MENU
FIVE questions
you should
ask ...
CALL US
Speak to one of our travel
experts
within 5 rings
020·7962·9933

Which of these is important to you?

  • Concierge style service. Your own dedicated travel manager who'll look after you until you travel.
  • Better value. Exclusive fares you won't find online to save you money.
  • 24 hour helpline. A worldwide team just a phone call away if you need help while you're overseas.
  • Top on Trustpilot. More highly rated than all our competitors with 98% saying they'd book again.
  • Risk free. Fully licensed with Client Trust Account to protect your money. ABTA, ATOL protected.

Your calls always answered within 5 rings.

x
You've read the reviews so why not call us NOW?
Tell us what you need. We'll find you a solution
Asia Reviews 12637
Asia Offers 34
Unite body, mind and spirit

Spa from the madding crowd

On the trail of the cult film Eat, Pray, Love, Naomi Leach finds spiritual bliss in Bali - and has a taste of life as a rice farmer

It’s raining and suddenly my terrace is flooded with sound - heavy droplets drum down, frogs chatter, birds hiss and cicadas chant in chorus. A high-pitched wail from some jungle creature pierces the sultry, twilight air and halts my swim. Peering over the edge of the infinity pool into the waterfall and jungle below, I feel like I'm living an episode of Planet Earth. 

Ever bewitching, Indonesia has the power to simultaneously arrest every sense. I'm treated to this dusk performance while taking a dip in my private plunge pool, just one of the many fabulous features of the luxurious treehouse-style suites at Four Seasons Resort Bali At Sayan in Ubud.


Soak up the best ofBali and Sundara Beach Club


From an unassuming entrance on a dusty street, guests travel along a road flanked by treetops oblivious to the Bond-style lair that lies beneath the canopy. The main building has been designed to resemble a huge rice bowl laden with unexpected surprises on each level – Jati bar, Ayung Terrace restaurant and a spa all overlook the lush greenery present at every turn.

In harmony with its locale, the hotel offers a day in the life of a Balinese farmer experience - learning how to plant and farm a rice paddy field, followed by a traditional lunch and then a revitalising Chakra ritual. 

Our friendly guide Santika leads us to the outer edges of the hotel, which spill into Ayung Valley's green paddy terraces. 

After a tour of the herb garden, packed with fragrant and healing plants, we learn about ‘taksu’ a spirit said to dwell within each of us. Then it’s time to don a traditional farmer’s hat and wellies as I vigorously turn over the turf, letting the water swell over my ‘rice patch’. 

Following a lunch of rice, fruits and meat, I head to a small spa overlooking the water. Frangipani suffuses the air and after completing a heath survey, I have a Manipura Chakra ritual focusing on my digestive system. I’m given ginger and honey to drink before being scrubbed with Himalayan salt and sea oil and wrapped in mud. Eventually I take an alfresco herbal bath before I’m kneaded with a soothing massage into utter relaxation.

I also try anti-gravity yoga, which involves swinging and contorting myself in a hammock. It involves a lot of time upside down and soaring through the air. 


Enjoy a session of anti-gravity yoga

 

I regain my balance with a Buddhist nun who arrives to meditate with my yoga group. Although she’s only in her thirties emanates an ancient wisdom. Melodiously, she encourages us to appreciate the present, to listen to distant water trickling, chickens clucking and her singing bowl lilting across the incense-infused air. Some of my group are so moved they weep.

It’s hard to deny the island has an intoxicating energy, drenched in timeless mysticism. It’s why there are so many yoga retreats here and travellers following the trail of the cult movie Eat,Pray, Love.

I’m holidaying at both hotels on the island that Julia Roberts stayed at during filming. My contrasting, yet equally luxurious, second address is a laidback beach haven, Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay, favoured by celebrities including Nicole Kidman, Nicolas Cage and Cameron Diaz.

The dreamy retreat overlooks the bay’s enticing white sands and cerulean waters with the jade outline of Mount Agung in the misty distance. 

Guests are housed in villas with private gardens and the resort is built in the style of a Balinese village. Despite there being 147 villas and nine residences, while sprawled out on a sun-lounger I feel like I have this slice of paradise all to myself. 


Take a dip in your own private pool at a villa in Jimbaran

 

Energetic guests can try paddle-boarding, kayaking and surfing lessons. I opt for Hatha yoga, revitalised as I meditate to a soundtrack of waves crashing against rocks.

Uluwatu monkey temple is nearby. From the lofty pinnacle of the park, you’re rewarded with breath-taking ocean panoramas. Tirta Empul temple in Tampaksiring, bustling with pilgrims, is also worth a visit.

Closer to Jimbaran is Pedang Pedang - the hidden beach of fantasies. After a climb down a winding staircase you’re confronted with a paradise expanse that stole a scene in Eat, Pray, Love.

Blessed with a cinematic backdrop, intriguing spirituality and glamorous hotels, the magic of a spa break in Bali will linger with you long after you've left.



First published in the Mail Online -  July 2017

More articles below...


 

For more inspiration, read what travel writers have to say...

Pulsating Hong Kong

Twenty years on, Siobhan Warwicker discovers that life on this island remains electric

Nature in Malaysia

Renowned British naturalist David Bellamy returns to a stunning old haunt

Vietnam's capital

John McEntee discovers a city of crazy extremes

Japan's Shrines

The spiritual Kansai region of holy sites is attracting attention

Cambodia's temples

How Mark Palmer was allowed an audience with the hidden Buddha

Converted to Bali

Fashion designer Julien Macdonald is stunned by the island's beauty

Paws for thought

Helen Nicholson encounters China's star bear

Partying in Phuket

Olivia Grant heads to Thailand with pure intentions

Beautiful Burma

A once closed country that is catching up with the modern world, says Tamara Cohen

Loving Langkawi

The Datai is heaven on Earth, says Max Hastings

A welcoming smile

The many faces of Vietnam

One night in Bangkok

Jonathan Neal spends 48 hours in the Thai capital

Thailand with a toddler

Julian Robinson and his wife enjoy an adventure holiday with their 20-month-old daughter

Perfect Phuket

Jo Gardner guides you through the many faces of Phuket

Langkawi in luxury

Harriet Walker is delighted by the wildlife and stunning scenery

Slick Singapore

Jeremy Clarke is amazed by the phenomenon that is Singapore

Raffles Returns

Mark Porter is delighted to report the re-opening of one of the most famous hotels in the world

Singapore fling

A city-state packed with excitement

The luxury side of Thailand

Ashley Pearson reports on three of the country's most hedonistic hotels

Thailand's grown up

Family-friendly Thailand

A taste for Bangkok

More than just a stopover, as Isabelle King discovers on a culinary tour

Temptations of tasty Thailand

Five-star foodie treats

Thailand forecast

TV weather presenter Lucy Verasamy goes island-hopping and finds the warmest of welcomes

Double-O-Heaven

In a land with a licence to thrill, Frank Barrett finds the inspiration for both James Bond and The Night Manager

Pangkor Laut

My island of dreams says Helen Moss

A foodie love affair

Chef Raymond Blanc loves the country that he says has some of the finest, and healthiest, food in the world

Beautiful Bali

This tropical island makes Alice Hart-Davis's spirits soar

Forever Hong Kong

China may be in charge but this city shines brightly, as Max Hastings discovers

Vibrant Vietnam

Simon Heptinstall loves the glamour, the traditional and the exotic

From war to perfect peace

A source of beauty and wonder

Our guide to the joys of Japan

Land of the rising sun

Stopover in Kuala Lumpur

Fabulous street food and so much more

Vivid Vietnam

From vibrant street markets to havens of tranquility, Harriet Mallinson loved the contrast

Something different

Japan is an enthralling mix of historic traditions and cultural quirks according to Ivo Dawnay

Not quite what you're looking for?
We can easily customise an offer to suit your exact requirements

x