Best Luxury Ubud Hotel
There are literally thousands of places to stay in Bali. In Ubud, the cultural centre of Bali, there are probably hundreds of luxury hotels. But none of them are like Capella Ubud.
Capella Ubud is really something so unique that it can not be compared to any other Ubud Bali resorts. When entering Capella, this Luxury Ubud hotel, you immediately enter a magical dimension. An enchanted place that can not be replicated. Having won Best Resort in Asia in Travel and Leisure, and reader’s choice awards, by Conde Nast Traveller, I needed to check it out for myself.
Capella is a designer hotel. What’s the difference between a normal hotel and a designer hotel you may ask? First of all, the designer of this hotel is Bill Bensley, a well-known designer and architect. Bill Bensley’s design aesthetic is unique. There are two things we must commend him on doing. One is that not a single tree was cut. Amazingly, they preserved every tree in the jungle. Not only that, they built on the land without changing its landscape. There are many places to stay in Bali, but seriously none of them feel as magical as Capella Ubud. Bali Resorts can create different experiences and they all can be beautiful, but to create magic is hard to achieve.
Each Capella room/villa is set up as a tent. The 23 tents are incredibly private and with an uninterrupted view of the jungle in front. Of course, these are no ordinary tents. Bill Bensley has redefined what glamping in Asia is like.
Each one has a master bathroom with a large copper bathtub, and an indoor and outdoor shower. There is a living room with its own incredible mini bar and large desk, as well as a luscious king bed. The tents are available in four colour schemes and are individually styled with an inspirational theme that depicts the skill set of the various personnel available at a camp back in the early days of the 1800s.
Among them is The Captain’s Tent which takes you back to the lavish quarters of a camp commander in the 1800s with a striking matching design. It includes, amongst other enchanted artefacts, a massive old map of Bali that was used to plan the route and logistics of the mission along the island’s coastline, through mountains and valleys and into the rainforest. The Carpenter’s tent pays homage to the artisans, craftsmen and woodworkers who played an essential role in a camp of yesteryear.
The Java Tent is beautifully decorated with pieces of “gamelan” – the traditional ensemble music of Indonesia that still plays an integral part of Indonesian culture today and “wayang” – a form of puppet theatre art found in Indonesia in which a dramatic story is told through shadows thrown by puppets.
I stayed at The Cartographer’s Tent which focuses on those staff members who produced maps. It features brushes and parchment that were used back in those days, and compasses and telescopes that were essential for accurate surveying and navigation of the land.
Aside from all the individual tents to stay, there is a specific tent to have evening cocktails and canapes as well as afternoon tea. There is even a tented gymnasium. There are also two restaurants , Mads Lange and Api Jiwa. In the evenings, an outdoor cinema shows old black and white videos from Bali. And while you are watching these old films, you can have hot cocoa and roast marshmallows in the fire pit.
But if you rather stay indoors, you can also choose to have dinner brought to your room. The menu for in tent service is different from the other menus. I had a delicious Indian curry that was brought in the old school tiffin containers and set up for me in my room!
One of the things that I loved about Capella is that they have their own culturist that helps you have an authentic cultural experience while you are there. I chose to have a Balinese water blessing. I met my guide at the reception where I got changed into a kebaya (a balinese ceremonial costume which consists of a sarong, a lace blouse and a sash). We walked together to the very bottom of the hotel where a sacred Balinese Temple is found. The temple was actually there before Capella was built and sits on its holy water source.
My guide explained every step of the ceremony and also explained a lot about Balinese temples. It was fascinating to learn why the offerings are made the way they are, and each step of the ceremony and its significance. It was my first time doing this ceremony and by the end of it both my guide and I felt quite emotional. Having had this private ceremony away in such a serene and special place was really an experience I will never forget.
My stay at Capella was certainly one I will remember forever. A place where fantasy and reality merge to create an otherworldly, yet distinctly Balinese, experience. If you want to feel the essence of Bali, outstanding service and a hint of the mystical, then Capella is the place you are looking for.