This just in from Asia. The proprietors of a new Balinese property recently reached out to us about an interesting little hotel in Balicalled The Bali Floating Leaf Hotel. Described as a “peaceful retreat in a lush oasis in which to nourish, recharge and heal your mind, body and spirit, holistically,” they’ve combined ancient Balinese wisdom with modern convenience and luxury to offer a safe place for relaxation, personal enrichment and wellness. If you’re looking for a true retreat, they’ve got just the sort of amenities you need; an open air yoga center with views of the Indian Ocean and Mount Agung Volcano, Bali arts and culture, photography, surfing, and an onsite Balinese spa.
Guests can look forward to an ultimate relaxation pool complete with waterfalls, hidden meditation areas and more. The grounds also feature an organic permaculture garden (hurrah!), as well as a large kitchen where their private chef will prepare delectable healthy meals, juices, and snacks with locally grown organic nutrient-rich food. And to top it off, world-class surf is steps away!
Floating Leaf Eco-Resort is rooted in a deep commitment to Bali’s environment; it’s people, and sustainable tourism so their eco-tourism efforts are aimed at conserving precious natural resources and diverting waste from landfills. They also strive to involve the community in deciding exactly which philanthropic efforts will be of most help and interest to them. Other projects include building water purification facilities, playgrounds, greenhouses and subsidizing local farmers so they can grow nutrient rich foods using traditional and organic methods. As they say in Bali, “Bagus!”
Currently offering soft launch opening prices for individuals and retreats, prices are are as low as $150 a night and some retreats for approximately $1000 for a week-long package.
Bali, Santorini, Tulum, Cabo, Maui, Vermont? Yes, everyone I know, including myself, is always looking for that perfect yoga retreat, preferably, if you’re me, on an island somewhere exotic where my hair is just full of curly life. Enter: The Travel Yogi, a specialist in international yoga retreats and yoga adventures, who promises to put you there… with yogis on stand up paddleboards! Seriously, that’s a retreat on April 6-13th on the island of Aruba. But wait… there’s more!
From March 16-23, Bali is host to yogis participating in a weeklong retreat while also taking in the international yoga and music festival: Bali Spirit Fest. And the best Mediterranean views? Well, those are reserved for yogi guests joining the May 4-11th retreat in Santorini.
The Travel Yogi is a gem of a concept… expand boundaries through yoga and travel. Founded in 2010, the goal was the following: find balance and personal transformation through yoga practiced in naturally inspiring destinations. We can dig. Engaging truly gifted teachers who can expertly handle all levels of experience and ambition, they distinguish themselves from others in the same space, by discovering and organizing compelling locations that get yogis feeling adventurous in a way that typical yoga retreats may not.
Jennifer Hoddevik, The Travel Yogi founder and owner had this to say: “Warm and inviting island destinations are always popular retreats, because the rejuvenating properties of water and yoga go hand in hand.” We agree, Jennifer, oh do we ever.
So, for example,what’s on deck in Aruba? Seven nights in a boutique hotel with a beachfront yoga pavilion and spa.
Included in the $1,649 per person double rate are accommodation, two yoga classes a day with instructor Maria Santoferraro (Daily Downward Dog blogger), stand up paddleboard yoga class with Rachel Brathen, sunset catamaran sailing with snorkeling excursion and snacks, daily breakfast, two hotel lunches and dinners and two restaurant dinners in town, plus transfers to and from the airport.
A March 16-23 Baliretreat with LA-based teacher Gigi Yogini (yes, you read that right, Gigi Yogini), is scheduled in Ubud, the arts and crafts center of Bali, to coincide with Bali Spirit Fest March 20-24. This retreat is unique in the overlapping of the international yoga and music festival and the amazing vibe this brings to the already vibrant town of Ubud. The per person rate from $1,795 includes seven nights accommodation, all meals, yoga workshops, massage, a full day ticket to Bali Spirit Fest, airport transfers and more. Participants are encouraged to extend their stay to include the end of the festival.
The first of three scheduled Santorini retreats is May 4-11 with Angel Lucia. Similar programs are scheduled Sept. 14-21 with Dimitra Kotanides and Sept. 21-28 with Giselle Mari and Jennifer Prugh. The program, based at an ocean view luxe boutique property is from $1,995 per person double inclusive of accommodation, morning playful yoga flow, evening restorative yoga, welcome poolside fruit and wine, daily breakfast, four group dinners and airport transfers.
Hoddevik explains that destinations are scouted by The Travel Yogi team and are vetted for suitability to host yoga teachers and guests seeking yoga retreat holidays and vacation adventures with time out for yoga each day. Non-yoga practicing travel companions are welcome to join twice daily yoga sessions, or not. Prior proficiency in yoga is not required and, even for practicing yogis, the yoga is always optional. While the retreats are yoga focused, other destinations offer Yoga Adventures with the opportunity to practice yoga while engaged in other adventure travel activities.
A list of international and domestic destinations for 2013 include, but are not limited to: Aruba, Galapagos, El Salvador, Santorini, Maui, Cabo, Tulum, New Zealand and Vermont. Guests practice and play with some of the yoga world’s best known instructors: Annie Carpenter, Kathryn Budig, Giselle Mari, Jennifer Pastiloff and Ashley Turner, to name a few.
That’s right… who wouldn’t want to get hitched in Bali? With the debut of the Royal Balinese Wedding Blessing Package at Viceroy Bali, couples can now experience a traditional regal wedding in a uniquely exclusive, exotic, and elegant setting – without paying a king’s ransom. While intimate and relaxed in style, the Viceroy Bali offers facilities, accommodation, and service fit for royalty, including a dedicated Guest Service Manager who is available to coordinate every detail of the wedding celebration. A must for any cute couple.
For those seeking an extraordinarily romantic ceremony and reception, the RoyalBalinese Wedding Blessing Package is sure to please. In addition to the priceless seclusion, surroundings, and service, the package includes: a choice of two exclusive wedding venues (the balé or the main garden); elegant Balinese or contemporary decorations; floral arrangements and fresh flower petal confetti; traditional Balinese wedding costumes; Balinese spiritual offering; wedding cake; wedding dinner worthy of royalty; wedding photographs on a CD-ROM plus bound in an album; a leader of the wedding ceremony and a traditional Balinese dance performance.
The best part? The cost! The package is $3,500 US, as described; should the bride and groom provide their own wedding attire, the cost for the Royal Viceroy Wedding Package is $3,000. The Viceroy Bali will also arrange for the legal formalization of the ceremony for a fee of $800.
The last in her series on sweet, sweet Asia, Sarah Ivens, Jaunt Magazine Contributor and Founding Editor of the US-version of OK! Magazine, tells us a bit about her out of body, mind, and soul experience in Bali.
By Sarah Ivens
The tiny green Hindu Island of Bali has been a Mecca for those seeking enlightenment and rest since the 1970s. The hippy centre of Indonesia welcomes healers and artists, writers and doctors to witness its natural beauty and its spiritual traditions and customs.
It’s a place where Ganesh the holy elephant nestles next to statues of Buddha, while ancestors are worshiped and revered and Mother Nature is thanked. You can’t help but leave with your eyes opened and your forehead relaxed. To experience each element of the unique landscape and culture, I travelled the island, staying at three different resorts within the Aman resort group. The five star service and luxurious suites were uniform between all three places but the flavor was spiced up between them, depending on the location and the desires of the 95% local teams running them. By combining the three places, even the short term visitor can get a real sense of Bali and the beliefs of its wonderful, smiling people.
For the mind…
Amandari will challenge your brain in the most soothing way possible. An oasis of green paddy fields, built high above the artistic center of Ubud and designed to look like a traditional Balinese village, this tiny, eco-friendly resort inspires its visitors to seek out their inner creativity. You are encouraged to learn about local music, paintings and poetry while feasting on food you’ve witnessed being harvested at sunrise.
Ubud is perhaps most famous for its medicine men – a gaggle of gurus who guide the locals between right and wrong and who offer sage advice for locals looking for spiritual advice on the fly. The friendly local staff at Amandari can find you an enlightened expert to suit your needs – and even ship you there free of charge in the resort’s air-conditioned fleet of vehicles. If that seems too Western, they can arrange for you to borrow a bicycle. Recover from such prophecies by unwinding in the resort’s extensive library, or take a cocktail into the main courtyard and observe the local art on display. There are only 30 thatched-roof suites so you’ll be free to muse the days away without fear of obnoxious interruption.
For the body…
Amanusa allows the lazy to lounge (if they must) but they prefer the get up and goers, who burst into life at the breaking of dawn and don’t stop until the sun goes down. One of Indonesia’s best golf courses, The Bali Golf and Country Club, sits adjacent to the tree-lined hideaway and proves irresistable for anyone with a decent swing. If hitting the green isn’t your thing, Amanusa also has a 30 metre pool (plus eight of the 35 suites have their own swimming pool), two tennis courts and a private beach club which allows for every kind of water sport you can imagine. Healthy smoothies and fresh fruit cocktails are abundant – the butlers constantly lap the public areas with tray of delicious yet healthy snacks – and you don’t need to worry about one evening in the restaurant undoing all your hard work. Protein-rich, low-fat barbecues are offered by candlelight, and the locally caught fresh fish won’t make anyone fat! You can indulge without the bulge quite easily here.
For the soul…
Amankila means ‘peaceful hill’ in Balinese and it’s true, this Cliffside resort tumbles elegantly into the sea with a gentle grace that allows your mind and body to unfurl from any taxing times its recently encountered. Overlooking the Lombok strait, each villa is elevated to make the most of the sweeping ocean views (and the soothing breeze), while above your head is nothing but dazzling stars. Indeed, the most taxing evening activity here is having the butlers set up your bed on an outdoor day lounger so you can fall asleep with a flashlight in one hand and an astrology guidebook in the other. To doze off under a mosquito net with the sweet scent of coconut and frangipani caressing your nostrils is to have died and gone to heaven. Your soul will thank you for it. And it will really celebrate when you book in for a traditional Balinese massage, outdoors on the beach, with nothing to worry about except how you’re going to remember this state of pure bliss once your back at work and in the real world.
Right now, Jaunt Magazine’s staff is overworked and under pampered which is exactly why we’ve picked three special spas in the Far East with only one thing is mind… massage, massage, and more massage. We could use a few, you too?
Ayung Spa at Ubud Hanging Gardens
Perched along the steep rice terraces of Ubud lays the Ubud Hanging Gardens hotel, where the spa takes its name from the winding Ayung River below. Here, you can indulge in the 60-minute Coconut & Rice Scrub. Since ancient times, the coconut has been by Balinese women to heal and beautify skin complexion, so this traditional recipe is made out of grated coconut and coconut milk to smooth the skin and rice powder to gently exfoliate. Followed with an energizing herbal bath.
Treatment price: $81
Hotel accommodations from $337 per room per night.
At Luang Prabang’s first luxury spa, cozy pavilions are decorated with an inviting mix of ethnic craftsmanship and modern comfort. In such an exotic elegant setting, the pampered can enjoy the Sip Sen traditional Lao massage, originally cultivated in monasteries of Laos and handed down through generations of Buddhist monks. Now you know if the monks developed it, it’s gotta be good. Chimay, anyone? The philosophy of this massage is based on freeing life force which runs throughout energy lines called “sen” to achieve total wellness. This very respectful way of applying pressure with thumbs and palms was once exclusively applied to Royal families to help the body to relax, detoxify, balance, heal and energize, giving a new sense of wholesome well-being. Since you’re such a royal pain in the ass most of the time, it’s perfect for you!
Treatment price: $35 for 60 minutes / $50 for 90 minutes.
Hotel accommodations from $232 per room per night.
Royal Thai massage, or Nuat Pen Boran, has been practiced as part of Thai medicine to heal Royal family members of the Kingdom of Siam for over 2,500 years. The massage is given very slowly to facilitate the tendency toward mindfulness, so that any resistance or discomfort resulting from a particular position can be detected thus minimizing the risk of injury. During the massage, the therapist uses hands, thumbs and fingers to apply pressure on sen energy points. The therapist will also gently pull, twist and manipulate the body in a way that is compared to “passive yoga.” All these movements aim to create a smooth energy flow within the body, which is believed to help loosen joints, stretch muscles and tone internal organs. That’s right… your kidneys will look hot! The after-effect? Deep relaxation and drool, of course.
Treatment price: $47 for 60 minutes / $57 for 90 minutes.
Hotel accommodations from $263* per room per night.