COMO Hotels and Resorts is recognized for its restorative COMO Shambhala Spas but the properties are now doing even more to address holistic wellness. COMO is now offerng everything from cooking classes at the only Michelin star Thai restaurant in the world to biking excursions on the top of a volcano!
Uma Ubud, COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri, and Uma Paro use the natural landscape to create challenging physical activities such as bespoke hikes among the villages, temples, rice paddies, and jungle gorges surrounding the properties.
In Bali, more strenuous guided treks incorporate topographical highlights like the Tjampuhan Ridge or Pucak Payogan Temple. For mountain biking, guests can choose from gentle cruises along easy backroads to a bash down muddy tracks and rough village byways. Trips include an ascent to Kintamani, high on the crater rim of Mount Batur (1717m), followed by a well-earned downhill run through a chain of traditional villages. For a more relaxed ride, this seven-hour excursion can be cut in half: guests are dropped off on the lower slopes of Mount Batur to enjoy a delicious freewheel virtually all the way back to the hotel.
In the far reaches of the Himalayas, there is big news afoot: the border between Eastern Bhutan and India has opened. More adventurous travelers can now travel overland from northern Assam in India - incorporating tea gardens, National Parks packed with wildlife, and river cruises down the formidable Brahmaputra - into Bhutan at Samdrup Jongkhar. This is a ten day trip from Uma Paro.
There are few better ways to become immersed in Bhutan’s countryside than to explore it by bike, especially in the early morning and evening hours when it’s cool and quiet.
For those who wish to explore Uma Paro’s deeper hinterland, there are a variety of day treks that can be tailormade to suit individual fitness levels. The Taktsang Trek to Drukgyul Dzong is picturesque and leads guests to the Taktsang Monastery (The Tiger’s Nest).
COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri places a core emphasis on cuisine, with COMO Shambhala’s nutritionist liaising between the guest and kitchens to ensure all personal specifics are addressed. COMO Shambhala does not stipulate calorie-counting diets but fosters a more balanced approach, encouraging guests to enjoy the food and its creation while maintaining a life-long interest in the benefit of good nutrition. The Estate’s Executive Chef, Chris Miller, hosts cooking demonstrations enabling guests to take home some of the experience.
Nahm at The Halkin, London, serves innovative Thai dishes, and is the first and only Thai restaurant with a Michelin Star. Chef David Thompson has created a series of Thai Master classes to share his recipes and techniques with hotel guests!
COMO Shambhala offers high-end Retreat Weeks annually - featuring yoga, Pilates, meditation, philosophy, and religion - for practitioners of all levels, conducted by the world’s leading teachers. Parrot Cay (Turks and Caicos) and COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri (Bali) have just hosted retreats with Erich Schiffmann and Rodney Yee, respectively. Stay up-to-date on 2007’s retreat schedule at www.como.bz.
Bali, where COMO Hotels and Resorts owns two properties - Uma Ubud and COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri—is unique in Indonesia: it stands as the only predominantly Hindu island in the world’s largest Muslim nation. Bali has developed its own unique system of beliefs, officially called ‘Agama Tritha’ (literally, ‘Religion of Holy Water’). The mix is rich indeed. Hindu tenets morphed with local influences, which are expressed in art forms that have been well preserved over centuries. All of this comes to life in the festivals and events that occur year-round and forms an important feature of Balinese life.
Both Uma Ubud and COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri can provide English-speaking local staff to escort guests and share their knowledge of the island’s history as well as the required etiquette. There is a temple event every week and various cultural festivals and new exhibition openings throughout the year.