Mon, 30 Jun 2003

Bali spas, a feast of rejuvenating treatments

I Wayan Juniartha and Fitri Wulandari The Jakarta Post Denpasar, Bali

Bali is undoubtedly a haven for spa-lovers. From luxurious spas in five-star hotels to small ones nestled among surf shops along the Kuta tourist strip, the "island of the gods" offers a feast of health and relaxation treatments.

There are all types of body treatments, from various massages, body scrubs and flower baths to pedicures and manicures, everything that one could hope for a relaxing day at the spa.

Ritz-Carlton Spa, located at the five-star Ritz-Carlton resort high on a hill overlooking Jimbaran, offers special package treatments for couples.

Called Cinta Abadi (eternal love), Ritz-Carlton offers a romantic relaxation treatment for lovebirds. This US$240, 2.5- hour package climaxes with the couple descending into a spacious bathtub and immersing themselves in a herbal or milk flower bath.

A romantic experience, indeed. To add to the romance and privacy, the spa offers six villas and one suite.

"The villas and suite are for couples who want to spend intimate time together experiencing a spa treatment in a private atmosphere," spa manager Dewi Sariani said, adding the package is the spa's most popular treatment.

The Spa has 45 qualified therapists and also is equipped with seven hydrotherapy rooms and 19 standard massage rooms.

Another establishment, Puri Esthetic, nestled amid a tropical garden in the quiet Sanur area, offers the Puri Esthetic Luxury as its top-of-the-line package.

This $150 package pampers guests with nine successive stages of treatment that takes an average of six hours to complete.

It starts with a foot bath, then an 80-minute-long body massage, body scrub, masker, flower bath, facial, manicure and pedicure, cream bath and wash and blow. At the end of the treatment, guests are given a free meal. This package is quite popular among Japanese tourists.

"Our massage is very unique because it combines traditional Balinese, Thailand, Shiatsu and accupressure massage techniques," Puri Esthetic guest relation officer Swandewi said.

Asia's leading spa operator, Mandara Spa, offers a range of treatments that last less than an hour to loosen those tense muscles and nerves. The spa's signature treatment is the Mandara Massage.

This massage uniquely blends five style of massage -- Japanese Shiatsu, Thai, Hawaiian Lomi-lomi, Swedish and Balinese. And unlike traditional massages, the Mandara Massage features two massage therapists working on a client's body.

One therapist works on the upper part of the body and the other works on the lower part of the body. Both massage the guest's body simultaneously, so that at all times the massage is balanced -- top and bottom, side and side.

The massage is a fluid sequence of rhythmic sliding and circling elbow strokes of Hawaiian Lomi-lomi, the long strokes and finger pressure of Balinese Massage, the long gentle strokes of Swedish Effleurage, Shiatsu thumb pressure and the stretching and lifting style of Thai massage.

"As the therapists are working on both sides of your body simultaneously, it can also be more balancing than regular massage," Angela Fitriadi, Mandara Spa Asia training manager, told The Jakarta Post.

"Mandara Massage is not a strong or deep-pressure massage. It is calming and relaxing, where the benefits and pleasures of regular massage are multiplied," she said.

Tucked in the Bali Padma Hotel along the famous Legian beach, Mandara Spa is equipped with three private spa villas with oversized outdoor bathtubs, six single treatment suites, spa manicure/pedicure, separate male and female changing rooms as well as a spa boutique.

Mandara Spa Asia now operates more than 40 spas across the region, including in Guam, the Maldives, Malaysia and Saipan.

Apart from treatments, spas also offer other facilities to attract guests.

The newly refurbished and expanded Ritz-Carlton Spa boasts a 650-square-meter Aquatonic Pool.

Divided into 12 sections, this saltwater pool is equipped with specially designed corridors, where guests can swim or walk against the current.

"This outdoor pool is among the largest in Asia and definitely the only one of its kind in Indonesia," Dewi Sariani said.

The Alamanda Spa in Legian, Kuta, provides free a pick-up service for guests from Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur.

"We also offer a free photo service. We take a picture of the guest dressed in traditional Balinese clothes, which are available at the establishment, develop 12 prints and give them to the guest, all for free," Alamanda therapist Anee Rosita said.

Guests who take the 2.5-hour-long $38 Best Alamanda package also are entitled to use the sauna and jacuzzi for free at the completion of their treatment.

The establishment has 10 therapists, two jacuzzi pools, a sauna and 10 massage rooms.