As I mentioned in the previous post, Bali was an assault on the senses. I typically have a few weeks (if not months) to research a travel destination. Without fail I get into my “I-have-to-know-everything-about-the-place” mode and research with gusto. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the surprising twists and turns that come with each new adventure, but I’ve found that getting somewhat “under the skin” of a destination prior to going has never done me any harm. In fact, it’s always given me extra insight and an artillery of useful information.
So, when I was commissioned to go to Bali, I had a matter of days to prepare! In addition, my assignment was structured over a 3 day period, so I knew that I wouldn’t have much time on the ground to explore. Despite the time-frame and some manic on-site research and photographing, I managed to zoot around Seminyak for a few hours on my last day. Suffice to say I LOVED the place and I’ll post those photos in the following post. First up though, a few snaps of the magical place I stayed in Ubud.
The Mansion Bali is nestled in an elevated and lush parkland estate in Ubud, a lush tropical town and Bali’s cultural heart. The main resort building, a French colonial-style mansion, was once a private home, but the owner (a Vietnamese lady who lives between Bali and the US) converted the house into a hotel-resort. The old “manor house” is now a grand foyer, a number of exclusive suites, a ball room and a restaurant. The foyer doubles as the reception area and a curated, living museum, decorated with traditional artefacts, artworks and memorabilia, personal belongings of the owner.
Quite fortuitously, we arrived at night, because as we entered the property through two huge wrought iron gates, we were met with rows of magically illuminated white (traditional Balinese) umbrellas which led to the ornate entrance. A grand arrival to say the least! The resort villas are dotted all along the pathways. Most have a romantic, almost honeymoon-like feel to them. Think beds draped in netting, elevated and sunken baths and (sometimes) private plunge pools, set amidst lush private courtyards.
The three elements of the resort I loved the most were the main pool (set on a number of levels in a large landscaped garden and dotted with generous day beds), the spa (superb treatments at a fraction of the cost of similar in Sydney) and the resort grounds, which were truly a joy to explore. I loved the loosely landscaped pathways, garden statues, photographic imagery, Hindu shrines and sculptures hidden amongst the lush vegetation and coconut trees. An authentic and magical Balinese wonderland.
Lastly, I must say that as a lover of independent hotels, this is really one of my favourites. I felt that it truly evoked the spirit of Ubud without being too “try-hard” or “perfect”. And I’ll never forget being served an “express coconut juice”. When I inquired as to the name, I was told that my drink had been hanging off one of the coconut trees a few minutes earlier! I think I’ve become a little too citi-fied for my own liking!