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Walking Over Haddon in The Peak District

I confess I'm a fair weather walker, which means I often want to walk on our holidays, but whether we go is always dependent on the weather. I have a Goretex jacket but it's like a talisman. I own it, but I don't want to wear it and I hope vainly that just by having spent so much on it an schlepping it with me that it's going to ward off the rain! As you can see my travel planning involves a good deal of "magical thinking!" In California our cultural exuberance (paired with low standards) means we shamelessly call anything a "hike"  - as if we've scaled Everest in an afternoon. Here in England I'm not sure I even qualify as a "walker" because that denotes a level of seriousness I've failed at previously. Minimally it means you're wearing boots  and have an Ordnance Survey map (and possibly a compass) in your back pocket. I guess I'm more of stroller to be honest and I've blogged about my strolls all over the world; m…

Royal Pita Maha - Ubud, Bali

I've wanted to stay at Royal Pita Maha since I first visited  it  on our second trip to Bali about ten years ago. It's an unforgettable place. Owned by the royal family in Ubud it's built into the perfect spot along the Agung river valley. It's unlike any of the other upscale hotels in Ubud, yes it's luxurious, it has the spa and the private villas with their own pools but it's just so distinctive and incredibly Balinese. The aesthetic detail is overwhelming, decorative and expressive throughout. 

The landscaping is extraordinarily beautiful with pathways, foliage, flowers,pools, vistas and carvings everywhere you look.
There is a meandering manmade lagoon which you can swim in  and even a sacred pool down at the bottom of the valley near the healing villas. Because each room comes with it's own  swimming pool and many of the guests seem to be Japanese and Korean honeymooners who stay are either in their rooms or out sightseeing, these beautiful public pools are often deserted.
There are hibiscus everywhere, even the elevators are elegant and decorated daily! 
Because the hotel is built into the steep hillside of the Ayung river gorge, there are a series of elevators that take you down from the reception to the  river floor. There is a lot of walking so the riverside villas are not for everyone.

I could go on and on but I think the photographs speak for themselves. Here is the view from the restaurant where we had breakfast daily. because most people stay closer to the reception they use the main restaurant and we often had the riverside restaurant to ourselves. The yoga pavilion has the same view, fabulous.
Also down at the riverside is the magnificent Holy Pool. As you can see it's beautifully decorated and offerings are laid out daily.
This has to be one of the most beautiful places I have swum in and it has a very spiritual feeling. There was never anyone else around.
 I've reviewed the rooms in a separate post,  Royal Pita Maha - Ayung Healing Villa or Deluxe Pool Villa but as you can see the private pools are very large.
There are some drawbacks, the service isn't as polished as it could be and we weren't terribly impressed with the food. However, the staff are very accommodating and the tranquil, restful environment is fabulous. I booked through Orbitz using a coupon and felt that it was great value for money at just over $300 per night.

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