For getting a pretty good idea of what a place is like, a sunset virtual tour of a new wellness wonder lead by one of the world’s foremost spa experts is about as good as it gets in this new Covid-19 virtual world we find ourselves stuck in.
For agents, like many people, I know times are dreadful. But it feels so important to try and make time to keep engagement up, get involved with online events where we can, and just remember there is a whole wide world out there, ready to be visited again when it’s safe to do so – until then of course, we have tours by Zoom.
I tuned in at 10am UK time (just as the sun was setting in gorgeous Bali) for a tour of the incredible new Healing Village Spa at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay led by the group’s regional director of spa, Luisa Anderson; it was worth the hour. And if anyone reading this has wellbeing-focused clients, then do explore what this newly developed spa has to offer. Probably the size of an entire boutique hotel, it really is a village focused on the absolute latest and most effective – and responsible – treatments and therapies.
I first met Anderson at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, where I thought the Spa & Ayurvedic Retreat was one of the best resort spas I have ever experienced; her attention to detail and knowledge can breathe new levels of magic into any spa project and from what I could see on the virtual tour, that’s what she has done at the new spa in Bali. I caught her as the light was fading, but in just enough time to get a sense of the scale and blissful jungle location of the spa.
This two-storey building is seemingly suspended over water and 70% bigger than the original spa’s footprint, with the new incarnation fusing ancient wisdom and traditional design with healing treatments that combine light, sound, thermal and colour therapy, along with the traditional healing for which Bali is so renowned.
Originally planned to open in May, the Healing Village Spa made its official debut in August, but of course hasn’t been able to ramp up its plans to welcome as many guests as it would have liked, but for those (locals) who have made it, and for those to come, they’re in for a treat.
The result of an 18-month renovation, all furniture and textiles are made on the island, including the staff’s linen uniforms, Anderson points out – but there are some nods to old-world luxury too, with soft Italian linens on the treatment beds. The overall design is by Australian architect Nick Juniper, while the soothing interiors are by Japan’s Yasuhiro Koichi. As Anderson leads the tour around this soothing enclave, she says the biggest treatment focus is on “vibrations” – a curative approach that seems even more relevant for these unsettling times, with gemstones playing a huge part in the philosophy and treatments too.
One of the highlights of the 10 treatment spaces is the Illume Room which intriguingly features a heated quartz-sand bed for “inversion therapy and undulating massage” – the sand is specially treated to remove any coarseness – while a colour consultant will also select the right spectrum to move you through, as colour can apparently affect us all in different ways, Anderson points out; red helps with jetlag she says. Does anyone remember what that feels like? “Chance would be a fine thing,” I hear you say.
And as if all that wasn’t enough, crystal singing bowls chimed on the wood of the bed further contribute to resetting people’s vibrations – “guests have had some quite extraordinary experiences in this treatment”, Anderson says.
Layered on top of all that, there is full surround sound in the room too, with a wholly original soundtrack created by “former rocker-turned-wellness music producer” Gus Till, who stayed up all night during Nyepi, or Balinese “silent day” (a very special time of reflection and quiet for Balinese people, when the whole island shuts down) to record the sounds of the waves and wildlife at the resort. “I don’t think there is a room anywhere in the world like this,” Anderson says.
Another Bali first, Anderson and her team have created the Longevity Garden – a private DIY treatment space in a garden setting. Guests can take their time to enjoy self-directed healing with local organic products such as Indonesian volcanic mud wraps and coconut soap.
To maximize mineral absorption, there’s a private steam room and double sun loungers equipped with brilliant infrared gemstone therapy mats. And what spa would be complete these days without some kind of freeze therapy? This garden has its own ice bath immersion – recommended for three minutes at sub-10 degrees Celsius to release endorphins, tighten pores, speed up muscular recovery, and invigorate the whole body.
There’s also a room at the spa with its own Vichy shower beds – again, Anderson has put her spin on it, by ensuring there isn’t excessive water wastage, as smart digital controls to ensure it uses 50% less water than a bed like this usually would.
We continue on into the boutique as part of the tour – again, many products are from the island, and you can also get the main products used in treatments by ISun, a US skincare brand committed to a ‘quantum healing effect’ by using wild-crafted, organic ingredients infused with gemstones (at this point in the tour, I pat myself on the back from having one of their massage oils… somewhere in the bathroom).
The spa has a top-notch gym of course and also features the only Rossano Ferretti Hair Spa in south-east Asia – the Italian celebrity stylist is known for the Ferretti Method: a personalised approach that works with the natural fall of a client’s hair and facial contours. Surely that’s what we all do in these lockdown days, no?
The tour also served as a reminder that we all need to take much better care of ourselves; I had to log out to “rush to another meeting” (i.e. go from one Zoom to another), but as I did so, Anderson and the team were sat in the spa’s yoga studio looking very calm and serene…. Now where have I hidden that yoga mat?
• To mark the opening of the Healing Village Spa, Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay has launched Waves of Wellness packages, which include accommodation in a private pool villa, daily breakfast, and a daily programme of spa treatments and experiences. Guests can choose from the three-day Reset or five-day Refocus packages, valid until 31 March 2022, with Four Seasons flexible booking policy globally (I looked at dates in February, and this was around £350 a night). For now, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises British nationals against all but essential international travel to Indonesia; entry is currently prohibited anyway except for Indonesian nationals and foreign nationals holding valid residency permits.