Wellness without deprivation? It is possible.
I usually like my holidays to come with a generous helping of overindulgence, so when the chance to try something a little more holistic comes along, I jump at it. Tucked away behind high walls in Canggu, 15 minutes from Seminyak in Bali, Bliss Sanctuary For Women health retreat in Asia is a boutique haven promising its guests will leave feeling relaxed, healthy and – yep, you guessed it, blissed out.
A taste of Bliss
After being collected from the airport by one of the resort’s drivers, I’m greeted at the gates by Bliss hostess Esther – every inch the island goddess.
“Welcome to Bliss,” she says, embracing me warmly.
She leads me past a sparkling blue swimming pool and lush tropical gardens to an outdoor bungalow, where fresh juices and cold towels await.
“We want you to truly relax, but we understand that means different things for different people,” Esther explains. “You’re in control of your own schedule – you can do as much or as little as you like during your stay.”
I book an early morning yoga class before retiring to my room for a massage – which is, hands down, the best I’ve ever had.
All meals at Bliss are included, with dinner served each night at a communal table. On my first evening I meet the other guests, a fascinating mix of women from their 20s to their 60s. Despite my nerves, hostess Char makes us all feel comfortable, and before long we’re chatting together like old friends.
We tuck into a Balinese feast – shredded chicken with chilli and lime, gado gado and mango dumplings for dessert. There’s not a slither of kale or a grain of brown rice in sight!
Time to kick back
The rest of my week is a luscious haze of pampering, eating and relaxing. Each guest is allocated 90 minutes of spa treatments a day, and I waste no time taking advantage (hot tip: the massage and reflexology are next level).
There are also opportunities to nurture the soul, with a roster of holistic therapists on call. Erlangga combines his psychology background with tarot reading. Yoga classes are at nearby Desa Seni. Chicken satay – a Bali staple. Emma with Sami, a traditional healer. Quiet time with yoga teacher Jess.
I meet Sami, a fifth-generation traditional Balinese healer with amazing intuitive and diagnostic massage skills, and Erlangga, who combines a background in psychology with tarot reading.
But it’s in a “colourpuncture” session that I have an almost outof-body experience. Therapist Henry draws on the principles of colour therapy, acupuncture and crystal healing to help clear the body, mind and spirit. It’s deeply relaxing and like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. When it’s over, I feel an overwhelming sense of calm and peace.
Yoga classes at Desa Seni, a 10-minute drive away, are also part of the retreat’s experience. Driver Ketut chauffeurs me to a Hatha class each morning, and I splash out on a one-on-one session with exceedingly patient instructor Jess – a godsend for this yoga rookie.
Striking a balance
But it’s not all downward dog – Bliss hostesses also coordinate excursions to markets, shops and beach clubs throughout my stay.
One balmy afternoon we go to famous beach club Potato Head. Sipping a vodka martini as the sun dips into the Indian Ocean, I can’t believe how many surprises this trip has had in store: the friends I’ve made, the incredible food, the occasional cocktail. And I don’t feel the least bit guilty!
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt this week, it’s that wellness is about balance.
Find your bliss at our beautiful spa, yoga and health retreat in Asia
Bliss Sanctuary for Women – a unique sanctuary retreat for Women in Bali combining a spa vacation, yoga retreat and wellness holiday for the body, mind and soul. Find your balance in beautiful Bali at our dedicated women’s health retreat in Asia. Enjoy the combination of a yoga retreat, spa holiday and wellness experience all in one gorgeous sanctuary.