Re­lax­ing at two dis­tinct como prop­er­ties in Bali is as easy as a duck tak­ing to water, says Mei Anne Foo

Prestige (Malaysia) - - THE LOOK -

Water, in all of its forms, is un­doubt­edly ther­a­peu­tic. Even when your body is un­ex­pect­edly break­ing its sur­face with a loud, starfish-shaped splash. I’m learn­ing how to surf. But be­fore I catch the high-tide waves at Bali’s Echo Beach, I’m pad­dling a squishy, be­gin­ner-friendly surf board in an Olympic-sized la­goon-pool at como Uma Canggu, try­ing my best to stand and sail through the “rough” wa­ters, stim­u­lated by my in­struc­tor, CJ. Af­ter each push, I get up to as­sume a surfer’s stance – legs of­ten wob­bly, mind over­think­ing it. Yet, fall­ing a few times ac­tu­ally helps. Be­ing soaked surely in­vig­o­rates the senses and the man-made rip­ples cheer me on to try again.

At t he end of t he hour-long les­son and a hand­ful of suc­cess­ful at­tempts to get up­right, CJ gives me a high five be­fore it’s time to hang ten – not on a surf board, but on a swing bed at the ho­tel’s como Beach Club. The Surf Shack, which houses the ho­tel’s part­ner and renowned surf­ing com­pany Trop­ic­surf, is to my left, where I left CJ and the squishy board, while up front is the glo­ri­ous vol­canic black sand of Echo Beach and the In­dian Ocean, dot­ted with sun­seek­ers and their happy pooches, plus pro surfers. One day, I imag­ine I’ll be able to truly hang ten like them. But for now, I’m con­tent with just be­ing a bum, swing­ing and sip­ping on a glass of Cul­ture Shock smoothie – a shock­ingly good mix of straw­ber­ries, ba­nanas, acai berries and plain yo­ghurt. It could very well be my lunch.

como Uma Canggu, which opened ear­lier this year, is not too far off from its older, big­ger and suc­cess­ful sis­ter, como Shamb­hala Es­tate. Born on the same is­land, they share the same ge­net­ics: that of a re­ju­ve­na­tion re­sort, with full-on well­ness of­fer­ings. The con­cept ex­tends to the food and drinks, re­sult­ing i n bal­anced, nu­tri­tious and so­phis­ti­cated tastes – es­pe­cially true of their juice blends, which were that close to mak­ing me stick to a liq­uid diet.

If you need the dis­ci­pline and ad­vise to bet­ter your health, como Shamb­hala Es­tate has a leg up on its sis­ter

by virtue of hav­ing a pool of res­i­dent world-class ex­perts in holis­tic health who will de­sign pro­grammes tai­lored to your length of stay and pur­pose – be it phys­i­cal heal­ing, stress man­age­ment or fit­ness.

“Shamb­hala” means a place of peace in San­skrit and como Shamb­hala Es­tate, the como group’s flag­ship prop­erty, def­i­nitely lives up to its name. A 20-minute drive from the bustling town cen­tre of Ubud, the hide­away is set in a clear­ing that spans nearly 10ha, high above an­other sooth­ing water fea­ture: the Ayung river. Hik­ing in the jun­gle gorges sur­round­ing the Es­tate af­fords won­drous views of the gush­ing stream, of­ten car­ry­ing ex­cited white-water rafters along with it by day. Dur­ing the trek, you’ll also come across nat­u­ral spring water pools per­fect for chem­i­cal-free dips in the af­ter­noon. The water theme con­tin­ues in the re­sort, which has an out­door hy­drother­apy area with a min­er­alised vi­tal­ity pool by the main treat­ment area, and too many in­fin­ity pools to count.

While many – in­clud­ing celebrity power cou­ple Chrissy Teigen and John Leg­end – have been flock­ing to como Shamb­hala Es­tate for much-needed cus­tom well­ness re­treats since its open­ing in 2005, it’s worth not­ing that como Uma Canggu, too, has its own piece of shamb­hala to of­fer: the como Shamb­hala Re­treat, which has al­most all the fa­cil­i­ties and ther­a­pies the Es­tate has. Favourite sig­na­ture treat­ments in­clude the made-in-Bali Taksu Mas­sage, which im­proves blood cir­cu­la­tion and re­lieves tight mus­cles, and the como Shamb­hala Mas­sage, which fuses East­ern wis­dom with con­tem­po­rary blends of mas­sage oils to com­pletely calm the mind while gen­tly re­ju­ve­nat­ing the body.

It helps that como Uma Canggu, lo­cated roughly 10km north of bois­ter­ous Kuta, has a re­laxed, beach-town vibe, so even be­fore you pop by its well­ness cen­tre for one (or more) of its re­lax­ing treat­ments, the sea air, cou­pled with a few re­fresh­ing cock­tails, would have al­ready trans­ported you to a place of peace.

Top: como Shamb­hala Es­tate is hid­den away in a clear­ing set high above the riverAyung Right: como Uma Canggu’s como Shamb­hala Re­treat of­fers treat­mentsde­signed to nour­ish the mind as well as the body

The beach­front como Uma Canggu is the third and new­est of the comogroup’s ho­tels in Bali

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