Checking In | Como Shambhala Estate, Bali

For those looking to immerse themselves into wellness, Como Shambhala Estate is the perfect hideaway

Bali has long been a fantasy destination for me. The tranquil beauty of its beaches, the abundance of nature, diverse food and free-spirited people make this unique, exciting, tropical and vibrant island the very definition of ‘idyllic’. It’s just pretty far away isn’t it? So when a compulsory trip to Sydney was called in (yay friends who moved to Oz and then got married out there) it felt like the perfect opportunity to put a couple of flights on a credit card and discover if Bali really is full of Australians. Breaking up the mammoth flight home felt like a good move too – flying from Sydney to Bali takes six hours, and for five of those hours you’re flying over Australia, which shows just how huge the country is.

During our seven-night trip to Bali, we went to Canguu, Nusa Dua and then Ubud, which happened to be my favourite place on the island. Ubud is a relatively small town, though lively enough, and is considered Bali’s cultural capital. We headed to Como Shambhala Estate, the world’s first full-service residential health retreat and holiday resort in one, which is around a 20-minute drive from the centre of Ubud. At the time we arrived there was a royal cremation, meaning the streets were filled with people celebrating the passing with parades and marches, which was an incredible sight.

The Como Shambhala Estate sits on 23 acres of a jungle-covered riverbank and is made up of 30 rooms, suites and villas. And it is stunning. Life at Como Shambhala Estate is designed to be as stress-free as possible, with wellness at the core of their offerings. This is evident from the moment I arrive and I’m introduced to a personal assistant, whose role is to help with anything I might need, even if my goal is to do as little as possible.

We walk through the main reception and outside to the grounds where I get my first glimpse of how magical the estate is. The gardens are pristine, with various white buildings set out high above the treetops overlooking the lush jungle, with the roar of the river somewhere below.

The walk takes us across stepping stones, by a pool with white sun loungers, along cobbled walkways, over a tiny bridge spanning a moat where fish are hiding in the shade, and finally to the grounds where four villas are centred around a long infinity pool overlooking the jungle. One of the villas is pretty extraordinary; a two-storey, two-bedroom apartment complete with its own private infinity pool and jacuzzi. For three nights, a one-bedroom poolside villa with forest views and contemporary decor mixed with traditional Balinese design, was home.

There are two restaurants on the estate. Kudus House, inside a 150-year-old former Javanese residence, showcases regional Indonesian flavours, and Glow, open for lunch and dinner, which has more global influences on the menu. Breakfast at Kudus House is full of healthy staples and the dinner menus at both spots are full of vibrant dishes – shout out to the beef rendang – plus lots of salads and juices, making it easy to go on a health kick.

There’s so many activities on offer, from rock climbing to temple tours, so there’s plenty to keep you busy. A water garden picnic lunch is what grabbed me, which involved a hike down to the river before arriving at an area of surreal beauty, a natural pool with an 80ft waterfall splashing into it. Curries, rice and salad were served from traditional Balinese baskets, and a couple of hours spent swimming in the natural spring pool, taking in the waterfall and hearing the cheer of people white water rafting through the rapids was pretty incredible.

Wellness is also a key feature in the experiences offered at Como Shambhala Estate. You can enjoy hydrotherapy sessions or head to the fitness centre. You can hit the tennis courts or get a massage at one of four outdoor pavilions with baths. There are also nine indoor treatment rooms with a full menu of tempting options. Their signature treatment, the COMO Shambhala Massage using blended oils, is deeply relaxing and completely calms the mind and rejuvenates the body.

Como Shambhala Estate is a special place, unique in its setting and exceptional in its hospitality. If you want some quiet, are looking to detox or just want to be surrounded by nature, then you might just fall in love with this place.

Prices start from £481 per night (subject to 21% taxes and includes daily breakfast for two)

COMO Shambhala Estate, Banjar Bengawan, Desa Melinggih Kelod, Payangan, Gianyar 80571, Bali, Indonesia