With its picture-perfect landscapes, (occasionally) white sandy beaches and ever-evolving culinary scene, Bali is a destination many go to unwind at. And what makes or break a vacation? A good spa treatment or massage, of course — which is what the island is known for, especially the Balinese massage.
The Balinese massage is a full-body, deep-tissue, holistic treatment originating from the Indonesian island. Its treatments usually include a combination of gentle stretches, acupressure, reflexology, and aromatherapy combined with the aromas of essential oils to stimulate the flow of blood, oxygen and “qi” (energy) around the body to bring about a sense of well-being and deep relaxation.
Massage places aren’t just limited to roadside massage parlours on Jalan Legian or Seminyak, either. There are many chic and upscale spas around that specialise in certain treatments — so you’d probably be spoilt for choice.
Whether you choose to indulge in a lush coconut body scrub, or a 90-minute Balinese massage in a serene setting in the jungle right next to a flowing river, here are the most luxurious spas on the island you should know about.
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Located in the stunning Uluwatu area, the clifftop spa at Bulgari Bali combines the ultimate spa experience with breathtaking views overlooking the Indian Ocean. Its menu is designed to offer a series of complete treatments that integrate Asian and European approaches — such as the Ayurvedic Balinese ritual, facial treatments, body wraps and Balinese massages, all at the ocean’s edge.
Experience pure indulgence by reserving one of the resort’s exclusive spa pavilions for a minimum of three hours, so you can relax and enjoy the luxurious space before and after treatments. Each pavilion features a whirlpool and outdoor living space with an open-air shower, along with an additional steam shower and secluded plunge pool if you upgrade to the Royal Pavilion.
Soori Spa is a hidden refuge located in a tranquil setting, set on the edge of the ocean between Mount Batukaru and terraced rice fields — perfect for “deeply transformative experiences for the mind, body and soul,” as stated on Soori Bali Resort’s site.
The spa boasts healing and nurturing treatments meant to guide one towards a lasting sense of wellbeing — such as massages, acupuncture, meditation, neurotherapy and longevity procedures. The Spirit of Soori Massage is the spa’s signature massage based on the concept of healing energy. The oil massage works on the concept of “taksu” (meaning “spirit”,) and utilises firm pressure and dynamic stretches to ease all tension.
Experience the centuries-old tradition of French marine therapy set in an elegant Balinese setting at Thermes Marins Bali, which offers 26 treatment rooms and six villas sprawled across Ayana Resort & Spa Bali.
For the best views, check out Spa on the Rocks, two awe-inspiring spa villas set on a cliff with the glistening Indian Ocean right beneath. Each villa boasts beautiful architecture designed to blend with the environment — featuring ‘alang alang’ thatched roofs, Indonesian ‘merbau’ wood, and interiors enhanced by the contours of the rocks on which they sit.
Indulge in the spa’s renowned relaxing massages and ancient healing remedies, such as Lava Me Tender, a 120-minute treatment that draws on the healing properties of natural volcanic lava — which contain antioxidant agents known to restructure the mesh of skin by restoring its radiance and elasticity.
Nestled on the banks of the sacred Ayung River is Puri Ahimsa, an award-winning eco-conscious wellness retreat deeply rooted in the ancient traditions of Bali. The spa’s holistic approach facilitates rejuvenation through Balinese-inspired treatments which include a combination of meditation, deep bodywork and prana energy performed by healers whose knowledge have been handed down through generations of Balinese families.
For starters, check out the 90-minute holistic massage with Pak Dewa Made, an intuitive healing treatment which combines energy work with shiatsu style acupressure and Balinese massage — where the healer scans for energy imbalances and weaknesses before creating energetic harmony by charging depleted area with prana. The session continues with a full body relaxation massage using a secret herbal oil blend which has been passed down through generations.
Lembah Spa at Viceroy Bali, located in the cultural heart of Bali, is a tranquil spot perched magnificently atop a gorgeous valley, with spectacular views overlooking the Petanu River gorge.
The spa offers treatments which have been meticulously developed, combining Western knowledge with traditional Balinese wellness techniques that have been handed down over centuries. Check out the 150-minute Cleopatra on Petanu River package, which includes body exfoliation and a body mask, followed by a 50-minute Balinese massage and warm milk bath. End the day sipping on hot herbal tea while admiring the awe-inspiring views.