By Claire Gilbertsen.
The exotic island of Bali is already close to a little place known as heaven, but a stay at the new Ritz Carlton hotel in Ubud elevates the experience to truly transcendental bliss. Opened in February of this year, the resort is perched on the cliffs of the southern tip of Nusa Dua. Guests can enjoy a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean from every room, as well as from the top of the resort. The view is captivating at every hour of the day, but sunsets are particularly mesmerizing with vibrant pinks, oranges, purples, and translucent blues in the early evening. A good solid pinch to wake up from this dream is not included.
It is clear that the design of the hotel takes every opportunity to incorporate the sensational Balinese setting. The lobby has an open design, inviting guests to enjoy the cool breeze and tropical environment from the moment they arrive.
The grounds are naturally gorgeous, but the Ritz Carlton has enhanced the environment with beautiful features such as the Sawangan Beach Walkway. The stone path takes guests from the white sand beaches out into the ocean, giving one the sense of walking on water to the ends of the earth. Guests can also enjoy the beachfront mediation gazebo—a perfect sanctuary from which to take in the beautiful Balinese beach.
The rooms are pristine and peaceful, the décor is upscale, sophisticated, and sleek, accented by tropically-colored Balinese textiles. The exquisite bathrooms boast caramel-colored marble, and rooms with sliding divider doors give suites an Asian feel. The Garden Villas feature outdoor terraces, private pools, and an outdoor shower. The dip pools are cleverly woven into the layout of the room, and even the inlayed bath looks like it belongs, rather than added as an afterthought.
Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for dining al fresco. Raku, one of the five restaurants, is a divine outdoor Japanese bar and lounge, surrounded by peaceful water features that look mystical in the evening and night. Their distinctive restaurant Bejana gives one the feeling of eating a meal from deep inside of a volcano because of the large stone accents and provocative lighting. This five-star Indonesian restaurant incorporates culinary delights from the region, and even offers a gourmet learning center known as the “Culinary Cave.”
Perhaps best of all, the glorious spa officially opened this month, expanding their extensive list of holistic activities available. In addition to the more traditional spa services, there are several rejuvenative offerings, including a soak in a Balinese bath. The most unique service is an authentic Balinese-inspired Soul Purification treatment—the only one of its kind—which begins with a beautiful devotional ritual and spiritual cleansing, and ends with a symbolic string wrapped around the wrist, symbolizing the ongoing quest for harmony and balance in life. If the purification ritual whets your appetite for more, there are a variety of excursions available to the island’s ancient temples.
And as for the best time of year to visit? That would be anytime, but specifically the sooner the better.
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