What's it like checking into a wellness retreat for the first time?
Discovering a new best self
Everyone has their own version of an ideal holiday. Whether it's exploring Europe on a backpack, experiencing one of the most innovative hotels in Shanghai, or eating your way through Paris, there's bound to be something out there for everyone.
In my arbitrary opinion, a wellness retreat appears to be one reserved for the passionate yogi; the gluten-free crew and girls with "Eat, Pray, Love" tattooed on their wrists. Unfortunately, I relate to none of those. So being part curious, part sceptical, I left my salt & vinegar chips and copious cans of Coca-Cola back home, packed my best-looking activewear, hopped onto a plane and checked myself into REVĪVŌ Wellness Resorts — a new luxury escapade nestled amidst the breezy hills of Nusa Dua in Bali.
Positioning themselves as a forerunner and setting a new benchmark for wellness retreats in Asia, REVĪVŌ means "I'll live again". It aims to soothe the spirit and rejuvenate the body with a comprehensive journey of relaxation activities, spa and holistic medicine treatments, and a personalised nutritional programme. Guests can choose from a 3-day retreat al the way up to a 14-day escape. Programmes range from 'Emotional balance and mind training', 'Weight loss', 'Anti-aging' and 'De-stress'. Sounds pretty much like the life goals most city folk yearn to achieve in their entire lifetime.
"I COULD GET USED TO THIS"
The property itself is a visual treat, from the main lobby to the individual villas. Occupying three hectares of lush land, everything was kept clean, chic and entirely Instagrammable — sugar-white walls were a mainstay, pairing beautifully against the dreamy blue pools peppered throughout the property. Unlike most Balinese villas, the rooms here take on a more modern approach while letting their friendly staff (decked in traditional uniforms) and the requisite four-poster bed remind you that you're residing in Bali.
Slowly but surely, the space becomes a safe luxurious haven for cleansing yourself from the city clutter, albeit with spotty Wi-Fi — but I guess that sums up the whole point of being there. The resort boasts 16 suites, including two four-bedroom villas that can be booked for bigger families. Extra bonus points: a sunken bath is present in every villa, letting in a glorious view of your private garden outside. Other facilities include a restaurant, bar (yes, drinking is fortunately allowed here), spa, poolside lounge, hybrid fitness space and an events space.
"THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM"
A 7am morning call for an aerial yoga session sounded like something I would have scoffed at back home. But obviously, my body adapted swifty to the circumstances and there I was, not a second late — after an intensive intoxicating session being suspended upside down, it was time for the day to really begin. Turns out when you manage to get past waking up and your first exercise of the day, you're left with a rad amount of endorphins and a lot of time to spare.
Works for me. The best part of being at a wellness-centric place is that they have a top-notch spa to cater to every aching need. REVĪVO's holistic spa combines authentic ancient Balinese healing traditions, aroma, hydro and chromo therapies and facilities to nurture the body and achieve overall well-being and balance. Their spa brochure menu is as comprehensive as it is enchanting. Like a kid in a candy store, you'll be spoilt for choice. Treatments here range from being simplistic to medicinal. For instance: you can either opt for a traditional Balinese massage or book yourself in for a lymphatic drainage massage, which aims to flush out toxins via the lymph nodes. After an hour (or two) in paradise, you can move on to their state-of-the-art amenities — hot and chilly plunge pools, infrared saunas, steam rooms, a Jacuzzi and even a salt water floating pool.
Time check: it's only noon. This post-spa blissed out self is definitely due for a hearty meal and ready to conquer the resort's hybrid fitness zone. Pick what you thrive on most; from releasing pent-up aggression in a boxing session, sweating it out in a HIIT workout or simply going back to being mindful on a yoga mat — the options here are limitless.
"THESE MEALS AREN'T WHAT I'D IMAGINED HEALTH TO TASTE LIKE"
Every place needs a strong core to cement its base. The heart of REVĪVŌ lies in its cuisine, and without the intuitive and adept culinary expertise of their creative nutritionist chef, Aliwalu, I can't say that I would have enjoyed being in a wellness retreat as much as I did during my time here. Chef Aliwalu abides by a foolproof philosphy — serving fresh, wholesome, organic and balanced meals that honour the produce as close to their natural state as possible.
High protein dishes are the highlight here — free from gluten, enriched with healthy fats, rendered low in carbs and crafted with a Balinese twist. Think creative dishes like coconut ceviche without the presence of fresh fish but substituted with cucumber, fresh coconut, lime marinade and cilantro. There were also nutritious buckwheat matcha soba noodles and black quinoa to keep their salads interesting. Misconceptions about a wellness sanctuary being a meatless cult also went out the window — especially after I sunk my teeth into one of their delicious rosemary chicken breasts.
While you can't find club sandwiches or truffle fries here, you won't be fantasising about those with the vast selection here. I was constantly kept at the edge of my seat — and at the same time, blown away by how appetising everything was. Who knew health on a plate could taste and look this good?
"MY BODY... FEELS DIFFERENT?"
While I wasn't neccessarily sleeping more, my body was energetic, upbeat and invigorated. Not in the usual way that I felt after my usual morning coffee, but the kind that lasted more than just a brief intermission buzz. Of course, no visible abs were detected just yet but hey, Rome wasn't built in a day. Give me an extra month and I could be onto something here.
"While I wasn't neccessarily sleeping more, my body was energetic, upbeat and invigorated. Not in the usual way that I felt after my usual morning coffee, but the kind that lasted more than just a brief intermission buzz."
"THIS IS THE BEST VERSION OF MYSELF"
We all board a plane to get somewhere, for the sake of ourselves. That's what vacation days are slated for — to better ourselves and to treat ourselves. After a three-day respite at REVĪVŌ, I found that a wellness retreat isn't any different — while some might question the lack of freedom to roam, eat or explore, it's the closest definition there is to self-love. Loving your body by:
A. Being conscious of what you eat
B. Challenging it with various forms of workouts
C. Learning from passion-driven individuals
The final takeaway? I can safely say I gained more than I lost in my very first experience in a wellness getaway. Would I do it again? Without a doubt, and this time with accurate and soaring expectations — REVĪVŌ has certainly set the bar up high.
Bali is REVĪVŌ Wellness Resorts' first location. It will soon be followed by REVĪVŌ Wellness Cruise, Komodo Islands, in early 2019 and REVĪVŌ Château de Fiac, France in mid 2019.