Womens Retreat is absolute bliss
Ladies, forget the Kuta rat-race and discover a serene sanctuary where it’s all about you. Writes Nicole Cox
SOME prefer Bali Kuta-style – drink (copious amounts), party (like there’s no tomorrow) and stagger home (trying to negotiate the pothole-ridden footpaths).
I’ve been there, done that a few too many times to remember, in fact. But this time, I needed a serious break.
Caught in the rat-race of a busy, stressful job, family commitments and home renovations, I’m the first to admit that I rarely take time out for myself.
So, the offer of five days at a women’s retreat had my mind working overtime contemplating 5am wake-up calls for yoga, detoxifying juices instead of my morning caffeine pick-me-up and monk-style meditation sessions.
But Bliss Sanctuary For Women isn’t about packing everything into your day. It’s about losing the schedule and living in the moment. What you do is up to you.
And this is a place that literally forces you to put the brakes on, to take a few deep breaths and put yourself first.
Set in Canggu, north of the hip holiday spot of Seminyak, Bliss is far enough away from the hubbub of Bali’s frenetic, booming nightclub strips to allow you to truly relax behind the walls of the private four-bedroom villa.
“What Bliss is all about is creating an environment where women put themselves first just for a week,” owner and founder Zoe Watson says.
“What we do is to create a safe and beautiful space where you can just go with the flow and give yourself whatever you need on a moment-by-moment basis. That’s something we never do in life, but it is so important.”
In crippling pain from injuries sustained in a car crash four years ago, Watson was forced to take a break from her high-stress media and marketing jobs to recover.
Burnt out and at breaking point, she booked a week’s holiday to Bali, staying on remote Lembongan Island.
She slept, swam, caught some sun and rested.
And it got her thinking.
“I was just in pain constantly and it slowly got to the stage that two years later I had chronic back pain, chronic fatigue and migraines,” she says.
“I was so tired all the time and I just kept pushing myself and pushing myself and berating myself like it was my fault – not that my body needed something.”
But a boon came in the form of a payout for her injuries, which Watson says allowed her to make some “different life choices”.
In May last year, she took a leap of faith and invested the windfall into the Bliss business venture.
“As women, our roles in society have changed so much and now we take on multiple roles all the time as mother, daughter, aunty, friend, cousin, employee, employer,” she says.
“We expect ourselves to actually do all of those roles perfectly and immaculately and we’re extremely hard on ourselves.
“Even if it’s only for a week and we’ve put ourselves first, then it makes all the difference.”
Bliss offers the perfect package for every traveller ranging in price from $2750 to $3150 for five to seven days for individual travellers.
There’s the Eat Pray Love package for those wanting to give something back to themselves. The Thrill Seeker Package caters for adrenalin junkies.
Or for those partial to taking in the culture, there’s a special deal for the Bali sightseer, which includes a daring volcano trek and a bike ride adventure through mountainous Ubud.
But the $2750 “stock standard” package is accommodating enough.
The beauty of Bliss is the one upfront payment, with meals, transport and daily spa treatments all included. Your biggest decision of each day will be what to eat and what time to book your massage.
Don’t do things by halves.
Indulge in Alit’s banana pancakes for breakfast (every morning, if possible!) washed down with a tasty fruit smoothie. Her fried chicken and nasi goreng make a lovely poolside lunch, but don’t gorge yourself as there will be a Balinese banquet ready for you to devour every evening.
The staff here encourage you to “live in the moment” and they go above and beyond the call of duty to make you feel so welcome and cater to your every whim.
Several airlines, including Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Garuda, Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines fly from Sydney to Denpasar.
Packages cost between $2750 and $3150 each for five to seven days at Bliss Sanctuary For Women. The cost includes all transport, meals and daily day spa treatments.
Guests can also opt to make a donation through Bliss towards humanitarian projects by the Bali Children Foundation, which helps educate children in remote Balinese villages.
A donation of $250 would educate a primary school child for a year, buy school uniforms, books, English language classes and basic healthcare.
From little touches such as exfoliating aromatherapy soaps and refreshing green tea toiletries in the “outdoor” bathrooms, to pulling mosquito nets around your bed and turning down the sheets at bedtime, this place is like heaven on Earth.
Ninety minutes of day spa treatments each day will have you revived in no time.
Take your pick of one treatment a day – stone massages, cream hair baths, a manicure or pedicure.
And a date with Bliss’s resident healer Sami is a must.
The strength of his massage is intense, even a little over the top for a first-timer and his attempts to remove the plethora of energy blocks from my stressed body had me literally jumping off the bed in agony.
But after a day to recover, the stress relief was amazing.
What makes Bliss so blissful is the limited number of guests and villa rooms.
It’s a tranquil, peaceful alternative to the mainstream Bali holidays.
Forget the Kuta rat-race.
This holiday destination might cost you a bit more than the average Bali holiday but it will be money well spent. It is truly one of the most relaxing, refreshing holidays a busy woman can take.
— The writer was a guest of Bliss Sanctuary For Women.
Bliss Sanctuary for Women – a unique retreat for Women in Bali, combining a yoga retreat, wellness holiday in a safe, serene environment just for women
Follow your bliss your way with an experience completely tailored to you. A health retreat for women experience without the limits. Choose what activities you would like to do, from unlimited yoga, sightseeing, massages, healers, shopping, it is all up to you. With all your meals included, every need of your will be taken care of. You can view all of our Bali Retreat Packages here.