Taksu Ubud

 

IMG_7474  Tucked into a quiet lane in the heart of Ubud, Taksu translates in Balinese as “the indescribable essence of spirit,” and provides a serene haven in which to relax and unwind. A charming garden filled with cascading rock ponds and meandering paths gives way to a leafy gorge dotted with scenic spa pavilions.

Well established on the Ubud scene, the spa and restaurant have been operating for the last seven years, while the quaint Taman Taksu Garden Cafe makes an inspired new addition. Open-sided wooden pavilions overlook the medicinal herb garden, where leaves are plucked fresh for my Pagagan Juice a traditional remedy known as pennywort in English, believed to be beneficial in maintaining youth. Our round of drinks also includes [Coconut Water] served in customised coconut-shaped ceramic dishes, and a Bali Summer blending watermelon, strawberry and apple with a lemon citrus kick.

The menu, prepared by Balinese chefs Ketut and Adi, offers something for every mood and every appetite, with a good selection of raw food, gluten free, vegan and vegetarian fare, as well as chicken, duck and seafood. Produce comes straight from Taksu’s own organic gardens, located in the nearby hills, and dishes include crunchy organic salads, homemade pasta and panini, Indonesian classics, hearty soups and grills, and divine desserts.

We start with a couple of raw dishes. The Strawberry Bisque is a chilled and frothy blend of fresh strawberries and yoghurt, while the generous slab of Zucchini Lasagne that follows is truly excellent, a tasty testament to the imaginative possibilities of raw food. Thinly sliced marinated zucchini is layered with fresh tomato, basil and peppers, with a tangy marinara sauce, creamy cashew ricotta and an ever-so -slightly sweet pesto.

Changing the pace a little we order some good and spicy Nachos piled high with black beans, homemade salsa and creamy guacamole, and a Salmon Panini made with home baked brown bread topped with swirls of cured salmon, red onion, lettuce, dill and dollops of cream cheese. Dessert is a light and fluffy Cheesecake sweetened with a thick strawberry coulis, and a spongy Truffle Chocolate Cake Gateau with a rich chocolate filling.

As well as daily yoga and dance classes, Taksu offers interesting workshops and retreats of the alternative healing persuasion, as well as Cranio Sacral therapy, Traditional Chinese medicine, ozone therapies and spa treatments including the Divine Pampering Ritual which is accompanied by a two-course healthy lunch.

Taksu Spa and Restaurant Jl Goutama Selatan Ubud  +62 361 971490

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Fivelements Puri Ahimsa

Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa sits at the end of a narrow country lane surrounded by rice paddys and fields of ripening corn. Thatched circular buildings with conical roofs reach for the sky, the gardens are filled with lush foliage, and the gushing of a fast flowing river  intermingles with birdsong.

From the moment I step onto the property I become aware of a shift in energy, a higher vibration. Perhaps it’s the convergence of eight energy lines that run through the property; maybe it’s the all-pervasive concept of ‘Love in Action,’ or possibly it’s the ritualistic Agni Hotra fires that are lit at dawn and dusk each day to purify the property. I have a traditional Balinese healing treatment that is a mix of reflexology and chakra balancing with Pak Dewa, a wonderful and powerful energy healer. At times the session is painful and I shed tears,  but by the end my spirit is soaring. Afterwards I sit on the verandah drinking ginger tea and reflecting on my life and my need to restore balance.That evening I join the Agni Hotra  fire purification ceremony, with Balinese priests leading us through a powerful ritual that includes throwing beans, seeds and incense into the fire, to symbolise cleansing, healing and forgiveness, while coconuts are smashed to signify the breakdown of ego. Through it all mantras are chanted, bells are rung and prayers recited.

The Balinese concept of Tri Hita Karana ‘creating a harmonious relationship to God, other human beings and to nature,’ is integrated in every aspect of the design. Local priests provided spiritual guidance in the layout of the resort, while international environmental consultants were consulted to minimize the ecological impact. Thoughtful construction utilizes  bamboo, riverstone, coconut wood and recycled teak and mimics the curves, colors and rawness of nature. Sustainable practices include effective waste management, low energy consumption and  efficient use of water resources; all  contributing  to making this one of the most sustainable eco conscious resorts on the island.

But just because it is sustainable doesn’t mean it cuts any corners when it comes to luxury. Five sumptuous sleeping pavilions have decadent outdoor bathrooms, private decks with sunken tubs, high tech chromo graphic lighting, and handpicked antiques, while the spa specialises in organic treatments concocted in the spa laboratory and the restaurant serves the most exquisite raw food on the island – truly food for the soul.

http://www.fivelements.org