Hoshino Resorts is known for delivering curated experiences that show the best that Japan has to offer, and we know that from our memorable stay at HOSHINOYA Tokyo a few months ago. Previously only operating in Japan, they’ve made their first stride abroad with HOSHINOYA Bali in Ubud, and of course, we popped over to the island of gods to check it out.
Enveloped by the lush green hills of Ubud, HOSHINOYA Bali overlooks the sacred Pakerisan river, as the water flows from Bali’s holy spring temple Tirtha Empul. The waters running through the property are also part of the island’s age-old water temple network (also known as subak irrigation) recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Landscape.
After checking in, the enchantment began. The small walkways to our villa reminded me of Kyoto but was lined with lush tropical vegetation; a nice fusion of Japanese and Balinese landscape architecture methinks. The way the resort was built emphasised the verdant greenery of Ubud, from the corridors that overlook the jungle to villa gazebos with thatched roofs of alang-alang (a Balinese grass considered sacred as well as most of the temples utilise this) from which you can admire Mother Nature.
The interiors of the each villa then turns its focus on traditional art – rightly so, since Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali – with walls and furniture covered with beautiful Balinese carvings.
The three swimming pools at Hoshinoya Bali stretch across the resort and offer a kaleidoscope display that changes throughout the day. While the villas at Hoshinoya don’t have private pools, you do get to call a part of the shared pool yours for the length of your stay as the pool winds around each villa like a river. That means you can still enjoy a relaxing float on the water at night and watch the stars from the privacy of your villa. If you prefer a change of scenery, the café gazebos are designed to blend in with the jungle they overlook. Think treetop houses and bring along a book with you while you lose yourself in that jungle landscape.
While Ubud is home to a plethora of dining options, how about staying in one night to try Hoshinoya Bali’s tasting menu? Each dish of the 10-course contemporary Balinese tasting menu (Rp. 1.2 million per person, US$90) came with a stunning set-up and a Japanese twist. My favourite was the Tuna Tataki with Sambal Flavour, grilled tuna slices with sambal matah (Balinese raw sambal), which actually inspired me to recreate it during my spare time in Bali. There was also a Japanese Wagyu Beef Tenderloin Steak with Balinese-style Condiment (think tender sliced beef with kecap manis, garlic salt, and sate sauce) and a Blanc Manger Roaster Japanese Tea Flavour for dessert.
Though we enjoyed the creativity of the entire menu (thumbs up to the chef here) since it’s pairing robust Indonesian tastes with the more muted Japanese flavours, it’s not where you should be eating if you want authentic Balinese food in its traditional glory.
No Balinese vacation is complete without a superior spa treatment, am I right? Combined with Ubud’s natural environment, high-quality sleep , and healthy cuisine flavoured with natural spices, stimulating your senses and enhancing your internal energy flow (what Chinese people call qi) is practically a given. Located at the bottom of the valley, Hoshinoya’s spa offers programs designed to bring balance to mind and body, such as treatments that incorporate natural ingredients and poolside meditation.
Before the start of my treatment, I was served a glass of gingery jamu, a blanket term for traditional medicine in Indonesia made from natural herbs). The 120-minute Body Relaxation (Rp. 2 million, US$150) package included an excellent oil massage by my friendly therapist from Java, a scrub. The R & R session then ended with a wrap and a flower bath .
One last thing, for the guests who love history and cultures, HOSHINOYA Bali also provides cultural day tours such as visitation of the Bali’s scenic landscapes and ancient temples, and subak trekking.
HOSHINOYA Bali is located at Br. Pengembungan, Desa Pejeng Kangin, Kecamatan Tampaksiring, Gianyar 80552 Bali, Indonesia. For more information on HOSHINOYA Bali, please visit their website here.