Bali is a bucket-list destination for many, capitulated into fairy-tale status by myth and the movies, but the question is, as always, how to do it right.
There are many hotels in Bali that can offer a formulated comfortable package, but at Tanah Gajah the experience is next-level luxury; an immersion into authentic Balinese architecture, culture and beauty, and service where nothing is too much to ask.
Walking into the immaculate grounds of the estate feels like arriving at the home of Balinese aristocracy, and the property was once indeed the summer residence of art- world royalty Hendra Hadiprana, one of Indonesia’s foremost architects and art patrons.
There are 20 villas on the property, each more than comfortable including daily fruits and complementary minibar, and many with private pools and gorgeous baths in which to luxuriate. A personal butler is available to guide guests through the swan-filled gardens and the impressive sculptures and art collection or take them further afield on rice-paddy walks.
Health and rejuvenation are high on the menu too, with daily yoga classes, sumptuous spa treatments, running tracks mapped out through the countryside and elegant swimming pools complete with endless streams of water flowing through elephant trunks.
Also included is a daily afternoon tea, followed by sunset cocktails and snacks. The paddy field- surrounded restaurant is headed by ex-Relais & Chateau chef Dean Nor, who can also treat diners to a mouth-watering five-course Omakase dinner, entertainingly explaining each course as he goes.
The hotel is in Ubud, and transport to and from the centre is included, so it is easy to explore this special part of Bali; the monkey forest, the shops, the cafes, the temples, and all the buzz that is crammed into its narrow streets. Back at Tanah Gajah, a mesmerising Kecak dance is offered twice a week followed by a Balinese banquet.
This fire-lit hypnotic traditional performance unique to Bali involves 70 performers transporting viewers to the magical world of the Monkey King.
In a property steeped in art and culture, it’s no surprise that this particular Kecak performance is arguably the best on the island. The hotel also boasts the only hot air balloon license in Bali affording the ability to see the Island of the God’s from up high.
So even better than the movies, at Tanah Gajah you can eat, pray and love all in the same place.
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