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COMO Shambhala Estate - Ubud
Traveling the world doesn't mean that your faith needs to have the out-of-office autoreply. Last year we showed you the hotel temples of Thailand. Now, we bring you the religious corners of the hotels we visited in Bali.
Bali, unlike other islands in Indonesia, is predominantly Hindu in faith and each hotel and resort in Bali has it's own temple to pay respect to gods. On our recent trip to the tropical island we took note of the prominently placed temples at our accomodation.
We're still talking about our trip to Parrot Cay and that was over a year ago. So, we totally understand how the beach-posh beauty of the resort inspires people to move there (what's up, Bruce Willis? You, too, Donna Karan?)--and now, design a resort-wear collection inspired by the place.
Surprisingly, the designer in question is not Karan--although she does sell the divine COMO Shambala beauty products in her Urban Zen boutique in NYC. The new Parrot Cay pieces are from Heidi Klein, a Brit known for creating swimwear that 'exudes a barefoot chic confidence'.
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It's hot in Bangkok, and often unbearably humid. The Metropolitan Bangkok knows this, which is why there are refresher towels waiting just inside the entrance to the lobby. Which is why there's an expansive indoor fitness facility complete with his and hers spa hottubs. Which is why there's a resort-quality outdoor swimming pool. Bangkok's urban tropical environment mean that guests at The Metropolitan are here for a multitude of reasons, from business to a getaway.
We were there as your usual tourists to Thailand, taking in every bit of the place and we've already shown you our Metropolitan room, but we also managed a peek into the Penthouse and COMO Suites while we were at it.
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So everyone who's everyone knows The Metropolitan London and its modern interiors, members-only Met Bar and prime location, but do you know it's got a sister site in The Metropolitan Bangkok? It's true; there's a sleek white hotel sitting a little off bustling Sathorn Road that also lights the logo of The Metropolitan, and it's just as cool, just as comfortable with two huge differences.
Big difference number one: this Metropolitan is a world away from London in Bangkok, and you'll know it through Thai elements in the rooms and an award-winning Thai restaurant, called nahm, which serves things like durian ice cream.
Big difference number two: the room rates are very affordable, but of course this is because we're talking Bangkok versus London here. We stayed for two nights via the Tablet Hotels private sale for $91 per night.
So you're going to Southeast Asia. So you're going to experience the putrid, spiky, fruit that comes with a reputation: Durian. Whether it's your first or your thirty-first brush with the fruit that smells so bad it's banned on subways on airplanes, there's always a new way to enjoy it. We think we found the bestas Durian ice cream!
At nahm at the Metropolitan Hotel Bangkok, this is totally an option (but of course, so is the classic mango sticky rice). Deny the temptation of the sticky rice! You're at the Bangkok branch of London's famous Michelin 3-starred nahm by Chef David Thompson, so you're already living a little dangerously.
Here's a fun little story. Last time we stopped into the Metropolitan London, we were on a hunt for a free WiFi signal and they had one. Well that working over the free WiFi signal morphed into an expensive, decadent evening at the Met Bar, owing to the comfy-cozy bordeaux booths and menu items like bacon-wrapped dates.
Now, you have a chance at taking that sort of hotel-specific experience home, since the Metropolitan is selling off the contents of the Met Bar to make way for a total renovation of the space. We kind of can't believe it, but then all proceeds will go to the charity Teens UniteFighting Cancer.
The bar has been doing its thing since 1997, so it's seen its share of high-profile partying. The press release drops a few names: "Everything is for sale including the famed private booths, the DJ decks used by renowned DJs and artists including Oasis, Roger Taylor, Boy George, and even Bruce Willis, and glassware, tables, chairs, and bar stools." Yes, but what isn't clarified until you check out the eBay listing is that they're selling off the bar as one piece, with a starting bid of 5,000 GBP ($8,195).
iPads, be damned, we're loving our stroll through print land and our ongoing look at a dying hotel amenity--The Hotel Magazine. Sure, most hotels stock their guestrooms with the trendy magazines of the day or at least place some localized publication on the desks but there are actually a few hotels out there that still publish their own magazine. We've got our hands on a few copies of these rare breeds and we'll be documenting our finds for you here. Know of a hotel magazine we should see before it goes out of print? Send it to us!
But now we're back at home, we've been perusing the COMO Hotels magazine, Home From Home, and it's seriously making us wish one of these resorts was our home.
Since everyone else seems to be on vacation and we're not, we're doing the next best thing and reminiscing about the break we had in July—specifically, we're reliving the amazing Indian Head Massage we had at Parrot Cay's COMO Shambala Spa.
Frankly, it was hard to tear ourselves away from our terrace with the Killer View, but when we finally did stroll over to the spa, we were not disappointed.
From the moment you step into the lobby (pictured above), your brain registers that you're going to have to shut off now, thank you very much. But it's in no way stuffy, claustrophobic or sceney, the way many spas can be. The quiet but friendly service of the resort extends to the spa, and the new two-story building overlooking the island's wetlands is as gorgeous as everything else here.
The prices are going as simple as the decor
The political unrest in Thailand may have stabilized, but bookings must still be down because the Metropolitan Bangkok is reaching out to people to come back out there with special rates.
The Good Morning Bangkok package gets you bed and breakfast, a daily fruit plate and free access to the gym, pool and yoga classes. So far, so blah – until you realize it’s going for $130 (£86) a night, and rooms used to start at $260 (£173).
It’s valid till the end of the year, and if you wait till after September, you’ll have the added bonus of Nahm restaurant opening up (it’s currently at sister hotel The Halkin in London).
You may know Parrot Cay, a COMO Shambala Resort in Turks and Caicos, from its star-studded guests and residents including Donna Karan and Bruce Willis, or maybe you've heard of its impeccable reputation for yoga retreats and classes.
We had all good intentions of bending ourselves into a pretzel at one such class while at Parrot Cay over the weekend, but with this Killer View, can you blame us for not being able to haul our butts off the balcony to the yoga pavilion?
The COMO Suite. You know you want to.
Free stuff is always good stuff, especially if it’s a free room. And although the Metropolitan’s new deal isn’t exactly giving away a room for nothing, the London hotel is going about it in a pretty fun way.
This Spring Bank Holiday (28-31 May) if you buy a bottle of Cristal, the hotel will solve the too-drunk-to-go-home conundrum by giving you a room for free. Even better, party it up with six bottles, and they’ll give you the penthouse COMO suite: 110sq meters on the 10th floor, overlooking Hyde Park, to do your worst with. Bet that Cristal would go down well on the “balcony with Japanese rock garden”.