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“Room rate great value, but some service issues and penny-pinching”

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COMO Shambhala Estate
Ranked #3 of 10 Hotels in Payangan
Certificate of Excellence
Amsterdam
Level 6 Contributor
232 reviews
98 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
“Room rate great value, but some service issues and penny-pinching”
Reviewed May 5, 2012

This is one of the most beautiful resorts in the world. At $350 per night, the rack rate puts it at the bottom rung of the high end hotels, and as such it is great value.

What is not good is the feeling of nickling and diming on food and beverages, the lack of a shuttle to town ($20 each way - every other hotels offers this for free), and expensive everything. Although the number of rooms is small, the resorts lacks a sense of personality. You still sign for everything for example.

Almost all staff are well-intentioned but are not operating at the highest levels, leading to many service issues. This is a clear management problem.

In fact, during our 7 day stay this time, or on any of the previous 10 or so occasions we have visited the resort in the last six months for stays or treatments, we have not once seen the General Manager, to the point where I started to doubt his existence. This is appalling, especially for a resort with such a small number of rooms. I was told on one day that he was at Uma, Como's other property in Ubud. Perhaps he is being asked to manage two resorts for the price of one, but most of the problems we had with our stays and visits are down to simple lack of oversight, coordination and training, and that, ultimately, is down to the mysteriously absent GM.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sinbarambam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MonicaBarter, Operations Dir at COMO Shambhala Estate, responded to this review, September 21, 2012
Dear sinbarambam,

Greetings from Bali and many thanks for your balanced review of your recent experience at COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali.

Your comments on where we were below par have been carefully looked into.

We value your continued patronage and look forward to welcoming you back and hope that elements of your stay that delighted you will continue to exceed your expectations.

With very best wishes from us all,

Monica Barter
COMO Shambhala
Operations Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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London
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2012

"My girlfriend and I were looking for some peace and relaxation in Bali. We booked six days at Como Shambhala and were wonderfully pleased with our time there.

To begin with the grounds of the estate are beautiful and have many areas to explore. We never really saw it all as we were distracted by discovering beautiful waterfalls, hidden springs, and crystal clear pools, each with a convenient lounger and towel waiting to lure us away from further exploration. One of the magical aspects of the estate is that there are so many places to discover and enjoy one almost never sees any one else. We were informed the resort was nearly full, but we felt like we had it to ourselves. We did venture out occasionally, in fact we are probably the only guests that ever walked to Ubud, but the resort is really best enjoyed by staying put. Enjoy the fabulous service, the spa treatments, and the beautiful grounds and pools without rushing. Do some meditation and a bit of yoga, do like we did and talk for hours in your own bale and enjoy the room service in complete privacy. Get to know which bird makes which call, learn the routes of the flying squirrels, note the emerald green butterfly's favorite bush, and lounge near the night tree the monkey family climbs in the evening as the sun is setting...

Service--perfect. All smiles and can-do attitude. Sunarta, our personal assistant was excellent but so was every one we encountered. From the front desk to the gardeners, everyone said hello with a genuine smile. Whatever we wanted to eat appeared perfectly. Whatever we asked for, Sunarta made possible. Fantastic.

Room--we stayed in the Wanakasa Terrace 2, which was like an uber-sophisticated treehouse in the jungle. Full of windows so the bedroom was very sunny and bright. It had a shower and huge stone bathtub outside. In the evening, Sunarta arranged for candles to be lit around the tub and garden so it was, shall I say, more than a bit romantic to watch the moon slide across the sky as we soaked in the bath. Also, throughout the resort there are so many comfy common areas, tea rooms, etc. to enjoy (by ourselves) it was like having a huge open air villa at our disposal.

Food--we had our breakfast there every morning. They were fresh and tasty with a good variety of choices. Fresh fruit and fruit juices, health juices, hot pastries, crepes, waffles, a great start to the day. I don't drink coffee, but my girlfriend certainly enjoyed hers.

Bugs--aha! Now you think I will complain...sorry. In six days, including one night we slept with the windows wide open (and no nets or screens) we did not have a single bite and we never used any bug repellant. Go figure. But it was great.

Recommendation--stay at Como Shambhala. If you want a truly relaxing retreat from the rush and tumble of your hectic life, stay a week. Don't overbook your activities. I promise you will enjoy it best as a destination, not a waypoint.

About me--you may not believe it, but I am a very particular hotel guest. I have travelled extensively and stayed at many outstanding hotels like the Amman resorts, Orientals, Ritz Carltons, George V, Four Seasons, etc. I would confidently place Como Shambhala right up there. It is not trying to be there or aspiring to be there, it is there and delivers. So go there and enjoy it but please don't take my room!"

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank RK101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tel aviv
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2012

Como's exclusivity lies in its amazing beautiful greenery landscape.
The service is impeccable and the food is amazing,world class.
Looking forward to our next visit!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank doronk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2012

I have stayed at this property many times from when it first opened as Begawan Giri and keep on returning as nowhere else in Bali or this part of the world has such a relaxing affect on me, instantly relieving the stress of working life!!

One little insight I have discovered is the existence of a number of rather large private villas on the Estate which are rather under promoted. If you press the Estate very hard and don't let them fob you off with a single room elsewhere, they will I assume check with the owners and depending on availability offer rates for a whole villa similar to a single room. The villas are very specious and offer the same level of service as the rest of the Estate and importantly are family friendly allowing children to enjoy a private garden and pool to play in. They seem to be 3 bedroom layouts. My personal favorite is called Pita Linggar as it is more secluded with a better layout and a nice lawn.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank CDHBlackwell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2012

I stayed in COMO with my 2 siblings and my toddler in one of the treatment villas. From the start to the end, Como exudes an understated luxury in the grounds and service which I liked. It is an old resort, unlike the shiny new Balinese resorts but this for me is part of the charm. Older resorts mean the staff already run the place like clockwork. I wanted to book the Private Villas but was told they are not available but I suspect they wanted to market out the Treatment Villas or reserve the Private villas for more important guests or irregulars.
First let's list the good stuff:
1. I booked a 3 day de-stress wellness program me. Loved the yoga sessions, one of which is conducted by the Ayuervedic doc there and the other by the sweet and unassuming Mark Chavez, whom I liked so much I booked another paid session with him for my sister and I. The only thing is the good doc says he will email me details f the yoga poses etc.. and I never received anything...
2. The food - every thing is healthy, yummy and clearly of a good quality - and imaginative. Just my four days there and I feel so much better. My next trip will be at least a 5 or 7 days wellness programe. Loved too the outdoor Yoga Bale where i spent some alone time meditating...
3. Loved the beautiful grounds and outdoor spa areas just on the slopes of the Ayung valley - if not for the fact that I am constantly worrying that my 3.5 YO boy will run off the edge... (not exactly right for kids below 8 I must say but if u are willing to keep constant vigilance... it's ok)
4. Most of the staff are amazing - the beautiful wait staff at Glow and the other restaurant who makes it a point to play with my son and chat with him. You can see some of the younger girls kept wanting to play with him which is great... (which parent will not appreciate people thinking their child is cute... but we know when they are sincere... and in this case this was...)
5. No over the top gimmicky luxury... just simple good taste in all things.

The not so good stuff (but not exactly bad too):
1. cleanliness - bed covers was a little dirty but we asked it to be changed. Mosquito net was dirty too, but when we asked for it to be changed, we were told they need dry-cleaning and materials are very expensive?!? We didn't insist - cos we figure this is a jungle so 'ommmm..... we let it pass...'
2. Most of the staff are amazing - just 2 little points. While we can't afford to fault our PA on any major incident at all and he does get better over the days... we feel that he is a little busy and just a tad bit stressed or harassed (by other stuff not by us)... that we didn't feel we should bother him so much. Perhaps it was a bad day for him for a day... but i just feel that since I feel i am here to de-stress, we can do with a calmer, more smiley PA? He took all the right steps and all say mostly all the right things but it's the intuitive service - the sincerity and willingness in wanting to help that's a little lacking, and might i say just a little. In this, we found Banyan Tree Ungasan, whose staff is probably less experienced but have this in abundance, but they were really sincere in wanting to help in all aspects.
3. One time, we had slightly brusque service at breakfast which surprised and slightly alarmed us cos most time the staff are amazing - then we figure out the service staff had a small tiff amongst themselves - but once resolved, they were back to their smiling selves again.

Other than this, we will be back and we will recommend this place to friends who wants to de-stress... and my 3YO learnt a new word in his vocabulary - he was at the bookshops and where he saw a coffee table book with beautiful homes or resort - he says 'mommy, Como Shambala!'

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank daliesque
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BaliManager, General Manager at COMO Shambhala Estate, responded to this review, April 22, 2012
Dear Daliesque,

Thank you for your comprehensive review on TripAdvisor. We are delighted to know that on most aspects that you enjoyed your stay, and embraced the wellness ethos of The Estate, as well as the modalities on offer. Thank you for highlighting how much you have enjoyed your Yoga classes with Dr. Deepak and Mark Chavez.

I am concerned and deeply apologetic to know that the bedcover was not changed upon your request, and service from your PA, and service at one of the breakfasts was less than perfect. The answer you were given about changing the mosquito net and bed covers is unacceptable, and I am truly sorry that your were given this reply. Your comments are taken very seriously and I assure you that remedial training and teaching will be given to our team members to further perfect the intuitive style of service and genuine, friendly, calm service style, for which COMO Shambhala Estate is known.

Regrettably the Private Villas which you had requested have recently had some noise and privacy disturbance from a neighboring building project, therefore we have taken those rooms out of our available inventory, as to avoid any discomfort for COMO Shambhala guests. Our Retreat Vila was the best option for you, affording you privacy and the ability to stay with your three and half year old son. The Residence rooms have communal areas and guests ages to 16 and older can stay in the Residence room categoroes.

Thank you once again for such a comprehensive review. We appreciate your comments about the things you liked and the things which can be fine tuned and imporved upon.

We look forward to one day welcoming you back to COMO Shambhala Estate again.

Sincere regards,


John W. Halpin
General Manager

COMO Shambhala Estate
Banjar Begawan, Desa Melinggih Kelod
Payangan, Gianyar 80571
Bali, Indonesia

Email john.halpin@cse.comoshambhala.bz
Website cse.como.bz

PART OF THE COMO GROUP
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Singapore
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed April 11, 2012

It is a dream comes true to visit Como Shambhala Estate. As there is no doubt that there are many luxurious resort hotels in Bali, Como's exclusivity lies in its amazing beautiful greenery landscape.
There are not many villas within the resort and we stayed in Umabona (House of Earth) for 2 nights, which is located furthest from the lobby and a tad quieter. In fact, there aren't many guests in the Estate and probably more staff than guests here ;). The room is themed (Majaphahit), luxurious with the usual amenities and daily turn down service.
Breakfast is organic, wholesomely healthy and tasty.
Pool is either within the compound of individual residence or at the natural spring pool whereby you takes a path journey through terrains, half way down the mountainside. There is a open air bathroom hidden overlooking the Agung River, thanks to an American couple who notify us.
No complains on Spa treatment, it is great with professional mastery and care by therapists.
We were delighted with the kind obligation of the complimentary 1-way airport transfer. We'll definitely be back!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Clear_Brook_Rae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bedford, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2012

I was a bit skeptical about this place and actually all places that say retreat. Well this place lived up to its reputation. I was also a bit worried about going on my own.
The moment I left the airport,(very jet lagged) One of there people were there to take me to the Como car with a cold drink & refreshing towel.
Once arriving at the hotel, they assign a PA to you. Who looks after you totally. They unpack your suitcase, whilst you can have a drink or a bite to eat.
The food was so delicious, all healthy stuff mind you. the breakfasts were out of this world.
The massages, daily activities etc. all perfect. The staff can not do enough for you and not sure how they all know you by your name the moment you arrive.
The setting in the jungle with a river flowing just below was breathtaking, the rooms were spacious with large outside areas.
Met some lovely like minded people. Have come back really refreshed and a lot healthier.
Thank you Como!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kitbed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about COMO Shambhala Estate

Property: COMO Shambhala Estate
Address: Banjar Begawan, Desa Melinggih Kelod | Payangan, Ubud, Payangan 80571, Indonesia
Phone Number:
Location: Indonesia > Bali > Payangan
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Payangan
#1 Romantic Hotel in Payangan
#3 Luxury Hotel in Payangan
#3 Spa Hotel in Payangan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — COMO Shambhala Estate 5*
Number of rooms: 30
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

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