Ulaman Eco Retreat: Green by Design and Practice

7/22/2021

Sustainable travel is the current buzz word and will be for the foreseeable future – catalysed by the COVID-19 pandemic to bring us closer and kinder to Mother Earth.

The bamboo structures across the site are designed to look as if it naturally emerges from the ground whilst the pulse of the resort is the main building featuring a grand bamboo staircase and a design that is truly an architectural marvel.

Ulaman Eco Retreat, as the name suggests, is Bali’s secluded and environmentally-conscious bastion in hospitality. The resort is a shining example of sustainable tourism, from construction and materials to operations. It is one destination that really walks the walk when it comes to eco-friendliness.

The resort is constructed with locally sourced bamboo, much of which harvested on-site and blends into the pristine terrace of its native Tabanan. When the word sustainable comes to mind, the first thing that pops up is always bamboo even though it’s not what makes this property unique. What’s more sustainable and really caught the eye of most visitors are the walls. Using the ancient technique of rammed earth gives Ulaman an identifying dramatic look. This resort is arguably one of the largest scales of rammed earth projects in Indonesia to date.

Designed by Charlie Hearn of Inspiral Architects, Ulaman was initially meant to be a private residence that later on morphed into this stunning green vacation destination that is eco-friendly through and through.

Very few properties rival Ulaman’s green pursuits on the Island of the Gods. Besides its green construction materials, the resort boasts saltwater pools, greywater systems, turbine electricity and farm-to-table dining amongst other sustainable practices.

Phase 1 of the project consists of 11 luxury guest villas. Guests can choose from the intimate and cosy One Bedroom Villa with private pool; or the Deluxe Suite situated on the ground floor of the main pavilion with quick access to the stunning main swimming pool, restaurant and bar; to the Cocoon Upper Deluxe. As the name suggests, it is indeed shaped like a cocoon, uniquely designed, perched above the swimming pool overlooking the waterfall and river. Each villa is designed in a gorgeous boho-chic interior with all the modern amenities. What truly stands out is each room is equipped with an exquisite and large wooden bathtub, hence providing a truly unique bath experience.

Ulaman is also big on wellness. At the highest point of the site overlooking the waterfall is the Yoga Shala, made from a soaring bamboo structure, and its unmistakably curvilinear roof echoes across the property. For those needing a little more than stretching and meditation, a Treehouse Spa is located below the yoga pavilion, next to the swimming pool and waterfall. The services at the spa are unpretentious and simple, but at the same time impressive and really hits the spot, leaving this writer in regret for not scheduling a second appointment.

The wellness aspect continues to EARTH, Ulaman’s farm-to-table restaurant that serves fusion fares of authentic local and international cuisines made from the finest and locally sourced ingredients with some from the property’s very own farm. During our stay, we sampled the curated menu from breakfast to dinner and Balinese Chef Arik is in a league of his own. He prepares aesthetically pleasing yet mouth-watering dishes, one could never go wrong with anything on the menu but recommend sampling the Ayam Bumbu Bali, Sate Lilit and Pad Thai. The farm-to-table concept doesn’t stop at the food, as Ulaman produces its own wine on-site at the Wine Cave. The house-made wines and signature cocktails should be on the must-try list.

Nestled within the Kaba-Kaba village and a 20-minute drive from Canggu, Ulaman is a lush tropical haven of unspoiled natural splendour and serenity where travellers need not forego the comforts you would find at larger hotel chains. True to its roots, Ulaman continues to advance its mission with the construction of Phase 2 set to commence later in 2021 with more facilities and amenities.

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