What it's like to stay in a natural haven amidst the tranquility of Ubud.
Photos by Bagus Tri Laksono & Wapa di Ume Doc.
To this day, many archaeologists are uncertain when and where rice field was first discovered. Some believe that the first rice field was cultivated in roughly 6000 BC China while others say that the first paddy field was located in a prehistoric site in Ulsan, South Korea.
What's certain is the beauty and tranquility of the emerald stretch of lands remains universal and timeless. This explains the splendor and eternal quality in Ubud, Bali, at a resort surrounded by luxurious green paddy fields, Wapa di Ume.
When it was first opened in 1995, Wapa di Ume only had 16 guest rooms, comprising 12 Lanai Rooms and 4 Villas. Now, the place has been expanded to incorporate 33 units, consisting of 15 Lanai Terrace rooms, 8 Di Ume Suites, 6 Villas with Pool, one Terrace with Pool, two Family Pool Villas and one Wapa Pool Villa.
In the local Balinese tongue, ‘ume’ means paddy field. Meanwhile, 'Lanai' is a Hawaiian architecture term which points to a sheltered terrace or patio used for lounging around and comes complete with furniture. In hotel terms, Lanai is a room with a large verandah that overlooks a certain breathtaking view, like a pool, a garden or a paddy field. Fittingly, each unit in the resort provides a terrace for guests to bask in the beauty of the greeneries in the surrounding.
Designed by a Bali-born architect known for his naturalist style, I Ketut Siandana, Wapa di Ume truly reflects a natural haven amidst the tranquility of Ubud that is famous for its spiritual ambience. In order to reach the lobby, guests are directed towards the main entrance with a downwards flight of stairs. Adjacent to the entrance is the two-story Wapa’s Restaurant where guests can dine on the second floor balcony while enjoying the view of the fields in every direction.
From the lobby area, guests can enter the gallery located across the reception desk, or the business centre located next door. In order to access each unit, guests have to walk along a path that leads to the back of the compound.
To the south is an open stage ideal for performances or other communal purposes. Right beside it lies an organic garden which is equipped with a gazebo inspired by the traditional Balinese kitchen and is used to conduct the resort’s Balinese cooking lessons. Nearby, floating on the pool is a Bale Bengong where guests can revel in the lushness of the rice paddies.
Two villas with the largest living area, the Family Villa with Pool and the Wapa Pool Villa, greet guests from the right and left side of the walking path that takes them to the back part of the site. The path is designed to sit seamlessly within the lavish vegetation in the surrounding. It is elongated in shape and goes on towards the Main Pool that borders a small river on one edge.
The new facilities, including pool, organic garden, lounge, meeting room and spa room, have prompted the development of more rooms inside the sprawling two-hectare resort.
The distinctive architectural design created by Siandana is also felt in the rest of the villa units. Monochromatic colours decorate the rooms, along with exposed surface and materials. Wooden finishing that incorporates the whitewash technique which results in brilliant details is also applied here.
The management of Wapa di Ume is consistent in ensuring that staying guests are free from the outside world. The concept that eliminates television, radio —and even telephone, if necessary— during the stay here works in perfect synergy with the resort’s sequestered design. Such combination is relatively rare in resort development nowadays.
The addition of a yoga centre that is placed amidst the green palm trees and rice fields has created a dream location to calm the senses. Offering the ancient art of classical yoga, here guests can learn about techniques to still the mind, strengthen the body as well as expand the consciousness using posture, breathing work, meditation and relaxation means.
Another crowning point of the resort is The Wapa di Ume Spa which is situated adjacent to the main pool. The three-story building features a very modern design that also displays the same level of detail and colour scheme as other structures in the compound. Here there are two treatment rooms, a whirlpool, a Jacuzzi that fits four and a beauty centre.
The designer’s natural touch sits perfectly with the main theme of Wapa di Ume. The resort makes an ideal location for travellers looking for a different experience from other resorts. This place, with rice fields encircling the main structure, is a marvellous escape from the tiring and demanding workplace routines.
This article was originally published in Indonesia Design's 63rd edition themed "Made in Bali" published in 2014.