Review: A soul-enriching escape at Raffles Bali’s five senses of wellness retreat

As my vehicle glided into the main lobby, the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a cascade of hues across the Jimbaran Bay – a mesmerizing prelude to the wonders that awaited. Journeying into Raffles Bali’s sprawling 23-hectare haven, I embarked on an enchanting path enveloped by towering trees, a whispered promise of the hidden oasis nestled at the heart of this lush tropical valley.Cradling a glass of refreshing elixir from the iconic Writer’s Bar, I relished the twilight spectacle, a symphony of colors harmonizing with my senses.

The villa, a masterclass of modern tropical design, held the promise of restful slumber.

The backdrop
At the property only 32 villas are intimately scattered across the expanse. Every villa, harmoniously blends architectural artistry and nature’s embrace, weaves a cocoon of serenity, where the soothing melodies of nature’s orchestra dance through open windows, fragrant whispers of blooms permeate the air, and a rich palette of colors envelops the soul.

Prior to my arrival, Bella, my dedicated wellness butler tailored activities, culinary preferences, spa indulgences – creating the perfect itinerary of treats based on my preferences. As twilight gave way to dusk, Bella’s warm smile led the way, guiding me to my accommodation for the next two nights– an idyllic retreat awaiting my discovery.

Unveiling the Balinese split gateway, I stepped into my ocean pool villa festooned with fragrant frangipani, a sensory prelude to the resplendent haven that awaited.

Sliding glass doors beckoned, unveiling an infinity pool seemingly merging with the distant ocean, while a gazebo, perched like a tranquil sentinel, offered a daybed sanctuary amidst lush mountains.

Our ocean pool villa was a masterclass of modern tropical design

Indulgence was in every detail of the villa- from an array of in-house sustainable oils, aromatic bath salts, to luxurious creams – each detail curated to perfection – stood ready to pamper. Yoga mats, leather beach slippers, and even whimsical picnic totes rested within the spacious closet, whispering of adventures yet to unfold. A sumptuous welcome spread, adorned with healing local flavors, awaited, accompanied by the golden elixir of young yellow coconut juice (Nyuh Gading), harmonizing with a symphony of dried fruits and sambal-dipped delights.

From an array of in-house sustainable oils, aromatic bath salts, to luxurious creams – each detail in the bath area curated to perfection – stood ready to pamper.

As evening painted the sky,our butler unveiled the treasures within – essential oil blends, bottled Jamu, and a curated playlist of meditative melodies. With a promise of culinary delight lingering in the air, I readied myself for a gastronomic odyssey at Raffles’ innovative fine dining haven, Rumari.

The vibrant breakfast spread at Rumari weaves tales of the bay’s bounty – Jimbaran Bay Lobster Omelet, Tuna Poke, and invigorating WellBeing Elixirs.

The food factor
At Raffles Bali, the culinary experience breaks free from the typical confines of wellness retreats. Unlike the often restrictive diets that leave one feeling deprived, the bespoke culinary journey here is a revelation. It’s a blend of nourishment and indulgence, elevating the senses while embracing balance and sustainability.

Rumari, an embodiment of epicurean artistry, transported my senses across the island’s diverse landscapes, each plate a revelation of local, organic essence.

The symphony continued at dawn, a vibrant breakfast spread weaving tales of the bay’s bounty – Jimbaran Bay Lobster Omelet, Tuna Poke, and invigorating WellBeing Elixirs.

A tasting dinner at the property signature restaurant, Rumari.

As for the tasting dinner at Rumari, the menu began with an immersive hand-washing ritual, a precursor to the gastronomic journey that awaited. The green sambal accompanying the bread was a delightful teaser for the culinary voyage ahead.

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The amuse-bouches- Perkedel Jarung, sweet corn fritters, had a delicate crispness to it, while the Rojak, a medley of mixed fruits and vegetables, offered a refreshing burst of vibrancy.

The pièce de résistance, the signature sous vide duck egg from Brebes Farm, was an exceptional revelation. Nestled among delicate coconut strips, accompanied by local Tomme d’ Andaliman cheese, and crowned with the exquisite Kristal Maison Kaviari caviar, this dish defied expectations. Each forkful was an explosion of flavors – a harmonious blend of salty, sweet, and umami – melding with a luxurious mouthfeel that left an indelible mark.

The pièce de résistance, the signature sous vide duck egg from Brebes Farm.

The Sulawesi Ahi Tuna, Klung Klung Kalas, a culinary dance that celebrated textures and flavors, showcased the finest elements of Balinese cuisine. The ahi tuna, delicate and succulent, wove a tantalizing duet with the Klung Klung Kalas, creating a symphony of contrasts that delighted the senses.

Finally, the Bali Pie Susu-Vanilla Texture Egg Custard Puff Pastry Caramel concluded the journey on an unforgettable note. The dessert, an artful creation of textures and flavors, harmoniously blended the velvety richness of egg custard with the delicate embrace of puff pastry. The caramel lent its sultry sweetness, elevating the dish to a crescendo that lingered on the palate, a fitting finale to a culinary experience that was truly extraordinary.

Bali Pie Susu-Vanilla Texture Egg Custard Puff Pastry Caramel is what dessert dreams are made of.

I love the idea of combining traditional Balinese ingredients and techniques with an edge of innovation that showcases the property’s gastronomic artistry and in a way is also a celebration of Bali’s rich heritage while pushing culinary boundaries.

Perched on the edge of a tropical hill, the Sanctuary stood as an awe-inspiring treatment suite, reminiscent of a luxurious safari tent.

Opulent indulgence
My first morning at the property, I embarked on a journey to a secluded haven, the private Sanctuary, for a signature massage which I had been waiting to put to test ever since I arrived. Perched on the edge of a tropical hill, the Sanctuary stood as an awe-inspiring treatment suite, reminiscent of a luxurious safari tent. From this vantage point, I was greeted with a bird’s eye view of the sweeping expanse of Jimbaran Bay and the lush green landscape. As the skilled hands of my therapist kneaded away tension, the soothing strokes combined with the symphony of nature. Though the two-hour sensorial indulgence felt fleeting, it left in me a distinct imprint of tranquility. The holistic experience began with a foot bath followed by the sublime massage. The massages at The Sanctuary were, without a doubt, compelling reasons to repeatedly return to the embrace of Raffles Bali.

Engaging with the outdoors, throughout my stay, I was offered with opportunities to forge a renewed connection with nature. A picturesque breakfast picnic on the beach lawn unfurled a canvas of flavors, and against the backdrop of the majestic ocean, it granted me serene moments of contemplation and tranquility.

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Sunset dinner at Purnama Bale is a bucket list experience.

Venturing to the Purnama Bale for a dinner just before the sun dipped below the horizon, I was greeted by a mesmerizing spectacle. The sky painted a canvas of kaleidoscopic hues – purples, reds, oranges, and delicate blush tones. Amid artfully presented dishes of the freshest catches, the evening sky sparkled with the lights of planes descending across the bay. This cinematic vista stirred contemplation about my imminent return home, a poignant conclusion to this extraordinary journey.

Then there was the cleansing, releasing, and healing of my journey. Rooted in ancient cultural practices, the Five Senses of Wellness experience wove me into Bali’s spiritual tapestry, endowing transformative insights to carry forward into my reality.

Yoga or tai chi by the beach can be arranged by the property.

My wellness butler escorted me to the temple nestled within the Raffles Bali grounds for a profound Soul Blessing Ceremony. Clad in a sarong with a fresh change of clothes, I immersed myself in this time-honored Balinese ritual that offered a profound cleansing and rejuvenation of the soul and senses. Through each gesture, I was reminded of the importance of slowing down, even amidst life’s daily whirlwind. The ceremony commenced with a gentle water blessing and the tying of a white string onto my right wrist.

The fire-cleansing ceremony at Raffles Bali that coincided with a glorious sunset by the beach.

The pinnacle of this healing journey arrived with the Fire Ceremony, a glorious sunset ritual along the beach. Amid the crackling flames of a bonfire, the medicine woman, a guardian of ancient wisdom, welcomed me into her embrace. Her reassuring words, “Just let it all go,” resonated deeply within. As the ceremony unfolded, tears of release welled in my eyes. I was then guided closer to the fire to savour a dance of flames against the ocean breeze. In that intimate moment, our connection transcended time, and we conversed like kindred spirits. The moment arrived to inscribe all that I wished to release and forgive onto paper, and as I placed it into the fire’s fervent embrace, her voice carried on the breeze, “It is time to give it all to the fire. Break yourself free.”

The restoration, rejuvenation, and healing I was able to achieve by the Wellness Retreat at Raffles Bali ignited a renewed sense of purpose. On my last day, as I gradually reintegrated into the world of emails, work calls, and deadlines, the memories of this sanctuary continued to imbue my interactions with kindness, gratitude, compassion, and a newfound vitality – a gift from the Island of the Gods.

Rates for the experience start from $4,933

Note: The critic was hosted by the resort, but all opinions are her own.

Where: Raffles Bali, Jl. Karang Mas Sejahtera No.1A, Jimbaran, Kec. Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 2015800
Website:Raffles Balis

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