More fantastic travel diaries keep flying in from KDHamptons readers who are escaping the cold winter temps of the Hamptons and jetting off for some fun in the sun! This week I heard from my ubër chic interior design friend Zoe Hoare [above], a Sagaponack resident, who just returned from breathtaking Bali with her boyfriend, Chris Mead, who owns English Country Antiques here on the East End. Enjoy her KDHamptons Travel Diary below…
Zoe shares, “My boyfriend Chris and I recently spent three weeks in my home town of Sydney, sharing the holidays with my family and friends. We endured one of the hottest weeks in recent memory [one day was 111®F], so I was very grateful that Chris [with Zoe below] insisted we fly home via Bali, Indonesia for some serious beach and spa time..
Growing up in Sydney, Bali for me wasn’t the most intriguing of places, as so many Australians treated Bali as their back yard. Often using it as a place to drink, shop and eat cheaply, and to excess. It wasn’t my idea of glamour! My, how things have changed!
We chose to stay at Ayana Resort [below] through the Amex fine hotels and resorts program, mainly due the infamous Rock Bar, a decadent watering hole hanging from the cliff over the waves on the coast of Jimbaran!
To our dismay the Rock Bar [above] had been hit by a tsunami style wave and was closed! Luckily, our private villa was enough to keep us amused, and our own butler made a mean gin and tonic. He would even send drinks floating on a tray in our private pool! Bliss.
Ayana is enjoyable, but for us~ too big. Luxury done well in the villas, but don’t expect much romance with 300 other diners at dinner….even if the Rock Bar had been open, I’m not sure we would have secured a stool, and this wasn’t even the high season!
For the second half of our Balinese adventure, we moved up to the mountainous area of Ubud, a two hour drive, gave us a feeling of changing pace, as you drive up the winding roads, you notice the landscape changing to lush green rice fields, distant mountains and palm trees. Our ultimate destination? The Como Shambhala Estate [below], known as “The Retreat for Change.”
We had heard about Como Shambhala various “in-the-know” friends, including our friend Brent, who’s blog, “Where’s Brent Been” showed images of the understated Bali style we were looking for. We were not disappointed. Como Shambhala [above] is the ultimate in wellness and spa retreats and follows a healthy living philosophy that takes its inspiration from mythological roots: in ancient Buddhist texts, ‘Shambhala’ refers to a sacred place of bliss. Built on 9 hectares of terraced fields, there are tree house like residences with every luxury thought of.
Walks around the estate are the perfect daily workout, an hour touring through the jungle like forest with your informative guide work up a big appetite. And you’ll need it. The food here is superb. Fresh, clean, & delicious. We tried to get through all three of the menu’s, and we couldn’t find anything we didn’t love.
Our package included 3 massages each! The spa was equally beautifully designed, just the wait in the open lobby area was serene, I had to bring home the ginger tea you drink on arrival – delicious!
Our days were spent mainly enjoying our private infinity pool, or laying by the communal lap pool. A day out shopping in Ubud centre is fascinating, and if search, there are some special galleries and museum like shops for collectors. Chris and I found some great items for English Country Antiques, and our home in Sagaponack.
THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR TRAVEL DIARY ZOE! XXOO KELLI
For more info on Como Shambhala go to: http://www.comohotels.com/comoshambhalaestate
For more info on Ayana Resort and Spa go to: www.ayanaresort.com
**To shop English Country Antiques, go to: http://www.ecantiques.com/search.php
Stores locations: 26 Snake Hollow Rd, Bridgehampton; 631.537.0606, or 53 North Sea Road, Southampton; 631.204.0428
Photo credits: Zoe’s personal photos by Chris Mead, hotel and spa images via Ayana and Como Shambhala resorts.