While not everyone can afford a full week of me-time, the good news is some of the best luxury hotels and resorts in Bali now offer half and full day wellness programs for outside guests – that can make a world of difference, and are priced to please. Get a taste of what brings so many people to Bali; fabulous spas, retreats that can change your life or simply give you some breathing space. These are seven of our favourite ways to enjoy a day of bliss….. https://www.threesixtyguides.com/featured/bali-day-retreats/
This year, I’ve been working on several incredible projects including consulting on a Tibet-inspired product line for a wellness retreat located in upstate New York and developing a native range of treatments for a boutique retreat opening in Bali in 2019. These are my top 5 discoveries for May (including one big dislike)…
I was honored to be invited to Onda Beauty, a concept spa store situated in Tribeca New York with outlets in Sag Habor, Sydney Australia and now London! The clean beauty brand is created by Larissa Thomson with Sarah Bryden-Brown and Australian actress, Naomi Watts, and the vibe is healing and holistic. Onda Beauty features scents, perfumes and ethical skincare with efficacy. Some of my personal favorites including UMA and GOOP line the shelves. Keep an eye on their rotating calendar of visiting healers, reiki masters and intuitive readers – these girls know what’s going on. https://ondabeauty.com/
On a recent visit to Western Australia, I stumbled across this stunning Australian-made organic perfume range, Oneseed Perfumes, that I immediately recommended to one of my clients (they love it just as much as I do). Created by Liz Cook, the beautifully packaged collection consists of women and men perfumes, body elixirs, roll-on and travel samples. My current obsession? ‘Dreamer’ made with Ginger and Clary Sage – divine. https://oneseedperfumes.com/
I’m writing to you from my little pad in New York (Long Island to be exact). Hope you all had a healthy and happy festive season!
This year has been full of creative highlights. I was fortunate to consult on some exciting wellness projects including a boho-chic Karma Spa in the Greek islands, a wellness retreat opening in Bali, a soon-to-be-launched Tibetan-inspired skincare line in New York, and an amazing day spa on Rottnest island in Western Australia. 2018 was a creative growth-spurt for me!
Oh, and I also purchased a little house!
I was actually planning to tone down my traveling in 2018 but in fact, I left New York at the end of February and aside from a quick trip back in June to see my boyfriend, I didn’t return to New York until September! Crazy but true. He had to fly out to visit me in various countries including Australia, Bali and the Greek Islands (he said he didn’t mind).
Here’s some of the highlights of 2018 including the best (and not so great) spa experiences…
BEST LUXURY SPAS AND TREATMENTS
I finally tried the famous Japanese KOBIDO® Lifting Facial in Paris!
This is one of the most sophisticated facials you’ll ever try. Dating back to the 15th century, the Kobido Facial consist of hundreds of sculpting, lifting and toning techniques. What makes this special is that it takes years to learn the sequence and get certified to deliver this treatment. Mine was delivered by the masterful Sabine at Freepersephone Spa in Paris . https://freepersephone.com/en
P.S. The Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris recently introduced the Kobido facial on their spa menu (https://www.fourseasons.com/paris) and you can also try this at SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain (https://shawellnessclinic.com).
The Sleep Well Journey at the Six Senses Spa in Crete was epic
Sleep treatments and retreats are so on trend right now and this ritual was one of the highlights of my year (helped by the fact the therapist who delivered it was a master of his craft). Devised by Australian brand, Subtle Energies (www.subtleenergies.com.au), it included a guided yoga nidra meditation, marma-point facial, Nasya herbal oil application and mind-soothing warm oil Shirodhara – it was heavenly! www.sixsenses.com/spas/elounda
As was the sublime spa at the Mandarin Oriental in New York…
How lucky was I to experience the ‘Digital Wellness Escape’ at this luxe hotel spa! This treatment was also delivered by a expert male masseuse (I see a pattern here). it included a soak in a crystal-infused bath and a therapeutic massage focused on my tech-tense neck, shoulder, and upper back area. This spa lives up to its claim as ‘an oasis in the city’ – I felt like a goddess as I relaxed in the Amethyst Crystal Steam Room overlooking the grey New York skyline. www.mandarinoriental.com/new-york/manhattan/luxury-hotel
The Wellness Screening at the new Six Senses in Bali was a wake-up call
Being an ex-Bali girl, I couldn’t wait to experience the wellness offerings at the new Six Senses spa in Uluwatu. My half-day retreat included the machine-based Wellness Screening that analyzes several key biomarkers in the body. Unfortunately, my health score was only 76%, but on a positive note it gave me a wake-up call. The highlight was the Aerial Yoga class delivered by their wellness director – yet another master in his craft (what is it with all these amazing male therapists)! www.sixsenses.com/resorts/uluwatu-bali
The Spa at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong just got better…
What can I say, the spa management team here are so on point right now. I love their ‘wellness everywhere’ approach with healthy touch-points throughout the hotel. For example, they partnered with Certified Nutritionist and Functional Medicine Specialist, Miles Price, to introduce nutrient-rich meals in most of their F&B outlets. Fitness-wise, they’ve collaborated with the best Pilates, Spinning and Barre studios in Hong Kong and offer class passes for guests – how awesome. This spa also houses the most luxurious steam room in the region – it’s totally lush. https://www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/
And my second Panchakarma Detox at Oneworld Ayurveda in Bali was transforming…
I’ve been writing about Oneworld Ayurveda for a couple of years now – it really is one of the most nurturing detox retreats in the world. With daily consultations with Ayurvedic physicians, you are taken care of every step of the way. Meals are personalized as are the herbal medicines and twice-daily treatments that feel deeply nourishing during your detox. If you are serious about maintaining your health long-term, then Oneworld Ayurveda is an excellent choice. https://www.oneworldayurveda.com
CREATIVE HIGHLIGHTS OF 2018
*Opening an Apothecary Massage Bar at Karma Spa on Rottnest Island in Western Australia was a dream come true. https://karmagroup.com/karma-spa/
*Commissioned to write not one but two articles for one of my favorite publications, Mindfood Magazine https://www.mindfood.com was another coup. These included Treatment Trends and a Niche Nurturing retreats article.
*As was contributing to Destinasian magazine’s http://www.destinasian.com annual wellness trends report.
*Crafting beauty blogs for www.ila-spa.com and www.ilapothecary.com – in truth, there’s few jobs more inspiring for me than writing about health, wellness and beauty. I am so obsessed that I even love writing labels for skincare, teas and candles – that’s how much of a geek I am.
*Being appointed Spa & Wellness Ambassador for The Karma Group https://karmagroup.com
MOVERS AND SHAKERS – BEST BRANDS OF 2018
I am so in awe of everything about this Dutch-born wellness brand. Their range of skincare is beautifully conceived as is their menu of treatments. Each is designed to reboot our body and brain through sequences of functional products, innovative treatment techniques, massage, breathing, stretching, yoga, meditation and (mindful) exercise. www.thetideswellness.com
Equinox expands their Body Lab concept
OMG, don’t you love it when a spa doesn’t call itself a spa! I am so obsessed about the Body Lab (spas) at these high-end fitness gyms, I want to work for them! Equinox is all about self-empowerment and high-performance. Who isn’t tempted to book in for a ‘Performance Massage’ and ‘Regenerative Massage’. https://www.equinox.com
I discovered this homegrown Perth certified organic Ayurvedic-inspired brand when doing the pre-opening of Karma Spa on Rottnest Island in Western Australia. I love and feel good about supporting the small operators in our industry. Besides, their Rich Day Cream is divine! www.mokosh.com.au
Ancient Lake Salts
Another local brand we sourced when opening Karma Spa in Australia. These guys offer a comprehensive range of magnesium-rich salts, oils and bath products – all infused with wild harvested organic sea salt. You can experience these in warm salt scrubs at the spa – so good! www.ancientlakesmagnesium.com.au
When the world’s most luxury resort band launches their own skincare range, one needs to takes notice. This is such an elegantly-crafted face, body and bath concept that reflects the energy and design of their resorts so beautifully. Just some of the key ingredients include maca, arnica, jade and homeopathics – Smoked Body Butter anyone? https://shop.aman.com/en/
Ilapothecary opens first flagship store in London
Conceived by my fav spa product brand in the world, www.ila-spa.com, this boutique brand fills a much-needed niche of ‘modern remedies for modern times’. Love some of their treatment names too including ‘Digestion Restoration’ and ‘Happy Hormone Equilibrium’. I can’t wait to visit! www.ilapothecary.com
You can’t have the highs without the lows and working as a consultant is not always the easiest path. The work can be sporadic and sometimes clients take your ideas and run with it themselves (but as they say, what comes around goes around).
Auditing a well-known luxury five-star spa in Asia this year was also a little rough as it’s not nice to give negative feedback. Hot tip: Take it from a 30-year industry veteran, no more Warm Stone Massages please! Get creative. No need to copy what other brands are doing either. Create your own niche – your customer is ready. Inspire them, confront them, help them grow…
Loosing good staff is hard (Kristal, we miss you)!
5 INTENTIONS FOR 2019
*Complete my novel (s).
*Spend more time with friends and loved ones.
*More movement, more exercise, more dancing.
*Book in for a retreat at Aro-ha in New Zealand (one of my top 3 retreats in the world) – www.aro-ha.com
*Join my sister on a yoga-hiking retreat in the French Pyrenees www.radianceretreats.com
*Do another Panchakarma Detox at Oneworld Ayurveda (keen to do 14-days this time). www.oneworldayurveda.com
Oops, that’s six already…
5 DESTINATIONS I WANT TO EXPLORE IN 2019
Sail around Croatia
And the Antartica
Explore Cambodia (and Laos)
Hike Bhutan (the new Six Senses five lodge trek looks inviting).
That’s all for now – see you in 2019!
With sleep deprivation on the rise, luxury hospitality and wellness brands around the world have introduced a series of treatments and retreat programs that can offset jetlag and relieve even the most long-suffering insomniac.
Luxury skincare and wellness brand ESPA collaborated with binaural rhythm experts—who stimulate the brain through differences in frequency between the left and right ears—to devise the high-tech Sleep Ritual now offered at ESPA Life at Corinthia London. The two-hour experience starts with abdominal yogic breathing and visualization before moving on to a scalp and hot-stone massage. Spa-goers then listen to binaural rhythm audio as the therapist performs acupressure on the feet.
Guests at The Peninsula Hong Kong can unwind through the 120-minute Peninsula Sleep Ceremony, also created by ESPA. In the privacy of a candlelit spa suite, you’ll be treated to an aromatic bath, meditation, and deep breathing exercises to clear the mind, followed by a restorative hot-stone massage and a facial and scalp massage. Recommended for late-night arrivals, the treatment is also available at Peninsula spas in Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, and New York.
Over in Thailand, the Bangkok and Chiang Mai properties of 137 Pillars Hotels and Resorts deserve a mention for the 90-minute Sleep by Design Therapy launched last year. This is enhanced by a Glyph headset playing binaural beats while a full-body massage is performed to the rhythm of your breathing patterns. Guests staying in the suites can also request a Sleepdown Service, in which a “sleep butler” and “sleep curator” prepare the room with temperature control, mood lighting, and luxury sleep amenities—including bergamot bath salts for an indulgent pre-bedtime soak.
Meanwhile, neighboring Cambodia’s Song Saa Private Island offers the jet-lagged and insomnia-prone an antidote in its 2.5-hour Night Spa Ritual by leading British brand Ila Spa. Designed to shield the nervous system from sensory overload, the treatment cocoons spa-goers in aromatherapy-infused body scrubs before slow, sleep-inducing Ayurvedic marma-point and facial massages.
Devised by Australian spa brand Subtle Energies, the newly launched two-hour Sleep Support Therapy at Perth’s Crown Casino Spa also harnesses Ayurvedic techniques to regulate the body’s natural rhythm. The treatment begins with deep pranayama breathing and a full-body massage, progressing to a marma-point facial massage—aimed at activating the pineal gland believed to regulate circadian cycles—before closing with a guided savasana meditation.
Six Senses was one of the first hospitality brands to realize that sleep was just as important to personal wellbeing as diet and exercise. Its Yogic Sleep retreats, developed with in-house yoga master Dorelal Singh, are oriented on the state of consciousness known as yoga nidra, and comprise restful treatments and sleep-boosting amenities and cuisine. Six Senses has also collaborated with renowned sleep doctor Dr. Michael Breus to roll out a “sleep upgrade” worldwide, enhancing villas with optimal room temperatures, lighting that boosts melatonin production, organic bedding, and humidifiers for easier breathing.
If you’re planning some downtime in Melbourne, consider the Sleep Deeply program at the recently opened Willow Urban Retreat, a chic wellness space dedicated to yoga, movement, whole foods, and healing. Half- or full-day itineraries balance mindful exercises with therapies that include Ayurveda, acupuncture, and holistic massage, as well as naturopathic prescribed meals. A three-day option is also available, while those staying for longer periods of time can extend the program up to six weeks.
Thailand is another top choice for sleep-centric vacations. At Koh Samui’s luxury wellness sanctuaryKamalaya, the Sleep Enhancement program is available as a standalone offering or can be integrated into any retreat stay. It includes lifestyle consultations, treatments, healthy meals, plus activities to reduce an overactive mind and other issues that contribute to poor sleep.
In Indonesia, one of the newer arrivals to Bali’s spa scene is Revivo Wellness Resort. The Sleep Well retreat here teaches methods that can be easily implemented at home; after your consultation, you are prescribed a customized program that incorporates meals, activities, and a range of treatments. Expect acupuncture, Ayurveda, or reiki alongside hammock yoga and meditation. Meanwhile in Ubud, the latest offering at eco-wellness lodge Svarga Loka is the 7-, 10- or 14-night Deep Restorative Sleep Retreat led by energy-field practitioner Eros Ferrari. The cause of poor sleep is identified and cured in daily healing sessions with Ferrari, and guests also enjoy detoxifying saunas, sound healing treatments, and pressure-point massages.
This article originally appeared in the October/November 2018 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Snooze Control”).
My second stay at Oneworld Ayurveda felt like coming home. Coming home to not just to beautiful Bali, the caring team, but to myself, my body, my spirit, and my wellbeing.
I cannot lie. This second Panchakarma detox was more confronting than the first – and I’m not referring to the actual detox itself that is actually very gentle and nourishing. But like a second relationship, I began to see many of my patterns that I could no longer get away with blaming external factors. I had to face and ‘own’ many parts of myself – it was a journey into understanding how my actions today impact my higher-self tomorrow.
During this second retreat, I deepened my understanding of Ayurveda and the ‘dosha’ system. I realized it was ‘me’ who invited ‘pitta’ dramas into my work life. I realized that my ‘vata’ imbalances were not necessarily caused by frequent traveling and busy lifestyle, but also by what ‘vata’ situations and personalities, I allowed into my life.
I saw that it was ‘me’ not the ‘digital device’ that was the issue.
Probably the most significant insight was that I realized for me to stay strong and healthy in this world, I need to become far more resilient yet without becoming hard – and this is where the Ayurveda is so beneficial. It’s an incredible medical system that and provides treatments for not only our physical wellbeing but also our mental state, relationships, work and social life, and even our life’s purpose – you really cannot be strong in only one area but all must be in balance.
The morning and evening yoga classes showed me that if I want to be moving freely about at seventy or eighty years old, then I can no longer get away without integrating yoga into my life – even a twenty-minute stretch each day does wonders for one’s flexibility, posture and mind.
My ‘busy’ mind during some of the incredible treatments showed me how crucial it is to bring meditation or meditative ‘digital-free’ moments into my life to stay sane.
The conversations shared by the variety of people around the communal dinner table (over delicious personalized meals), reminded me how important it is to slow down and take time to connect with others. Even if you are a shy soul, ask questions. Be interested. Listen. Friendships and connecting with others is one of greatest joys of life.
In summary, my second detox at Oneworld Ayurveda reminded me of how important it is to take care of my whole self as I do not think we can rely on our medical system alone (certainly not for our emotional and mental self anyway). Medicine and wellness are now two different realms – if we want to live a full life then we all have to take better care of ourselves now (and in Ayurveda, this does not necessarily mean a life without coffee or red wine either).
Next year, I plan to go deeper and do a 14-day PK. My intention is to do a retreat there every year as it’s an ideal way to keep a personal track of my own wellbeing. Afterall, prevention is better than cure!
Oneworld Ayurvedais a stunning boutique health retreat located near Ubud in Bali and is my favorite retreat for a deep overhaul. Every aspect, from the elegant villas to the lush gardens, morning and evening yoga classes, and delicious meals feels incredibly nourishing.
Big hugs to the team at here for their grace (especially during my overheated ‘Pitta’ moments) – thank you to Dr. Ninu and yoga instructor Wayan – your patience and quiet wisdom was felt and heard.
Discover more about these life-enhancing retreats at – https://www.oneworldayurveda.com/
Welcome to October’s pulsepoint…
People often ask me what’s my favorite spa or retreat? It’s a tough question as quite frankly, I love most spas and retreats I get to experience. Whether it’s the mountain landscape or the incredible architecture or simply the authentic caring service of the staff, every destination offers a unique element you cannot find elsewhere.
However, when it comes to spa product brands, I have plenty of favorites. Here’s my top 3 for October!
NEW! Have you seen the new Dutch-born brand, The Tides? It’s absolutely stunning! Founded by Annemarie Wortman and Kimmo Jacobs, in my opinion The Tides is the most ground-breaking brand to be launched in 2018. Journey through their range of self-care products themed around Recovery & Sleep, Sports & Endurance, Energy & Strength and Cleanse & Detoxify. Experience high-results brain-body wellness treatments curated to reboot the body and brain through innovative treatment techniques, massage, breathing, stretching, yoga, meditation and (mindful) exercises. These women know what they are doing and then some! Check them out at https://www.thetideswellness.com
P.S You can try their treatments at the spa at The Conservatorium Hotel Amsterdam. (https://www.conservatoriumhotel.com/en)
I IS FOR ILAPOTHECARY: Guess which spa brand opened its first flagship store this month? Ilapothecary is a gorgeous spa brand that also deals with modern day issues like sleep, stress and digital overload. Founded by mother brand ila-spa (who those of us in the spa world know is one of the most beautiful treatment and product brands in the world), this sister brand is affordable and accessible. Ingredients are a powerful blend of British grown herbs, homeopathy, crystals, vitamins and stem cells and really deliver. Well I’ve been a big ila fan for years and a little biased but take a look for yourself at https://www.ilapothecary.com
When it comes to well-executed treatment sequences with sublime retail to boot, then Subtle Energies is up there with the best. I’ve been fortunate to experience treatments developed by Subtle Energies in several spas around the globe – the most recent being the Sleep Support Remedy at the Six Senses Spa in Crete. Like the two brands mentioned above, Subtle Energies have created treatments to alleviate if not cure issues caused by our modern lifestyles – like chronic sleep disorder! I absolutely adore this aromatherapy-ayurveda range – using them at home feels like a beautiful ritual in itself. Find out more about this Australian-born brand at https://subtleenergies.com.au
Whether you need to polish and plump for a night out or are looking for treatments that will last longer and continue to improve your skin tone and complexion, Bali has the remedy.
Ayurvedic Marma Point Facial
Where: COMO Shambhala Estate
Why: Did you know that our face consists of several nerve and pleasure-centers? With this knowledge, COMO’s holistic facial offers so much more than your usual cleanse, scrub and mask. It consists of an incredible facial massage enhanced by the gentle pressing of ‘secret’ points that encourage circulation, lymph flow and muscle tone – not to mention deep and profound relaxation. The result? Nourished skin and a calm mind.
How much: 60 minutes | Rp 1,600,000++
What else: COMO Shambhala Estate offers an array of wellness therapies inclusive of yoga, Ayurveda, Oriental Medicine and Pilates – all combined with nutritious cuisine to facilitate deep and lasting wellness.
The Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP)
#From the divine ila-spa chakra ceremonies to Como’s redigital detox style, these are six of my favorite massages to try when in Bali…
Everyone’s talking about the Gold-Infused Royal Massage treatment delivered in the Private Suite at this in central Seminyak spa. The massage is delivered with 24k gold massage oil, semi-precious stones and rosewater. What makes this one memorable is the over-the-top opulent interiors inspired by Persia, Egypt, India and Morocco. The Kicker: To create the right music for this massage the founder of Prana, Jim Elliot, took a boat to a remote area in Papua and recorded natural ocean sounds and bird noises. Read our latest post
MASSAGES WITH WELLNESS – PEPPERS SEMINYAK
When it comes to blending spa with wellness, then the spa at Peppers Seminyak have something good going on! Love both the Symmetry Massage and Detox Massage here (their spa consultant knows their stuff) but it’s their comprehensive juice and nutrition programs that are creating a buzz. Feel like a booster? Why not check into a 3 or 7 day Wellness Retreat where you not only get to experience the signature massages but will reap the benefits of daily yoga, colon therapy, breath, meditation and nutrition classes – all while staying in luxe villas plus your choice of either healthy meals or juice fasting – depart with a glow! Read more
ZEN BALANCING MASSAGE – AWAY SPA AT W HOTEL
This unique massage begins with therapists performing a warrior ritual inspired by traditional Indonesian ‘silat’ martial arts to get the ci moving. Therapists then roll, press and massage warm bamboo sticks across your body to stretch out and soothe your limbs and ligaments. Feels so good! Read more The Kicker: Outside guests who join in on the morning yoga have complimentary access to the steam room, hot and cold plunge pools, detox oxygen chamber and swimming pool facilities.
THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE – SPA ALILA
Ever since Alila opened in Ungasan, I’ve been a fan of this brand and they have never let me down yet. Their signature offering is the Therapeutic Massage that is a blend of Balinese, Swedish, Acupressure and Thai techniques. It’s an exceptional sequence from start to finish and on the menu at all Alila spas in Bali. Finish up with an invigorating Vichy shower to get your skin singing. The Kicker: Therapists undergo on-going training in anatomical physiology, nutrition and meditation and know what they are doing.
COMO SIGNATURE MASSAGE – COMO SHAMBHALA
Trust me this signature massage is one of the best on the island as it is a real wellbeing massage. The sequence is unique and has been thoughtfully curated to reverse the effects of our digital lifestyle. For example, the movements counter how our body caves forward or inwards that gives lasting results. Not to mention, COMO is one of the most beautiful retreats in South East Asia. INSIDER TIP: Practitioners are trained to understand your body at a glance and follow their intuition to deliver a personalised experience.
This article was first published in www.threesixtyguides.com
Healing through water—whether through steam, ice, compress, and bathing—is the very essence of a spa. With its benefits so well documented, it makes sense that luxury wellness venues are expanding their facilities to include water experiences that offset our high-tech, high-stress lives. And the level of innovation these days has gone off the charts: Middle Eastern hammams are being reimagined, float tanks are back in vogue, while traditional saunas and hot spring bathing are also experiencing a new wave. These are our recommendations for water-inspired treatments to drift, soak, and steam your worries away.