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SENSATIONAL HIDEAWAY IN UBUD, BALI

APR12_60-61 copyRelax and unwind with a serene getaway to Viceroy Bali Resort in the Valley of the Kings.

Words by Sammy Wong | Photography by Viceroy Bali

Indeed, Ubud would have been just a quiet little village, the cultural heartbeat of Bali had the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” not been filmed there. Ever since the movie which starred Julia Roberts hit the silver screen, many more busloads of tourists have stopped there in search of their own version of “balance and harmony”. The enterprising Balinese did not lose the opportunity to cater to that ‘mass spiritual hunger’ – don’t be surprised to find many “Eat, Pray, Love” tours that take you around to the different locations in the movie.

Despite being overrun by tourists, Ubud somehow manages to retain its rustic charm and serenity found only in isolated villages. Even more intriguing, Ubud pulses with a creative vibe rarely found elsewhere with many artists’ studios and galleries dotting the landscape. At the same time, timeless temples and museums make up the rest of the Balinese cultural heartland.

‘Valley of Kings’

To experience the strong creative and spiritual vibe offered by this gem of a location, I decided to stay at Viceroy Bali Resort, which boasts the most dramatic location in Ubud, a secluded ridge of the Petanu River canyon along Bali’s “Valley of the Kings”. The title was given by the locals due to the generations of Balinese royalty who have lodged in nearby villages.[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”show” ihc_mb_who=”1,2,3,4,5″ ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]

baliLocated some 3 kms from Ubud Palace and 4 kms from Agung Rai Museum of Art, Viceroy features 25 sophisticated villas, each with its own private indoor or outdoor pool amid the stunning valley views. Viceroy Villa, the resort’s signature “Presidential Villa” is designed with expansive luxury in mind. Comprising two spacious bedrooms, it is perfect for families or an indulgent couple’s retreat.

The villas all boast the iconic Balinese architecture and atmospheric lighting which add to the surreal effect of spectacular views juxtaposed with ultimate luxury. That’s the uniqueness of Bali where buildings are built following the contours and settings of the natural environment.

‘Divine’ activities

For spa lovers, you should try out the resort’s spa – Lembah Spa’s- lavish treatments. Lembah Spa offers spectacular views of the Petanu River Valley to complement the treatments and health techniques that have been diligently developed combining Western and traditional knowledge. I was treated like royalty.

The spa session started off with a Balinese scrub, followed by the world-famous Balinese massage. After the massage, I was covered with a refreshing natural yoghurt which served as a body moisturizer. This was then followed by a tropical Jacuzzi bath and a rejuvenating facial treatment for the finishing touch.

For yoga enthusiasts, they can have private sessions with Viceroy’s yoga master. Sessions can be held in any of the gardens around the resort or in the guests’ villa.

For those interested in preparing traditional Indonesian cuisine, grab the opportunity to learn the skill with the assistance of Viceroy’s expert chefs. Courses start off with a visit to Bali’s morning market to provide learners with an opportunity to discover fresh local vegetables, fish, meat, herbs and spices. These ingredients will then be used to make seven traditional Indonesian dishes.

There are also other cultural lessons like the Balinese Dance Lesson. You don’t always get the opportunity to put on a Balinese traditional costume and dance while traditional Balinese music plays in the background.

Relish in gourmet dining

My dinner was at the posh Viceroy’s Cascades Restaurant. The dazzling valley location accompanied by the restaurant’s warm lighting and pleasant interior created a romantic ambience. The chef of the restaurant recommended Cascades’ signature dish, which is the all-time favourite Asian Beef Tartar. It was gently seasoned with Asian teriyaki, coriander and sesame seeds. Every mouthful was a grand treat in itself to be savoured slowly.

On the way back to my room, I noticed a lovely couple having a private candlelit dinner beside the pool surrounded by rose petals. They looked like they were having an enchanting evening. Without a doubt, the restaurant’s ambience is perfect for couples as they take in the mesmerizing view of the valley while dining.

In short, staying at Viceroy Bali was somewhat a divine experience triggering all your senses – I daresay I achieved a bit of that much sought-after ‘balance and harmony’ which Ubud is famous for.[/ihc-hide-content]

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