Find the perfect intimate luxurious hideaway in Ubud at Viceroy Bali
With only 40 pool villas and four suites, each stay at Viceroy Bali is personalised with great attention to service
I will never tire of going to Bali (does one ever?), despite the lengthy immigration queues and long baggage claim wait. Though it is Ubud that I am most fond of. Apart from the quaint little town, Ubud offers a plethora of choices in the private retreat vein and Viceroy Bali is no exception.
Viceroy Bali is a family-owned and run luxury resort and the devil is in the details here. With only 40 pool villas and four suites, each stay is personalised with great attention to service. A rare find in a post-pandemic world. Built over a valley, the circular open air lobby offers views of the magnificent Petanu Valley (aka the Valley of the Kings) and beyond, a much relief from the usual rice terraces that dot the Bali landscape.
Check-in is swift and I am immediately escorted, in a buggy, to my deluxe pool terrace villa. While being given a short tour of my room, I am told, casually, that if the weather doesn’t bring the sun or if I fancy a dip after dinner in the cool of the night, the outdoor private pool can be heated for my relaxing pleasure. Now, this is what I call luxury!
Naturally, the luxury doesn’t stop there. The villa is spacious and the open-plan bathroom is a thing of envy with its huge marble bathtub and massive shower, that can hold a party in its own right!
But let’s move out of the pool villa and onto the dining terrace, aptly called Cascades. With views of the splendid valley and rainbows after a rain shower, Cascades is the spot for breakfast, all-day dining and dinner, offering a good choice of international and Asian dishes. The bar area hangs over the valley and makes a good spot for a nightcap. Breakfast on weekends has what I like to call “breakfast amuse bouche” in a cold room. Served here is a buffet of cold cuts, fruits, salads, cheese, housemade yoghurt and cereals. The main course is made-to-order affair. I always go for local breakfast delights and am never disappointed.
Though the main event at Cascades is the traditional dinner feast — Balinese rijsttafel. The rijsttafel is served in small traditional hand-crafted wooden bowls filled with samplings of dishes from all over the island. Rujak Bali, Indonesian fruit salad served with a palm sugar dressing; Kuah be pasih is a seafood dish with green papaya; Pepes ikan or grilled mahi mahi marinated with bumbu Bali; Cumi suna cekuh or baby squid in coconut milk; Sate be pasih or Balinese fish satay; Bebek betutu or roasted duck; Babi Menyat-nyat or braised pork ribs; Babi guling or suckling pig; Ayam pelalah or shredded chicken; Jukut and all eaten with Nasi tuning or herbed yellow rice. But this isn’t all. A selection of Balinese desserts completes the meal.
If you feel like kicking things up a notch at dinnertime, then the fine dining Apéritif Restaurant and Bar is the place. The beautiful restaurant is where Belgian chef Nic Vanderbeeken’s culinary creations come to life. It a great place for a night out, without being a night “out”. Though sundowners and after dinner drinks can be savoured at Apéritif Bar. If you do manage to haul yourself out of the 20s-inspired cocktail bar’s plush leather sofas, take yourself to the adjoining terrace with valley views to watch the sun go down, drink in hand. Though, for those looking at re-creating the drinks at home, head mixologist Panji Wisrawan can help with a masterclass; the perfect way to spend lazy afternoons.
To summarise staying in, with three tips:
One: Rise slightly before dawn to watch the incredible mist roll into the valley and while the sun rises listen to the surrounding jungle coming alive. If you’re lucky, you will also spot a few monkeys high in the treetops and exotic birds.
Two: If the weather is clear, you get a clear view of Mount Agung from the Apertif bar terrace or by just walking up the steep hill to the lobby (buggies available).
Three: If you feel like a moonlight dip, there is no better luxury than a heated pool to soak in the vibes as the jungle and valley go quiet.
If you do have to leave your luxurious surroundings and not spend time at Lembah Spa, do leave for Pande Egi Babi Guling, which is a local favourite, too. Though, when one is in Bali, one has to eat the local delicacy. Babi guling is the traditional Balinese suckling pig, which is roasting over a fire, whole. The pork is eaten with rice, a variety of vegetable dishes and sambals. And each place, gets a generous serving of cracking. I would highly recommend Warung Babi Guling Pande Egi in Ubud, where one can lunch under a rattan roof over-looking the rice fields that Ubud is synonymous with.
Often describe as “a paradise on Earth in the mountain foothills of Ubud”, Viceroy Bali has that “it” factor that so many boutique luxury resorts don’t — it’s family-owned, so it ensures that personal touch. And who doesn’t love a home away from home? Visit viceroybali.com/en/packages.