From the smiling welcome to the gracious farewell everything about my stay at Kayumanis Ubud was exemplary. I have never experienced such serenity afforded by a property anywhere in the world. Each one of the 23 Villas was occupied when I was there however you would never have known it. Other than the whispering of the wind in the fronds of the palm trees the only other sounds I heard during my stay was the occasional splash of another villa’s swimming pool in the distance or the faint pssst of an outdoor shower being used.
This is a Bali bastion of serenity. A place to come and hide, float & gaze in your ridiculously large private swimming pool, read, cuddle, dine and switch off.
If you want to meet fellow travellers on your trip to Bali this isn’t your place but if, on the other hand, indulgence, pampering, romance, relaxation and/or reflection are what you seek you have found your nirvana property with Kayumanis Ubud.
The sprawling property is set amidst lush forest and cleverly hewn into its surroundings. Rustic stone paths, verdant stands of palms and traditional architecture blend perfectly into the surrounding lush landscape. It is a restful & luxurious haven from the everyday.
It is important to note that even though each villa has it’s own generously proportioned pool you will do yourself a disservice, as almost happened to me, by not spending time down at the main pool area. Nestled high above a meandering river below the perfectly-mirrored surface of the horizon pool almost entices you to leave the comfort of your poolside cabana, almost.
The foliage is so lush and thick in this part of the property that there are only glimpses of the Ayung River beneath you. Enough though to be able to gaze upon the ebbs and flows of everyday traditional Balinese life. Women and men coming to an arm in the river to wash their clothes and, in some cases, themselves! It was best to divert ones eyes away at that moment and back to contemplation of just how perfect an amalgam of reality and fantasy this place is.
There is a definite and considered emphasis on the outdoors with this property. Other than your bedroom which is fully enclosed and air conditioned the rest of your villa is under roof but outdoors – sans walls.
I actually found this touch further liberating albeit incredibly foreign for the first couple of hours. It must be said that I am an inner city boy, an urban creature used to living in the heart of whichever city I have called home. However it didn’t take very long at all for the beguiling charms of this outdoor, this Bali living, to win me over.
As magnificent as all the facilities are, for me, the absolute stand out experience of my stay was the Kayumanis staff. Receptionist to butler, spa attendant to wait staff. With smiles as broad as their accents they elevate a stay here from fantastic to once-in-a-lifetime.
All the staff live in the adjoining local village. The villas are the main source of employment for this village and the staff’s appreciation at having such a benevolent employer is obvious. Smiles are genuine and the greeting of “Bapak Saxon” at the beginning of each conversation charming and endearing. This place makes you feel like a king – it’s quite ridiculous now that I look back. Good ridiculous though. Very, very good! Didn’t Mel Brooks once say – “It’s good to be the King!”
This was my very first trip to Bali. I specifically came to Ubud to get a counter point to the hustle and bustle and ‘touristiness’ of Kuta and I wasn’t disappointed. It unfurls a reality of traditional Balinese living. Get away from Ubud itself and you are transported back to another time. If you removed the vehicles it would be hard to be accurate about the year, decade or possibly even century. This is what I crave and is why I travel.
This juxtaposition between basic subsistence literally just down the road from such indulgent luxury sat better with me knowing that Kayumanis was actually greatly benefiting their community.
Kayumanis has four properties on Bali. Ubud can not accept children due to its large sprawling size and labyrinthine network of shaded pathways. My two kids would be guaranteed to get lost within eight seconds so I agree with that policy. Some of their other sites may accept children upon application. I haven’t even mentioned the indulgent spa retreat, sumptuous fare, plethora of inclusions such as daily ‘High Teas’ and complimentary mini-bar & airport transfers nor the mulitude of luxury awards that Kayumanis Ubud has received. You can do that another time and on other sites perhaps.
This magnificent place is silent, but for the waves you make in your lappool. Secluded yet easily accessible. Expensive for sure, yet outstanding value-for-money. A Balinese nirvana that epitomises what this blog – Thirty Summers – is all about. Kayumanis Ubud will enable you to escape ordinary for as long as you are fortunate enough to stay! In two words it is – secluded paradise.
The Good. Everything
The Less Good. Nothing. NB. Kayumanis is not cheap, nor should it be. Rates here.
Overall. We’ll be back… Tomorrow would be nice!
Kayumanis Ubud Website here.
Ubud information. Attractions and things to do. Here.