BALI BLISS

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Health -

From the wa­ter­logged rice pad­dies to the count­less in­fin­ity pools and an­cient moss-cov­ered, fern fringed stone arch­ways, ev­ery photo taken dur­ing your stay at Como Shamb­hala Es­tate will look as if you’ve slapped an In­sta­gram fil­ter on it. We’re talk­ing greens so sat­u­rated they look al­most fake. Lo­cated 15 min­utes’ drive from Ubud town, skirted by a vil­lage and Bali’s fa­mous Ayung River, the set­ting is the star here. a close sec­ond is the staff, with Como ho­tel founder Chris­tine Ong hav­ing as­sem­bled some of the world’s lead­ing well­ness ex­perts to work here. My first ap­point­ment is with ayurvedic con­sul­tant/ natur­opath/yogi Dr Pras­anth, who in­tensely mon­i­tors my pulse to de­ter­mine my dosha, then scru­ti­nises what feels like ev­ery mus­cle in my body (marma di­ag­no­sis) to pre­scribe what he be­lieves will be the most ef­fec­tive treat­ments. these turn out to be in­tense deep-tis­sue mas­sages and colonics — which, I might add, are the most dig­ni­fied I have ever ex­pe­ri­enced. (And “colonic” and “dig­nity” aren’t of­ten used in the same sen­tence.) He emails the spa and kitchen my treat­ment plan, and we’re off …

Guests can choose from one of six pro­grams: Ayurveda and Ori­en­tal Medicine are pop­u­lar with those seek­ing dra­matic changes or re­cov­er­ing from ill­ness; while Cleanse, Be Ac­tive, Stress Man­age­ment and Re­ju­ve­na­tion are gen­er­ally favoured by the burnt-out worka­holics in their thir­ties to fifties who flock here seek­ing se­ri­ous R&R.

My per­sonal as­sis­tant (a ne­ces­sity, oth­er­wise you’ll zonk out be­side your in­fin­ity pool the en­tire stay) man­ages my timetable, which isn’t overly sched­uled — some­thing I ap­pre­ci­ate as I’m sim­ply ex­hausted and need down­time. My day starts with a long black (big tick for the fact caf­feine isn’t con­tra­band), fol­lowed by a 7.30am hour­long es­tate walk, which raises a se­ri­ous sweat thanks to stairs, stairs and more stairs. (On other days, a two-hour trek around the rice fields is of­fered; ex­pect to en­counter tem­ples, shrine af­ter shrine, count­less dogs, squeal­ing pigs, flocks of ducks and lo­cals man­ning their rice plots en route.) Break­fast is at Kudus House restau­rant, which is of a se­ri­ously slick five-star stan­dard, the menu’s fo­cus be­ing about en­ergy and flavour rather than calo­rie counting. Be­ing a crea­ture of habit, I im­me­di­ately be­come ob­sessed with the quinoa, pear and dried cran­berry por­ridge with al­mond milk, and the avo­cado ‘toast’ made from al­monds, sun­flower- and flaxseeds. I’m still find­ing it hard to com­pre­hend the fact that pan­cakes and waf­fles can be healthy, al­though my wait­ress tries to con­vince me.

The first se­ri­ous ex­er­cise class of the day is at 9am, a flex-and roll ses­sion with US Pi­lates guru Amy Buck, fol­lowed 90 min­utes later by a spell in Como’s heated hy­drother­apy pool, where spe­cial jets pum­mel each mus­cle in your body to speed up toxin re­moval.

You might wan­der off to your villa’s pri­vate pool next. Or join one of the train­ers down by one of the prop­erty’s wa­ter­falls for a bout of rock climb­ing (amaz­ing for arms and core). your call. If that’s not en­dor­phin-pump­ing enough, moun­tain-bike tours and dawn treks up nearby Mount Batur can also be ar­ranged, or en­list a per­sonal trainer to put you through your paces at the prop­erty’s state-of-the-art gym.

Ex­er­tion needs to be re­warded, so make sure you lunch at Como’s Glow restau­rant, which of­fers both raw (low-tem­per­a­ture culi­nary tech­niques such as de­hy­drat­ing, soak­ing, sprout­ing and cold-pressed juic­ing are utilised) and cooked op­tions. Sure, you could sign up for one of Como’s juice cleanses, but the flavours of the food and qual­ity of the pro­duce makes it se­ri­ously hard to re­sist. close your eyes, take a bite of the but­ter­nut pump­kin and macadamia ‘pizza’ with avo­cado, mango and basil, and you’ll con­vince your­self you’re eat­ing the real fatty-boom­bal­ada ver­sion. In­gre­di­ents — rice, nuts, spices, fruits and veg­eta­bles — are sourced from lo­cal fam­ily farms and hap­pily high­light the fact bad-qual­ity pro­duce can’t hide in sal­ads.

While away the rest of the day in the spa, which has nine treat­ment rooms of­fer­ing ev­ery­thing from mas­sages to re­flex­ol­ogy to acupunc­ture and fa­cials. For­get glitz and glam­our — the vibe here is un­der­stated luxury. Pot­ted orchids, stone floors, floor-to-ceil­ing mir­rors and count­less other Zen-ed out women like you, unashamedl­y wear­ing bathrobes, sip­ping cup af­ter cup of Como’s de­li­cious ginger tea. we’ll be back. – EK

co­mo­ho­tels.com/co­moshamb­ha­laes­tate.

A Re­treat Pool Villa at Como Shamb­hala Es­tate. Be­low: Glow restau­rant.

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