What is there to say about this place, except...wow. An airy oasis in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by nature and somewhat cut off from the rest of the world, Villa Shamballa is truly a special place. There are no outer walls - everything is wide open, arousing a powerful sensation of freedom and wildness.
We arrived late at night, presented by the staff (one lovely lady who cooks amazing meals, and a smiling young guy who caters to your snack and drink whims) with flower necklaces and watermelon juice. Flowers had also been scattered all around the villa - what an awesome welcome!
In the bedroom, there are bamboo shades that can be pulled down for more privacy at night, if you wish. We slept every night with them open though, wanting to be woken up naturally by the sunrise. It's the most amazing way to wake up (and something that is impossible to achieve in London). Very few morning views can beat this one:
Breakfast is served by the pool (there's a menu for you to choose from each night for the following morning). Banana pancakes, watermelon juice, chai masala tea, fresh fruit and nasi goreng were my favourite choices. If only every breakfast could be so good!
The villa is your home for as long as you choose to stay. A driver is available for wherever you wish to go, you can literally have all your meals at home if you want to stay cooped up in your haven, and a selection of cocktails are available too for evenings in.
Villa Shamballa is located in Ubud, less than 10 minutes drive from the busy center. A minimum stay of 3 nights is required, and the rate per night includes 2 people. Breakfast is complimentary.
My only complaint would be that coffee costed extra (the Nespresso machine should be available for personal use, in my opinion, and not hidden away in the staff kitchen), and some of the drinks on the menu, when requested, weren't available throughout our stay. Still, these are minor inconveniences, and the rest of our retreat was impeccable, and included a full body massage by the pool (for Jarv; I'm far too ticklish for that), gamelan players to entertain us during one of our dinners and a cooking lesson in the kitchen one evening.