Been to Bali but want to give yourself some TLC? This Sassy Mama left Como Shambhala Estate in Ubud a changed woman after a 3-night wellness escape. Here’s what sets COMO apart…
Four years ago my husband and I stayed at Uma Ubud in Bali and on our last day we decided to try the Sunday brunch at its sister property, COMO Shambhala Estate. It was such a memorable experience that I promised myself that one day (fingers crossed) I would be back for the full experience.
Since then I’ve practised yoga at COMO Shambhala Urban Escape in Singapore, an oasis of peace in the heart of the city, and have generally become a fan of their product range and philosophy. This year I finally got the opportunity to stay at COMO Shambhala for four days and three nights. Yes, I am one lucky mama!
COMO Shambhala is part of the COMO Hotels and Resorts group founded by Christina Ong, the ultimate Sassy Mama (she also owns Club21). It opened in 2005 as the group’s first wellness destination (or sanctuary), and to this day remains their flagship property.
Shambhala is a Sanskrit word that means “sacred place of bliss”, and it really does feel that way when you are there. Everything from the location, architecture, and food – not to mention the treatments on offer – are designed with a single purpose in mind: to help you find – you guessed it! – your bliss.
I opted for the Cleanse Program, but once I got there (and with memories of our delicious brunch flooding back) I decided with my health advisor Dr. Prasanth that it was ok to create my own “hybrid” program. Juices in the morning and light meals for lunch and dinner. I could have the cake and and eat it, too!
Your health advisor is there to guide you so you get the most out of your stay. Like me, you might come in for a certain program but after your consultation you might decide to go for something else. I love that flexibility. Once your program is set your personal assistant (wellness is serious business!) will prepare your daily schedule, which includes your treatments and other activities you’ve wished to try/join such as Yoga, Pilates, Pranayama, Balinese Culture, Juice Class and more.
Upon arrival I was shown to my private villa for the check-in process and I just had to film it; check out our Instagram if you’re curious. All the rooms and villas are incredibly luxurious but in an understated way. All have pools (some private, some semi-private), sun decks, and large and luminous bathrooms filled with the signature COMO Shambhala products and my personal favourite: outdoor showers.
Most striking, though is the space! So much space! The resort itself is nestled in a clearing above a jungle-covered gorge beside the River Ayung. You can actually hear the river flowing when you close your eyes. It’s amazingly peaceful.
My days ended up being quite busy as I wanted to make the most out of my stay. This is a rookie mistake, though, as more experienced guests will tell you. Less is more at COMO Shambhala, mamas.
One of the practitioners, known as Dr. D, told us after a morning pranayama session that the best we could do while staying here was to clear our schedule and go spend the afternoon at the natural spring pool. No phones, no talk, perhaps a little music, a good book and just enjoy being there surrounded by the lush greenery and the water. I only had a few hours of free time left but I was determined to try it. That was before I met with Eve Persak, COMO Shambhala Estate’s resident nutritionist.
Eve was kind enough to meet with me to discuss COMO Shambhala’s food philospohy (she hates that word, by the way). It was fascinating to hear how much effort goes into every single dish, juice, and snack on the menu.
With true healing in mind, and supported by scientific research, every meal becomes an opportunity to further improve your health and wellbeing without ever compromising taste. The food is simply divine. The group published their first cookbook this year, a true labour of love and a testament to years of dedication to mindful eating. Needless to say I snapped a copy right up for myself! Our meeting stretched to almost two hours and there went my afternoon at the spring pool. But that might just be the reason I was looking for to make a return trip!
Eve was only one of the many wonderful people I met at the Estate. I truly believe this is what sets COMO Shambhala apart. It’s people.
COMO Shambhala Estate welcomes couples, singles, families and groups. Little ones from four months old onwards are welcome, although to be honest I think the estate would probably suit older kids more; think teenagers in need of some R&R. There are just 30 rooms, suites and villas including residences, private villas and pool villas — all beautifully decorated.
In addition to wellness programs (with themes like “Be Active”, “Stress Management”, “Rejuvenation” and more), COMO Shambhala offers a number of experiences like river rafting and mountain biking to suit even the most active amongst us. So no it’s not just for us mamas, adrenaline junkie daddies can join too!
My four days at COMO flew by and before I knew it it was time to leave. I left with a spring in my step, grateful for the experience and the people I met. Inspired by new philosophies, practices and cuisine. Most of all, ready to go back to my family and friends with whom I hope to share a little bit of that COMO Shambhala wisdom.
When to go: All year round if rain doesn’t bother you (in Ubud watching the rain can feel like spa therapy in itself!). If you don’t like rain, the dry season runs from April to October.
How much: Rates at COMO Shambhala Estate start at about USD600 per night for a Garden Room. Click here to make an online reservation.
COMO Shambhala Estate, Banjar Begawan, Desa Melinggih Kelod, Payangan, Melinggih Kelod, Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia, www.comohotels.com/comoshambhalaestate