Guest Post By Jia Singh
Bali has always had a hold on me. The cuisine, people, hospitality, weather and the fact that it’s the wellness capital of the east has always won me over. I felt very blessed when I finally had the opportunity to take a week off to visit Bali to recharge, reset my system, visit healers, and review a few hotels and spas.
I woke up to an email from Como Hotels one day and jumped off my seat with excitement as I began reading it out and reaching out for holiday essentials. I was invited for a two-night stay to experience the wellness programmes offered at Como Shambhala.
My partner and I arrived at Denpasar airport and were greeted by a friendly gentleman who drove us all the way to Como Shambhala in Ubud. The property was initially part of a large estate called Begawan Giri but was bought over by Como Hotels almost a decade ago. Como Shambhala is the first Como property with a 360 degree focus on wellness with Ayurvedic and nutritional consultations, state of the art spa facilities and a gym with hydrotherapy pools and curated activities like hiking.
Someone intelligent once said that the two most important days of your life are the day that you are born and the day you find out why. I didn’t know what I was in for but I was absolutely speechless upon entering the property. The property had stunning villas, breathtakingly beautiful views of the Ubud forest and Ayung River and two award winning restaurants that served healthy, organic fare for the discerning eater. As a healthy eater, nutritionist and wellness enthusiast this resort catered to every side of me.
It took us 12 hours to reach Bali and so we were pretty spent upon reaching the resort. My partner went into the villa to rest and I was running on overtime- I couldn’t rest until I had seen the property. We were appointed a villa host for the day to help plan our spa rituals and excursions. Purna suggested I try the Como Shambhala signature massage to alleviate fatigue and help prepare me for the activities that followed. An hour later, the spa had transformed me from a harried, stressed out traveller to a slower, happier version of me that was so much more at ease. My shoulders and back got that TLC that it needed and I was raring to go.
With no time to waste, I forced my husband to join us on the estate walk around the property where we explored the waterfalls, went down to the river and braved the climb up. We were panting and sweating by the time we came up but the undulating stretches worked up quite an appetite.
I raced Purna and my partner to ‘Glow’ – the restaurant to settle down for an early supper. I looked at the menu and was beaming from ear to ear. Amanda Gale, an Australian chef had carefully curated the menu with nutritionist Eve Persack to give residents interesting healthy options to choose from while sticking to their detoxes and wellness programme. There were options for the dairy free, gluten free, sugar free and raw eater. This was already my favourite restaurant in the world and as a gluten free chef, my mind started working on different combinations and recipes.
It took me forever to choose my courses because I wanted to try everything on the menu. I worked my way through 5-6 crispy flaxseed crackers with a tapenade. Our three-course meal began with a delicious, organic larb gai salad. Our mains consisted of a mee goreng and a highly aromatic grilled fennel & sumac crusted salmon with a gorgeous salad and relish. The food was appropriately portioned and made – even a finicky eater like my husband really happy. I don’t normally save space for dessert but I promised myself that I would try every dessert during my time here. My husband opted for the mango carpaccio – brilliant yellow, juicy mango thinly sliced with a dairy free mango sorbet. After a few attempts to photograph the beauty in bad lighting, he worked his way through the dessert even before mine arrived. Mine was a mulberry sorbet with a coconut and cashew mousse. I love my fruit and wasn’t happy about my husband digging into my plate for a spoonful. The dairy free, refined sugar free sorbet was light, fresh and a beautiful balance of tart and sweet. The decadent coconut and cashew mousse was rich enough to cut through the acidity of the sorbet. I thanked the chef profusely and begged him for the recipe before we retreated to our villas for the night.
Our villa was the largest room in the Bayugita (air) category of rooms with a wonderful study and a private pool downstairs. We spent the rest of the evening editing photographs.
The phone rang at 9 am and I couldn’t believe the clock when I realized that I had been sleeping for the last 10 hours. I couldn’t even dream of clocking those hours in India. It was a beautiful day and our host Karti escorted me to the gym for a quick workout. The health club was well equipped and after a few rounds of squats, lunges, sumo squats and stretches- I was ready to go. I walked to Glow for a lovely Balinese breakfast. A few cappuccinos, smoothies and a lovely breakfast later, I asked my host to walk me around the resort for photo opportunities. The resort was massive and while the guests had the option of taking the buggy everywhere, every guest chose to walk.
I met the lovely nutritionist, Eve Persack who was in charge of the wellness plans at Como Shambhala. She was an extremely warm, driven and wonderful human being. We bonded over our love for food, wellness and spas and exchanged notes on our thoughts on nutrition. I asked her if there were any vacancies at the Como properties because the thought of working and living in Bali was always at the back of my mind. We ordered a smoothie each and mine was the tastiest smoothie with coconut oil, turmeric, ginger and a healthy shot of antioxidants. I went in for an incredible deep tissue massage at the spa, which left me screaming and writhing in pain. I was afraid that I was going to end up worse off than before but I felt renewed, more alert and definitely enjoyed a better posture post the treatment. I pushed myself a tad further that evening with another walk down to the estate and back so I could really feel the burn and fall asleep better that evening.
I learnt a lot during my stay at Como Shambhala and can’t wait to visit again. Special thanks to Linda & Santi from sales, Sneha in Pr and Eve for an experience I will never forget. I’ve visited several wellness resorts and retreats worldwide but there is nothing that compares to Como Shambhala Bali. I am working on coming back soon to host a retreat in Bali towards the end of the year. Thank you for broadening my horizons and teaching me just how important it is to be kind to your body.
I want to end with a quote from Jim Rohn-
“Take care of your body
It’s the only place you have to live”
If you care about your health and what you put into your body and have a few days to spare – head to Como Bali for an experience of a lifetime. Wake up for the morning meditation and group yoga at the pavilion and try all the desserts at Glow restaurant.
- Book the villa either at Tejaswara (Fire) or Bayugita (Air) and enjoy an unforgettable stay.
- More information on their website :- http://www.comohotels.com
- Tariff-Price on request. Please apply early to avoid disappointment.
About Jia Singh
Jia is a Delhi based nutritionist, paleo chef, blogger and freelance feature writer. She blogs on www.wanderingforwellness.com and contributes to Elle Magazine, The Scribbler, and Huffington Post India. She loves writing on travel, wellness retreats, the health food industry and food trends. She also runs a paleo and gluten free health food initiative called Petite Sweet Eats which aims to deliver healthy desserts and snacks to your doorstep. She can be reached at jia.singh@gmail, Twitter, or Instagram.
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