Building a resort for the future is oh, so sexy – at Ulaman Eco Retreat

Minutes from Canggu and the wild beaches of Tabanan, Ulaman Eco Retreat, nestled between two sacred rivers, is a vision for the future of Bali tourism.

It began as a private home but the first building conceived by architect Charlie Hearn of Inspiral Architects, exceeded the space requirements of owner, Dino, and the seeds of the beautiful Ulaman Eco Retreat were planted.

 Ulaman is an ecoresort in every way. Created from soaring bamboo and rammed earth, polished teak and stone, every surface begs to be touched. The sustainable features include grey water systems, salt water pools, turbine powered electricity and the sustainable materials used in the design. While this may not sound sexy, the vision that has come to life in this beautiful valley is.  

 Phase one is made up of the main building with 3 pod-like suites, a restaurant, bar and riverside pool, 8 private pool villas, a massage pod, yoga Shala and a wine cave. A river runs through the property creating a natural waterfall and swimming hole. The main building was the site of the proposed home of Dino but once he realised the size and scope of it, plans changed.  

 I’m just one guy,” explains Canadian Dino, “and I just don’t need this kind of space. Charlie and I discussed our options and the resort was conceived. 

 This is a real collaboration between two creative and passionate people, with each of them playing an active role in the organic growth of the property.  

 We both have our strengths and we’re willing to take risks, so some of it was created through trial and error. The man-made lake (in phase two) is designed to feed the turbines that will create an alternative power source, and it’s a risk, as others have tried and it hasn’t worked,” explains Dino.   

 

As beautiful as it is now, this is only the beginning. Phase two has begun with a proposed finish date of June 2021.  

A futuristic restaurant, pool club and spa, which will be open to the public,  is currently underway. The features include a stunning waterfall pool, spa pavillions that echo the pod-like shapes in the main building and an additional 8 luxurious villas built over the man-made lake fed by two sacred rivers that run through the property. All are created from sustainable materials; bamboo, rammed earth, stone and teak, echoing phase one. The villas will be elevated over the lake, some with direct access, others on a higher level with views over the stunning scenery of this unspoiled area.  

 

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Food and drinks are part of Dino’s lifestyle. As a wine lover and former restaurateur from Canada, he is making his own wine and has planted gardens to maintain a supply of organic fruit, vegetables and edible flowers for the restaurant. With a mix of local and international dishes, there’s a strong emphasis on vegetarian and healthy meals but chicken and fish are also on the menu.  

 

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The wine cave says a lot about the flexibility of this resort as do the TVs and highspeed internet in the rooms. Guests have a choice of how healthy or switched off they want to be. Check in and choose is a concept that many will love, rather than being dictated to about their lifestyle choices.   

Dino took on many of the roles himself including the interior design, researching and building the rammed earth walls, designing the customised teak and bamboo furniture, resulting in a unique futuristic design mingled with Indonesian artefacts and modern sculptural elements.  

 There is a sense of living in a very comfortable home rather than a commercial resort, it’s very welcoming and embraces the residents in a very warm way, you feel free to be who you are and set your own agenda.