Asia & Australasia

Travelling to prepare for a special moment

This post is brought to you by The Ritz-Carlton


I have been asked many times a rather simple question: why do I travel? It seems simple enough, but the answer is not as straightforward. I travel for many reasons – to search for the sun, to have some down time, to spend quality time with friends, family and my better half. I also travel to discover wonderful destinations and learn about their culture, history and food. And I always try to get away to celebrate my birthday or Mr. O’s. Or our anniversary, of course. Oh, and I also travel to shop – and that qualifies as an important milestone in my book.

But this time around, we travelled for a very different reason. We travelled all the way to Bali, in Indonesia (obviously to do a bit of everything I mentioned earlier), but for something different: to prepare for a medical operation.

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Enjoying a walk with ‘good knees’ in Ubud, Bali.

My husband Simon has many good qualities, but his knees aren’t his best feature. For the past 6 years, we have been through 3 knee arthroscopies which meant a 3-week recuperation period but after the last one, we knew the big op was coming. The big op was a partial knee replacement. Which meant at least 8 weeks away from the office, planes, beaches and any driving.

Scheduling 8 weeks off our diaries, namely my husband’s wasn’t easy, and due to the nature of his work and my day time job (as a marketing consultant), the best time to do it was during the Summer, in early July. So in March we made that decision and decided to book a very special trip: we were going all the way to Bali, in Indonesia.

We spent some time in Seminyak, which we really liked, but the ultimate destination was Ubud, and more precisely, the Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, which promised to be the perfect place to get a final hurrah before the op. We did manage to squeeze in a long weekend in Spain and a weekend in Scotland just before the big day, but this was *the* trip.

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Spending some quality time at Mandapa


So why was Bali our chosen destination to prepare for this operation?


The hotel

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Not your average hotel lobby, is it?

I tell no lies. Every now and then, a hotel can be a destination (I unashamedly have plenty of those in my life), and in this case, we knew we were in for something pretty special. It was exceptional and we felt that 4 days were not enough. From incredible decor to impeccable grounds, it really had it all.


The culture

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Our very own rice field at the hotel…

We had never been to Indonesia and it was always on our list. It wasn’t a hop and a skip from London – we flew to Paris, then on to Doha (6h) and then onwards to Denpasar (9h) and it kind of took us 24 hours, with the time difference and transfers to get there. Whilst we really enjoyed Seminyak, the destination of the trip was, without a doubt, Ubud, also known as the cultural capital of Bali. We really got into it, and enjoyed plenty of time outside the hotel – we went to the town for some meals, for shopping and what not. But our favourite moment was a private tour on a vintage VW organised by the hotel that took us to the key temples around us. I loved its simplicity and how much we got from a 5-hour trip.

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How cool was this car?


The food

We fell madly in love with Indonesian food. The meat skewers, the soups, the mango sticky rice – you name it, we had it. We enjoyed a variety of meals at the hotel – from a picnic by the river, to a candlelit dinner on the rice fields, to a fabulously simple spring roll feast by the pool.

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The food was exceptional

We loved the options we had – and how the hotel was not afraid to proudly serve local cuisine, and not ‘just a little bit’ for show. We also loved asking those who worked there to help us navigate the menus as we had no idea – we also got them to pick their local favourite dishes for us. Service was exceptional – some of the best we have experienced, yet so friendly.

I also loved how the hotel was not afraid to send us to simple places in town for lunch – because quality is what matters and we really had some exceptional meals. Some for $150 a head, others for $15. Because who cares?

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One of our favourite bars and restaurants – the design really was quite something


The peace and quiet

We really needed some of this and that is why we chose Ubud was our destination. We had a private villa with a pool, which was perfect. We did not have to see anyone when we did not want to – and gin & tonics made their way to our villa pretty quickly.

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Our own little bit of paradise

At times, yes, we wanted to see others but nothing was forced – and that is what I loved about it. We had time to sleep, to go to the spa, to talk to each other and also not to talk at all and just be together. And this was the perfect place to do so.


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Mr. O enjoying some ‘good knee’ activities like climbing up a rice hut.


The operation went very well and so has the recovery. But having been on a big trip before the operation really made it special for us – we picked somewhere different from where we normally go, and there could have been a closer option, but we surely celebrated and cherished this moment.

Travel is about celebrating whatever matters to you – what have you celebrated recently?



Mrs. O


Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by The Ritz-Carlton, who has asked me to share a special moment of my recent travels. Opinions are, as always, my own.

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View Comments (14)


  1. Raul

    September 7, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    What a great way to get Mr. O ready for surgery! Glad it went well. Thanks for sharing about Bali – I am looking forward to heading there in a couple of months!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 9, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      We loved it and I will be writing more about it, for sure!

  2. Nik

    September 6, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    It was lovely to catch up with you guys and have dinner in Bali! How random! 🙂

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 6, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      I know! We can’t meet in Europe, but we were in Bali at the same place and time!

  3. Ines

    September 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    As melhoras do seu marido !
    Ubud parece um sonho! On the bucket list!!!

  4. marie

    September 3, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Bali is such a special place. Stephen and I love the unspoilt north of the island and also Ubud. You brought many memories back with the fabulous pictures. Thank you!

  5. MissLilly

    September 3, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Love this post!!! First of all because it’s really personal and because it was such a good reason for taking time for both of you! Beautiful location, I would love to have done something similar as well. I’m happy that Mr O. is finally recovered and that you’re back in travelling together.
    I would say quite a highlight this year was my trip to Japan, because I wanted to do it since I remember and because it happens that I’ve booked the trip for the only time I would be able to fly this year (I had no clue I was doing to be pregnant when I did the booking). So it’s a trip I’ll always remember 🙂
    MissLilly recently posted...: Childhood food memories:.My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 4, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      OMG many congratulations!! Such a special time in your life! Wishing you all the best!

  6. Suze - Luxury Columnist

    August 31, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    I hope that your husband is recovering well from his operation. We loved Ubud too and the Balinese people are so kind.
    Suze – Luxury Columnist recently posted..My Luxury August Adventures – Happy and Sad MomentsMy Profile

  7. Jean | Holy Smithereens

    August 31, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Love this post! It’s what travel is all about – personal, made up of our own agendas and milestones, however little or big they may be. Glad to know you had a great time in Ubud ! Hope Mr O’s knees are now stronger than ever so they can travel to more places 🙂

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 4, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Thank you so much! Knee is getting there – and we will be able to go places!

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