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Umana Bali: What You Need to Know

Umana Bali: What You Need to Know
Umana Bali: What You Need to Know

Is Bali’s latest resort as heavenly as the Island of Gods itself? Indonesia Expat was there to find out.

From the 7th until the 9th of March, 2024, on behalf of Indonesia Expat, I was invited to visit Umana Bali in Ungasan, Bali to have a taste of what the resort has to offer. The grand opening of Umana Bali last year was the talk of the town, and my curiosity sparked high and wide about whether this particular resort was (and is) truly what the buzz suggested. The following is what I later discovered about Umana Bali and, safe to say, it did more than simply exceed my expectations.

What is Umana Bali, exactly?

Umana Bali (also known as Umana Bali, LXR Hotels & Resorts) opened its doors to guests on the 23rd of November, 2023. The resort immediately generated massive buzz across Bali and beyond as it also marked the Southeast Asian debut for LXR Hotels & Resorts: a hand-picked collection of independent properties, under the globally renowned Hilton brand, defined by one-of-a-kind travel experiences and bespoke services in sought-out locations around the world. Umana Bali is, to be more exact, located at Jl. Melasti, Banjar Kelod, Ungasan, Bali, Indonesia 80364. When the traffic is conducive, it would require approximately 30 minutes of car ride from I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport to Umana Bali.

Settled atop Ungasan’s lofty limestone cliffs, the overall vibe of Umana Bali seemed to have taken its inspiration from Bali’s ancient rice paddy fields known by the locals as “uma“. Having said that, it was delightfully palpable that, since stepping into the lobby for the first time, the resort had nonetheless incorporated a fresh, modern, and sophisticated interpretation of motifs commonly found in Balinese architecture, making the guests feel as if they were standing on a crossroad of two different, yet beguiling periods.

Does it make a good first impression?

If a hotel lobby is the ultimate first impression, then yes — Umana Bali makes a good impression and then some. The lobby is crowned by a roof inspired by the revered banyan tree which is a symbol deeply ingrained in Balinese landscape and culture. The panoramic view as seen from the lobby, a scenery that extends across the resort and beyond to the Indian Ocean, makes for the golden touch that magnifies the already remarkable first impression.

It should also be noted that a visual interpretation of the traditional Legong Keraton dance adorns the entire lobby, this art piece mirrors the fluid movements of the dancers with organically shaped metal rings and fans. Furthermore, approximately 100 hand-blown glass petals resembling the dancers’ intricate headdresses form a celestial and floating sculpture that unlocks a reverence for Balinese cultural traditions.

Umana Bali's villas
Umana Bali’s villas
Let’s talk about Umana Bali’s villas.

In a word: breathtaking. In total, Umana Bali features 72 luxurious villas, each with its own private infinity-edge pool and outdoor hot tub, laid out in cascading terraces to afford panoramic views from every vantage point. To boot, as soon as the guests start checking themselves in, the resort would pair each guest with a specially appointed Curator of Guest Experiences to tailor each stay according to the guests’ individual preferences and requirements, respectively.

Even though I did not bring a plus one or family members during my visit to Umana Bali, as soon as I stepped into my villa, I was immediately greeted with a pristine, private pool, a bottle of sparkling white wine, and orange-flavoured confectionary that made the charm of this villa feel even sweeter than fiction. The villa’s interior design, courtesy of the celebrated global design firm WATG | Wimberly Interiors, unmistakably reflects a balanced convergence of divine, communal, and natural elements of everything that put Bali on the global tourism map in the first place.

And of course, since nowadays sustainability is the new luxury, the villas have no shortage of it either. The villas’ modern interiors utilise natural materials like marble, wood, and concrete in neutral and navy tones, merging seamlessly with the grand hillside surroundings. Moreover, amenities such as vanity kits appeared to be crafted from something akin to recycled banana leaf paper, coconut shell boxes, and natural slippers. In addition, the villas serve as a showcase for local culture and craftsmanship, featuring rattan woven by who was most definitely a skilled Balinese artisan. By the way, have I mentioned that the villa’s indoor bathtub is, almost literally, a little slice of heaven? Light up some incense next to the tub, have a soak to nurse your jetlag and your soul will be immediately transported.

Relax yourself at Lohma Spa
Relax yourself at Lohma Spa
Time for some healing, shall we? What can guests look forward to?

Let’s begin with Umana Bali’s enchanting Lohma Spa. The architectural design of Lohma Spa exudes such an indescribable, ethereal energy that would make the guests feel that they are, indeed, in the right place for some healing and for some much-needed soulful recalibration. Fluid, curving lines in soft earth tones guide the eye in a continuous, soothing flow, providing a comforting and unobtrusive space. Meanwhile, concealed lighting provides soft illumination along the edges, casting a subtle glow that highlights the contours of this tranquil space. Natural skylights further enhance the ambience with gentle, diffused radiance, fostering a sense of openness and interaction with the outside world.

During my stay, I was invited to join a sound healing session as well as a massage at Lohma Spa. As someone who is oftentimes sceptical about spas in general, I can assure you that the spa technicians and the massage therapists at Lohma Spa are more than equipped to provide a rare type of relaxation that is customisable to both your preference and your personality. For instance, I am often ticklish when getting a massage, yet the massage therapist at Lohma Spa managed to remain calm-headed and know exactly how to take care of my knotty spots. For the guests who prefer to blow off some steam by breaking out a sweat, no need to worry either — the resort’s fitness centre is more than well-equipped for anyone who wishes to stretch their muscles all while snapping some photogenic, Instagram-able moments.

Oliverra
Oliverra
What about the beach, though? And the food?

Situated only a short walking distance from the resort, Uma Beach House stands tall as it provides a surfside escape boasting views of the clear turquoise waters and soaring limestone cliffs. Scheduled to officially open and fully operate sometime this year, Uma Beach House will serve as another addition to the iconic Melasti Beach. Within the resort compound, however, a communal space named Heart of House comprises a Southeast Asian-style and world-fusion restaurant, Commune, and the Kids’ Club: an additional space that provides a colourful realm of enchantment complete with a nap room and activities designed to spark children’s creativity. If the guests are up for it, a recurring cooking class is open to provide more insights on how to dish up some of the most iconic Balinese dishes. Care for some craft coffee and wine as well? The resort’s Mer Lounge got you covered.

And finally, there’s Oliverra — and, during my stay, I got the chance to attend its grand opening. With an oceanic view that would make you feel as if you were a character in Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, Oliverra is the go-to place for diners who are looking for some bonding time with their partner, their friends, their family members, or simply a solitary moment by oneself. For the meat lovers out there, Oliverra sets a new standard with two signature cuts of meat: the selection of premium Kiwami Wagyu MB9+, chosen for its freshness and perfect texture derived from the marbling on the meat, and Stockyard Striploin MB5 which is renowned for its balanced, unrivalled superior marbling and tenderness. Moreover, oenophiles can anticipate indulging in a broad selection of popular wines hailing from Italy, Spain, France, and an assortment of wines from diverse regions around the globe.

Bottom line: Was it worth the stay?

Definitely! Now that summertime (and end-of-school break) is around the corner, it is about time for you, as well, to check out available villas at Umana Bali at the time of your choosing. For more information about Umana Bali, you can visit its official website at umanabali.com or its Instagram account at @umanabali.

All photos are courtesy of Umana Bali.

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