A MAGICAL HONEYMOON IN BALI

KOMANEKA AT TANGGAYUDA, UBUD

Ever since I caught a glimpse of those emerald green infinity pools suspended over lush jungle vistas, I knew my heart had taken up temporary residence in Bali and I was gonna have to hop on over there and get it back. 

A quick search and I'd found Komaneka at Tanggayuda. Ten minutes from Ubud, two incredible infinity pools, private pools in every villa, a spa and best of all - 5 star ratings on Trip Advisor a.k.a the all-seeing, all-knowing holiday destination owl who only wants the best for us.

But there was an obstacle in my way: an 18 hour flight and a stopover in Dubai. A long haul flight of this length was something I'd never done, or even considered doing, since for me flying is up there with, 'Hot Yoga' on my list of, 'Stuff I'd Rather Not Do'. 

But it was our honeymoon, and the perfect excuse to venture a little further afield. So to combat the whole fear of flying malarkey I decided to put myself through some rigorous home CBT therapy of the, 'You're-Getting-On-That-Effing-Plane-Georgi variety'.

How else was I going to become the Balinese princess I'd already planned on becoming? Tom was a pillar of support the entire time, and the flight really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I think it had something to do with a post-wedding glow and a bit of pre-honeymoon adrenaline. I even watched a couple of movies instead of staring at the moving map for 18 hours! Can I get a high five?!

So with a newfound confidence in myself, we arrived at Komaneka at Tanggayuda - one of five beautiful resorts in the Komaneka family - and we went in search of those emerald pools.

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ROOMS

Tom and I arrived at the hotel at midnight - just as our air-conditioned transfer car ran out of cookies and bottled water. As we pulled into a modest reception area, our driver turned to us and said, 'welcome to your home' and we instantly fell in love.

Despite the late check-in time and the fact that we weren't fully conscious, hotel staff were on hand to offer to us hot ginger teas and a friendly welcome. After a short greeting and the most delicious ginger tea I've ever tasted, we were shown to our room and given a rundown of the facilities. Our new friend even apologised that they hadn't styled the bed with welcome petals because instead it was night-time, so our complimentary pyjamas had been laid out ready for bed.

This was a luxury turn-down service that I had never before experienced! In fact, it was the only turn-down service I'd ever experienced and as much as I try and recreate it at home, it just isn't the same when Tom insists on laying out his Gryffindor dressing gown instead of the Komaneka robes I bought from the hotel specifically for this activity.

Full of jittery excitement, we slipped into our silky Komaneka robes and melted into our king-size four-poster bed, wondering what was for breakfast tomorrow would bring. Then it was just us and the resident frogs until the tropical sun woke us up the following morning...

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ROOM
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There are five types of room at Komaneka at Tanggayuda. 

Garden Villa

This villa is the most affordable option. It includes a private courtyard with a day bed, a kingsize bed, spacious bathroom and all the essentials you'd expect like a safe, bathrobes, slippers and Apple TV.

Courtyard Pool Villa

This is the villa we stayed in. It has everything the Garden Villa has but with the addition of a volcanic bath tub in the courtyard and a 1.5 metre deep plunge pool overlooking the jungle.

Valley Pool Villa

Again, the Valley Pool Villa features everything the Courtyard Pool Villa has but these villas are supposed to have better views of the valley. They also offer a volcanic bathtub, private courtyard with day bed and a plunge pool.

Premiere Pool Villa

The Premiere Pool Villas are positioned higher up on the complex, offering the most beautiful views of the valley beyond. They feature everything the other villas offer but with the addition of a larger pool measuring an amazing 8-metres long. 

2 Bed Pool Villa

The most expensive of the room options, this villa is a 2-bedroom apartment with a large L-shaped pool surrounding it and overlooking the jungle. This villa also has the benefit of a study room and an extremely large living and dining area.

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BED AND BREAKFAST

The next day, as the sun rose over the steamy jungle and poured through our villa windows, we woke up and remembered where we were. A quick glance around the room in total daylight revealed floor-to-ceiling windows all round, a table for two dressed with a bowl of exotic fruits, a writing desk, a squishy sofa, an Apple TV and a beautiful bathroom with 'his' and 'her' sinks. Turns out we had overslept and missed breakfast, or so we thought. We quickly learned that we could order breakfast to our room at literally any time. Even if we rang down to Reception at 11am with endless apologies, the only judgement waiting on the other end of the phone was why, Mr. Tom was not ordering melon for breakfast as well as mango because wasn't melon Mr. Tom's favourite? We regularly ate breakfast on our terrace at lunch-time because what are honeymoons for if not for endless brunching? Staying on a bed and breakfast basis was perfect for us. As well as brekkie, this board basis included a daily afternoon tea with both sweet and savoury dishes. This could be enjoyed anywhere in the hotel complex from around 3pm, which kept us going until dins.

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On that first morning in paradise, after very little contemplation, we decided to order everything on the breakfast menu. You can cast silent judgement if you wish, but let me ask you this: what would you have ordered when faced with a list of superior breakfast options if you knew that the following day, the menu would be totally different and you might never have a chance to try those pancakes ever again?

Dragonfruit juice, melon juice, tea and coffee, avocado on toast thank you very much, croissants, poached eggs, fresh banana bread, muesli, pancakes, mango, toast and jam and a cheese omelette with bacon. This is more food than anyone needs in a day, and yet this happened every single morning.

We absolutely lived for the in-room dining. But we did hear through the grapevine that there were people around who were actually venturing out of their rooms to eat breakfast in the restaurant. The sociable savages! You can't really blame them though - the views over the jungle and out towards the Batukaru volcano were pretty incredible.

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When breakfast wasn't served inside on our little table of bliss, it was served outside in a private courtyard, overlooking the jungle. We felt so lucky to be surrounded by such beauty whilst sipping our morning coffees! The feeling of awe just never wore off. The closest we ever got to interacting with other breakfast-goers was when we ate by the main infinity pool. And even then we hardly saw anyone because we'd risen early to catch the sunrise! We simply mentioned to one of the hotel staff, Rudi, that we'd love to watch the sun rise over the jungle one morning and he arranged for this incredible set-up complete with cushions and beanbags and endless pancakes. It was unreal. 

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LITTLE LUXURIES

When we returned to the room after our first day of exploring, we got another glimpse of the hotel's customer service and commitment to luxury.

Our bed was dressed with flower petals so beautifully that I didn't ever want to disturb it. There was a Honeymoon Cake in the fridge, which tasted as good as it sounds. It was basically a heart-shaped chocolate sponge cake covered in frosting. We didn't need any more food after eating all the breakfast there ever was, but we shared it nonetheless because what kind of monster wouldn't eat their own honeymoon cake?! After cake, we discovered that the volcanic stone tub in the courtyard had been filled with flower petals ready for an afternoon soak.

The hotel staff cleaned our room twice a day. In the mornings they left it looking spotless, with fresh cookies, teas and coffees and flower petals on the bed. In the evenings, their turndown service left us a pristine bed with those Komaneka silk pyjamas, fresh towels and face cloths, new bathrobes and even new toothbrushes beautifully packaged inside brown paper pouches! It was the sort of insane luxury I've only ever dreamed of.

Needless to say that volcanic tub filled with flower petals has ruined baths for me forever. Look away now if you value your bath-times. 

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THEMED EVENTS AT THE HOTEL

On our second night, we were lucky enough to catch a special themed event at the hotel. We were told that the BBQ dinner happens once every two weeks, so we were thrilled to have caught it. All day long staff were dressing the main lawn for a party, weaving candle holders from bamboo and hanging lanterns in all the trees. We had the most incredible night dining by candlelight, tasting local dishes and watching the most mesmerising sacred routines performed by professional dancers. It was our first taste of Balinese culture and we loved every minute of it!

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INFINITY POOLS

Okay, we could have stayed anywhere in Bali, but we chose Komaneka for two defining reasons. 1) Proximity to Ubud and 2) That Infinity Pool. There are actually two infinity pools on the complex. The one pictured below is their original pool, built when the hotel first opened and located on a lower elevation. It's now known as the Terrace Cafe swimming pool, and it was mostly empty whilst we were there, making it incredibly peaceful. It didn't have the views of the main pool, but it was still a beautiful place to relax (and get that shot for Instagram).

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A couple of years ago, the hotel built a new infinity pool on a much higher elevation, allowing it to compete with all the most popular hotels in Ubud that have sweeping jungle views that go on for days. You know the ones - you've seen Instagram. It is the pièce de résistance of the hotel, with luxurious sun-beds and a poolside cafe that serves the most delicious tempura veggie dish in the universe. We were so happy to see that dark jungle green water amongst the treetops. We must have spent days lounging by this pool, just reading and being.

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SPECIAL RED LIGHT DINNER

While we were guests at Komaneka, we took advantage of the hotel's special events and activities. We chose a Red Light Dinner on our second to last night, because we'd heard it was super romantic and we were lapping up the romance like it was ice-cream in the desert. The experience really was mesmerising. I don't think I'll ever forget walking down the steps and seeing that the whole pool had been filled with lanterns and flowers just for us. There was a single table-for-two, gentle music and more candles than I could count. It was a total goosebump moment. A wonderful, very knowledgeable chef cooked us a three course dinner whilst we drank wine and giggled at the beauty of it all. It was romantic as hell. Just look at the flowers in our hair! Even Tom embraced the Balinese princess life.

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THE SPA

Total relaxation gets a whole new meaning at the Tirta Wangi Spa. Open daily and set amongst luscious gardens, it focuses on providing healing treatments like traditional massage and herbal body scrubs. There is a beautiful covered courtyard with a jacuzzi as well as a steam bath and a beauty salon. Tom and I had the obligatory couples massage at the beginning of the trip, and at the end I was invited back for one of my all-time favourite things ever: a foot massage! This is Jeru. She met me at the spa and she talked me through the treatment before leaving me with a hot ginger tea, a couple of homemade biscuits and a sofa for the relaxation coma I was minutes away from falling into. As Jeru stretched my feet into unrecognisable positions, she told me all about her life and her children, her new baby, her faith and her aspirations. Talking to her was one of the most memorable moments of my honeymoon...but that's a story for another time. 

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Komaneka at Tanggayuda really felt like a family to us. It's one of those hotels you only find once every ten holidays. If you're ever in Ubud I urge you to check out this beautiful place, if only to take a long swim in the infinity pool and eat the best tempura veggies of your life! And with that I'm going to try and wrap up this enormous review. I hope you enjoyed reading all about our honeymoon. Tom and I had the best time and as always, it feels so special to be able to share it. Bali is an incredible place - from the people and the culture to the climate and the incredible infinity pools. It's almost been six months since we returned home and I'm still only dreaming in emerald green.

Are you thinking about honeymooning in Bali? I would love to hear your plans!

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