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A Spiritual Sanctuary

Nirjhara is Bali’s solution for those seeking a quiet haven of sustainable luxury.

Deep among the rice fields of Tabanan, on Bali’s south-west coast, there is a new, beautifully intimate eco resort. Welcome to Nirjhara, the Sanskrit word for waterfall.

Those who know Bali well may be familiar with the areas of Seminyak, Uluwatu, Ubud and Nusa Dua and its golden beaches. But Nirjhara is located well off the beaten track, around a 45-minute drive from the airport, in the foothills of the island’s sacred volcano, Mount Batur.

Set down on a quiet village lane, you wouldn’t even know it was there were it not for the discreet sign and a helpful local to point the way. A tunnel of bamboo shoots welcomes us as we drive up to the reception area and become aware of the sound of rushing water. I walk over the balcony to look down into the valley and now I see why Nirjhara is named as it is.

Nirjhara is home to a beautiful waterfall cascading down rocks to a river running through the property. The infinity pool drops gracefully over the rocks below and swallows come out in the cool of dusk to forage for food while we sip cocktails overlooking the sunset.

The interiors are elegant and minimalist, exceptionally clean and child-friendly. Traditional woven furniture handcrafted by local artisans, coconut-panelled rooms, recycled wood and natural stones sourced throughout the archipelago are offset with traditional sirap roofing to create a sense of utter transportation. Each villa has a private pool that you can actually swim in rather than just ‘plunge’ into. We stayed in a two-bedroom pool villa, which was perfect for a family as it comes with a large living room and dining table.

The resort exudes peace and calm and a sense of spirituality, located a few minutes away from the picturesque Tanah Lot temple, one of Bali’s most revered Hindu sanctuaries. Our morning begins with a yoga and meditation session in the Yoga Shala, a sustainable wooden structure set down by the banks of the river. Lying on my back, looking up at the bamboo ceiling and listening to the sounds of the water while breathing in and out slowly sent me into a state of pure bliss, and almost sleep, were it not for the intense positions we then put our bodies into.

If you feel like venturing further out, the temple of Tanah Lot can be reached by a short bicycle ride through the rice paddies, led by a charming Balinese guide. Kedungu beach with its surf breaks is only five minutes down the road with its warm volcanic sands, or you can hop on a horse and enjoy the sunset views trotting along the beach.

If you prefer to stay at the resort, one of the highlights for me was the restaurant Ambu. From the homemade croissants at breakfast, to the beef rendang, or the classic Indonesian favourites, the food was of the highest quality; 95 percent of ingredients are sourced from the hotel’s own vegetable garden. The house Negroni is also well worth trying.

What is also remarkable is that the tap water is completely drinkable. There is no plastic to be found anywhere. The resort has an on-site water purification facility and there are recycled glass bottles delicately labelled with the bottling date.

If you’re coming to Indonesia for longer, you might be interested to know that from Spring 2021 Nirjhara will introduce Vela, a luxurious six-cabin traditional sailing yacht available for private charter. Each charter can be personalised to guests’ desires: from scuba diving with manta rays to hiking among Komodo dragons.

Having brought in Alejandro Rueda as the general manager, renowned for his achievements at the LHW Katikies Hotel in Santorini, the resort has already created a buzz among Bali’s long-term residents, eager to avoid the busier areas, which even in COVID times can seem crowded. We were looking for a family-friendly resort with villas that would be comfortable enough that one could spend the day lying by the pool, but also offer a range of wellness activities underpinned by a wholesome and nutritious menu.

We were not disappointed. And when the evening approached and we felt like doing nothing other than putting our feet up and watching a film; it turned out that there is a cinema, perfect to hide during the heat of the day, choosing from an array of films and enjoying them with homemade popcorn.

I asked Rueda what was the inspiration behind it all. He told me: “Our goal was to create a haven of peace and relaxation, away from the crowds to really appreciate and maintain the beauty of Tabanan.”

If you are looking for a quiet haven of sustainable luxury, look no further than Nirjhara.