We love these beautiful words by Bliss Ambassador Hayley Sparkes who stayed at our Canggu Sanctuary recently…
“Have you ever been asked to shut your eyes, breathe deeply and imagine you are in a happy place, somewhere that brings you a feeling of peace and serenity?
After my recent trip to The Bliss Sanctuary for Women in Canggu Bali, I will no longer have to imagine what this scenario would be like, because I have now experienced it in real life. I can only describe my recent stay at this award-winning magical retreat as paradise, a trip like nothing I have ever known before.
Founded by Zoë Watson in 2011, The Bliss Sanctuary for Women in Canggu forms one of three women’s only retreats, with the others located in Seminyak, and the newest in Ubud. Each sanctuary has been handpicked by Zoë for its unique positioning that offers women picturesque views of tropical rainforests, beaches and natural rivers.
The Bliss Sanctuary for Women retreats offer the ideal escape and safe haven for women travelling on their own. Whilst you can choose to stay at the retreat with a friend, there are no couples or children and only a handful of women can stay at the retreat at any one time.
You can be sure that you won’t ever feel alone as the amazing retreat staff are so kind, friendly and loving that you feel truly cared for. They attend to your every need. The ultimate aim of the Bliss Sanctuary for Women retreat experience is that you leave the sanctuary with a renowned sense of peace, leaving as the ‘best version of yourself.’ It is so important to take time out for yourself and fully switch off, coming to the retreat really does offer you the opportunity for once to just focus on yourself in an environment which really does leave the hustle and bustle of everyday normal life, a million miles behind.
The Bliss philosophy is very much bespoke to each guest, being able to experience ‘Bliss on their terms’; whether it’s an immersion into Balinese culture, indulgent spa treatments, or some time to relax with the specialist yoga partners, all available on an unlimited basis.
Since the first sanctuary launched in 2011, Bliss Sanctuary for Women has welcomed thousands of guests through its doors, including celebrities all on their own personal journey of wellness, spirituality and relaxation. I was first introduced to the sanctuary through my celebrity friends, Lydia and Debbie Bright who found fame on the TV series The Only Way is Essex. They both loved their stay at the retreat immensely and Lydia described it to me as being one of her favourite trips of all time. I felt incredibly excited and fortunate to later be in a position to visit the Sanctuary myself.
Upon my arrival I was greeted by a Bliss Sanctuary for Women driver at Bali airport and driven the short 25-minute journey to the retreat where I would be staying for the next seven days in Canggu. I was instantly impressed by the spacious and luxurious Vila. The open plan, living, dining and kitchen space, opens out towards the beautiful tropical garden and freshwater swimming pool. It was a real feast for the eyes. My beautiful air-conditioned bedroom opened up to an ensuite outdoor bathroom which had been so thoughtfully designed. Being able to shower and bath in complete privacy whilst looking up at the stars was such a wonderful experience.
In your room you receive a copy of the Bliss Sanctuary for Women handbook with a list of all the blissful spa and beauty treatments available during your stay. It was hard for me to comprehend at first, but all treatments at Bliss are unlimited. If you fancy a three hour massage every day, it is available to you, the choice is yours. Tempting treatments including a beautiful hair bathing conditioning treatment which includes a scalp, shoulder and arm massage, relaxing facials, manicures and pedicures. You can even receive treatments whilst lying in the sun by the pool, it was absolute heaven. There is a wide choice of massages to choose from including traditional Balinese. Thai and aromatherapy, you will want to experience them all!
Inside the handbook is also a list of recommended trips, places of interest and sights to visit. At Bliss you have access to a private driver who will take you to the destinations of your choice, so you can arrive in comfort and style. Bikes are also available at the retreat and I enjoyed taking the short cycle ride to the beach and local boutiques and bars which are all within walking distance of the villa.
Food is also unlimited at the retreat and if I had to sum it up in one word it would be sensational. You are literally spoilt for choice with so many healthy, filling and delicious options. The fresh juices and smoothies are so refreshing, and you can also have a fresh coconut to drink which is beautifully carved and presented to you. The retreat has an extensive vegan menu too. Most mornings I opted for smashed avocado on toast with poached eggs, spinach and mushrooms. If I was in the mood for a sweet treat, I ordered the bliss smoothie bowl, a sumptuous concoction of blended avocado with banana, slices of fresh mango, coconut cream, garnished with organic dried coconut curls and cashew granola. I loved this breakfast bowl so much I have been recreating it since I returned to the UK. So healthy, filling and utterly delicious.
In the evenings, dinner is served to the group so you all eat together at 7pm which is a lovely opportunity to get to know the other like-minded women staying at the retreat. I relished the chance to chat to and meet interesting and inspiring females from all over the world, as well as having the chance to better get to know the wonderful staff, who truly are a joy to be around.
The evening meals are more traditional Balinese style food and there is always a great variety of bowls to tuck into from meat, fish and vegetarian options. The shredded sweet potato and corn fritters proved a big hit with my fellow Bliss women. Whilst you can request anything made to order from the food menus, the fridge is continually stocked with fresh fruit, bread, yoghurts and even chocolate so there is food available day and night!
Bliss describe the retreat experience on their website as a vacation for the soul, and I couldn’t agree more with that statement. Staying at the retreat leaves you feeling completely nourished in body, mind and spirit. There is such a calming, positive, happy and nourishing energy at the retreat and I appreciated how each Bliss experience is completely bespoke and tailored to the needs of the individual.
Whilst optional, every morning at 7am I went up to the retreat’s treetop yoga studio for a private class. It was the best possible way to start the day and I really benefited from the one to one attention you receive in such a small class. Whether you are a beginner or more advanced you can join in and the yoga lessons are also unlimited.
While inside the retreat, the Bliss team are always on hand to provide the ultimate all-inclusive experience, the staff are truly exceptional and anticipate your every need, so you don’t have to do anything but relax and enjoy. Every visitor receives a complimentary mobile phone to be used for the duration of their stay, so you have access to staff and help even overnight when the team have left the sanctuary. What I appreciated so much about the Bliss Sanctuary was the incredible attention to detail, your every possible need has been considered, even down to the complimentary sun creams and insect repellent left for all to use in the living areas.
A stay at Bliss really provides the optimal opportunity to take away the stresses and strains of everyday life. For someone like myself who finds it very difficult to switch off, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I felt a feeling of mental calm and inner peace. The design of the retreat is so beautiful and tranquil, you can tune in to the sounds of nature coming from the sanctuary’s tropical garden or drift off to the soothing traditional spa music playing in the grounds.
Of all of my travels around the world my stay at the Bliss Sanctuary for Women will be one of my most memorable, so good was my experience that I truly wonder if anything else could ever compare.”
We wanted to share our Bliss experience as far as it can go and so we created Bliss News. Even if you can’t go on a beautiful personalised Women’s Retreat right now, we hope you can take the time to add a bit more bliss to your life in whatever way you choose. Self love comes in all different shapes and sizes but the one thing it has in common is that it starts with you. We hope some of our ideas and laughs and wellness retreat additions are something you can incorporate into your everyday life... love Zoë xxx