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High Luxury at Como Shambhala Estate

Jason Campbell

There are some hotel experiences that are so thoroughly luxurious they become the bar by which other properties are measured. The Christina Ong owned Como Shambhala Estate in the reclusive and peaceful Ubud section of Bali qualifies as such a sanctuary.

The experience starts with the landscape; a sweeping 23-acre acre property of undulating  uninterrupted vistas, and vibrant  acid green vegetation. Some areas are dotted with breathtaking rice fields, high mountains, cascading waterfalls, and white water rapids that soothe and caress the air. The outline of Mount Agung in the distance rounds out the scenic view, which teems with everything from mango and coconut trees, to copious palm plantations. For all its majesty, this pitch perfect property was no simple luck of nature. In 1998, several years before the hotel even began construction, trees were planted in anticipation of establishing an unchallenged destination based in nature and wellness.  Now that this effort has matured, a team of 40 strong gardeners from the local community tend to the landscape so thoroughly that you’ll be hard pressed to find a stray leaf or un-manicured shrub.

A 360-degree healing and holistic experience shadows the entire immersive experience at Como Shambhala, which bills itself as a “retreat for change.”  In fact, Ubud itself has been a long-standing yoga center, and the entire region seems to stir with the energy of self-improvement. The estate offers a dazzling array of transformative programs that run the gamut from cleansing and  fitness, to rejuvenation, ayurvedic prescriptions, and stress management. Guests have heralded the many yoga and Pilates classes as some of the best in the world. However, if massages are more your speed be prepared to have the experience in a treatment pavilion with stunning views, a holy spring trickling below and birds chirping in chorus.

Guests can also choose from 21 themed suites in 5 residences, 4 private villas, and 5 retreat villas; all designed by the estate’s architect Cheong Yew Kuan . The residences draw inspiration from the elements of fire, water, earth, forest and wind song.  Yet even with a common thread of inspiration and an overarching design centered around simplicity and regionally sourced materials,  each hideaway sports  its own unique identity. You’ll find  one-of-a-kind touches like Venetian and Dutch colonial beds in the Bayugita (wind song) residence, and a Japanese water garden in the Tirta-Ening (clear water) residence. Additionally, polished Javanese wood accents (including teak wood floors and ceilings), seamless indoor/outdoor spaces, and a spa and swimming pools dominate the living areas. While the property is abundant in water sources, it’s encouraging to know that the entire estate is hydrated by its own natural spring.

Topping off the stellar rebalancing programs at Como Shambhala Estate is a world class dining experience that stresses healthy but tasty fare. At Kudus House– a 150-year old structure transported from Java–breakfast and dinner is strictly organic and locally sourced. With food options ranging  from Balinese to Italian, Indian and French, even the pickiest of eaters will be satisfied. Naturally, there’s  also a steady flow of detoxifying and energizing juices made from various combinations of exotic fruits and vegetables. You can even take a bit of the Estate home with you in the form of specially crafted, all-natural  bath and beauty products.

With all it’s decadent offerings it’s little wonder the fashion industry has been attracted to this recharge destination. Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and numerous other designers have made the journey time and again to this unparalleled address as a stop on their luxuriously appointed spiritual journey.

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