Blog 30: Difference Between Sanctuary and Retreat


Bliss Sanctuary Bali - The Difference Between a Sanctuary and a Retreat. Relaxed feet by the pool
Bliss Sanctuary Bali - The Difference Between a Sanctuary and a Retreat. Relaxed feet by the pool

The difference between a sanctuary and a retreat is simple … a sanctuary means you design your holiday, your way and we’ll do all the hard work to make it happen.

When I first started Bliss it was because I couldn’t find anywhere I wanted to go on my own to have a relaxing, peaceful, carefree, easy holiday with no kids around. I was over worked, exhausted, a bit jaded with corporate life and sick of being busy!

I checked out retreats in Australia, Thailand and Bali and although some sounded fun they also sounded a bit restrictive and full on … what can I say, I don’t like being told what to do lol. Then I realized I’d also be told what to eat and when to get up, and I certainly didn’t want to be sharing a room with strangers! Nooooooo

I admit the notion of detoxing and losing some weight sounds great … but did I really want to spend my hard earned holiday doing this? Well no.

Did I really want to go surfing or other fairly rigorous activities? Sounds good, but not really into getting up at 7am and tackling the waves. It would be nice to have the option if I wanted to, without any group pressure.

Did I want lots of massages? YES!

Did I want it women only? Well yes actually, as I really wanted to relax and not feel on show. I wanted an easy holiday within a beautiful, safe, nurturing environment. As much as I love men, to truly relax an all women environment is exactly what I needed.

Did I want a whole heap of group activities from yoga to bike riding, to eating all together? Well it kind of sounded good, but I preferred to do my own thing and decide when and where I’d like to do things rather than fit in with the group.

Did I want to do yoga? YES! But at my own leisure. Not at 7am every morning … must admit I like a bit of a sleep in. And when I was really really into yoga I would prefer to do as many different classes as I wanted with different teachers, not just with the group.

I couldn’t quite find what I was hoping for which was a bit of a conundrum for me, so I decided to book a quiet Hotel on a small Island off Bali. I got my rest, I got to relax, I didn’t really have enough massages, I got a little bit bored and the restaurants were terrible so I ended up eating room service … The pools were lovely and I loved my room and beautiful bath. Overall the experience was just what I needed but something was missing… I realized I felt a bit lonely.

At the airport on the way to Bali I met a woman who was also traveling on her own. On the way there we were filled with excitement and patted each other on the back for endeavoring to do something on our own as women that we’d never done before. We were nervously excited. Basically we were after a very similar experience.

On the way back we met again and shared stories. Like me she wished she’d found somewhere more private, with like minded people around, and no kids or honeymooning couples all over each other in the pool. She didn’t like the sound of a lot of the retreats either as she wanted to shop, have a few drinks, see some sites, eat yummy food, relax by the pool (minus the kids and honey mooning couples) and have a great holiday ‘her’ style.

That’s when I got thinking about the idea of Bliss Sanctuary For Women, which is all about you finding your own bliss your own way. Because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and I realised many other women were the same.

And thus Bliss was born.

An amazing Sanctuary, for each individual to follow their own bliss.

So Bliss is all about a beautiful Balinese villa environment, all meals included (yummy Balinese style meals), 90 minutes of massage everyday (when was the last time you had 10+ hours of massage in a week?!?!) a Western hostess there to facilitate your experience and who is pretty good company for a bit of a laugh or a hug whatever is required. Personal drivers so you can go wherever you like at any time you would like, and unlimited yoga if that’s what you’re into.

It’s about not about catering to the group or having any restrictions. It’s designed to have your holiday flowing in a way that allows you extreme relaxation. When was the last time you didn’t have to make any decisions?

For some, retreats and group activities are the way to go. But for me personally, I was looking for relaxation and having options and doing things when I liked. I had enough group activities at work, enough family obligations, enough busy-ness in my life and I just wanted a relaxing holiday.

And while doing my research, I also realized that a lot of womens bliss was activity, so we cater for this too and have a huge amount of packages with different activities to choose from. Our guests can do ANYTHING they want and we will organize it for them. It’s as simple as that. (As long as it’s legal lol)

On top of all of this, many of our guests do find someone to do activities with as so many of our guests are like minded and get excited about doing the same things. But with us there is the option of completely going to the beat of your own drum.

Meal times are the only shared thing we do and even that is an option. But what a great way to fend off any loneliness … and have a great laugh and connect with others.

So basically the difference between sanctuaries and retreats is this … We put you first.

How liberating, amazing, self nurturing and Blissful.

It is true self love.

And that’s why we love what we do and can’t wait to do it for you 🙂

Bliss Love, Zoë xxx

Bliss Sanctuary For Women, empowering women to travel solo with a tailored Bali retreat holiday just for you.

Follow your bliss your way with an experience completely tailored to you. More than a retreat for women, it’s your personal time out for rejuvenation and wellness. This Bali holiday is free of group schedules so you can choose to do as much or as little as you like. From unlimited sightseeing, unlimited massages, unlimited yoga, meditation, healers, plentiful and yummy food, shopping, personal drivers to take you anywhere you would like to go…  it’s all up to you.

Check out our Bali Packages and remember they are all completely flexible so you can change anything you would like once here.

We would love to meet you!

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Zoë Watson
A world Solo Traveller, Zoë understands first hand what is important when traveling alone as a woman. She has not only bought this together in the creation of Bliss Sanctuary For Women but she writes about her own experiences as a female on all sorts of topics.
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