Above: Overlooking the resort’s main pool and spa.
Ubud’s newest riverside retreat combines art, comfort, and genial Balinese hospitality
By Natasha Dragun
This striking property is the third Ubud venture by Komaneka, a budding Balinese boutique-hotel group run by a family of art collectors. Carved into a valley of palms and papaya, the resort features an eclectic selection of artworks from the owners’ private collection. Antique Balinese doors sit beside wire installations, while paintings reminiscent of Jackson Pollock’s fluid expressionism are overhung with designer chandeliers. Even the tables are works of art, carved from gigantic dungu tree roots recovered from Kalimantan.
Set on a hillside overlooking the Campuhan River, Komaneka at Bisma is within walking distance of Ubud’s main drag, but far enough removed to escape the clatter of early-morning garbage trucks. Regular buses whisk guests into town, with drop-off points at Komaneka’s sister hotels and the Neka Art Museum, founded by the family’s patriarch.
Rooms To Book
The 34 suites are smart and spacious, but better still are the 10 sprawling one-bedroom villas. Each is outfitted with a 12-meter-long swimming pool tiled in green to complement the lush river valley it overlooks. The light-filled interiors are decorated in warm, earthy tones, and come with niceties like complimentary Wi-Fi and Apple TVs. Book Villa 110, the farthest from the main building, for maximum seclusion.
Begin the evening with sundowners on the deck of the candle-lit lobby; come dusk, beanbags emerge and creative cocktails make the rounds. All meals are served in the resort’s open-air restaurant, where fresh, fusion creations utilize locally sourced produce—think char-grilled free- range chicken with mango, cashews, and a chili-tamarind sauce. There’s no charge for room service, so sleep in and have breakfast (try the cinnamon-spiced yogurt with homemade muesli and pots of Balinese coffee) in your villa.
What the fitness center lacks in size, it more than makes up for in outlook. From the treadmill, you’re treated to views of the pool and river valley, providing you with plenty of inspiration to work up a sweat. Less strenuous, but equally rousing, are early-morning yoga classes in the same space.
Make time for a treatment at the Komaneka Spa, set low in the valley beside a waterfall. Balinese therapies like the lulur ayu body scrub utilize aromatic house-blended spa products, combining ingredients such as Kaffir lime leaves with yam beans, patchouli, and granulated rice.
Jl. Bisma, Ubud; 62-361/971-933; komaneka.com; doubles from US$350.
Originally appeared in the June/July 2009 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Komaneka?at Bisma”)