Life is busy, busy, busy. My current jobs include mum, wife, cook, shopper, taxi driver, cleaner… oh, and travel editor and blogger, too!
Like most women, I suspect, I have moments where I want to step off the world for a while, take some proper time out for myself and just RELAX and recalibrate. It never actually happens, of course. Correction – it hadn’t happened until my trip to Bali a few weeks ago.
I stayed at Bliss Sanctuary, which has become my new favourite place in the world. This pocket sized paradise for women in Seminyak has just five bedrooms, an idyllic pool surrounded by lush, tropical vegetation and a stylish communal living area.
Guests are looked after by a ‘hostess’. Ours was the wonderful Danche, who is a bit like a fairy godmother – whatever you wish for, she can make it happen. Not only that but she makes you feel like she wants it to happen for you, too. You don’t get better service than that!
She is ably assisted by a team of beautiful Balinese women who cook, clean and give you amazing spa treatments to ensure you feel like a veritable goddess. You don’t even have to remember to be in a certain place at a certain time – they come to find you and you can choose to have your treatments on a large shady daybed next to the pool or in your own room.
I’m going to describe a typical day…
Wake up – anytime you like. Put on the provided sarong and wander out of your room to order breakfast. Favourites include banana and mango pancakes made with rice flour, accompanied by fresh coconut water.
Time for a little relaxation and reading by the pool before your first treatment of the day. You might choose a massage – Balinese, Thai, hot stones, herbal ball or aromatherapy. All are a drool inducing hour and a half long. Then maybe a bit more pool time, followed by lunch, which can be brought to you on your day bed if you can’t be bothered to budge.
You can have more treatments during the afternoon – a manicure and pedicure, a deep conditioning hair treatment with scalp massage or a reflexology session perhaps. Probably the most amazing thing here is that unlimited treatments are included in the holiday price = ZERO GUILT!
There are some slightly more alternative treatments on offer too, at extra cost – I had a tarot card reading (interesting!) and a crystal colourpuncture therapy session, during which coloured crystal ‘wands’ are pressed gently onto acupuncture points on the head and feet. It all sounds a bit wacky (and I am definitely Little Miss Cynical when it comes to such things). I did find it intensely relaxing, however. A fellow guest described having an out of body experience when she had the same treatment here, so maybe my cynicism stops me from fully benefitting! There is also a visiting Balinese intuitive healer.
And you can also fit in some yoga. Three times a week it’s brought to you – the Sanctuary has its own sala. And if you want more, there’s a specialist yoga centre down the road – guest receive an unlimited number of passes. Don’t be scared if you have never done it before. I am very inexperienced and unbendy and they were very patient with me.
Some women also take advantage of some bargain priced non-surgical cosmetic procedures while they are here – Botox, microdermabrasion, teeth whitening and the like. These are not provided by Bliss Sanctuary, but they can recommend local clinics who use highly trained clinicians and therapists from around the world.
There are no timetables to follow. You can do exactly what you want to do when you want to do it. Or not…
Everyone comes together at dinner time (again, not compulsory) to feast on delicious Balinese cuisine. The food is healthy but not calorie counted, and you even get a pud! Alcohol is not provided, although you are welcome to bring it with you. As it happened, most of us didn’t indulge (even me!). I actually looked forward to the early nights. By about 8.30pm we’d have finished eating and everyone would drift off to their own rooms. There are lots of DVDs on offer if you want to watch a film, but I usually couldn’t stay awake. It’s hard work being that lazy all day long!
Some ladies come here and never leave Bliss Sanctuary – and I can totally get why. But it would be a shame to travel all this way and not see what the island of Bali has to offer…. more on that in my next post! One of the joys of staying here is that, even if you are travelling alone you will feel safe at all times. The Sanctuary’s drivers ferry you everywhere you want to go, wait for you and then take you back again. One of our lovely drivers, Putu, even leapt from his car and stopped the traffic for me so I could cross the street for an impromptu shop stop! Each guest is also given a local mobile phone to use so that they can always be in touch if needed.
There is much of the island that I didn’t see. Next time I’d like to strike out into more rural areas, away from the tourist hotspots. But mostly I’ll be coming back for Bliss Sanctuary.
When I came home I felt like a nicer version of myself – much calmer, more relaxed and able to cope… Do you reckon I can use that as bargaining power when I want to return next year Mr Gallivant, eh?!
I stayed at Bliss Sanctuary in Seminyak. There are various packages available – I did the standard ‘Bliss’ package. Prices start from £1725 per person (or £1680 per person if sharing a room). The price includes seven nights accommodation, all meals and snacks – including the not-so-secret chocolate stash in the fridge – and soft drinks, including bottled water. It also includes unlimited spa treatments and yoga and the services of a driver.
Other packages are available – if you are particularly interested in surfing, Crossfit or healing, for example, there are packages to include them.
For more details, visit blisssanctuaryforwomen.com . Please note that there is another branch of Bliss Sanctuary in nearby Canggu, with a similar set up.
* There are no direct flights to Bali – you will have to travel via another country – eg. Dubai with Emirates (emirates.com/uk), Singapore with Singapore Airlines (singaporeair.com), Qatar with Qatar Airways (qatarairways.com) or China with China Southern Airlines (csair.com/en/) . Minimum travel time is around 18 hours, including a change of plane and return flights start from around £450.