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A piece of heaven in the jungles of Ubud…

Ubud is located a hour and a half’s drive from Denpasar. The magical Ubud consists of green terraced hills, artists, yogi’s, silversmiths, stone carvers, painters, traditional dancers, temples, restaurants, bars and live music, all surrounded by an untouched jungle. Located 4 km outside Ubud is where you can find Tejaprana Resort & Spa, nestled in the lush jungles of the Petanu river valley in Tegallalang.

 When I arrived at Tejaprana Resort & Spa after making my journey through the vibrant street market, I was left speechless by the sheer beauty and serenity of this luxurious jungle sanctuary. If heaven is a place on earth, I believe Tejaprana Resort & Spa might be it. I was welcomed at the beautiful reception area with a refreshing wet towel as well as a vibrant yellow welcome drink. The reception consists of wood carved furniture as well as beautiful orchid plants. Once I was checked in the friendly staff showed me to my villa. Upon entering my villa, I was blown away by the sheer size, the beautiful décor, the view of the jungle as well as the special features. In all my years travelling I have never seen a more lavish yet cozy villa.

Tejaprana Resort & Spa is an architecture marvel, blending effortlessly with the organic growth of the jungle. The entire concept reminds me of a modern organic palace. The design elements are beautiful, modern and luxurious but also embodies the concept of being one with nature. The resort introduces travellers to Balinese culture and teaches a respect and admiration for their rituals and beliefs.

Whether you are taking a break, seeking a place to rejuvenate your soul, explore Balinese culture or enjoying a honeymoon, Tejaprana Resort & Spa is the perfect destination. The resort offers a variety of interesting activities for energetic travellers, but also offers privacy and serenity for travellers wanting to rest and soak in the splendour of the natural surroundings.

Tejaprana Resort & Spa comprises 28 cozily furnished villas, all facing east allowing you to take full advantage of the warmth of the morning sun. Each villa is complemented with a gazebo, an infinity plunge pool and an outdoor natural stone bathtub bringing you yet closer to the Balinese landscape embracing the resort. Tejaprana Resort and Spa was designed by Arte Architect and Associates.

One of my favourite activities was taking a refreshing swim in my infinity pool, followed by a relaxing bubble bath in the outdoors stone bathtub. All of this was enjoyed with a spectacular view of the jungle. I truly felt free and in touch with nature.

The resort features the spectacular Chatraka spa where guests can enjoy a view of the jungle while having their treatments. The extensive treatment list offers all pamper options as well as wellness rituals that will improve health. The resort also offers a special yoga space, Maitra Bale, where yoga is practiced twice a week. Private yoga sessions are also available.

The design of the Aruna restaurant incorporates a 180’ jungle view, high above ground level. Enjoying a meal at Aruna is a special experience in itself. The cuisine ranges from local and traditional to international dishes all cooked with fresh and organic ingredients. I often ordered room service in order to maximize my time spent in my private villa. The dining service is very quick and attentive, and I enjoyed sampling different Balinese dishes and desserts. My favourite was a banana and chocolate dessert. In addition, I was also impressed with their wine selection as they even had a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa.

A delightful corner of comfort and art is the Oja Lounge & Gift Shop. It is a lovely boutique filled with radiant handmade jewellery, scarfs, hand bags and souvenirs to take home, it is also a good place to curl up with a book or enjoy afternoon tea or a cocktail.

Other amazing activities include, Kedisan village cycling, cooking classes, Kepitu village trekking, Yoga classes, and Canang making. The resort also offers a very unique activity where you can go with a guide on a special journey to participate in a traditional Balinese cleansing ritual. A guide takes you to a Hindu Balinese water temple that has a sacred stream. One is then cleansed underneath a waterfall.

Regardless of religion, beliefs or nationality, visitors often rave about this powerful and beautiful experience.

 Tejaprana Resort & Spa holds a special place in my heart and I would recommend any travellers to visit. Do be warned that once you have arrived at Tejaprana Resort & Spa, it is difficult to leave such a majestic place.

Just before I got into the car to depart for the airport, I was surprised to be handed a Polaroid image of myself and the Tejaprana staff that we had taken the day earlier. What a special departure gift and a way to remember my visit.

Reviewed By Michelle Snyman -Brand Manager and Events Coordinator World Luxury Hotel Awards

To book this amazing jungle experience go to  www.tejaprana.com 

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A relaxing break in Seminyak…

WLHA Executive Manager Tanique Echardt with one of our amazing hosts

We arrived on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Seminyak at the wonderful Freedom Villa in Bali. As soon as we stepped out of our transfer vehicle we were welcomed by the lovely smiling staff who assisted us with our luggage and provided us with a fragranced cold towel to refresh us from the drive. We where then escorted into the main area of the stunning lounge and dining area with a young coconut drink, sandwiches and fresh fruit. The whole setting is to die for, all open plan so you can enjoy the views of the pool and perfectly manicured gardens.

Once we had some time to relax we where then taken on a tour to choose our rooms. There are 5 rooms on the property each with its own bathroom and unique views. I chose the room with the Koi pond on its doorstep and the separate open air bathroom. My room featured a king size bed with the fresh towels in the shape of a dog with the local Frangipani flowers also scattered on the bed. Other rooms included a walk in closet, an outdoor bath and shower and the bottom two rooms opened up onto the pool area.

My bedroom outside the koi pond

Freedom Villa also offers a well-equipped air-conditioned gym and is housed on the upper floor with beautiful views. The room has full-wall windows, with equipment including a treadmill, stationary bicycle, cross trainer, free weights and yoga mats.

One of my favourite things about the villa is the amazing blue tiled pool. I spent most of my time relaxing in the pool and on the Swan pool float and of course lounging on the Chaise Longue in the sun.

At the end of each day we were spoilt by a wonderful dinner made by the in house private chef and staff. There is a huge variety to choose from and I ordered the most amazing creamy mushroom pasta that was absolutely divine. The Villa staff are always there to assist you throughout your stay and help you with any local activities you wish to book or give you information on Bali and the local culture.

Each morning we woke up to an amazing breakfast spread. The first day we had fresh fruit, croissants, cake and we ordered a English breakfast which consisted of bacon, eggs, chicken sausage and toast; it was delicious. On the second day when we awoke there was a spread of fruit, flapjacks and toasted cheese. My colleagues and I truly enjoyed the amazing food we were served.

Freedom Villa is the ultimate hideaway paradise, secluded from the busy streets and noise but close enough to walk to the shops, restaurants, bars, clubs and of course the beach. A big thank you to the team and to the owner Mr Robert who really spoilt us all with this amazing break.

Reviewed by Melissa Hofmann- World Luxury Hotel Awards Representative.

To book this fabulous accommodation please follow the link to their website www.freedomvillabali.com 

 

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Immerse yourself in the magic and culture of Ubud..

Kupu Kupu Barong Villas & Tree Spa by L’Occitane is 20 minitues away from Ubud center, located in the traditional village of Kedewatan which means “Place of the gods”. The name of the Resort Kupu Kupu Barong meaning giant butterfly originally came from all the butterflies that were seen flying within the surrounding nature, however only a few lucky people have spotted the giant butterfly.

Arriving at Kupu Kupu Barong Villas & Tree Spa by L’Occitane we were intrigued at how hidden in the jungle the property is. At the open air Lobby we were taken by golf cart up winding hills to the reception and greeted with traditional flowers and a refreshing juice while our check in was handled. The staff were exceptionally friendly and attentive and we immediately felt at home and relaxed. The reception area was also open air and decorated with traditional wood carvings and flowers. Even though we were inside, we felt very much a part of the jungle and nature.

Once we were checked in we were escorted to our room, and what a room it was! The room was very traditional, with wood being the focal point as well as local carvings and designs. The room had a private balcony overlooking the jungle, which was simply breathtaking. We were treated to a special welcome on our bed and even a beautiful butterfly bag to use and take home. This extra touch definitely made us feel incredibly special and welcome. The bathroom was simple and elegant with a large bath and shower head above and separate toilet.  The roof pool and Japanese restaurant was just above our room so we spent a lot of time, ordering cocktails, lounging at the pool overlooking the jungle canopy and snacking from the bar menu. The traditional red umbrella’s used at the pool and throughout the resort really added to the charm and cultural feel of the resort.

The buffet breakfast, which is always a favourite of mine at any property definitely did not disappoint! With everything from a full English breakfast spread, waffles and flapjacks with Nutella to Indonesian dishes and a large variety of fruit. This was really a great way to start each day in the jungle! Dinner is just as fantastic and it is truly special with all the lighting and background music to enjoy your meal and hear all the night time jungle sounds.  The food and service were absolutely spectacular.The gym was also fantastic with all the necessary equipment needed for a training session while on vacation. Again I loved the open air layout and the feeling you are one with the jungle.

The staff were also exceptionally great in helping us arrange our day to day activities and even have a pest control department to remove any unwanted visitors from your room, This was very impressive as we did have a few unwanted guests.

Mango Tree Spa by L’Occitane was a wonderful and relaxing experience. Hidden in the jungle canopy, with the sounds of the jungle as music you feel truly relaxed after a massage and treatment.

My entire experience at Kupu Kupu Barong Villas & Tree Spa by L’Occitane was truly magical. I have never felt so relaxed and immersed in the local culture as I did here. You really get a feel for the jungle, the local community and an overall sense of peace. It is the perfect place to unwind, gain some knowledge and explore the surrounding area. Thank you Kupu Kupu Barong Villas & Tree Spa by L’Occitane for a truly enlightening stay, I hope to return in the near future.

Reviewed By Tanique Echardt- World Luxury Hotel Awards Executive Manager

To book this amazing property or look for more information go to www.kupubarongubud.com 

 

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THE WORLD LUXURY HOTEL AWARDS 12TH ANNUAL GALA CEREMONY

10th November 2018, AYANA Resort & Spa, Bali, Indonesia was the venue of the prestigious black-tie event celebrating the 12th anniversary of the World Luxury Hotel Awards. Over 360 guests flew in from around the world to attend the event, which awarded the world’s finest hotels for their luxury offerings and exceptional service delivery.

Set across 90-hectares along Jimbaran’s golden mile, AYANA Resort and Spa, BALI, is a world-class destination resort. As the property approaches its 22nd birthday this November, the privately-owned resort holds more fame than ever. AYANA is recognized for prolific sunset and ocean views, as well as offering a choice of five-star accommodation and facilities, coupled with the genuinely warm Balinese hospitality that has put AYANA on the map. Over the years, AYANA has received many top-shelf accolades including Luxury Honeymoon Resort Global Winner for the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2017.

Participants from over 100 countries sipped on cocktails after being welcomed on the red carpet. During the cocktail’s guests enjoyed Jegog instrumental background music followed by Okokan and Kecak dancing. Jegog is a form of gamelan music indigenous to Bali, played on instruments made from bamboo, and the Kecak Dance is a form of Balinese Hindu dance and music drama that was developed in the 1930s, but that was not all as the guests where welcomed to the gala dinner by the Panyembrama Dance, which is a traditional Balinese welcome dance followed by Gus Teja who is a maestro of the flute.

After Prof. Dr. I Gede Pitana Msc. delivered his keynote speech, the incredibly entertaining Masters of Ceremonies, twins Maria and Elizabeth Rahajeng, who are TV hosts for E! News Asia guided the audience through a dazzling awards ceremony where awards were presented to luxury hotels and resorts in over 100 categories on a Country, Regional, Continent and Global basis. Special congratulations go to the inspirational Gaia Retreat & Spa, who received the 2018 Global Hotel of the Year Award. Founded in 2005, Gregg Cave, Ruth Kalnin, Olivia Newton-John and Warwick Evans, affectionately known as G.R.O.W, set out as a close-knit team to realise a shared dream, offering the highest of standards and service excellence, true to the World Luxury Hotel Awards overall winner criteria. Gregg Cave, Co-Owner and General Manager of Gaia Retreat & Spa proudly collected the award on stage.

Gaia Retreat & Spa- Australia
Mr Gregg Cave

The prestigious Chairman’s Award is the decision of the Owner and CEO of World Luxury Hotel Awards, Brandon Lourens. This year Imrhim Inad, Director of Sales, attended the ceremony and was privileged enough to collect the award on behalf of the Velaa Private Island Resort in Maldives. This boutique private hideaway can only be described as “beyond luxury”.

Mr Imrhim Inad of Velaa Private Island with France 24 representatives Odile Franc and Vishmi Congreve and Ceo Of WLHA Mr Brandon Lourens, Executive Manager Ms Tanique Echardt and Ms Michelle Snayman Brand and Event coordinator for the World Luxury Awards Brand.

Further Global awards went to Vacala Bay Resort in Fiji who received both Luxury Contemporary Villa and Eco/Green Villa Award; Lamaraz Arts Hotel in Algeria received the Luxury New Hotel Award; Valamar All you can Holiday in Croatia received Luxury Hotel Group Award; Tintswalo Atlantic in South Africa received Luxury Beach Lodge Award and Okinawa Spa Resort EXES in Japan received Luxury Honeymoon Hotel Award just to mention a few.
The much sort after World Luxury Hotel Awards trophy was presented to winners on stage. Thereafter, the proud winners were given an opportunity for one-on-one personalised video interviews to speak about their achievement with the media.

Okinawa Spa Resort EXES in Japan

There was not a dull moment as the diners were spoiled by AYANA Resorts Executive Chef, Patrick Callarec and his team, who wowed guests with Balinese inspired 6-course meal. The food was elegantly plated and paired with the finest of wines supplied by Bali Indah and Sababay. The room was in awe as the incredibly plated food was served all at once to the entire ballroom. The fact that the food was on par with any fine dining restaurant made it even more impressive.

UNIQUE Rooftop Bar & Restaurant was the venue for the after party where guests danced to the sounds of Martin Denev, the resident DJ from Rock Bar and were entertained by Sasha on vocals.

“We congratulate all our winners for the 2018 Award Year, who through their tireless efforts and endless passion to elevate their guests experience, have received this honour tonight. True luxury is not easily attained, it takes a team of highly efficient and dedicated staff willing to go the extra mile and stop at nothing to ensure that every guest feels cared for and no challenged not solved. This is the definition of luxury, this is what makes the winners shine at the World Luxury Hotel Awards event”. Says, Michael Hunter-Smith, Group Marketing Director for the World Luxury Hotel Awards.

“The 2019 World Luxury Hotel Awards will take place on Saturday, 12th October 2019 at Arctic Circle, Finland. The event will be hosted by Arctic TreeHouse Hotel and the gala venue SantaPark is an ideal location just before Christmas in the home town of Santa Claus. The magical Finnish Lapland is a bucket list experience and attendees can look forward to a winter wonderland, beautiful natural landscape wilderness, reindeer safaris, the phenomenon of the Northern lights, and of course Santa Claus” said Michael,“Applications to host the event in 2020 are now officially open”.

An event of this calibre would not be possible without our much-cherished sponsors France 24, Copenhagen Traveller, Caviar Spoon, Destination Golf, Santé Magazine, Singapore Brides and Spa & Wellness International who we thank for their continued support over the years. Thanks, is also extended to Bali Indah Beverindo, Captain Morgan, Coca Cola, Dewata Primi Lestari, Dolomia, Two Island Wine, Heineken Light, Kita Satu Bali, Strongbow, Global Seafood, Frizzante, Classic Fine Foods, Valrhona, Revolt and ABV Media Asia who were the sponsors here in Bali.

Please see our video of this prestigious event.

Everyone who attended the event was blown away by the professionalism of every person who works at AYANA Resort & Spa. Congratulations!

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TIME Oak Hotel & Suites, a truly magical experience…

TIME Oak Hotel & Suites is centrally located in Dubai, and within close proximity to the Mall of the Emirates. We received a warm welcome from staff members and were also greeted by the General Manager. We stayed in a spacious 3-bedroom suite which had its own kitchen and a big lounge area. We also had a great view from our terrace looking out on Dubai’s high-rise buildings and bustling streets.

The café at reception had the most delicious pastries and treats and we were also given a whole platter of sweets and snacks upon our arrival. Their attention to detail was great, the rooms and public areas were always very clean, and housekeeping regularly restocked our rooms.
The swimming pool was perfect, there was also a jacuzzi and a pool bar. The staff were very attentive and greeted us by name. The travel desk was a big help, they helped us book all our excursions and gave us great recommendations.

Breakfast was delicious, the chef made me an omelette, pancakes and waffles with cream every morning. The waiters were very friendly, and the Restaurant Manager also asked all the guests if they were happy with the service.
The hotel really made our stay personal, from the welcoming and throughout our stay the staff greeted us by name. They also arranged airport transfers for us which was very kind.

I would definitely recommend this hotel to travellers, it is well located and provides excellent service to its guests.

Reviewed by Kayla Lourens- World Luxury Hotel Awards representative.

To visit this beautiful hotel click on the link below