Four Seasons Resort Bali – at Sayan
here are amazing hotels in Bali… and then you have Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. When I started doing my research about hotels in Indonesia, Four Seasons was my priority. The Canadian international luxury chain, along with Mandarin Oriental and Kempinski are my favorite ones.
I was very excited, not just because the hotel looks stunning in the website, but because it is located in the middle of a hidden lush paradise surrounded by the Ayung River and rice fields in Ubud, perhaps, the most beautiful and cultural area in Bali.
I arrived at Four Season around 15:30PM. Before crossing the gate you have to go through a security check, where your car is inspected with metal detectors and dogs… funny how the taxi driver was saying in his Hamlet accent “Ohhh you´re going to love this place!”… He was so right! Since we didn’t have any bomb, eheh, we were allowed to proceed our way to the main lobby. After a simple and beautiful welcome ritual, we crossed a teak bridge suspended over a gorge giving you a great perspective of the 18 acres resort. This bridge leads you to the main lobby and to the Jati bar where I did my check-in while having a drink and enjoying the overlooking views of the valley. After a brief conversation about the hotel and the facilities… the friendly staff guided us on a golf car to our villa. The gardens are expansive and utterly enchanting, thick with red palms, pink frangipani trees, and blasts of ruby-coloured bougainvillea − there are even mini wheat fields and rice paddies complete with scarecrows, as well as the odd ornately-carved temple.
The Villa was S-P-E-C-T-A-C-U-L-A-R… A lily pond and meditation area greeted me upon arrival. I step downstairs and entered an outdoor living area with a dining table, comfortable lounge chairs and a plunge pool. Placed privately in the valley, the Riverfront One-Bedroom Villas features Floor-to-ceiling windows with open views to the river. You find yourself surrounded by hundreds of palm trees, flowers and birds… can’t find nothing in the world more exotic than this!
…can’t find nothing in the world more exotic than this!
The spacious bedroom (440m2) made of dark teak and Indonesian stone,includes a King bed accented with a delicately carved wooden screen and sheer white canopy, a wood-panelled walk-in closet and lavish marble bathroom with freestanding tub and outdoor shower. The room features wireless internet access, LCD television, CD and DVD player, refrigerator private bar, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, complimentary newspaper, in-room safe, tea/coffee maker and multi-line telephone’s.
I was late for my first activity, a one-hour guided bike trip through the neighbouring village of Sayan for a glimpse of real Balinese life. Mr. Agus, my guide, took me along the beautiful rice fields… Nowadays is impossible, after the huge success of the Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, not to have a formatted idea of Ubud landscapes – Bali’s cultural heart – but this is pure magic… Now I totally understand why this idyllic surroundings and gracious way of life have drawn celebrities and artists from all over the World.
After finishing the tour, I went to relax in my outdoor Bali shower and dinner at Riverside Café. Set in the valley by the beautiful Ayung River and shaded by a thatched roof and umbrellas. Riverside Café boasts a casual, poolside, open-air setting with a western menu. A special dinner themed on Mediterranean was prepared for us, from a display of a variety of seafood, fresh salads, pastas, grilled items, side dishes and delectable desserts. Everything was delicious, we had like 6 different dishes… and I ate them all!
The day began with a morning trek through the picturesque terraced rice fields and jungle paths leading to the banks of the flowing Ayung River experiencing a day in the life of a local farmer. We had the opportunity to visit a tradicional house, the owners were so lovely that they personally showed the house, from the room to the farm.
Back in the hotel gardens, breakfast was served in a private bale, surrounded by the vivid green rice plantings and the mirror-like watery surfaces of the terraces…. just for us. After finishing breakfast we continued our day planting rice seeds. Yes, we helped local farmers to plant rice! I always wanted to do that, so I literally jumped in the mud, my clothes were completly dirty, eheh! It’s not so easy like I tought it would be, but it was extremely fun… One of the best experiences ever. After planting the rice we had a refreshment break with young coconuts before heading to the Spa to relax the sore muscles in a river stone bathing ritual. This one-of-a-kind treatment started with the application of fresh herbal blends on the hair and scalp, an invigorating river stone scrub to revive the skin, and a soothing Balinese massage. By the end of the massage, my laundry of the morning, the one I wore during the farmer class, were already clean and ironed … yes, they are fast! But the clothes weren’t the only surprise… while relaxing and taking a ginger tea after the message, we were offered a photograph album taken during the morning activities by the staff. Incredible and really funny pictures on that. Guaranteed! The day’s adventure ended with a traditional and delicious lunch of Nasi Campur – the typical of the everyday Balinese meal – in a private bale along the river. Simple, authentic, beautiful – a true Balinese experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
After spending our afternoon dressed with Yukata robes and slippers relaxing in our Villa, we went to Jati Bar for a relaxing tropical cocktail. The Jati Bar is the ideal place to watch the sunset while entertained by Legong Dance show performed by dancers from neighboring village. We werefascined with the performance, not only by the Galegang music but also by the mysty dancers who were amazing!
For dinner, we went to Ayung Terrace restaurant. The menu features an Ubud-style suckling pig, prepared over an open wood fire. You can also sample a selection of freshly grilled items, such as satays, chicken, grilled king prawn and minced fish, all prepared over a live charcoal grill. “BebekBetutu” Balinese roasted duck is another wonderful dish not to be missed. The variety of the food is huge and every single dish was incredibly tasty.
I woke up to the sound of the birds chirping on a beautiful sunny morning… jump out of bed and had a quick swim on the pool before having Breakfast at the privacy of my villa. I love hotel breakfasts, but when surrounded by this paradise lush it takes the experience to another level… can’t find a better way to start the day!
I had an appointment at a Spa villa to experience one of the Four Seasons signature Spa treatments, The Muladhara – the root chakra – is located at the base of the spine, anchoring you to the earth. Being well-balanced in this chakra is especially important for those who travel frequently or those who started a new chapter in life. Balancing Muladhara calms the body and mind, creating a profound inner peace that helps free our full potential. Twice a month in the Balinese calendar, it is a ritual to cleanse the body from negativity to bring good health. In Balinese tradition, a priest or priestess carries this out after special ceremonies using a sacred and secret mantra, by working with the root chakra to cleanse and open it to the earth. Combining a foot wash, Balinese sacred kemenyan smoke and the soothing sound of singing bowls, this treatment features a slow, deep massage using locally grown ginger and cinnamon in a grounding blend of vetiver, patchouli and jatamansi oils. The experience induces a deep sense of stillness that will leave me feeling ready to take on the world. It was incredible. The spa is a paradise for those who like to meditate.
At the end, words are not enough to describe how amazing this experience was to me at the Four Seasons at Sayan. The Resort is beyond beautiful, very well maintained, offering a wide range of activities. From the moment I entered in the resort till the last goodbye, everything was perfect! The staff was lovely, always with a genuine smile, always making me feel special… Everyone, without exception takes a personal interest in ensuring that all your needs are met… in fact, they seem to know what you need before you even do. Exceptional service!
We left the hotel in the Four Seasons leather-clad, air-conditioned, Wi-Fi-enabled limousine to the Four Seasons Jimbaran, you can see my review here!
Watch a video I did during my stay at this amazing resort.
Here is the video of my journey in Indonesia, during one month I explored the islands of Java, Bali, Lombok e Flores.
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