Bali-ness at Pita Maha Resort and Spa in Ubud Bali


The name alone evokes images of a paradise island in a tropical setting – white-sand, palm-fringed beaches, green rice fields, deep river valleys, hot springs, cascading waterfalls, awesome volcanoes, remote jungle trails, serene temples.

But there is more to it, which makes all the difference in the world: the Balinese people and their unique culture and spirituality, which permeates every aspect of daily life.

For those who can miss the beaches, the surfing, diving, and snorkeling for a while, the village of Ubud in the central foothills is arguably Bali at its best. Ubud is Balinese culture pure.

Where to stay? The Pita Maha Resort got its name from the Pita Maha Association, which was formed in the 1930s by Prince Tjokorda Gede Agung Sukawati, the German musician and painter Walter Spies, and the Dutch Artist Rudolf Bonnet. Together, they supported and developed the talents of local artists. This further consolidated Ubud’s reputation as the artistic center of Bali.

The prince and Rudolf Bonnet also joined hands after WW II to establish Museum Puri Lukisan in Ubud, which displays outstanding masterpieces of Balinese fine art in its permanent collection.

The royal family of Ubud is still a major patron of the arts; it also owns and manages the Pita Maha Resort & Spa. This goes a long way to explain the architectural design and artistic finishing of the resort. Laid out as a typical Balinese village, just 24 villas are set within traditional walled compounds for total privacy; yet when guests are sharing the common facilities there is a feeling of communal harmony, which is so central to the Balinese lifestyle.

Each spacious villa sits on a generous 250 square meters of land and comes with the choice of a private plunge pool or a large tropical garden. The villas have high and steep thatched roofs and inside showcase high-quality materials and craftsmanship in wood and stone, including nice touches like the color choice of the pebbles (black) in the open-air bathroom, which comes with a large tub for two and a separate shower. Modern features are abundant, too: air conditioning, satellite television, DVD and CD players, Internet connection, and private bar.

There is a large infinity pool with a pool bar. The Pita Maha Spa is in a private villa within a secluded area of the resort. It offers a menu of traditional body and beauty treatments and features an outdoor treatment pavilion, sauna, steam room, and hot and cold jacuzzi.

This is a boutique resort, so there are no large crowds of noisy guests. There are also no buffets at the Terrace Restaurant. Even breakfast is a civilized challenge of multiple choices between the items on the American, Continental, and/or Balinese breakfast menus. Hospitality here is genuine and understood to be personal, dispensed graciously in generous, but individual doses.

Being close to Ubud’s center, the location of the resort is superb. Built into the slope of a valley, it overlooks the Oos River, the Tjampuhan ridge, and verdant rice terraces beyond. What one sees is a thousand shades of green. What one hears is the gurgling sound of water from the koi ponds. This is a sanctuary to nurture and heal the senses. It oozes Bali-ness throughout.

Isn’t that what people should get from a Bali holiday?

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