Words: Matthew Brace
If you’re looking for a quiet Bali escape, away from the hustle and bustle of Seminyak and Kuta, with home-cooked food, super-friendly staff, private villas, three fabulous pools, a fully equipped gym and only a few other guests, then we have just the place. The Samata in Sanur is devoted to mental and physical rejuvenation; a place where you can listen to the ocean and gaze out over tranquil, verdant rice fields.
‘Samata’ is an old Sanskrit word meaning balance between body, mind and soul. The hospitality team behind the resort – Lifestyle Retreats – has weaved that concept throughout the property.
There are just five suites and an additional five spacious villa compounds, including the large, three-bedroom Residence. All villa compounds have a private pool.
We ate our daily breakfast feast on the patio of our compound, slid languorously into our private pool for a spot of silent mindfulness, then migrated to the daybeds by the main ‘Lap’ pool. As the sun climbed higher, we moved to the shadier ‘Chill’ pool, floating at the far end and gazing out over the green rice paddies, watching little swiftlets diving for insects. In the afternoons we worked out in the gym (as good as a city gym, with numerous machines and even a boxing ring!) and had another swim in the third public pool, called ‘Energy’. Add to this some healthy poolside lunch snacks and dinner in the privacy of our compound and that was our simple, rejuvenating and really quite romantic daily Samata routine.
Look and feel
The Samata is designed to be holistically healthy rather than hedonistic. Guests come to replenish body and mind: early nights, dawn yoga, gym workouts, pool laps, a bit of light tennis cardio, walks to the beach and plenty of rice-field meditation. On request, the Samata can summon personal trainers, tennis coaches and yoga teachers to instruct guests in no fewer than six yoga varieties.
The pools are the centrepieces. Two of them ( ‘Lap’ (26m) and ‘Chill’ (25m)) run from near the main building down to the edge of the rice fields. Both are good for laps but Chill has a circular communal seating area built into it (a bit like a hot-tub) so it’s generally more for, well, chilling out. The third pool (‘Energy’, at 20m long) is next to the gym and also good for laps as well as aqua aerobics and lazy floats.
Because of the low guest count (max 30 if you assume that guests in the completely self-contained Residence keep to their massive 500sqm compound) we rarely met anyone else. Even the public pools were ours to enjoy alone… and we were there in high season. It also means you get highly personal service from the staff team, all of whom were delightful. I’ll be honest with you: the Samata needs some post-Covid maintenance work done. Nevertheless, our four-day stay was one of the most relaxing we had had for a long time.
Best room for two
We had one of the two-bedroom villas. As I mentioned just before, it needed some light maintenance work done here and there to restore it to pre-Covid standard, particularly in the main, blue-tiled mosaic bathroom. Normally this would ruin a stay for us but the other elements of the Samata were so good that we didn’t really care so much.
The villa compound was a whopping 400sqm, with two bedrooms and a main bathroom in the villa itself so two couples could happily share the space. There was an outdoor kitchen, private pool, balé bengong (daybed), traditional alang-alang roofs, large dining table, sofas, pool loungers and great views over the rice fields to the distant Indian Ocean.
We loved the privacy; the fact that you could close the wooden outer doors to the compound and be together.
The one-bedroom suites in the main building were newer and in great shape, with the same blue-mosaic bathrooms. The two Spa Suites (50sqm) were connected to a private couples treatment room, which guests can access directly for their one-hour daily free massage. The three Ocean View Suites (75sqm) at the front of the main building had balcony views to the Indian Ocean, about a kilometre away. We reckon those Ocean View Suites were the more romantic for couples. That view!
Food and drink
For those who have done Bucks Fizz breakfasts, champagne brunches, sundowner cocktails and the endless flow of evening drinks at tropical resorts, The Samata offers something else. This is where you can have a healthy day and spa treatment but not ruin all your hard work by following it with a 10-course degustation dinner and generous wine parings.
Every meal can be carefully curated for a variety of diets. You can even get daily calorie counts for every dish if you’re on a weight-loss mission.
Breakfasts for us were porridge with honey, scrambled eggs and large plates of fruit, enough to keep us going until dinner when we kept getting drawn back to the Vietnamese rice paper rolls and the fish and chips.
On our last night we had a romantic dinner by the Lap pool. The Samata team had strewn the grass with red and white petals interspersed with paper lantern candles. It was very romantic and the food was delicious… everything from a cool cucumber salad to snapper with a matcha green-tea sauce.
One of three key targets in The Samata’s sustainability program is Care For Our Family, meaning the employees and their local communities.
This award-winning approach focuses on elements such as employee wellbeing, pay equity, skill development and diversity and inclusion. It’s closely linked to the other two sustainability targets of the hotel’s parent company: Support For our Community, which increases positive impacts on the local community and its culture and heritage, and Responsibility For Our Environment, which identifies green initiatives and integrates them to reduce emissions and impact on land and water.
Couples will love
The serenity, the privacy, the pools and the fact that there’s a good chance of leaving feeling both physically and mentally lighter than when you arrived.