Where to begin?
I suppose the beginning is always a good shout.
After a relatively brief plane ride over from KL (and an equally-long taxi journey from the airport, all thanks to quintessential Balinese traffic) we finally arrived at the Maya Ubud. We were tired, thirsty. sweaty, all manners of awful, and yet the moment we stepped out of the taxi, we instantly felt renewed.
Compared to the bustling cities we had journeyed from, the calm and serene atmosphere of the Maya beguiled us immediately, not to mention the overwhelmingly friendly and passionate service we received from the off. Due to our long journey, we thought it best to have a relaxing day absorbing the peace and tranquillity of the hotel, which naturally meant cocktails and snacks at the bar.
We visited the Maya in October/November 2019 and, whilst the menu has surely changed, the quality of food and drink at the Maya's bar was phenomenal, easily competing with the best we'd had on our holiday so far.
Speaking of a food experience so fantastic that it invites competition: the Balinese cooking class. We booked ourselves onto the cooking class with the Maya's chef Wayan on the morning of our first full day in Bali and the experience is not one I would have changed any part of for the world. We were led from the reception area to the most fantastical herb and spice garden I've ever seen by Indah, one of the hotel staff, where Wayan the chef proceeded to take us through the essentials of Balinese cooking. There was a lot of grinding spice pastes, fanning barbecue pits, dicing, slicing and the singing of eyebrows but the sheer volume and calibre of food that Wayan helped us produce was possibly the best we would have during the entirety of our holiday through South East Asia. There was so much food that we had some of our leftovers brought back to our room, and, when one of the portions had gone past its prime, the kitchen cooked us up a brand new dish. Indah and Wayan really made that morning something special, and walking away with gift bags full of recipes and spices was an extra incredibly-welcome bonus.
Now that I've mentioned exceptional food, I simply must talk about the surprise I planned for my partner during our stay at the Maya. In secret I had organised one of the Maya's Balinese Romance dinners, complete with a private gazebo, speciality courses, a trail of rose petals and accompanying music. The team at the Maya were more than game to help me with my plan and the evening was a wonderful success.
This, however, is where things took a poor personal turn. My partner came down with a rather persistent and debilitating case of 'Bali belly' that caused him great distress during our time at the Maya. Thanks to their on-call medical team we were able to get him some medicine, but for the remainder of our time in Ubud (including our trips out to Mount Batur, Ubud proper, the tours around the local temples and the Monkey Forest) my partner was seriously unwell. That said, the care and attention he received from the staff at the Maya was above and beyond what he had expected.
With my partner momentarily bed-ridden, I took the time to soak in as much of the Maya as I could, including the bar, the gym, the pool and as much of the local flavour as I could. To be honest, though, I did spend more time by the pool in the glorious sunshine with a good book. It's why you go on holiday, isn't it?
My partner's sudden turn for the worse notwithstanding, the Maya was easily one of the best hotel experiences of our holiday, if not of all our holidays put together. If you've made it this far into my long and winding retelling of our time there, well done, and honestly I don't know what more there is to say about the Maya. If you ever want to experience a tranquil, genuine, and gastronomically-unforgettable break from the hustle, bustle and fuss that Bali is known for, you owe it to book yourself a visit.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC