Despite having hotels dotted throughout some of the most glamorous destinations in the world – from Miami to Western Australia – it seems as though Singapore-based COMO Hotels has a particular fondness for Bali. With two resorts on the Indonesian island already, the brand is gearing up to open its third – due to fling open its doors next February 2018.
A showcase for hotelier Christina Ong’s unique vision of contemporary living, COMO has become synonymous with slick interiors, an award-winning wellness concept (COMO Shambhala) and personalised luxury travel experiences.
The new resort – COMO Echo Beach – is found on Bali’s south coast and will boast an Asian-Italian design concept with two of the industry’s most renowned names – Koichiro Ikebuchi and Paola Navone – both involved in the aesthetic vision.
Singapore-based Ikebuchi, who is renowned for his sensitive approach to nature and cultural authenticity, has previously worked on COMO’s two Bali locations. Similarly, Navone – who designed the main restaurant, Play by COMO and the COMO Beach Club at COMO Echo Beach – has a history with the company, being the creative force behind COMO Point Yamu, Phuket, and COMO Metropolitan Miami Beach. Meanwhile, landscape designer Trevor Hillier – another longtime collaborator with COMO – has added his expertise in Southeast Asian tropical landscapes with his immaculate-meets-wild gardens and integrated indoor-outdoor spaces.
With a sumptuous range of rooms, suites and villas, the beach-side resort, found in Canggu, a coastal village, is edged on one side by rice paddies and on the other by some of the island’s best surf breaks. Making the most of this unique position – it’s one of the big draws for this coastline – the property will launch its own surfing concept, in partnership with Tropicsurf, suited to beginners but also those with experience. Veteran surfers will be satisfied with the large rides found to the right of COMO Echo Beach, while novices can learn the foundations under an expert eye on calmer waves. Away from the waves, other activities include Pererenan Rice Field Walks and sunset trips to the sea temples of Tanah Lot.
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Adding to the overall barefoot-chic feel is the dining, which is a modern take on the traditional ‘surf shack’ with a focus on ‘new world cuisine’ – think Australian, Asian and European flavours with locally-sourced ingredients.
Rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of the endless ocean views, while many have courtyards and outdoor showers, as well as pared-back yet deeply luxurious details.
Like all COMO addresses, wellness is all-important, with its Shambhala Retreat offering Asian-inspired therapies, as well as yoga and Pilates classes twice a day.
Of course, COMO’s flagship retreat is found in the Shambhala Estate, just north of Ubud on Bali – from which all of its other properties take note. The world-renowned residential health retreat is famous for its holistic approach, lavish villa accommodation and state-of-the-art facilities.
Guests are immersed in its jungle-rich location – it is spectacular – and back-to-nature approach. Here you can take part in qigong or yoga, go mountain biking or hiking, join in with the outdoor circuit training or have a go at the white-water rafting. Cuisine, of course, echoes the wellness concept with a delicious Indonesian menu being served at Kudos House and healthy organic dishes served in Glow. The retreat is all about restoration and healing with wellness programmes, advanced treatments and therapies to suit every problem. You’ll leave with a spring in your step.
Also offering the chance to rejuvenate is COMO’s third property – Uma Ubud, a serene mountain outpost found amid the jungle landscape of the Tjampuhan Valley. Here, you are surrounded by Balinese wildlife – the crickets and birdsong are your soundtrack – and you stay in stunning thatched balés, that are simply decorated with four poster beds, infinity pools and outdoor bathrooms.
This is the place to come for some much-need ‘me-time’ – with daily walks, COMO’s landmark therapies and gourmet dining all on tap. For a wow-moment – best served up on Insta to have your followers drooling – dive into the tropical 25m pool – it’s perfect for making a splash.
Most impressively, perhaps, is that COMO has harnessed more than a show-stopping aesthetic – yes, interiors, design and food throughout all three properties are talking points but it is the destination’s unique sense of spirituality and exotic magic that shines through at all places. This is Bali and guests just can’t get enough of it.