Opening: June 29
THE opening of Capella Ubud, in the heart of the Balinese rainforest, could be one of the most exciting things to happen in Bali since European settlers first discovered its emerald shores. Which is fitting really since the resort is a tented camp with the early explorers as its theme.
Two things make this opening especially exciting. One is that the name Capella is attached. Which is good news since the management group is known for innovative and stylish property choices and high levels of customer service. The other is that the legendary architect Bill Bensley is at the design helm.
Set on four hectares against a dramatic backdrop of lush rainforest and sloping rice terraces by the Wos River (20 minutes north of Ubud) visitors to this hidden sanctuary will find it easy to leave the 21st century behind (in a good way) and imagine themselves in the kind of pristine paradise that enticed those early adventurers.
Inspired by early settlers from the 1800s, Capella Ubud "gives guests the chance to relive the spirit of adventure while enjoying the natural essence of Bali in luxurious comfort,” Nicholas M. Clayton, chief executive officer of Capella Hotel Group Asia told TLTB when we touched base at ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore recently.
Guests will be under canvas in themed rooms with evocative names such as The Captain’s Tent, The Cartographer’s Tent, The Librarian’s Tent, The Naturalist’s Tent and so on. We expect maps in The Cartographer’s Tent and books for the librarian but we’re intrigued by some of the less obvious names such as The Puppet Master’s Tent and The Horn Collector’s Tent. All rooms however will have Balinese carving, four poster beds, timber floorboards, handmade copper bathtubs, outdoor deck showers, and private outdoor saltwater pools. Rooms also include antiques and objets d’art from the owner’s (Jakarta businessman Suwito Gunawan) private collection.
Continuing the settlers theme the tented gym is called The Armoury - which gives a whole new meaning to getting great ‘guns’ - the main meeting room is dubbed The Officers Tent and minibars are called ‘refreshment trunks’ .The camp’s main dining room, Mads Lange, is named after a famous Danish spice trader and the main pool, with its striking black and white mosaic is called The Cistern. However nervous millennials need not fear, authenticity is only taken so far, the rooms also have air-con, high speed wi-fi, expresso machines and complimentary smart phones.
Amazingly, Bangkok and Bali-based Bensley has created the 22 tented villas and a two story lodge without disturbing any trees. Rooms are linked by 21 suspension bridges so everywhere you go the curling rainforest, tumbling river and distant rice paddies dominate the tableau.
Closeness to nature and nurturing of the spirit are an important part of the Capella Ubud experience. The three-tented Auriga Spa (a concept originally developed by Sylvia Sepielli and Raison d’Etre) focuses on healing experiences using 100 per cent natural and organic products and inspired by local culture and heritage including matching treatments to the phases of the moon.
“We’ll use specific techniques and scents for each moon phase”, General Manager Simon Doran told TLTB at ILTM Asia Pacific. “For example, the full moon inspires traditional remedies said to boost health and vitality, puts the properties of the rose at the centre of treatments. During a new moon we offer a revitalizing seaweed and eucalyptus salt scrub, and use rosemary and eucalyptus oils.”
Other health-related activities will include aerial yoga workouts, Pilates, Barre-based classes, Balinese dance-inspired classes, rainforest and rice paddy trekking, jungle boot camps and cultural experiences including boreh makin (the tradition of creating a centuries old healing recipe of herbs and spices used as a mask and scrub to revive the body).
Guests who really want to cut off from modern life can try the '24-Hours Confined to Quarters' programme, disconnect from their devices, connect to nature and reconnect with a loved one while being pampered from head to toe. ‘Confined to Quarters’ includes an Auriga moon treatment, yoga sessions, raw detox lunches, a camp roast dinner in the privacy of the guest’s tented retreat and a signature bedtime ritual followed by a spiritual purification ritual and “jamu” (a turmeric elixir), the following morning.
Guests can also be blessed by a local priest in the ancient spring of The Beji, in a special purification ritual.
Other activities include bespoke culinary journeys visiting the retreat’s honey farms, coffee, tea & cocoa plantations and the working boutique farms of nearby Keliki Village.
Luxury Links: www.capellahotelgroup.com, www.lhw.com
Hilary Doling 13/6/18