STAY BALI: SAMSARA UBUD
When you start planning a trip to Bali, you will hear over and over again that while there are many sides to Bali, there are 2 types of Bali experiences. There is the party scene, hip, vibrant, loud, alive- these terms are often used to describe Seminyak. And then there’s the more immersive, quieter, truer side of Bali- these terms are often used to describe Ubud.
Ubud has been described as the culture and heart of Bali, or better yet, the cultural heart of Bali. While Ubud lacks the overly busy and touristy atmosphere of Seminyak, don’t be fooled, it is quite clearly not a secret anymore. There are plenty of tourists flooding the markets and shops, especially along the main strip of Monkey Forest Road. So if you are indeed looking for a quiet escape, a temporary seclusion, an opportunity to quiet down the noise then you have to be especially strategic about your choice of hotel. Unlike the early 90’s where hotels where few and far between, when so few made the trip here, there are now hotels every where, many promising an experience that they may not be able to deliver on as competition has caused some areas to be lined with hotel after hotel and tourist attraction after another.
Samsara Ubud is a brand new hotel- it only opened in October of 2017 and the location is set in the mountains, in the middle of lush greens and quiet breezes. It is located about a 20 minute ride away from the center of Ubud which made for perfect scooter ride distance. Scooters were delivered upon request and for the times, we didn’t want to get on a scooter, the hotel offered complimentary shuttles to and from the city center.
When I pulled into the hotel, driving through the narrow entrance, there’s a curiosity that peaks, as you know there’s more; has to be more, beyond the driveway. And as you drive down to the main level, you arrive at an open air and expansive lobby, that looks out into the jungle. Gone is the standard reception and lobby. I don’t think I’ve ever had to be pulled away from the reception area. Electric white golf carts shuttle guests and their luggages to their villas; villas that are positioned at different levels of the mountain. The multi-level and layered architecture is a tribute to Bali’s centuries-old rice terraces, providing all villas with unobstructed views of the lush tropical jungle.
While the large infinity pool is in every way amazing and a sight to see, I found that I spent just as much if not more time in the private pool that my villa and all villas on the property are fitted with. The days in Bali are hot, that intense heat and humidity that can give you the glow up or keep you at the beach all day. But nights are cooler, much cooler and what a difference a heated pool makes. Love when hotels think about all the details. The pool is a nifty highlight, but the rooms themselves have every comfort you need on a vacation. From both and indoor and outdoor shower, to soaking tub in the bath. I can also definitely add the bed at the Samsara on my list of top 5 most comfy beds. At nighttime, you can create different moods by changing the light settings, including one really cool effect of lights under the bed- it’s hard to describe, you just have to see it.
There were no shortage of amazing meals in Bali, but we knew we had something special, when we consciously made sure to eat most of our meals at the Samsara’s restaurant- Kelusa. Not just for the food (especially the Nasi goreng which I had on the daily for breakfast) but also for the deep seated comfy chairs on the wide terrace overlooking the jungle. It’s in those moments, that you can reflect and think about why it is important to get away every now and then.
OVERALL: Priced rather affordably ($175-$250/night) for what you get, the Samsara wins high marks from me for being both stylish and authentic. This is a definite recommend and an inspired choice if you’re visiting the area.