COMO SHAMBHALA ESTATE (link) (instagram)
Location: COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali Banjar Begawan, Desa Melinggih Kelod, Payangan, Melinggih Kelod, Payangan, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
Year built: December 2005
Architect/ designer: Malaysian architect Cheong Yew Kuan and Japanese interior designer Koichiro Ikebuchi
Ethos: Traditional Balinese and Colonial Dutch wellness retreat for change

Wellness has been a buzzword the past couple of years, and while I’ve also dabbled in essential oils and yoga and eating clean, there is no better way to refresh and relax than by traveling. When I had the chance to stay at COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali, known to be a luxury wellness retreat, I jumped at the idea to make sure I made the most of my holistic trip. Located in the wild jungle of Ubud, the property seamlessly blends into the natural surroundings while providing a stunning location that incorporates local details such as Balinese furniture and materials mixed with elegant European details in all of the buildings. The property has five different residences, each represented by the elements – earth, wind, fire, water, and mist. And with different types of villas and pool villas available, there is something that will fit everyone’s needs. The beauty of the COMO residence is the location and surroundings, which they make the focus, and the ease of living in the jungle adds to the magic of it all.

At COMO, you have the peace of mind in knowing that all the food, treatments, amenities, service, and activities were created with your health and wellness in mind. Nothing feels forced or planned (though you may have been planning this trip for months), and everything is at your own pace to encourage going at your own rhythm. Setting my own schedule is one of my favorite parts of traveling – there’s nothing pressing and you just go with the flow. Waking up extra early to the morning mist and the Balinese sun gently glowing over the jungle every day was like a meditation in itself. The estate has many resident experts to guide your wellness from a Yoga Master, Ayurvedic doctor, and guides for a huge range of activities including guided hiking, yoga, pilates, rock climbing, mountain biking, and more. Their spa programs are also not to be missed. There is a sense of trust at all times in everything that you do at COMO Shambhala that you’re in good hands and that you’re free to let your mind and body relax and let go.

Wellness doesn’t stop at the physical. Food and nourishment is just as important, which is why COMO Shambhala’s restaurant program has menus created by Group Executive Chef Amanda Gale. All ingredients are organic and locally-sourced, and all dishes can be modified to fit your dietary needs and restrictions. I loved knowing that I could close my eyes, pick a random dish, and enjoy something that was healthy and delicious. In addition to the two restaurants on the property, COMO is known for the various wellness programs available, covering everything from rejuvenation, cleanses, Ayurvedic treatments, and oriental medicine. The Ayurvedic program is all about finding balance in the five elements of the mind and body, with bespoke plans focusing on detoxing, diets, meditation, and yoga. The different wellness programs mixed with the beautiful property took me to a special world where humans coexist with nature and animals, while everything added to my refreshed state of mind, the luxurious COMO Shambhala’s ability to blend nature with comfort was the highlight of my entire experience.