The Sunday Sun (UK)


Scottish Sun Sunday Sun Newspaper features Bliss Retreat Bali

Bali’s women-only Seminyak Spa is a luxurious getaway for female travellers

Also online at: The Sunday Sun

newspaper clipping - woman holding cocktail next to a long rectangular pool at a luxury Bali villa during twilightWANT an exotic faraway land? One with palm trees, white beaches and ladies with magic fingers?

Then Bali must be your destination for a week of extreme pampering.

Firstly you have to get there and, for me, there’s no better airline than Emirates. I’ve travelled extensively with the company and they always provide a friendly, efficient service.

This time my route went via Dubai where I was booked into a spacious complimentary room at the Copthorne Hotel.

Next morning, rested and ready for my next flight, I was already thinking of my movie selection and what tasty bites they’ll have on the menu.

I arrived late in Bali, but one of the friendly drivers from the Seminyak Spa was waiting and, during my journey, provided me with lots of local information not readily found in your Lonely Planet.

At the spa I was shown to my room where a light supper had been left along with a delicious fruit juice.

As I took in the splendour of our surroundings I read some information about the spa and how it and the original Canggu sanctuary came about.

Zoe Watson is the Australian founder and creator of Bali Bliss. The concept for the sanctuaries arose when she was unable to find the kind of experience she was seeking as a lone female traveller.

What Zoe has come up with is a space to relax, enjoy and put yourself first.

The accommodation offered by the Canggu Spa has been copied over into the newer Seminyak property.

The sanctuaries cater for seven to nine females. Yes that’s right, no screaming kids, canoodling couples or huffy husbands. Just you. It’s all about you and all packaged for you.

Anyway, like I said, it’s all about me.

I spent the first few days enjoying the surroundings of the spa. It takes time to get used to being massaged and preened for a couple of hours or lying in bed, nothing to get up for and nowhere to go.

Marvellous. When was the last time you had nothing to do? Absolutely nothing. It’s a really weird feeling. Kind of unnerving. It’s hard to stop fidgeting and just relax.

For my first treatment I tried a traditional Balinese massage. The aroma of the essential oils and sound of the tropical birds was surreal. I felt myself relaxing already.

The ladies on hand to dish out the pampering are experts at their craft — be it a pretty pedicure or a tie-you-in-a-knot Thai massage. One of my favourite treatments was the hot stone massage.

I had this in my bedroom with the air conditioning cranked up. The heat of the stones permeated my achy muscles and intensified the smell of the exotic herbs to an intoxicating level.

Then . . . snort . . . I’d fallen asleep and woke with a jolt. I perked myself up with some Toblerone and Diet Coke from the daily stocked fridge.

I didn’t travel much around Bali. For me it was about visiting the Seminyak and Canggu spas. I had one day of adventure expressing my need for souvenirs. Ketut, the driver, had a few stops in mind.

He showed me a traditional Balinese house, a silversmiths and a wonderful garment factory. I really didn’t need the market.

Situated in Ubud the densely populated stalls are full of colourful trinkets and hagglers thinking they’ve done the deal of the century.

After a couple of hours it was time to head back to the sanctuary for a post-shopping massage. I’m not used to all that bustle now.

Later that evening in Seminyak, myself and my fellow spa dwellers were taken for cocktails by our hostess, Patma, to a bar on the roof of the Double-Six Luxury Hotel.

The view over the ocean was mesmerising. I watched the Bali ship kites rise and fall in the air currents as the sun set.

On return to the spa the beautiful, always smiling, kitchen staff had prepared a seafood barbecue including the best calamari I’ve ever tasted.

The ladies are happy to make whatever you fancy anytime of the day. Each morning for breakfast I couldn’t resist the mie goreng noodles. Pancakes just don’t cut it for me.

Dinner is usually taken as a group with a variety of dishes under colourful woven cloches. Alcohol is up to you. If you want some then bring your own. They won’t treat it like contraband!

Another aspect of the Sanctuaries are the healers who pay regular visits to Bliss Spa. Erlangga is a spiritual counsellor and psychiatrist.

Not only that but he’s also an advanced tarot card reader. I’ve always been a sceptic when it comes to tarot cards but I was really interested to see if anything unexpected popped up.

My stare was steely and I was giving nothing away.

However, I now realise you have to take part in these sessions to get anything out of them, although a lot is left to your own interpretation.

Erlangga sussed me out and we chatted about a few “issues” in my life.

He did promise a relationship for me in the New Year. I’d rather have chocolate.

Next was Sami, a Balinese healer of many years and generations. He performed a diagnostic and intuitive massage using reflexology, osteopathy and kinesiology.

This was more about how the external environment and stress we place on our bodies can cause internal damage.

What can I say, less red wine and a better diet. Kind of knew that myself.

The third healer (I feel like Jacob Marley), was the amazing colorpuncturist Henry Rodrigues.

Never having heard of colorpuncture I was intrigued to find Henry and his assistant Nengah applied coloured crystals to acupuncture points.

These balance the hormones and cleanse the lymphatic system. The sensation is one of small electric shocks running through the body. I’m definitely a convert.

My chronic ankle pain disappeared for a couple of weeks. It was amazing to be pain-free.

I didn’t buy into everything the healers said but they did provide food for thought. Sometimes it takes just a small suggestion to get the ball rolling.

There are more staff than ‘Blissters’ (fellow spa travellers). Nothing is too much trouble. That should be the spa motto.

My excellent hostesses, Patma, Anna and Danche, could organise anything to make the stay more comfortable or exciting.

They know the best places to shop, visit and have those painful treatments we call wax etc!

Bliss Spa offers a variety of packages. For the super-sporty healthy type, there are unlimited yoga classes and CrossFit with a personal trainer.

Or if you’re the need-to-switch-off-from-the-world type looking for ‘me time’, the exquisite bedrooms and baths will more than accommodate your needs.

I am the sort who can’t be bothered doing anything that someone else can do for me. That’s the beauty of Bliss — the decision is yours with expert help from Zoe and the girls.

Go: Bali Bliss Spa

GETTING THERE: Return fares from  Glasgow to Bali are from £439pp in economy and £2,069pp in business class and are valid for sale until January 31.

See or call 0344 800 277.

STAYING THERE:A week at Bliss Sanctuary for Women in Bali is from £1,900 approx .

You can opt for an upgrade package including the surf retreat, eat, pray love retreat, thrill seekers retreat or a cross fit retreat from £2,020pp approx.

And right now they are offering up to 25% off packages. A week is now from £1,725pp. See

MORE INFO: The price includes unlimited massage and spa treatments a day, yoga, all food, unlimited sightseeing, personalised itinerary and consultation, drivers, meditations spaces, cooking classes, Bliss spa toiletries, bikes, free wifi and airport transfers.

January 2017

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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