My husband and I chose this hotel for a 5 night stay as the second part of our honeymoon in Bali (first 6 day leg in at Alila Villas in Uluwatu), Sept 2011. Overall, we had an amazing, relaxing, rejuvenating and very private stay.
The strengths of this hotel are the massive grounds and sense of being in nature while restoring health and vitality. The grounds are left very natural and in tune with the jungle surroundings, but obvious effort on the hotel staff to keep it looking nice! Our favorite element was the food. There was just enough diversity on the menu to keep us happy daily, even during our stay. We LOVED the menu at Glow, so much so that we only visited the traditional Indonesian restaurant once (which was also amazing, just a bit heavier). The salads at Glow were amazing. The efforts on the part of the head chefs to provide tasty, healthy, well-sourced food, raw-vegan dishes, etc. were impressive. An you can get food delivered nearly anywhere on the resort, which was awesome (i.e., spring pools, veranda). An important note is that we are healthy, active vegetarian types, we don't drink much either. However, somebody who likes heavy western food and wine with dinner might find the menu a bit frustrating. Alcohol was expensive (I think it was close to 8GBP for a beer 12 GBP for a glass of wine).
THINGS TO IMPROVE:
What I think could have been improved during our stay were one major thing and a couple of minor things. The major concern I had was the that mattress in the private villa was a mattress for a 2 star hotel, not a 5 star hotel. Although management was immediately responsive to our concerns, I felt a meeting with the manager about the crap mattress was a little bit over the top and embarrassing. I did need to sleep on towels on an L shaped couch to avoid the major back pain I was experiencing after sleep two nights on the iron waffle. Since sleep is a huge part of vitality, health, and restoration, I'm surprised this key element was massively overlooked.
First minor point, the hotel staff requests you to complete a brief health and diet questionnaire prior to your stay, which includes questions about the types of activities you'd like during your stay. We were keen to do yoga, and so selected it, only to find out that yoga was offered twice during our stay. We were hoping for daily yoga and felt a bit mislead by the online activities schedule. The other bit is about dietary selections, although, this bit is picky because it only happened twice (once at each restaurant). On the pre-stay form, there is a question to indicate your dietary requirements. We indicated veg. Despite this, were regularly presented with meat amuse bouche, with apologies, and often no alternative. Although, that's not a huge problem and it happens to us all of the time, I was left wondering why we bothered completing that long form or why nobody read it? So perhaps it's an issue of attention to guests as resonated in other reviews.
Another thing I wasn't really pleased with was the general quality of the decor in our villa (we stayed in a private villa). I felt that these villas' decoration and general presentation was lacking the historic character, quality and attention to detail that was reflected in the larger residences. While you do gain privacy in the private villas, you loose the history sense of the resort. If we are to go back, I would stay in one of the private residences within the villas.
Last minor issue, was staff attention to the villa. While I realize that we were in a jungle and when the wind blows, leaves blow in the pool. I think more of an effort could have been made on cleaning the pools. I had to ask twice to have leaves and debris cleared out of the pool.
Overall, I would advise you to go to the hotel if its mission and services are something you desire. If you're simply looking for ultimate spoiled luxury and don't want to lift a finger during your stay, perhaps a beach resort would suit you better (lots of walking, hiking, activities here). I would not come here alone, unless I needed alone-time to escape an unwind. I think this hotel is ideal for couples, mother daughter trips, friends' get a way.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- COMO Shambhala Estate is a residential health retreat with luxury villa-style accommodations near Ubud, Bali. This ‘Retreat for Change’ is a place to relax and improve wellbeing. State-of-the-art wellness facilities include a Vitality pool, private treatment areas beside the River Ayung, a climbing wall, gym, Pilates studio and yoga pavilion. The Estate’s Resident Experts, who all support the 360-degree approach to wellness, include a Yoga Master, Ayurvedic Doctor and guides for outdoor activities, with nutritional menus by COMO Shambhala Cuisine. The range of suites and villas, perched above the Balinese jungle, suits independent guests, couples, or small groups. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Como Shambhala Estate Hotel Payangan
- COMO Shambhala Estate Bali/Payangan