Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape, is set to open in an off-the-beaten-track, untouched part of northern Ubud in September 2021. Though the opening falls during the pandemic, this brand extension symbolises the Banyan Tree brand's vision and commitment to creating immersive experiences combining deep nature and sustainable design. Pioneering a "no walls, no doors" concept throughout the property and in each of its 16 balés (villas), Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape, is an invitation into a different way of being.
At the resort's heart are the Open Kitchen and Living Room, both open dining and lounge spaces created to evoke a sense of community. Here, guests are invited to learn how the resort reinvents the basics of food and drink through its unique zero-waste farm to table concept, local sourcing philosophy and heritage techniques. The menu concept, 70% of which is plant-based, is sourced locally within a one-hour drive from the property. This concept was developed through a collaboration with Agency X, a local consultant group that houses the acclaimed restaurant Locavore, Nusantara Restaurant, and The Night Rooster Cocktail Bar, creatively enhancing a sense of place.
The Botanist Bar is centred around the use of local-grown natural ingredients and botanicals infused into its beverages, while Toja Spa celebrates the wellbeing traditions from Buahan village and its surrounding areas, with a unique "open" garden experience - certified by the award-winning Banyan Tree Spa Academy.
The brand also celebrates unconventional craft forms, from its sonic branding approach with Singapore-based creative studio Parable to using re-purposed Ulin ‘iron’ wood from boat jetties, hand-carved wooden headboards, hand-smithed copper bathtubs and natural dye soft furnishings.
Connecting to Nature
Situated in a quiet enclave surrounded by rice paddies and jungle, the site's unique topography is next to the Ayung River and waterfall, including a sweeping view of the seven majestic peaks. The resort has 16 balés, designed to blend spacious indoor-outdoor living areas with 180-degree panoramic views and sounds of nature through a bold taste of 'The Naked Experience' where only a thin veil separates guest from nature.
Scattered on and off the property, secret Hideaway Spots draw on the element of being at one with nature, providing guests with a garden sanctuary for meditation, reading, or simply taking a moment to pause and unwind.
A Discovery Experience
A calendar of daily, weekly, and monthly events guides travellers towards a range of curated and self-led experiences around the three pillars connecting to nature, a discovery experience, and community integration. From the on and off-site daily 'Happenings' activities to collaborative events with visiting practitioners or local cultural festivities, the ethos of unique, rejuvenating and spontaneous opportunities for discovery hold firm and are a core of the brand experience.
Embedded in the Community
To ensure the surrounding environment and nature were preserved, research on the sociological, architectural and cultural aspects was conducted within a 1-hour radius of the property. This research helped guide the team on how experiences are created and ensure guests feel immersed in the unique local experiences and understand the resort's relationship to the surrounding community. Gede Kresna, a recognised sustainable local architect who focuses on Balinese design and environmentally friendly architecture, together with his team, conducted the four-month research, a summary of which will be available at the resort. Gede worked closely with Banyan Tree's Head of Architecture, Dharmali Kusumadi, who designed the balés and other resort facilities, bringing life to the inspired vernacular architectural approach through unique design and construction methods.
Ho Ren Yung, VP of Brand HQ of Banyan Tree, said, "We have owned this piece of land for over twenty years, and the conceptualisation of Banyan Tree Escape started almost five years ago. It is a true labour of love and a bold experience proposition we are excited to see become real. Even while we are calling it Escape, at the heart of this brand is creating a way for people to be present, to unearth, renew, and a way to truly 'be here.' Fireflies in your room at night, and morning mists with the sunrise – it is an unparalleled journey, communing with nature, alone and with others."