Wellness in the Wild

Dolphin Indonesia
Dolphin Indonesia // Photo by AndreaIzzotti/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Fivelements, an intimate resort in Bali, is tucked into the jungle against the serene and beautiful backdrop of Ayung River.Pictured: Fivelements, an intimate resort in Bali, is tucked into the jungle against the serene and beautiful backdrop of Ayung River.

Location, location, location. When it comes to healing and wellness, it’s all about the atmosphere. We’ve taken a look at two spas that are immersed in the wild, and help travelers reconnect with the au naturel side of life.

Fivelements in Bali is an intimate resort (just nine rooms) tucked into the jungle. Good to know: The two-bedroom riverfront Bidadari suite has its own plunge pool, open lounge living room, and terraces with private bathhouse overlooking the jungle and Bali’s Ayung River. Book through Eka Arsani, sales executive ([email protected]).

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But at this private resort, the spa is the star.

The focus at Fivelements is “living well,” which is inspired by the Balinese culture. Their most unique offerings are the Healing Journeys, which takes travelers through Bali to present once-in-a-lifetime experiences for the heart, mind and soul. Spa-goers can customize one- to five-day Healing Journeys. Following a pre-consultation, Fivelements will suggest a personalized itinerary for a Sacred Pilgrimage, a Village Immersion or a Nature Trek, as well as pair travelers with experts in appropriate fields of study to enhance the experience. A team will then work together to personalize each day in line with the Balinese philosophy of Tri Hita Karana. Past itineraries have included pilgrimages to a hidden cave temple with a Balinese priest and a cultural anthropologist, or a visit to a remote Balinese village for an extended stay in a local home with a Gamelan musician and a linguist. Other treks include foraying deep into Bali’s rainforests to search for herbs with an ecologist and a Balinese healer.

Water therapies are also highly popular at Fivelements, being right on Bali’s sacred river. Trainers assist guests through aquatic body work along the concept of Tri Hita Karana. The spa offers Watsu and Healing Dance Aquatic Bodywork. Inspired by Shiatsu, Watsu features acupressure and passive joint movement.

Fivelements offers highly popular water therapies where trainers assist guests through the Balinese philosophy of Tri Hita Karana.Pictured: Fivelements offers highly popular water therapies where trainers assist guests through the Balinese philosophy of Tri Hita Karana.

If it’s the more traditional spa atmosphere you crave, Fivelements can cater to that as well. We hear the Sakti Ritual is the most requested treatment (think a Balinese massage, detoxifying salt scrub and bath ritual). Tip: We hear Pak Made is the most requested masseuse for body work.

Fivelements can also cater to families looking to heal together. The spa has a menu of beauty rituals for ages 12 to 17, as well as a menu for those under 12. Our favorites are the Purifying Turmeric Teens Facial and the Chocolate Dream.

Brides-to-be can primp at the spa, as well. Fivelements offers pre-wedding rituals for the bride and groom and the wedding party/family.

To book Healing Journeys or other spa treatments, reach out to Lahra Tatriele, wellness curator ([email protected]; 011-62-361-469-206).

Getting There: Guests can fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali. From there it is 75 minutes to the hotel.

On the Gulf of Thailand, spa enthusiasts can find Chiva-Som International Health Resort. Spotlight is on the spa at this resort, which has up to 70 treatment rooms. Upon arrival at the resort, guests are offered a complimentary Health and Wellness consultation designed to help them achieve their goals, determine their current state of health and ability to achieve those goals. Personal advisors will help guests make the most of their spa stay with a regimen to improve aspects of life, including diet, exercise, activity, rest and relaxation, physical ailments, emotional issues and inner self.

At the spa, we hear the most requested treatments focus around weight management and detox. The weight management retreat brings guests close to a personal trainer and nutritionist, who help to correct lifestyle. Each service is tailored to the client and complemented with the spa’s facilities and activity calendar. Included in the weight management retreat is an individual health and wellness consultation, three spa cuisine meals per night, complimentary physical analysis, a daily treatment per night stay, daily fitness and leisure activities, and unlimited use of water therapy suites.

The detox program uses herbal and nutritional supplements to ensure the detox process works. There is also the option to incorporate colonic hydrotherapy into the program. Central to success is Chiva-Som’s spa cuisine and a healthy cleansing diet. The resort then works to help guests live a “toxin free” lifestyle when they return home. The longer retreat a guest selects, the more detox-promoting therapies are included (think pranayama breathing, super stretch, oxidative stress test, flower remedy, cleansing cocoon and more).

For spa bookings, reach out to Wanna Homsanoe, spa manager ([email protected]; 011-66-32-536-536). Tip: It is ideal to book 30 to 90 days in advance during high season (October-May).

When booking a stay at Chiva-Som, it is best to book a suite, as these come with private butler service. For bookings, reach out to Athipat Jitchaiwat, sales director ([email protected]; 011-66-27-116-900).

Getting There: Fly guests into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. It takes about two-and-a-half hours to reach the resort. If travelers want to land a helicopter or private plane, Hua Hin International Airport is just 20 minutes from the resort.

For questions regarding either Fivelements or Chiva-Som, contact Monica Chandra, consultant, wellness travel at Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates LLC ([email protected]; 011-915-74 6-125).

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