JC Stays: Amandari Resort Ubud, Bali

A holiday villa that is serene, stunningly laid out, and as plush as it gets.


Arriving at our villa in the thick of night, the air alive with the sounds of the wild, we didnt have much sense of what wed wake up to. Opening the blinds to lush tropical jungle in every direction, to trees with leaves as large as a person and barely a soul around, it was better than we couldve anticipated.

Located in Sayun, about 15 minutes’ drive from Ubud, Bali’s cultural capital, Amandari is serene, stunningly laid out and as plush as it gets.

An intimate spa hotel in the Aman chain, the emphasis is on wellness and wellbeing, so the day starts with complimentary yoga, while breakfast choices (served in your personal courtyard or at the restaurant overlooking a vast infinity pool) include raw juices, avocado toast and quinoa porridge. Even the dinner menu offers a nod to health — my deconstructed ‘lasagne’ with cashew cream rather than cheese felt incredibly virtuous, if not for the chocolate fondant that followed.

The spacious, two-storey villas, which range from those for couples to larger ones for families, are veiled by heavy stone walls, so that once inside you are completely undisturbed. Tastefully decorated in wood and neutral furnishings, the crowning glory is the exterior; a private pool and sunbeds, along with an outdoor bath and assorted balconies for a choice of lounging.

Every need is met without you having to ask, from regularly replenished water bottles to sarongs for use when touring Ubud’s myriad temples. The only thing lacking was a TV, and even that was brought in.

At a hotel as tranquil as Amandari the temptation could be to stay put, but that’d be a waste. Staff can organise any of Ubud’s must-do activities, from cookery courses to trekking through rice paddies to traditional Balinese theatre (a riot of colour and music, even if the plot was baffling) — albeit for a steep price, so you’re better off taking the free transport into town to organise it though a travel agent there.

But after a hard day’s adventuring, it was the perfect place to return to. Enjoying a dip in our pool to refresh us from heat that outlasted the sun, with cocktails using local ingredients and musicians playing calming Balinese music, we couldn’t have felt more relaxed.


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