Nestled on a hilltop in North Bali, sits the stunning and peaceful escape known as The Damai.  A short trip inland from the popular beach town of Lovina, the resort was the first in the area, developed by a Danish advertising executive and now a revered destination for many worldly travelers. Stepping into the Damai’s grounds, you are immediately greeted personably and authentically by the local staff.  Their warmth, friendliness and knowledge of the area assists perfectly with the home-from-home feel environment that the resort creates.   The grounds feel both expansive and intimate, as the layout takes you on a journey through beautifully kept gardens and pathways to uniquely private accommodations ranging from the simple and elegant Garden Villas, through to the palatial Master Pool Villa.For the ultimate in luxury, the Umah Raja Villa is the creme-de-la-creme of the resort – a 310 square meter home, with three beautifully designed bedrooms, an expansive living space, home cinema, and outdoor two-tier infinity pool.   The outdoor space for relaxing around the pool is plentiful, with sun loungers, a shaded traditional bale-pavilion, and sweeping forest-to-ocean sunset views.

Inside, the house is decorated tastefully with luxurious local antiques, and expertly-crafted furniture, and guests are greeted with thoughtful touches, such as traditional Balinese cake with the turndown service, and golf-cart transport on request.  This villa definitely provides a peaceful, private and exclusive escape, yet connected to the resort’s facilities in minutes.The award-winning restaurant at The Damai features a menu designed around the fresh produce grown on site, and sourced from their boutique farm, with nightly changing options.  Guests can dine in the balmy, romantic upstairs setting, where a wonderful fresh-fruit breakfast is also served, along with American and Asian choices, or opt for a seat around the beautiful blue-lit pool, moving to the open fireplace after to enjoy dessert.

For those wanting the ultimate in relaxation, the Spa features an array of treatments using organic products, and practices originally reserved only for the royal family, set against the breezy and beautiful backdrop of their lush garden environment and tropical plants.  Choose from reflexology, a hot-wax pedicure, or even an indulgent six-hand massage, followed by an instagram-worthy outdoor flower bath.For those more inclined to adventure, The Damai also have local tours available, including dolphin-watching at dawn on a longboat from Lovina beach, or trekking hidden waterfalls and lush green rice-paddies with a wonderful and fun local guide called Kadek, whose personal knowledge of the area is unrivaled.The Damai is definitely one of those places that needs to be experienced to be believed.  It’s off the beaten path, which makes it hard to find, but after wandering the whimsical garden trails, soaking up the warm humor of the staff, and experiencing the amazing food, relaxation and service, you’ll also see why it’s hard to leave.

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Article, photos & video by Darren Darnborough.