A healing spa situated in a museum, ultra-sound facials and a blind therapist who can analyze your blockages via a foot massage — the best spas in Bali deliver far more than your average rub-a- dub-dub giving us the opportunity to explore non-traditional treatments in a more interesting way. Judy Chapman hunts down 10 of the most intriguing spas and experiences for the coming year.
Why not book your annual detox retreat at Oneworld Ayurveda
Most yogi’s have heard of Oneworld Retreats, the first destination on the island to offer year-round wellness retreats. Opening September 2016 will be their second retreat destination Oneworld Ayurveda that will be facilitated Dr. Aparna and a team of practitioners. Situated in the hills of Ubud, the boutique retreat resort will offer 7, 14 and 28 day Ayurveda Panchakarma detox retreats tailored to stress, detox and insomnia. Ayurveda is considered the oldest medicine system in the world and comprises of nutrition, herbal medicine, philosophy, yoga and meditation. As in the words of co-founder Claude Chouinard: ‘We believe the next wave of wellness are modalities like Ayurveda that give us the tools to create a more healthier lifestyle.’ Oneworld Ayurveda is offering readers the opportunity to win an all-inclusive Panchakarma retreat – check their website for details.
Forget rooftop bars, it’s all about rooftop spas when it comes to Spring Spa
A social wellness beauty venue located on the terrace of the new Seminyak Village. The brainchild of Ina Bajaj of East Day Spa and Derek Lockwood, worldwide director of design for Saatchi and Saatchi, Spring offers well-executed metallic nail art, Bali’s first New York style blow dry bar. Standouts facials include the Charcoal Facial made from raw black charcoal foam and a Reflexology Facial – essentially a pressure point massage from nose to toes! Or add on a 15-minute neck & shoulder massage, dry scalp massage or coconut hair repair from their Spring Booster menu! With the rooftop location, bar and DJ playing soothing sounds, Spring is ideal for birthdays, hens and wedding parties.
Loosen up your muscles with a Yoga Massage at Spa Alila
The new beachfront Alila Seminyak is already attracting a crowd for its cool beach bar and great soft-opening room rates. Well-regarded for their anatomy-trained therapists who have a sound knowledge of nutrition and meditation, Spa Alila will feature eight luxurious treatment suites, a hair spa, and reflexology lounge with services including Tom Ford manicures. With the spa conveniently open until 11pm why not drop in for a late night preen. Says Steve Jeisman, Group Director Spa Alila: ‘Through the heartfelt touch of our experienced therapists and our naturally active products we create a new dimension in nurturing and divine pampering rituals.’ Their signature Yoga Massage is recommended to relieve muscular tension and loosen joints. Spa Alila opens in January 2016.
Book the Blind Reflexologist at Mandapa Spa at the Ritz Carlton Reserve
Delivered by intuitive healer Ketut Mursi, this is a deeply profound experience and not the faint hearted. During your session, Ketut listens, taps your body, visually shakes and becomes a vessel to help you release energy. So intensely powerful, Ketut can only deliver one treatment per day so book well in advance. Mandapa means ‘temple’ in Sanskrit and the spa here feels grounding, spiritual and sacred. Everything on the menu has a hint of Balinese such as rice-focused Padi Massage, a Sawak rice-field walk and Balinese Plant Studies tour to learn about their medicinal and decoration properties. Their menu of wellness retreats will be launched in early 2016.
The newly devised Tibetan Ku Nye Massage at The Legian
The team at the spa here are always evolving their treatment menu and this is one of my new favorites. What makes this massage distinct is the combination of body tapping, cupping, rocking, kneading and some serious reflexology techniques. Based on ancient Tibetan medicine traditions, therapists work skillfully to create better energy flow within your body and it works. Delivered with warm poultices of Himalayan salts and a blend of wild-grown essential oils to stimulate the lymphatic and meridian system. I departed feeling completely restored to new. As well, they have upgraded the classical Balinese massage to make it more healing by integrating signature touches including breathing acupressure technique, stretching and lymphatic drainage.
Try the mystical massage at TUGU Hotel
For seekers of the spiritual, journey through a menu of full moon, sea and purification ceremonies and resurrected Javanese bathing, grooming, beauty and spiritual offerings. The Kama Mantra is popular as your therapist chants healing Hindu mantras as she soothingly massages you with herbal oils. Poultice containing roots and spices are dipped in warm coconut are massaged along your spine. Concludes with a prayer and blessing. Alternatively the Kamar Dandang Goela comprises of a massage based on traditional Balinese dance movements. The energy at this hotel is old-world and the hotel with glorious antique and heritage interiors – some of the massage beds (old rice storage boxes) here are over 100 years old.
Move your energy with a martial – arts inspired massage at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay
Daily rituals are the cornerstone of Balinese culture and this spa offers an extensive menu of unique experiences. The new Agni Akasa massage is based on the ancient Balinese martial arts style known as White Crane and consists of stretching, movement, breathing exercises and a ‘silat’ inspired massage enhanced with bamboo rods to further stretch your muscles. Delivered with oils of ginger and cinnamon with the added touch of your therapist chanting Sanskrit mantras make this a truly spirit enlivening experience. Other newly launched offerings at this seaside spa are Full Moon Yoga and Anti-gravity yoga offered in the new oceanfront yoga bale.
Or a revolutionary anti-gravity facial at Cocoon Medical Spa
Turn back the clock with the new Ultherapy Facial, a non-invasive way to lift your skin without scalpels or needles. Based on high-intensity ultrasound therapy, the procedure delivers energy into the structural tissues and muscles where collagen lives. Stimulates the growth of new collagen that lifts and tightens the skin over time. Combine this with the super rich Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) otherwise known as the Vampire Facial plus some LED red light therapy and emerge feeling five or so years younger. The beauty is that there is no downtime, no swelling or bruising plus the treatments can be done in one-day. Say goodbye to sagging skin. Ideal for over 40 year olds.
Opt for a mini-detox at Karma Spa at Karma Kandara
As if you needed another reason to journey to the award winning Karma Spa situated on a cliff for your next mind-blowing spa experience. Even so, the spa has received a facelift with a wow wet area nestled into the natural limestone. The glass-walled Infrared sauna now holds four people and overlooks 180 degrees of infinite blue waters. Spiritual and physical wellness are seamlessly woven into the spa through design – an ocean view shower looks directly to the vastness of the Indian Ocean and don’t forget the signature himalayan salt bathing pool for more rejuvenation. With this comes a host of newly devised treatments that are holistic, hedonistic, health and beauty orientated that will strengthen your body, free your spirit and soothe your soul – this is luxury R&R at its best.
Qi Gong infused massages at H.EA.R.T at ARMA in Ubud
A spa attached to a living museum. How intriguing! H.E.A.R.T is the name of the spa situated within the grounds of the living Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) will feature six treatment huts, Wai Chi hydrotherapy pools, Hindu-infused yoga and Mandala Art classes as well as the traditional Balinese arts program. Treatments are inspired by the confluence of Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, Indonesian and western influences and infused with healing Qi Gong. Earth Flow is a grounding therapy that focuses on the abdomen and feet or a Glow with the Flow facial. Says co-creator Ama Lai Wai Ching: ‘We have created something unique for the island, a centre for transformational work through art, dance, music and sacred geometry.’ Opens March 2016.
*This article first appeared on The Bali Bible
Australian-born Judy Chapman is the former Editor-in-Chief of ‘Spa Asia’ magazine and the previous spa columnist for Wellbeing Magazine and author of 4 non-fiction books on spas and health. Over the past 20 years she has traveled the world, exploring, consulting & creating award winning spa concepts, beauty & treatment experiences. Her travels have taken her through the Himalayas spending time with Tibetan & Ayurvedic doctors and yoga masters as well as onsen trips through Japan to the spas of France, Germany & Prague. Read more…