Review: Capella Ubud, Bali

The Keliki Valley Tent at Ubud Capella

1. Striking, eco-conscious design

When designing Capella Ubud, celebrated architect Bill Bensley drew inspiration from the adventurous spirit of the first Europeans to settle in Bali in the 1800s. This translates into a sophisticated tented camp set in the heart of a lush rainforest in Keliki, a Balinese artist village, with terraced rice paddy fields and views of the sacred Wos River. During the construction process, painstaking efforts were made to preserve the natural surroundings as much as possible, and not a single tree was felled.

Camp_Post_Lobby_Capella Ubud
The open concept lobby at Capella Ubud

The property is home to 22 swish one-bedroom tented retreats – as well as a two-bedroom lodge – all of which feature outdoor decks, private saltwater pools and stunning, hammered copper standalone bathtubs. Each tent is styled around the professions of the aforementioned European settlers – think captain, carpenter and cartographer to name a few.

While the bespoke aesthetics are firmly rooted in Bali’s past – complete with local architectural touches and antique furniture, some of which are drawn from the owner’s personal collection – they are complemented by decidedly modern amenities. For instance, the Librarian’s Tent features a curated collection of classic, hardcover books that would make any self-respecting bibliophile jealous.

The_Officers_Tent Capella Ubud
The Officers Tent at Capella Ubud

2. Delightful epicurean offerings

Culinary director Matthew McCool – previously of Sydney’s Altitude restaurant, which was awarded three hats by Gault & Millau in 2014 – leads the culinary charge across all of the property’s food and drink concepts. Mads Lange, the camp’s main dining room, is named after Mads Johansen Lange, a Danish spice trader who settled in Bali in the 1800s. It dishes out contemporary European fare, with an emphasis on making things in-house, with seasonal and sustainably farmed produce.

Meanwhile, Api Jiwa is a nose-to-tail modern Asian dinner-only restaurant that specialises in barbecue items. Omakase is the order of the day here. If you fancy a drink, head to The Mortar and Pestle Bar where you’ll find an array of beverages – all of which are inspired by local ingredients and crafted with care using traditional methods including its namesake mortar and pestle.

Relax in the privacy of a secluded villa and pool

3. Childhood revival

After the sun has set, find yourself a spot around the campfire and get cosy. Indulge in a nostalgic throwback with hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows as you lose yourself in tales told by a local storyteller or sit back and enjoy a silent black-and-white movie about life on Bali back in the day under a blanket of stars.

The lush interiors of the Rainforest Retreat living room

4. A strong wellness-driven philosophy

Capella Ubud’s wellness approach starts with 100% natural toiletries available in each room, including a selection of handmade organic soaps – some of which draw on the camp site’s indigenous flora and fauna such as bamboo charcoal with coconut oil, coffee and lavender.

Auriga Wellness, its award-winning spa concept, uses an exclusive range of locally crafted organic products that are specially blended for the property. Its distinctive wellness outlook is founded on local Balinese and Hindu traditions of different lunar cycles. Indulgent spa treatments, which can be experienced in one of three wellness tents or in the comfort of your own lodging, are designed with each moon phase in mind. For example, the new moon is a time for regeneration – ideal for a reinvigorating seaweed and eucalyptus salt scrub, a seaweed wrap and a relaxing full-body massage using rosemary and eucalyptus oils.

Inside the gym at The Armory

5. Get moving

For those seeking something more active, there’s The Cistern, a 30-metre long outdoor saltwater pool that’s great for early morning laps or an aqua yoga session. In addition, a diverse assortment of low- and high-impact wellness activities are also available, including barre, yoga, Pilates and TRX suspension workouts at tented gymnasium The Armory, as well as jungle-themed boot camps, Balinese dance-inspired classes, night-time rice paddy trekking and guided mountain-bike ridge rides.

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