Had a spaceship landed in the middle of the Bali rainforest?
Crossing a teak-and-steel footbridge over a dramatic gorge, we stared at what looked like a three-tiered spaceship that had stopped beside the rushing Ayung River.
But no, it turned out to be the reception, spa and main restaurant building of the Four Seasons at Sayan, located on the edge of Ubud, Bali’s artist colony.
Four Seasons at Sayan villas
The resort’s 42 villas are equally eye-catching. (The resort also has 18 suites, but the villas are where you want to stay – and where we stayed.)
They’re cleverly carved into the hillside, which keeps them cool. From the path to your villa, all you see is a lotus pond and a patch of tall grasses (actually your own shaded meditation area).
A spiral stone staircase leads down to your villa door.
Open that, and you see that your indoor/outdoor villa has been cut into the hill in an L-shape – two walls are snug up against the hillside.
All villas have a small private pool outside. Each has an expansive wooden deck with cushioned couches and chairs (under the shade of a roof with ceiling fan) plus a teak dining table with umbrella.
Watching the river from our deck was quite hypnotic (we’d inevitably doze off), and we could hear the water tumbling over boulders in the riverbed at night.
What’s this? A mother-of-pearl bathtub!
Inside, the air-conditioned bedroom has warm polished wood floors along with a writing desk and bedside tables inlaid with mother-of-pearl tiles. A giant carved wooden screen behind the king-size bed features a delicate pattern of leaves and birds.
No Four Seasons Sayan review would be complete without mention of the huge bathroom. It has green marble floors – and get this – an egg-shaped bathtub, also inlaid with mother-of-pearl tiles. Totally striking!
What to do at the Four Seasons at Sayan?
The outdoor setting of our villa was so inviting that we really didn’t feel the need to do very much during our stay, other than laze about and eat.
Speaking of eating, we enjoyed the resort’s weekly buffet feast, which celebrates Indonesian food – and we got to try local suckling pig and crispy fried duck.
Babi Guling or suckling pig is one of Bali’s most famous dishes. Traditionally, the pig is stuffed with spices like lemongrass, coriander, turmeric, black pepper and garlic, then roasted on a spit. The crackling skin is the best part (so long as you don’t worry about all the fat!).
The spa also won us over with its lovely couples spa villas overlooking lotus ponds.
Our feet were first bathed in a wooden bowl of water with floating rose petals. Then we were scrubbed down with Himalayan salt crystals before giving ourselves up to a languorous Balinese massage. The Balinese know how to do spa treatments right!
Now, if only Scottie could beam us back up to the Four Seasons again…