20.10.2010 - 23.10.2010
At last Bali, a place that I have had on my list for as long as I can remember! I stayed at the Alila Ubud, trust me this hotel did not disappoint in fact I would go as far as to say, one of the nicest hotels I have every stayed. There attention to detail is 2nd to none, they think of every little detail to ensure you have the best time on your stay.
My room over looked the most amazing forest, which was just stunning. When I arrived at the entrance, nothing had prepared me for what I was about to see. I checked in at reception which I can only describe as a floating reception in the middle of the most beautiful scenery you have every seen. I was lead down some stairs, by a gentleman who carried my bags, I cannot believe that they do not have any trolleys, but given it is up in the mountains, I guess they don't really work, as it is very hilly, the hotel was just stunning set on may different levels.
When we finally reached my room, I was shocked by the amount of space, a far cry from the usual cramped hotel rooms back in the UK. On par to that I was staying in a suite, where I had my own gardens to enjoy back and front. Well the back garden also doubled up to an outside bathroom, which was just stunning and totally amazing (of course no one could see into that part of the garden, it was beautifully shielded with lovely trees and shrubs). This is a classy unique, boutique I have you know
Right back to reception to find out what is available to do in this tranquil and stunning place. All of this after a tour around the grounds and back to my room for my complimentary bottle of champagne, which I thought was delivered to the wrong room, this was a gift from the hotel manager, whom I was very lucky to bump into on my walk. (Did anyone else receive this, I do not know as I am not the sort of person to go around shouting that sort of thing). It was addressed to me, with a lovely note, so lets just leave it at that! Ok ok yes he was rather cute
Right where was we, things to do in Ubud:-
- Ubud Monkey Forest - One of many forest in Bali but the most populated
- Eco Bike Tour - All down hill form Mt Batur
- Sobek White Water Rafting - on the Ayung River
- Ubud Rice Field Walk
One of the first things I decide to do book is a private cycle tour around the area. So my guide who was a very strong and handsome, guy looked like a fitness instructor so truth be known I knew I was in trouble before we had even started, our half day, yes I did say half day tour of the lovely Ubud. To make life easy I booked this tour through the hotel. I was kitted out with a mountain bike, that looked like new and a safety helmet. Right camera, water check, we are off. Leaving the hotel grounds was a mission in itself as I had to cycle through a field with long grass, and told to watch out for the snakes, errrrrrrrrrrr OMG was my first thought what have I left myself in for. Clearly my facial expression was one of discomfort where I am told, this is the worse bit the rest of it is fine. With this in mind, I thought if this is the worse it get's then I can do this.
The tour was amazing the views just stunning, from seeing the school children, all in uniform, waving and calling me over. I was invited into class which was a huge honour, as I was told this was not the norm, and it must have been my large camera, that got us this privilege pass. After everyone wanting to look at my camera, nothing special just a 400D, not a Cannon MK III or anything....I was invited over to this hut, which I can only describe as a little tuck shop, which the children worked in to make money, it was open before school and at lunchtime only, where travellers like myself could pick up an ice drink, ice lolly or crisps Of course along with the local favorites fresh coconut water. After losing what felt like 5lbs, in 2 hours, what with the heat and all this tough cycling up hill, it was harder than any spinning class I have done in London. When we did finally come to a downward hill, I could not even manage that, whereby I flew down the hill and over the handle bars, and into the back of a truck on the side of the road. Other than a little bruised I am fine, more worried about my expensive Cannon Camera ok expensive to me, now you all know it is a Cannon 400D, which has been my travel partner on this amazing journey of my life.
Seeing little piglets, seeing huge spiders just hanging on the electric cables, which makes the UK house spiders look the size of an ant. Yes they really do, if I was to see one of the huge Bali spiders in my room or gardens, it would be an instant heart attack for sure.
The 'Ubud Rice Field Walk' might not appeal to many of you, but I promise you along with being great exercise it was well worth it. A little sign on Jalan Raya Ubud at Jalan Kajeng says "rice field walk" - a look from the south to the north through the rice fields and waterway. A single line path between rice fields, where locals will climb a coconut tree and serve you fresh young coconut juice, the path narrow to ravines and water falls created by the waterways and a bit of a climb up to an expansive view of more colours of green and oxygen fresh air. Turn left, as there is no sign, I take a loop around to a stop at Sari Organic for a cool drink or lunch on fresh from the garden vegetables. One it is delicious and two you will need it for the rest of the walk in the sweltering heat. The trail leaves you off in the north part of Ubud near the Blanco Museumon Jalan Raya Ubud. Take a rice field walk, whether this one or another.
Western prices treat
......MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR CREDIT CARD, otherwise don't bother....Splurge Day at Como Shambhala Estate Spa - Want a massage? not just any massage, but one in the Kedara Room. Room does not describe the structure. It's 500 steps down toward the Ayung River, the spa room is tucked into the side of the Ayung river cliff, and is made of natural dark wood and stone. Sound track not required, as this is provided by the birds and rushing river a soothing, calming atmosphere. To name but a few massages on offer, Thai, Indian Head, Deep Tissue, Sports, the list goes on....recommended is a pre-massage dip in the near by cliff pool or before going down the path take a trip up top where facials and other treatments take place. The jungle gym and full workroom, all with yoga, chi gong, pilates and aqua therapy are available for the day, as I would say paradise. End the day with a meal in the RAW food restaurant, living food with a Balinese and Indonesian influence.
For you bargain hunters like myself, just wonder around town and you'll find a cream hair bath, reflexology say for $5 or massage.
A few days in and I am swimming in the pool, when this guy starts talking to me, as he hears my english accent, when I thank the waiter for my drink. He then asks where I am from, at the time I was living in South London, where he tells me that he has a friend that lives in South London, his best friend in fact, we then got talking about work and it turned out not only did his best mate, work at the same place as me, he also sat behind me. What a small world, how funny, thousands of miles from home and I meet a colleagues best mate, we both start texting our mutual friend that we have just met each other.
To sum up my stay at Alila, fantastic hotel, wonderful people, staff and guests, equalled a brilliant stay, with some new friends, whom I hope to stay in contact with, once back home.