Bali is Asia’s spa capital, and home to more than 20 of the world’s best spas. We lost count after spa number #20 turned up in another fab jet setting mag. No trip to the island of the Gods is complete without an indulgent visit to a spa to rejuvenate one’s senses and alleviate stress from the body.
Contemporary Balinese spas, almost exclusively found in Bali’s top hotels, offer a range of Balinese and Western treatments (or a fusion of both, mmm…) are usually found in five and six star resorts, although independent high-end spas are starting to arrive on the scene. In comparison to spas in Thailand, you might ask, why the spas in Bali are better? Two distinct reasons come to mind. The atmosphere in Bali is more spiritually charged; it lends itself to a greater sense of calm. Thailand’s all about the chaos and city vibe, a pre-departure massage is just an after thought. Then there’s the long, divine stroke and genteel pressure of Balinese massage that makes a Thai massage seem like the sort of treatment you’d get from a frenemy who had a gun pointed at her head.
You’ve come all this way, why would you put yourself in the hands of a back door spa and lie on a grubby floor mat? Sweeten your summer vacay and treat yourself to something more luxurious.
Here’s a curated list of Bali’s top 5 award winning spas that are worth the splurge.
Spa Alilia, Alila Villas Soori
Spa Alila at Alila Villas Soori is a popular choice amongst couples and travellers who prefer barefoot luxury resorts. Alila Spa at Alila Villas Soori has been nominated for several honors at Asia Spa Awards, and named the “most heavenly hideaway” by Tatler UK. Alila’s philosophy for wellbeing is holistic and intuitive. The spa specializes in anatomical physiology, massage and meditation. Treatments are a fusion of ancient Asian healing techniques and herbal healing concoctions that are tailored to each client to help relax and rebalance the spirit. A 90-minute massage ranges from IDR 1,375 for a Balinese massage, to IDR 1,550 for a herbal compress and warm stone massage. Try the beauty and balance treatment (150 minutes for IDR 2,100) that includes a soothing footbath, 60-minute massage of your choice, coffee and coconut scrub, and a mask and herbal steam. Then finish it all up with a refreshing bath such as the Iced Cucumber (IDR 450). Spa Alila uses Decléor Paris products for facials, OPI nailcare, and also offers waxing services. Alila has also created a boutique line of essential oil blends, moisturisers and body scrubs. Simply divine. Find out more at Alila Spa. Spa Alila, Banjar Dukuh Desa Kelating, Kerambitan, Tabanan, open daily from 9am – 11pm, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +62 361 8946 388.
AWAY Spa W, Bali
AWAY Spa at W Bali is a stylish, futuristic Zen spa that offers martial arts inspired therapies and out-there hangover cures. You’ll be needing a few of those if you’re staying, and partying at W.
A unique feature is their detox and oxygen room, which is rumoured to be an instant hangover cure. Some say it works, some say it doesn’t – just like drinking in moderation.
The spa is open 24 hours a day, so if you have the sudden urge for a massage at 2am, it can certainly be arranged. Treatments begin with 5 minutes of Wushu breathing and stretching to get your Chi flowing. Try their Zen balancing massage, inspired by martial arts, that utilises a warm bamboo stick to stretch and apply pressure on key areas of the body. Other interesting treatments include Perfect Fit; a spine twisting and back bending therapy which releases stagnant energy and toxins. Prices are given upon request, but you can visit the website for monthly specials and promotions. Find out more at AWAY Spa. AWAY Spa W Bali, Jalan Petitenget, Denpasar, open 24 hours, email: email@example.com, phone: +62 361 4738 106.
Banyan Tree Spa, Ungasan
Banyan Tree Spas have a long-standing reputation for expert therapists and a seamless spa experience. The spa in Ungasan is set in a natural surrounding overlooking the vast Indian Ocean from opulent treatment pavilions, designed in traditional Balinese style. This is a great spa for an authentic and luxurious treatment. A full day of head to toe pampering (IDR 4,000,000) includes a 360-minute treatment, 90-minute lunch and 30-minute relaxation, and is best enjoyed with a friend or partner. If you can think of a better way to spend a day in Bali, we’d love to hear it! One of Banyan Tree’s signature treatments is the Rainmist experience (90 minutes, IDR 1,500,000); a combination of a cascading rain shower while you lie down on a bed, followed by a steam bath to prepare the body for an intense scrub. Find out more at Banyan Tree Spa. Banyan Tree Spa, Ungasan, Jalan Melasti, Banjar Kelod, Ungasan, open daily from 9am – 10pm, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +62 361 3007 000.
Wellness Retreat at Como Shambhala Estate Bali
At Como Shambhala Estate in Bali, the actual spa treatmens are only the start of your complete state of wellbeing; the Estate even boasts a resident psychologist. This is where Donna Karan comes to rest and rejuvenate, an accolade if ever we heard one. It was the winner of Conde Naste Traveller’s Best Destination Spa Award 2013 and Harper’s BAZAAR Spa Award 2014 and a long list of awards and accolades since 2010. We could go on. The COMO Shambhala wellbeing experience is a completely immersive program encompassing treatments, activities, healthy COMO cuisine, adventure and cultural discovery. Wellness programs range from 3, 5 and 7 day programs which are tailored to suit your needs. Find out more at COMO Shambhala Estate. Wellness Retreat at Como Shambhala Estate Bali, Banjar Begawan, Desa Melinggih Kelod, Payangan, Gianyar, email: email@example.com, phone: +62 361 978 888.
Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa
Fivelements spa was awarded the Best Retreat of the Year 2013 by AsiaSpa Awards. Their therapies are inspired by the Balinese way of life, which encourages one to nurture a greater harmony with spirit. Healing rituals include a combination of meditation, deep bodywork and prana energy, performed by talented healers. The spa offers traditional beauty rituals, sacred arts healing and Balinese blessing ceremonies. A traditional Balinese massage starts from IDR 800 for 60 minutes. Colonic hydrotherapy is also available, with a 60 minute session costing IDR 750. Find out more at Fivelements Spa. Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa, Mambal, Abiansemal, Badung, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +62 361 469206. More award winning spas: Amanika Spa Oazia Spa Villas Bali Ritz-Carlton Bali Resort & Spa The Hammam at MesaStila The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay The Spa at Kayumanis Ubud Private Villa & Spa The Spa on the Rocks at Ayana Resort and Spa TJAKRA-7 SPA at Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana Do you have a great spa in Bali to recommend? Leave a comment below.
You can’t go wrong with any body treatment in Bali. I recommend at least two hours to seriously relax. However, I don’t recommend getting a facial – not even at these award winning spas. The blend of natural oils and lotions work wonders on the body, yet on the face, not so much. Save your facial appointment for your beautician in the city.
And always make an appointment, especially during high season. I know, running on a schedule is not ideal when you’re on holiday, but what’s a girl to do? On the rare occasion you’ll be able to turn up and be seen to straight away. From experience, you can get a spa appointment within 2 – 4 hours notice if you make a request in the morning. Besides, preparation is the key to relaxation.