotel, oozing hip and tropical nuances with an overall coating of Zen.

It is refreshingly easy on the attitude, relaxed though gracious, with a twist of funky chic Bali. It ticks the boxes for families, couples and singles, while its location is perfect for enjoying the magnetic street life of Bali's most spiritual, as well as creative village, Ubud.

While I stayed at Uma, my friend Jennifer spent three nights at what she describes as 'God's window on the world', Como Shambhala, Uma's 'big' sister property, situated 20 minutes outside Ubud. When I moved camp to Como Shambhala, I seconded her emotion and concluded that a stay combining the sensual siblings is an ideal combination.

Back at Uma with my baby daughter, we enjoyed a quaint terrace room overlooking the brilliantly lush gardens of the property framed by emerald green rice paddies and a romantically misty valley in the distance. The light ash-coloured four-poster was draped in white voile while the bathroom had a large sunken bathtub as well as an outdoor shower. The terrace was furnished in simple style; rattan furniture with white calico and a round marble table set on a pale stone raised floor, all easy on the eye. The enormous banana leaves hanging over the weathered walls in the private garden, together with soaring coconut palms housing playful squirrels chasing each other's tales, was charming. The room service was faultless and always came with a smile. I loved my wholesome breakfast on this terrace.

The hotel is comfortably-sized, just 29 rooms and suites, comprising: 14 terrace rooms, 10 garden rooms, 1 Uma Suite, 3 Uma Pool Suites and a super deluxe Como Suite with its very own private treatment area, sundeck and infinity pool with views overlooking the Tjampuhan valley and the River Oos. This suite of luxury would be perfect for honeymooners on a healthy budget; however, my more modest room would be scrumptious for that too. 21st century trappings are standard throughout the rooms. Value for money - Uma Ubud is hard to beat.

The overriding sensation while staying here is one of 'chill-out'. This is largely due to what feels like the heart of the hotel; the sensationally designed pool along with a very groovy bar area as well as the airy lobby. The design here is fresh, clean, and simple, while the slightly overgrown paths and steep steps, that lead to the private walled gardens of the rooms and suites is far more secluded and rustic in feel. This contrast between the discreet boudoirs and the breezy vibe of the communal areas works a treat.

The cuisine at the hotel is innovative, fresh and if you wish, extremely light. Of course you can order 'off menu' as I noticed a man tucking into fish and chips, however, the sushi style food was really delicious. The chef, Australian talent, Chris Miller, has most definitely drawn inspiration from Japan, though he relies on local ingredients, using Indian and Indonesian spices with a touch of Western artistry, resulting in plates of extremely attractive dishes as well as, in most cases, healthy ones too. The restaurant, Kemiri, is sensational, situated alongside a pool-sized pond, fed by a waterfall, and teaming with large koi carp. The water feature here is a delightfully cooling companion in balmy weather and makes this restaurant, with airy alang alang ceilings, a dining retreat.

Stepping out

Ubud rocks, if that's what you want. It is also dripping in Bali's spiritual covenant; a unique and unconventional form of Hinduism, which focuses more on the visual and aesthetically appealing rituals involved in appeasing the local spirits and ancestors. Most of the houses look like temples, with brick walls surrounding a compound, topped with Hindu statues, while the temples are as numerous as the houses. Weaved in and around this rural village, embracing every nook and cranny, is tropical foliage. The resulting tapestry is rich, colourful, iconic, artistic and inviting. It is the merging of the spiritual with the tropical and the creative that makes Ubud unique - behind every temple, boutique or restaurant, nestles a verdant rice paddy or a striking pocket of tropical jungle.

Across the street from Uma's entrance is perhaps Ubud's most notorious sun-downer hang out, Naughty Nuri's Warung and Grill. In fact, there appeared to be many groovy places to me, however, Naughty Nuri's, renowned for its sizzling ribs on outside barbeques and stupendous martinis, was positively buzzing with Ubud's A-listers. The sticky, tender ribs, whisked straight from the half-barrel barbeque onto your plate were delicious, while the martinis were almost too good... There are also three other bars nearby; one dedicated to jazz, another to rock and the third to pop. We also enjoyed some great sushi in an exotic Japanese restaurant called Minami and before all of this I bought some linen 'lounge' tops and pants from Biaza, a recently opened dream of a boutique next to an art gallery close to Naughty Nuri!

The following morning, as I bid farewell to this special Uma in Ubud, before taking off for Shambhala paradise, I glanced back and noticed a yoga class taking place in the teak studio above the pool's bar. I realised it all just happens here, in whichever way pleases you, from Zen to Zanadoo.

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant


Luxury Explorer