The Scotsman Magazine

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Follow your Bliss to Bali

magazine clipping - woman performing yoga on Bali beach

The Scotsman Magazine: Follow your Bliss to Bali

Stressed-out women can find sanctuary in Zoë Watson’s retreat – a business a parked by memoir Eat, Pray, Love

The founder of Bliss Sanctuary for women in Bali, Zoë Watson reveals how she was inspired to set up her business. Encouraged by Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir Eat, Pray Love, she believes she can offer sanctuary to modern stressed-out women.

Why do you think Elizabeth Gilbert’s story in Eat, Pray Love has had such a legacy?

I think due to its honesty and the fact that not only is it an emotional journey, but it’s also an amazing travelogue which I think every woman would dream of being able to do. It was very relatable, yet aspirational at the same time.

What led you to experience your own “Eat Pray Love” journey?

Like every woman I know, we all have things that happen that stop us and make us think about our values and our life and whether we are living it to the full. For me it was a car accident which then developed into health issues with migraines, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. I needed some time away for deep rest and relaxation so I could recharge.

Tell us how you came to set up your retreat.

When I was looking for a place, all I could find were “retreats” where you do everything as a group and go to better yourself somehow, through yoga or to detox. And I didn’t want to go to the average hotel where you are bombarded with kids, honeymooning couples and groups of guys on footy trips. I needed time out alone to recharge without hassle in a place where I felt safe and supported. When I couldn’t find what I needed, I founded Bliss Sanctuary For Women.

What happens at the retreat? What do guests experience there?

We call ourselves a sanctuary rather than a retreat as we provide a gorgeous environment and space for each guest to follow her own way so they can in fact have their own “Eat Pray Love” experience or do whatever they like. We are completely flexible and our hostess is there to facilitate anything our guests would like to do. We have unlimited massage and spa treatments, unlimited yoga, unlimited food and unlimited sightseeing with our personal drivers who are like your own personal tour guides. I don’t know any other hotel or retreat or any holiday experience that provides this anywhere around the world.

Why is it important that this space is reserved for women only?

As women, for us to truly relax the way we would like, I believe we need to be away from family and even sometimes friends. There’s a big difference between a holiday where you are organising your whole family and looking after your kids and doing things you don’t really want to do because your husband or somebody else wants to do it. With this holiday it really is all about you. I don’t believe women take time out for ourselves enough and if others are around we will often bend to their needs. This is a place for women to truly receive and get back to themselves in their own space, but with support and nurturing and friendships when they want it. And for us single women it is so hard to find good travel partners to be able to go on holiday with so we are specifically designed for women travelling on their own without being alone. Men are generally much better at taking this time out with friends with golf, fishing, pub, sports etc. So I wanted a place where women can do what they would like, just for them.

You experienced burn out. Have you changed your life to ensure that you don’t go there again?

Yes of course. It isn’t an option to keep doing the same things and expecting a different result for me. I packed up my whole life, moved to Bali and started Bliss so it’s a complete lifestyle change for me.

What’s next?

We are sold out most of the time at Bliss and up to three months in advance, so for me it’s about expanding so we can facilitate all the women who need this. We have just had our fifth birthday and launched our second sanctuary in Bali and I’m looking at a third at the end of the year which is really exciting. I have also launched Bliss Buddha Villas, private villa retreats for family and friends so I will be growing this also. And this year I’m hoping to get a little bit more balance myself with some travelling.

July 2016

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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