The name “Kayon Jungle Resort by Pramana Experience” is too longwinded to take seriously. Let’s just call this good place “Kayon Jungle” and get on with the job of considering its dramatic ridge-top position and valley outlook, plus multiple pools and huge, bamboo cathedral-like restaurant space. Think of this resort in rural Payangan as an escape from Ubud, that thronged city of boutiques, taxis and temple-chasers that bustles just 30 minutes away.
Here at Kayon Jungle is your spot to make a romantic stand against a clamorous, selfie-obsessed world. No pets allowed, no kids under age 15, no durian and no drones. Just you and the partner person in one of 38 suites or pool villas with a view of the great green tapestry of a Balinese hillside. By the way, “Kayon” refers to the tree of life in Balinese mythology.
The Kayon Jungle Resort
by Pramana Experience
First impressions of Kayon Jungle?
Two striking things: the view and the public spaces.
As the greeters welcome you on arrival with a zingy Jungle Passion drink your eyes turn to the hillside opposite the resort — and there be greenery, tranquillity.
In vast amounts.
Somewhere at last to rest the eye and the spirit.
Checked-in you’re a bit peckish so it’s up to the top deck restaurant-café area where a vast, bamboo-beamed roof of alang-alang thatch shelters you like an upturned hull.
You know you’ll want to see more of the work of resort’s young Balinese designer, I Wayan Wardika.
What are the rooms like at Kayon Jungle?
The suites and pool villas come in five categories ranging from Jungle Suite to Pool Villa, Premier Pool Villa and Royal Pool Villa — some with separate, poolside bale-style shelters, and others with full 180-degree panorama.
The bells-and-whistles premier category offers a spa pool with heated water — surely redundant in steamy Bali?
Most if not all accommodation has excellent jungle views across the quiet valley.
Optional butler service is available.
The popular, 63-sq metre Kayon Jungle Suite category — there are 20 of these — has a large bathtub (with forest views), sprawling bed (with similar outlook), a generous balcony and good, uncomplicated lighting.
The storage space could be better and the English language television channel selection at the time of reviewing was poor, with no BBC World, CNN or ABC Australia.
In general terms the room decor is modern-traditional Balinese; that is, with plenty of honeycomb-toned stone and tiles and wood features.
The effect: calm and relaxing, plus tons of space.
Visiting Indonesia? Read these posts:
The Glamour Factor
Numerous young, lookalike Korean women can be spied photogenically deploying themselves around the resort’s three-tiered pools.
They were drawn here after seeing an Instagram posting by a Korean starlet who had visited.
Among other guests — predominantly couples — imaginary glamour and fleeting FaceBooking is secondary to Kayon’s delivery of good food, good service and good rooms, plus the romantic ambience.
The Kepitu Bar and Lounge occupies an extended outdoor area with sweeping views over the terraced pools and river valley.
Meanwhile, a too-massive statue of Kumbakarna, a legendary warrior from the Ramayana epic, dominates the restaurant level view.
By night the restaurant transforms into a romantic environment with semi-fine dining and live music.
The menu ranges from international favourites and healthy fare to, of course, Indonesian and Balinese dishes.
Chicken features strongly in both the latter so try the Lombok-inspired Ayam Taliwan.
Don’t miss the tuna tartare entrée, which tastes both as subtle and spectacular as its visual presentation.
The best couples’ dining option is the Candle Light Dinner down in the Canyon Jetty Restaurant which sits just above the chattering waters of the Oos River.
Here you and company can sit in intimate privacy within a woven wicker cocoon.
Dishes and wine arrive discretely.
By day guests can participate in the Balinese Cooking Experience where the chef shares skills and local recipes in concocting a delicious lunch.
One is never undernourished here so even during lunch think to leave some room for the mid-afternoon high tea.
The Kayon Jungle’s Pool
Known as the Wanna Jungle Pool, the resort’s dominant water feature is its arrangement of curved, three-tiered swimming pools — infinity-edged, of course — that mirror the forms of Bali’s famed rice terraces, such as those at Cecking just 15 minutes away from here.
The pools offer plenty of room for wallowing and cooling, less so for doing laps.
Sun loungers are arrayed poolside with bar service at hand.
The Kayon Jungle Spa
There’s no excuse for a bad massage in Bali and the Kayon’s Serayu Spa maintains that tradition of excellence.
The techniques are authentic traditional Balinese with emphasis on stretching, long strokes and pressure sustained at your preferred level.
You’ll float out of there.
There’s an in-house art galley where the works are a cut well above the kitsch often found in commercial galleries. Plus there’s a private museum collection of works by late Balinese master Lempad.
The Kayon Jungle Resort by Pramana Experience (Br. Beresela, Payangan, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali 80572, Phone; +62 361 978098) is a low-key, well-designed hideaway built with couples and honeymooners in mind — thus, no kids, pets, drones, yahoos — that sits on a steep hillside (buggies get you to and from the lower levels) and gently, frequently reminds you that you’re in Bali.