Bliss in Bali
Kate Lally Chills out at a women-only spa retreat in Indonesia
YOU deserve a break. I repeat these four words to myself in the taxi, at check-in and at 35,000 feet.
Flying across the world to go on a self-care retreat seemed a little disorientating. Women especially are not good on that front – we have to fill so many roles, perform so many tasks.
And while great joy can be found in nurturing others, it can be all too easy to forget to look after number one.
But it’s like the flight attendants say: put your own mask on first before helping others.
You’re no good to anyone else if you’re running on empty, and sometimes you need to step out of your daily life to gain a sense of perspective.
The mere mention of Bali evokes images of paradise and, as our plane touches down, I am enveloped in a sense of calm.
Ketut, my personal driver, is waiting for me at the airport, and our journey whirls us through endless waves of people. They fly by on scooters with helmet-less kids sleeping at the front and mounds of food, clothes and other items wobbling precariously on the back.
There are chickens in the road, women balancing baskets on their heads as they walk, students wearing traditional dress, and brightly coloured offerings litter the streets.
Once we leave the city, though, it’s a different world. Ketut and I float through lush green rice paddies and watch cows graze in fields, before we arrive at Bliss Sanctuary.
The villa is quite the oasis – no kids or men are allowed.
There’s a jade-coloured swimming pool, a rooftop massage and yoga studio and just six luxurious rooms. Inside, people greet you with a smile, feed you heavenly meals, and give you hours of pampering every day, plus yoga and meditation.
My room at the sanctuary in Canggu, southern Bali – sister to another Balinese Bliss women’s retreat at Seminyak – is a vast marble-floored space, with a huge four-poster bed and standalone bath tub.
But my favourite part? There are no itineraries and no rules. Your stay is all about you doing whatever you want.
Whether that’s spending your entire stay doing nothing but being pampered, living at the beach, or taking trips to temples and culturally rich towns, it’s entirely up to you.
I arrive at around 5pm Indonesian time and my hostess Anna, who becomes both my PA and BFF over the next week, has already booked me in for a full-body massage.
Next up is what is probably the most arduous task of my trip – deciding what to do tomorrow.
From day trips to yoga classes and meditation, every other aspect of your holiday is included, and with every wondrous corner of Bali at my disposal it’s tough to narrow down.
My days roll into an easy mix of morning spa treatments and afternoon excursions, not to mention dining on incredibly sumptuous Indonesian cuisine.
Salt and pepper squid, chicken curry, chicken satay, seafood barbecue, the list goes on. You can eat as much or as little as you choose, and can even ask the in-house chefs to prepare something and store it for you, so you aren’t tied to set meal times.
There’s a seemingly endless supply of chocolate in the fridge, too.
Midway through my trip, eversmiling Ketut drives me to the spiritual heart of Bali: Ubud. Made popular by the bestselling book Eat, Pray, Love (made into a film starring Julia Roberts, in 2010) this cultural, playful part of the island is home to streets of shops and cafés that reflect the local artistic and creative scene.
Set among emerald rice fields and misty mountains, this village cluster is the perfect place to recharge and reflect.
I spend my day temple-hopping and trinket-shopping, before wandering through the famous Monkey Forest. The natural sanctuary is home to a horde of grey long-tailed macaques, which you can see swinging through canopies, lazing along pathways or feeding on bananas.
Before heading back to the villa, we stop at the breathtaking Tegalalang Rice Terraces, famous for their beautiful scenes of sloping green paddies.
Like something out of an ancient history book, the layered terraces provide a stunning patchwork that has to be seen to be believed.
For a change of scene, I spend my next afternoon on one of Bali’s most stylish beaches. Seminyak is a beautiful haven of white sand with great waves that makes it a favourite among surfers. As the shadows lengthen I bag a spot at one of Seminyak’s rooftop bars and watch day turn into night, a cocktail in my hand.
During my week at Bliss, I was reminded how the world is full of beauty and wonder, and met people who are friendly for no reason other than to be nice.
Everyone wants health and happiness, and after a week at Bliss Sanctuary, you’ll feel a little closer to achieving that goal.
- Kate Lally travelled with Emirates which flies to Bali Denpasar via Dubai from Birmingham, Glasgow, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Manchester and Newcastle. See emirates. com or call 0344 800 2777 (premium rate).
- She stayed at Bliss Sanctuary for Women in Canggu, pictured above, where prices are around £1,980 per week for solo travellers, or £1,930 per person for two women sharing, including unlimited yoga, meditation, sightseeing, wellness baths, food and massages.
- Email bookings @blissinternational.com for a quote for specific dates and package pricing.
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!
- An Adventurous Spirit Finds Inner Peace in Bali: Nadia Stamp openly shares her life with the world and we got …
- Spa and Wellness: Women’s-only sanctuary in Ubud
- When a stressed out and exhausted Zoë Watson needed a break from the daily grind she headed to the tropical …
- The hardest part is finding someone to take your Instagram photos...
- Find Your Bliss in Bali - New Idea Associate Editor Holly Richards swapped deadlines for massages at this women-only retreat.
- Be your best with Bliss. More than a yoga retreat or healthy holiday, Bliss Sanctuary for Women sets its sights …
- Bali’s Healing Magic. On the ‘Island of the Gods’, healing through both the physical and spiritual is a natural way …
- The retreat us ideally situated in a tranquil cul-de-sac, yet with the area's famed shopping, restaurants and beautiful beaches in …
- With spring being the season of blossoming and renewing, doesn't the idea of retreating to discover yourself sound appealing?
- The Bliss Sanctuary For Women in Bali offers proper pampering for mums and daughters this Mother's Day - think deep …
- A yoga break can restore your mind, body and soul like nothing else. However much time you have to spare, …
- Prepare yourself for the most pampering holiday of your life. Blissful days - Bliss Sanctuary For Women is one special …
- Responding to world travel trends, Bliss Sanctuary offers more than a breathtaking Bali retreat – it’s a sanctuary.
- This Bliss Sanctuary For Women has launched a second relaxation sanctuary, in Seminyak, Bali. Founder Zoë Watson tells us whar's …
- Working out suddenly doesn't seem such an effort when you do it in paradise.
- The Best Female-Only Retreats. Travel unaccompanied to these sanctuaries of relaxation without feeling alone.
- A Holiday Just For Me – I’d always dreamed of a relaxing escape and on a whim I booked a …
- Josie Gibson: I get “fat fear” and weigh myself every day.
- I Felt Relaxed and Refreshed. Sipping a cocktail by the pool, I felt the sun warm my skin. I was …
- What Comes Next - For these women, a severe life setback was the catalyst that set them free, Sophie Miura …