If you want to escape to a beach resort that offers peace and wellness, and also enjoy the thrill of surfing, stay at the Como Uma Canggu in Bali where you can enjoy both.
By Julie Ravindran
My husband and I set out on an adventure trip to Southeast Asia in November. After a hectic schedule in Thailand, we flew to the Indonesian island of Bali, a yoga haven. This was a first for the both of us, and definitely not our last.
After spending a few days in bustling Bangkok, the resort village of Canggu in Bali was a much-needed respite . Immediately upon entering the foyer of Como Uma Canggu, our elegant hotel, we were greeted with a warm welcome from the staff that facilitated a seamless check-in. The entrance of the resort gives a spa-like feel with crisp white interiors and hints of eucalyptus and lavender aromas percolating from the adjacent spa. We enjoyed the refreshing hibiscus lemongrass tea, a perfect late afternoon refreshment and a gateway into the wellness that would ensue.
We were then guided to our room and received a tour en route of the property’s amenities. I was impressed at how large the resort was: nearly 120 rooms on 2.2 acres of plush property, with residential villas and three-bedroom duplex penthouses featuring individual rooftop pools. The aesthetics are very funky and fusion-y, combining Asian and Italian decor created by interior designers Koichiro Ikebuchi and Paola Navone.
One of the restaurants has an open design just off the beach, offering panoramic views of the ocean. The space is thoughtfully designed and includes abundant lounge areas incorporating cool blue colors that mirror the ocean. This is where we had our first spotting of surfers. We found out later that Canggu has some of the best waves for various levels of surfers. There are eight surfing spots in Canggu depending on the type of wave you would like to pursue. I loved how the surfing component added to the overall ambience of Canggu, the right ratio of a laid back vibe and recreation. The resort itself is nestled between two groups of surfing villages, and experts offer lessons, amid bars and restaurants all located on the beach. We found quite a few families with children relaxing at the beach side pool. The resort is family friendly and offers “Play By Como” for young parents looking for a space to engage in kid friendly activities.
Our room was spacious and offered a generous deck overlooking the ocean. This outdoor space was where we spent a majority of our time during our holiday, with tasteful deck furniture truly allowing us to make the most of the outdoor space. This is where I sipped on my morning coffee while looking at the sunrise, and enjoying the view as surfers lined up, perched on their boards, waiting to catch their next wave.
After settling into the room, we took a nap and freshened up for dinner. We were pleasantly surprised to find live music during dinner, an enjoyable addition that happens every night except on Mondays. The Como Beach Club restaurant offers a dynamic menu and healthy international cuisines, and we ate to our hearts content. After dinner, we took a walk to explore the surrounding area and found there were many shops, eateries, cafes and bars all within walking distance. Many of the places were health focused with charming intimate interiors luring you in from the sidewalk. We ended the night by soaking our tired bodies in the large jacuzzi made especially spa-like with Como’s signature bath salts.
During breakfast the next morning, I met the sales and marketing director at the resort, Eugene Feklistov, who educated me about Bali, the evolution of tourism on the island and how every village has its own feel and focus. Our breakfast consisted of fresh green juices and zucchini and salmon waffles. It was the perfect mix of hearty and fresh ingredients to kickstart the day. The french press coffee, too, was made to perfection.
The Como Uma Canggu is a fairly new hotel, ideally located in Canggu, which is slowly transforming into a sought-after getaway for tourists. Appealing to the more active traveler, Canggu is perfect for those that want to mix relaxation with exploration. “Many yoga and surfing enthusiasts rely on the core skills of balance and breath,” said Eugene, pointing out that many of their guests get to make the most of both activities while staying in Como Uma Canggu.
I was delighted to get a private yoga lesson with Emma Gabriel, a Singaporean who brings yoga experiences from all over the world. As someone who is still learning various styles of yoga, I found Emma’s session to be the perfect way to focus on my core. The resort offers daily yoga ranging from Yin to Flow. Emma was very calm, patient and nurturing, adding to the positive experience of exploring my practice. We concluded the session with meditation, which left my mind feeling relaxed and my muscles revitalized after the asana practice.
Afterwards I joined my husband for lunch, choosing seats that allowed us to absorb the view. The lunch was an elaborate spread, and included fresh juices made with ingredients that aid the body with various health goals. We ordered the edamame falafel wrap and ceviche to split, and they both tasted fresh and citrusy. It was indeed a reinvigorating feast. Post lunch, we walked along the beach and admired the prowess of the surfers: how fit they were and how great it must be to incorporate movement and fun into a sport. As freshly licensed scuba divers from our earlier halt at Thailand, my adventurous husband and I discussed the possibility of surfing as our next sport to tackle. So, Canggu will be seeing more of us for sure!
I lazily headed to the Spa in the afternoon for the Como Shambhala Signature Massage, looking forward to just laying still and taking it easy. The service at the spa was impeccable! The massage therapist ensured the temperature, music and pressure were all to my liking. My muscles were sore after all the diving in Thailand, and my body ached for some TLC. I couldn’t have asked for anything better than the Como signature treatment. It left me feeling completely relaxed, free of the muscle tensions and a recalibration of the mind.
I was in complete zen mode by dinner time, and so we opted to experience private dining on our deck. This was an ideal way to spend our last night capturing the sounds of the waves as we had an uninterrupted leisurely dinner. Living in a landlocked city back home in Texas, I just wanted this image to stay on forever, so I took it all in and embraced these last few moments of clean air, enchanting beauty and rhythmic sounds of the waves on the beach, promising myself to return some day.
After two good nights of a warm and caring stay at Como Uma in Canggu, I wanted to make the most of the time left before we checked out the next day. The following morning, I coerced my “not-a-morning-person” husband to participate in the group fitness class of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). The state-of-the-art gym at Como Uma offers a range of classes from Pilates to Foam Rolling, and is well stocked with water, ginger tea and cold crisp towels. Our bodies were grateful to have started the day with some movement prior to our next destination in Bali – Ubud!
Julie Ravindran is a travel writer with Yoga Journal, and lives in Austin, Texas. Photograph Courtesy: Como Uma Canggu and Ben Sandran.