Maya Ubud: A luxurious retreat in the Bali countryside

Nestled between the Petanu River and a swathe of green rice paddies, Maya Ubud is a leader in off-beach Bali tourism. It’s located just east of Ubud, far enough out for guests to enjoy total peace and solitude, but still well-connected to the town thanks to a complimentary shuttle bus.

Guests can choose between detached villas or luxury guestrooms, all of which have been carefully designed in refined, contemporary style. The floors are built from stones sourced from the river, and the thatched roofs are fashioned according to local tradition. The resort sprawls across ten hectares, and villas offer ample views with plenty of privacy.

The fringe amenities make the difference here. A massage in a private spa treatment room overlooking the river is hard to match. Guests rave about the food, too – and for good reason. Maya Ubud operates four restaurants, but the best is the River Café. Expect healthy and imaginative dishes crafted from locally sourced organic herbs and vegetables.

What makes it special?
Aside from being one of the finest independently run resorts in Bali’s interior, Maya Ubud sets itself apart from its competitors through its commitment to sustainable practices. This is an important issue in Bali, where tourism has a habit of expanding unchecked. Part of the resort’s Sustainability Management Plan involves obtaining Green Globe certification. This means that sustainability covers every aspect of resort operations, from planning tour packages to sourcing local, seasonal ingredients for use in the resort’s restaurants.

What to expect?
A holiday in Bali conjures up images of white sand beaches and epic surf breaks, but veterans know that there is so much more to this island. Maya Ubud is in the interior, where the focus is on mountains, terraced rice fields and traditional villages. The uninitiated are often inclined to give the interior a pass, but they’re missing out. In fact, those who venture in for a quick one-night stopover routinely end up staying longer than anticipated – especially when they’re enjoying high-caliber accommodation.

Superior and deluxe rooms have either one king-sized bed or two single beds. They come complete with an en suite bathroom, wireless Internet, a private balcony and all of the standard trappings you would expect forma five-star hotel. Pool villas have a bit more floor space and plenty of private outdoor area. They also have the addition of a plunge pool and outdoor shower.

What is there to do?
Resort facilities include a pair of outdoor swimming pools and a full-service spa. You can also soak in the resort’s Jacuzzi, rent bicycles or enjoy a few rounds on the resort tennis courts. Activities such as Pilates, yoga, nature walks and meditation are regularly scheduled. If you’d like to put together a cycling tour or riverside picnic, Maya Ubud staff can help make the arrangements and set you up with a guide if necessary.

Resort guides are also on hand to lead village treks, during which you’ll cross the Petanu River, explore ancient temples, take in traditional villages and circumvent rice terraces. White water rafting or visits to the elephant safari park or local marine park can also be arranged.

Ubud has gained a reputation as the arts and culture center of Bali, and museums and galleries abound. A complimentary shuttle bus from Maya Ubud connects to and from Ubud Central Market. Shuttles leave every hour from 09:00 until 17:00. You can also shop for art and handicrafts at the resort’s Gallery Boutique, located in the lobby.

What’s the damage?
Maya Ubud offers three rooms for under US$400. The superior room starts at US$295 and is followed by the deluxe room at US$315. The superior garden villa is US$315. From here, guests can spend quite a bit more if they desire. Duplex villas weigh in at about three times the rate of a standard room. Guests staying at least three nights qualify for a transfer to and from the airport.

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