Bali Travel – you beauty!

Spa TreatmentsWhether it?s a total fix for the mind, body and spirit, or simply the desire for some quick-fix serenity, lots of travellers in Bali are spending hours and days being massaged, scrubbed, perfumed, pampered, bathed and blissed-out. Every upmarket hotel worth its stars has spa facilities (which are generally open to non-guests) offering health, beauty and relaxation treatments. Day spas are also common in all the tourist centres, particularly Ubud, and are usually priced in rupiah rather than US dollars, making them far more accessible to the average traveller in search of a little peaceful indulgence.Where to relax

Expect a calm, fragrant and sunlit-filled atmosphere in most Balinese spas, which range from the dazzling Matahari Beach Resort spa in Pemuteran, northern Bali, which resembles a grand water palace, to the equally charming Indiana Massage, a tiny open-air pavilion on the beach in Lovina. In the main tourist centres, luxury spa options worth treating yourself to include Jamu Spa in the Alam Kul Kul hotel in Kuta and Spa Me in the Bali Mandira Hotel in Legian, both redolent with Balinese style, and Hotel Tjampuhan Spa in Ubud, which is in a fairytale grotto setting.

Massage, scrub and soak

Massage and herbal body scrubs have an important place in Balinese family life. From birth, parents massage their children, and as soon as children are able it?s normal for them to reciprocate. Anyone with an ailment receives a specially formulated scrub, and men provide and receive massage as much as women. The Balinese massage techniques of stretching, long strokes, skin rolling and palm and thumb pressure result in a lowering of tension, improved blood flow and circulation, and an all-over feeling of calm.

So what can you expect in a spa? It?s basically a three-stage process ? the massage, the scrub and the soak. Therapists are often female, although top-end spas may have male therapists. Many massage rooms are also set up with two massage beds, so you can have a massage alongside your partner or friend.

August 19, 2003

Bali Travel – you beauty! (Contd)

A basic therapeutic massage is a one-hour, top-to-toe, deep-tissue massage to relax the muscles, tone the skin and eliminate stress, while aromatherapy massages feature a choice of essential oils, such as ginger, nutmeg, coconut and sandalwood. Commonly offered massage options also include Shiatsu, Thai and Swedish massage and reflexology (concentrating on pressure points of the feet). For something special, the ?four-hands? massage, where two therapists will treat you, is also an option at many spas.Based on traditional herbal treatments, popular spa options include the mandi rempah (spice bath) and the mandi susu (milk bath). The mandi rempah begins with a massage, followed by a body scrub with a paste made from assorted spices, and ending with a herbal-and-spice hot bath. The mandi susu begins with a massage, followed by a herbal scrub and a milk-and-yoghurt body mask. The treatment ends with a soak in a milk bath.The most popular

treatment though, is the Javanese mandi lulur body scrub. Based on a centuries-old Javanese palace ritual, the mandi lulur takes almost two hours but it feels longer as all sense of time is lost during the deep-tissue massage (ask for strong treatment if you dare). The massage is followed by a full body rub made from a vibrant yellow paste of turmeric, sandalwood and rice powder. This is allowed to dry and then gently rubbed off, exfoliating and polishing the skin. Next, a mixture of yoghurt and honey is smoothed on, to moisturise and feed the skin and restore the perfect pH balance. After a quick rinsing shower, the highlight follows ? a long and lovely bath in fragrant essential oils amid pale, floating frangipani petals. Refreshing hot ginger tea is normally served during the calming recovery time following the bath, when you?ll feel so good you?ll be dreamily planning another two hours of luxurious bliss.from Lonely Planet?s Bali, 9th edition, p.88-89.Bali

by Kate Daly

9th edition

ISBN: 1 74059 346 4

368p, 45 maps


Lonely Planet Publications

August 19, 2003