There were so many fantastic "elements" to my experience at this jewel in the jungle (not really a jungle, just like the alliteration) that it is hard to know where to begin. If you compare this exceptional space to other "luxury" or upscale destinations on the beautiful island of Bali, this not only comes off magnificently by example, but even somewhat of a bargain, which is a rare thing to say in the upper echelons of luxury travel.
Had a massage with one of their very genuine, superb, and authentically spiritual Balinese masseurs -- a complete contrast to the well-meaning, perfunctory, pleasant but skill-less massages in nearby Ubud. This man was the real thing. Not some Eat-Pray-Love fixture, but truly a sincere expert from a distinctly different culture -- and that in the most positive sense. Be sure to tell any of the masseurs or masseuses if their pressure is too hard; they can tailor things masterfully when told.
I also went through nearly all the rooms and spaces throughout this resort, and I have to say, the architecture is stunning. I've been to the Viceroy and the Four Seasons in Ubud, and the old Amandari, but this is just at a whole other level. The perch over the rushing river is wonderful and, without hyperbole, transcendent.
Had dinner in their restaurant, and everything I tried was very good. Super fresh and super healthy. The salads were particularly extraordinary.
To that one review who complained about the remoteness -- beauty in this setting is its charm -- and about the lack of English -- nonsense, Indonesians I spoke with at the resort spoke very well and one of the two owners is American.
Get a good driver who knows how to navigate the Balinese roads and to drive comfortably to Mambal.
The whole place has a singular charm and is potent tonic to the crassness of Kuta and the crowds in Ubud. It's a beautiful modern take on what first brought the rest of the world to Bali over a century ago. To travel as far as many of us do to get here and miss this place would be a shame.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Fivelements Bali Retreat is a wellness resort located near Ubud Bali, along the banks of the sacred Ayung River, fifteen minutes drive to centre of ubud. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Fivelements Puri Ahimsa Hotel Badung