Is It A Spa? Or Cloud Nine?
In welcoming people to Bali, the Island of Gods (I personally call it Island of the spas) I have been writing some pointers – for the unacquainted – for over a year now. All across Indonesia, the diverse traditions, like kerok, have left their mark – in red tiger stripes across my back. It has been a year of exposing my flesh to the best and the worst of Bali’s upscale chop shops, and lending my expertise to promote the deserving. Regrettably, it took a full year for me to come across The Breezes Bali Resort’s own little cloud nine – most modestly: The Spa at The Breezes Bali.
Descending from the lobby, marble floor is swapped for cobblestone and foliage – the essence of Ubud – and tens of orange koi dart away as I cross their ponds. A frog puts his croak on hold, and then starts up again. The sound of traffic is quickly snuffed, as though underwater. The effect – of being in a rice paddy in the middle of Seminyak Village – is a welcome change from main drag, big-name spas above brand named surf wear outlets. “Right this way, Sir,” says my Masseuse.
After a soft ginger tea (I managed to extort the secret ingredients) I adorn my kimono and detox awhile in the first authentic sauna I’ve seen here in Bali. All kimono-ed up, dipping a gourd into a bucket, water spouting onto the hot rocks, the sound of a distant Balinese flute – the ambience here leans its strong power of suggestion towards something true, something Zen.
On to the treatment: as I believe the aim shouldn’t be simply to make a guest fall asleep, to test a spa, I observe both how gently – and how strongly – masseuses and masseurs can handle you, and so I was shocked by the average size of my Masseuse, Ms. Etik. I had specifically requested her for her experience in whipping up a mean Thai Massage, and so I was left hoping to be pleasantly surprised – as you can sense, I was.
It began gently enough – after a pleasant aperitif of cooling sea salts in a footbath – progressing cautiously and thoughtfully; finally, it was as if this young lady were administering yoga to no less than 190 cm of man. Her ability to brace herself, bending down with her upper torso to channel all of her weight through her fingers, was a tantalizing highlight. After this, she cautiously strolled up and down my spine – with her fingers, palms, knees, and feet. With Thai Massage, part of the result is in getting an audible response – from every last bone – and in the end, it leaves one feeling aired out, even a bit more flexible.
While some like it rough, The Spa at The Breezes Bali has many refined and standard treatments – the climactic splurge being The Honeymoon Package. Their humble little kitchen/laboratory/a mini version of herbal stall is lined with fresh ingredients, much of it – like Bali Coffee honey and kopi Bali coffee. Other treatments, like the Ayurveda Shirodara from India, could be called exotic – or even gleefully unique. Location is important, design is important, music is important, smell is important, but in the end, The Spa at The Breezes Bali has the skill to bring you in, and out, of any rest you may be deserving.