COMO Shambhala Estate, Ubud
A private estate set amongst the jungle clearings, high up in the rainforest above Ubud. A setting that is not only spectacular but also therapeutic at it’s heart. Como Shambhala Estate is a holistic sanctuary of the highest level, with just 30 rooms that are served by 380 staff, offering the highest level of service, the most luxury facilities and ahead-of-the-game treatments. This is where you need to come for complete self-restoration, pure tranquility and to have all of your worries taken care of.
Being shown through the hotel, the misty, mossy valley breathtakingly comes into view, like no place I have ever stayed, with even the pouring rain seeming appropriately perfect. This is a place where people come to detox, destress and revitalise their lives for the better, and I can already see why.
A Personal Assistant is assigned to each guest to coordinate your surprisingly busy schedule. Offering a range of wellness programmes run by the team of resident health experts, from an Ayurvedic doctor, nutritionist, traditional Chinese medicine doctors and the finest yoga and pilates instructors. The gentle, results driven approach will keep you surprisingly busy, run in tandem with the estates schedule of activities from estate walks around the property, or the local rice fields, to village bike riding, jungle gym, yoga, meditation and much more. But you could just as easily find your relaxation in your room overlooking the lush jungle, ordering room service, dipping in the pool and having the massage therapist come to you.
The sounds of the Ayung River below add a further sense of tranquility throughout your stay. Every detail of the design is created with care, including the vegetation that seems to planted strategically to maximise privacy.
The villas are grouped together in residences based on the five elements of water, fire, earth, air and space. I’m staying in fire, which comes alive in the evening as the fire pit at the centre is lit up. The elements are arranged perfectly to allow that extra sense of privacy, with the option to rent an entire residence with your own private restaurant and pool area if you’re looking for total privacy.
Dining complements the philosophy of your stay where meals are balanced and healthy. Nutritionists are on hand to put together a menu to complement your wellness journey and the Ayurvedic doctor can match special Ayurvedic diets to individual requirements. Their focus on nutrition reveals the power of certain foods to maximise personal performance and energy levels. While the restaurants are stunning, in room dining is the perfect private experience to mindfully appreciate your surroundings.
Footsteps from the Ayung River, The Source is an ancient spring of rejuvenating holy water which flows down to the emerald waters of the ponds below. You can be guided through a blessing here with chanting and offerings from a local priest, a process through which you will be considered new; clean in mind and soul. I instead took part in a purification ceremony at a local Balinese temple, one of the most special experiences that will stay with me forever. A morning walk down to the waters of The Source is nonetheless, a perfectly calming start to your day, where you can truly appreciate where you are and how you have arrived to be here.
This is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and luxurious hotels in the world, set in 9 stunning acres of tropical grounds, riverside forest and plunging hill terraces. It was very hard saying goodbye to my Personal Assistant who it really did feel had taken it upon himself to make my trip as perfect as it could be, but I know I’ll be back and I feel like it will be quite soon.