How To Have The Ultimate Indulgent Holiday In Ubud
A few short hours from the coast, yet a world away – Ubud truly is Bali’s capital of cool. And the chill-out kind, at that.
As the unofficial gateway to the island’s rice terraces, temples and tranquility (read: a photographer’s paradise), Ubud is rich in high-end cultural experiences. From fusion fine-dining to traditional spa treatments and ‘beach’ club sessions – you’re in Bali, after all – whatever you’re after, you’ll find it here.
Overwhelmed, and not sure where to start? Read on.
Where to wine and dine
Ubud is a culinary gem of Bali, with local and expat chefs getting experimental with fusion cuisine that certainly pays off on the taste buds. The multi-level Bridges is something of a culinary icon in Ubud, famed as much for its dramatic riverside setting as its traditional Rijsttafel tasting menu.
However, as the only local rep on the 2019 Asia’s Top 50 Best Restaurants List, Locavore is the top name on the gastronomic bucket list.
Locavore has been a premier dining experience since opening in 2013, headed up by Dutch chef Eelke Plasmeijer, who opened the eatery with a simple vision: “We simply wanted to have some fun, cooking the food we would like to cook, playing the music we like to listen to and work with the people we like to work with.”
This carefree approach pays off, with a menu that pushes boundaries yet still allows local ingredients to shine in dishes such as ‘Into the Sawah’: heritage Galah rice porridge with duck, egg yolk, snails, frog leg abon, fern tips and wildflowers.
Before your lunch or dinner reservation, make a pit-stop at Team Locavore’s newly opened Night Rooster cocktail bar a few doors down, which was opened to give Locavore’s resident (and experimental) mixologist, Raka, a stage of his own.
Whet your appetite with a few inventive cocktails that showcase local liquors, herbs and spices, with spectacular views down bustling Jalan Dewisita.
Where to pamper yourself
The serenity of Bali is oft best enjoyed from a spa bed, and in Ubud you’re spoilt for choice. In these parts, it’s not so much a matter of how you want to unwind, but where. Fancy a traditional Balinese massage in the heart of lush jungle? Head to the spa at Four Seasons Resort.
A top-to-toe rejuvenation treatment by a serene lotus pond sounds more down your street? Then book in for the Village Spa Journey at Amandari Spa, where you’ll be exfoliated head to toe using black rice and then wrapped in soothing volcanic clay. Wherever your spa adventure, your biggest dilemma will be trying not to fall asleep.
Where to swim
It’s an unwritten law that when in Bali one must be near the water, be it the ocean, an infinity pool or beach club. Tucked away among Ubud’s rice terraces and jungle valley is the non-beach-beach-club, Jungle Fish. Here, you’ll find everything you’d expect from the coastal Potato Heads and Ku De Tas: cool cocktails, a large pool, chill-out tunes, and nothing but jaw-dropping jungle views ahead.
For a photo-ready poolside experience, it’s got to be Padma Ubud. Make an afternoon of it with lunch or afternoon tea, so you can float away your food coma in the infinity pool – the longest in the region – while watching the sun set. Bliss.
Where to stay
If Bali runs on island time then Ubud is a couple of hours behind that, so you’ll want to make the most of the relaxed vibes – and the incredible views – by staying a few nights. Viceroy Bali is a luxe sanctuary overlooking the verdant Petanu Valley (also known as the Valley of the Kings), so it makes sense to check into a villa fit for royalty.
That’s where the Viceroy Villa comes in: two bedrooms, each with marble ensuites that lead into the main communal living area, that flow out onto a 15-metre heated pool and private garden. And if you’re feeling like mixing up the poolside vistas a little bit, it’s worth venturing out for a cocktail by the stunning main infinity pool, which seemingly sits over the jungle landscape.
If exploration is more your holiday vibe, base yourself at Como Uma Ubud, which is close to the popular trekking spots of Tjampuhan’s Sacred Hills and Campuhan Ridge Walk. After a morning’s hike, retreat back to your Uma Pool Villa for lunch on the sundrenched deck and a swim to the soundtrack of the river valley below.
(Lead image: Locavore / supplied)
Published 29 August, 2019