This is the first of many travel blogs where I will highlight the healing properties of the places I visit. I had to start with my absolute favorite to date!
February-March, 2018 I booked this second trip to Bali with the intention of being semi-spontaneous. Success! (I just pre-booked a couple villas and hotels.) I wanted to make sure a part of this trip included some much needed rejuvenation and quiet. I moved around quite a bit: six towns or villages in just over 14 days! But one place in particular captured my attention, my breath and pretty much dominated the photo gallery in my phone.
The Uluwatu Surf Villas
Uluwatu is the southernmost tip of Bali, known for majestic sunsets and great surf. It has a chill, relaxing vibe so it’s perfect for winding down after a busy day in other parts of the island, or the perfect last stop before heading back home (it’s not far from the airport). I have a tendency to want to see and do it all on my trips so pre-booking this property in advance ensured I got my dose of calm retreat and 24/7 oceanfront bliss!
I got lucky. It was low season to begin with (early March) and it happened to be an odd, quiet week in between waves of guests. I felt at times I had the entire property to myself. It was me, the staff and the distant ocean waves. Unfortunately there was no onsite restaurant (it was being constructed at the time) but the kitchen was in operation and I had delicious, gourmet meals prepared and delivered from early morning through 11pm. The Mana Uluwatu restaurant just opened in June, 2018 and by the way, their pictures on social media are beckoning me to come back.
Uluwatu is best explored on a scooter. I didn’t rent one this time, but hiring a driver in the area is affordable. To my delight, I was upgraded to a villa from the ocean view loft suite. I didn’t quite have time before the trip to really understand what this upgrade really meant. So, I went into silent shock when the hosts opened the big double doors and welcomed me in. My eyes zeroed in on the panoramic view of the ocean just past the clifftop patio and private pool.
My villa had 3 bedrooms. 3 full baths (all private outdoors).. but who’s counting? I only cared about my private outdoor space.
That’s what kept coming to mind during my entire stay. “Rustic Luxury” I felt more bonded to nature here than most of my other stops on this journey. In fact, I extended my stay an extra night (the beauty of not pre-booking all your hotels) The natural elements inside and out made you feel at home and pampered in Balinese comfort and hospitality at the same time. The villa entrances are surrounded by lush jungle vegetation and opposite side, the open space of backyard essentials of Bali: a hammock, a private plunge pool, chaise lounges facing the clifftop, outdoor cabana for eating and reading (I got my best journaling done there), and a wide open front lawn to the edge of the cliff – perfect for a walk, yoga practice or running around with the owners’ dogs! The pool was my absolute favourite part of the villa. Infused with minerals and just a small amount of chlorine, it captured reflections of sunrises and especially the gorgeous sunsets. You won’t find cold marble floors and countertops in this naturesque sanctuary. They wouldn’t suit the clifftop landscape. If you are not used to sounds of wildlife, you may experience a little adjustment period, like you would in most Balinese rustic villas. One night I was half asleep in one of the poolside chaise lounges and startled by sudden, loud “Ka-Kow” sound of the lizards. They apparently nestle in the roofs of the cabanas. But don’t worry. They are harmless. You don’t see them (I couldn’t find my nightly squawker- but not sure I wanted to either!) I just referred to him as one of my housemates along with the tiny fun geckos that ran around or the occasional tree frog who liked to hang out inside my bedroom door almost every night. Note: There are no mosquito nets in the bedrooms, because you don’t need them!
Juli and Gusti, my hosts took turns coming every morning to cook me breakfast and clean. At first, it felt strange to me, never having this kind of room service and attention so I kept wanting to pitch in and chat. Juli would politely encourage me to go sit outside and relax with my coffee while she cooked. But I absolutely adored her and had more fun learning about the villa property and Balinese culture. Being such a people person, it sometimes got a little too quiet for me in this villa retreat!
The staff at Uluwatu Surf Villas were so gracious and helpful. They know exactly when to check in on you without invading your privacy and they were appeared in a flash if you needed anything.
My Typical day in Rustic Luxury of Uluwatu Surf Villas
6:30 am -Wake with the sun.
Lie in the hammock as the sky brightened.
Breathe deeply to inhale the morning ocean air.
Prepare Organic Balinese Coffee (Press) and grabbed a protein snack (half a protein bar or shake).
Grounded myself (barefoot) on the greens. (Absorbing the negative electrons from earth’s surface is essential for health.)
Breathe deeply more fresh ocean air.
7:30 am- Yoga (Morning Light Yoga Studio) in the loft overlooking the ocean. Great yin practice by Jessica followed by cold fresh coconut drink for all the students!
9:00 am – Social time with my host while breakfast is being prepared. And drink another cup of coffee since Juli makes it better than I do.
9:30am – breakfast in the cabana,
Journaling, watching the surfers.
Throw on my sneakers for a jog or run down the road or through the property grounds. There are great warungs with amazing, inexpensive food. I found “Land’s End café” and “Warung Lalapan”, a Halal food stand for a freshly juiced fruit smoothie for under $2 USD. (warung=waroeng: A small family owned cafe or restaurant in Indonesia)
If the tide is low, head down the private stairs to the beach, or else the pool.
Shower, rinse repeat the lounging thing.
12:00 pm – Lunch somewhere or leftovers in my fridge
Afternoon – visiting the Uluwatu temple (10 min scooter ride) or Single Fin Beach- just a few hundred feet down the road.
Late Afternoon: Pool and more writing. Wander down the greens to watch more surfers.
Evening: Dinner delivered to my villa then sunset by the pool or a ride with Rai, my favourite Bali driver, into Padang Padang for a delicious dinner at the Mango Tree Café.
Night: Relaxing with a book and enjoy the sounds of the night or a last dip.
All Day: Photos and videos!
Can You Unplug at the Uluwatu Surf Villas?
Yes….. and No. Yes, because the scenery and desire to be at one with nature will make you forget you own a cell phone. No, because the wifi was so good and the charging USB ports built into their walls make it easy to keep your devices charged for any sudden photo opp that arises. Plus, you may want to share photos on social media and with friends back home for bragging rights!
Amazing, fresh, Dr. Melanie approved for gluten free! Chef Gusti did an amazing job with the salmon, the traditional Nasi Goreng and all the salads I could ever order! His homemade coconut ice cream was the big treat! He prepared gluten free pancake batter for the breakfasts. So whatever your food restrictions, they can accommodate you.
The Balinese Massage.
Soon after I checked in that first day, Nyoman Kari arrived with her table to give me a heavenly two hour traditional Balinese massage. I’ll explain that bliss in my upcoming article on Balinese bodywork. The sun was setting so immediately after she left, I ran for the tripod, cameras and bikini and captured the best sunset shots of this entire trip.
Like most places in Bali, Uluwatu Surf Villas is very conscious of the environment. There are no paper napkins nor papertowels but linens are provided. Natural toiletries are provided in dispensible containers. No plastic water bottles to be found anywhere. Instead each bungalow, room and villa is equipped with a water filtration system. I suggest bringing your own sport water bottle to fill up before you head out!
Uluwatu Surf Villas hosts retreats, weddings, reunions, groups and equally caters to the solo adventurist. Thanks you, Jessica, Juli, Rai, Gusti and everyone for a truly memorable visit. If you would like more information, contact them directly by visiting their website www.uluwatusurfvillas.com and also find more photos on my Instagram and Facebook page under Restorative Luxury Travels.
Thank you for reading this article! I’m just getting started with sharing my travel experiences. Please feel free to post a comment, suggestion or question! or share this with your friends who love travel!
Coming up: Bali Bodywork – A heavenly experience with every treatment in different parts of the island!
Wayan from Eat, Pray Love. My two hour healing experience with the healer made famous by Elizabeth Gilbert’s book.