You may have been to Bali, but have you visited the small town of Buahan? If you haven’t, you’re missing out a lot. Read on for our review of the latest and greatest new property here: Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape.
Bali is often referred to as Island of the Gods, which is very understandable to anyone who has been. The glistening sand, the relaxing waves, the enchanting spa treatments—they’re all simply divine. But Bali isn’t all about the Vitamin Sea. Roughly half of the island is made up of mountains and rainforests that many don’t think of as the first thing when planning a trip to Bali. However, these areas are just as magical as the beaches, or perhaps even more so.
We want to introduce you to Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape, where you can experience Balinese hospitality at its finest.
Resort review: Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape
Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape is located in Gianyar Regency, which is already known for being an arts and culture centre, but most of the time, you’ll likely stay at the resort.
Don’t let the two-hour drive deter you, because the destination will be worth it. One nap as you’re touring through the suburbs, and you’ll wake up finding yourself surrounded by flora and fauna as the car twists through the tree lined pathways to unveil mountains upon mountains—each more beautiful than the last.
Feel the cool air and listen to the sounds of critters chirping in the distance; a vibe that will accompany you throughout your stay. The “Escape” part not just for show. Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape is really like escaping from a bustling city, straight into the calming embrace of nature.
The Banyan Tree Escape is pioneering a “no walls, no doors” concept at Buahan. That’s right—each balé (or villa) has no walls nor doors surrounding the room, just layers of sheets to dim the sun and block out the bugs, along with a simple, little gate upon entry.
Those concerned with safety and privacy need not worry, though, as there are only 16 balés scattered throughout the whole premise, with the staff dutifully keeping track of each guest for maximum security.
Each balé comes with a spacious “indoor” area, with a living room, bed perfect for two, a bath overlooking the nature, and all the necessities. There’s also a private pool and outdoor seatings perfect for a change of pace.
Your balé comes with welcome amenities, and the most important bit is the Baligroni. It’s the Negroni you know and love, but with a Balinese twist, infusing local herbs and spices that result in a concoction perfect to have as the chill breeze passes by.
If you’re afraid of bugs, we feel you. The hotel has implemented bug-repellant plants and natural incense to keep some of them at bay. There’ll still be bugs, though. After all, you’re living in the middle of a rainforest, but it isn’t as bad as you might think, and the bugs we saw weren’t remotely harmful at all.
Unless you’re joining one of the activities that take place outside, you’ll most likely find yourself in The Open Kitchen for all three meals. The Open Kitchen, with a self-explanatory name, is located downstairs of The Living Room, which is a common area in the middle of the resort.
Each meal is a joyride in itself when dining at The Open Kitchen. The culinary team is led by Chef Eka Sunarya, a Buahan-born rising star who worked in the most prestigious international hotel groups, now working at home (in a literal sense) celebrating and sharing his roots and cultures through food.
For breakfast, the egg dishes put the ones from your favourite brunch to shame. It’s the moment you realise the freshness exuding from each ingredient, which in almost all cases, are gathered from the property’s very own farms and gardens.
A la carte options are available for lunch, where guests can sample international cuisine while looking at the misty mountains in the distance. Craving some spaghetti? Their pasta is all made in house too, and it shows.
Dinner is a highlight to look forward to each day. It is served as part of a five-course set, with each one packing the finesse and complexity of your favourite fine dining spot. The most interesting bit is that there’s a different menu each day, depending on the ingredients they have foraged. It is guaranteed that you’ll be met with textures so intriguing and flavours so well-balanced that you’ll forget it’s 70% plant-based.
We know it looks like we’re hyping their food up a lot, but we’re very confident you’ll feel the same way.
Above The Open Kitchen is The Living Room, a charming, serene area that’s perfect to crack open a good book, or in this case, relax with a refreshing drink in hand. Luckily, The Botanist Bar sits within The Living Room, where drinks to enjoy right there, or to have alongside your meal below.
The bar features a wide variety of spirits and housemade kombucha, but one of the staple spirits they greatly utilise is the arak, a rum-like alcohol distilled from sugarcane and fermented using red rice and local yeast. The beverage has an interesting complexity, which makes it an excellent base to many cocktails—some of which are present in their drinks menu.
The ones that we highly recommend you to try are the Rujak, a very refreshing, sour concoction made from infused arak and fruits picked from the Balinese jungle, as well as the Coffee Martini. It’s crafted using coffee from their farms along with arak, and it will be one of, if not the smoothest-tasting coffee martinis you’ve ever had.
As you marvel upon the beauty of nature and the sense of spirituality within the Banyan Tree Escape, you’ll also get the chance to interact with those aspects directly.
Begin your morning with some planned trips to surrounding areas. Get in touch with the locals of Buahan. Feel the presence of calming spiritualism at the temple. Bike down the woods to their remote hideout. Trek down to the waterfall as you bring an offering to their local deity. There’s even an activity called the “Enlightenment Journey,” which takes you on an adventure of being part of the Balinese folk. Do it all—you might need a whole week.
If you want to feel the most of the Balinese culture, but you do not wish to leave the resort, there are still a few activities you can partake in. Let the staff team you how to make your own offering for the gods. Go foraging and see the flora and fauna that is to be used in your daily dishes. Learn to make a body scrub that is both exfoliating and soothing to your soul. Don’t worry, everything is natural.
Apart from those ventures, an afternoon only truly feels complete with some self-care. Stretch your body to some firelit yoga and relax to their top-notch spa treatments. To the Thais who go abroad and can never find a masseuse who can actually press as hard as you want, suffice to say the Balinese know what they are doing.
Just go. It’s perfect as a getaway from your usual routine. It’s suited to be a honeymoon destination. Everyone is extremely nice and exuding that signature Banyan Tree hospitality. The food and drinks are so good you’ll clean your plate every time.
We’d say you can’t put a price on things that good, but the Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape did, and it’s worth it.