Paper Edition | Page: 8
For double treatment, guest can immerse in the romantic atmosphere. Courtesy of Bali Hyatt
Balinese style has become an inspiration for many spas on the island to present an authentic Balinese experience for guests seeking sanctuary.
Well-hidden in a lush tropical garden, there lies a spa sanctuary at Bali Hyatt. To get there, one has to follow a labyrinth of passageways through 36 acres of gardens full of tropical plants and coconut palms and surrounded with colorful rows of bougainvillea and frangipani.
Through a wooden gate, one reaches a more open area. You are greeted by a group of antique stone totems with brightly colored pink bougainvillea shrubs near a flight of stairs that takes you down to the Spa at the Bali Hyatt.
A candi bentar, a traditional gate with two separate but symmetrical parts, acts as the entrance. Here, a beautiful compound of traditional buildings stands surrounded by a garden featuring tropical plants and colorful flowers in a serene landscape.
It was a creation of James Christou and Partners, who designed the architectural concept of the hotel’s spa, which opened in 1998. It was the first Hyatt spa in the world.
“The Spa was built with a simple approach of courtyard architecture, which is very much a reflection of traditional villages in Bali,” Christou said.
The Spa at the Bali Hyatt consists of two different zones.
First is the lobby, separated from the outermost zone by the candi bentar. Balinese fountain statues of women holding water jars stand on a long rectangular pond behind the candi bentar.
Across the pond, there is the thatched roof of the Spa lobby with a wide, open verandah where guests can make spa reservations or wait while sipping holistic remedies and enjoying the serenity of the surrounding gardens.
According to her research into Balinese traditional landscaping Ni Made Yudantini, a lecturer of Udayana University, says that the construction of buildings in Bali’s traditional villages (desa adat) comprises three zones (Tri Angga).
The separation is part of the Balinese Hindu philosophy of Tri Hita Karana, the harmonious interaction between humans and God (parhyangan), each other (pawongan) and nature (palemahan).
Each section of the Tri Angga is part of the Tri Hita Karana. The southern layer is called nista, which provides facilities such as a market, public bathing area, wells, a graveyard and a sports area.
The second layer — the madya or middle zone — is where people gather for village activities and to interact with each other. The madya is where places like the wantilan (a joglo-styled roofed pavilion), the puri (palace), the pempatan agung (crossroads) and the village chief’s office are located.
The main zone is the sacred utama area, located in the north of the village, where the temples accommodate people’s needs to forge a spiritual connection with God are built.
At Bali Hyatt’s spa, the main zone is where the treatment rooms are located.
There are four single treatment rooms and four double treatment villas, each with its own entrance, complete with a small pond in front. The utama area is complete with other facilities, such as a sauna, a steam room and an outdoor jacuzzi.
A paduraksa gate separates the lobby from the treatment zones. The paduraksa is also a traditional Balinese gate. But unlike the candi bentar, this gate has a lintel that connects the two identical buildings.
The Balinese atmosphere is strongly felt in each room with the presence of a Kamasan-style painting on the eaves of the roof, while in the double villas the painting is framed beautifully with carved, rounded frames placed on the wall.
Treatment beds are in the shaded area, arranged with warm-colored brown chairs for foot rituals overlooking the enchanting small garden inside each room and villa.
Wooden gazebos with thatched roofs are set within the gardens of the double villas for guests to relax under after treatment. The overall ambience is much as is felt in a Balinese home.
A strong Balinese atmosphere can also be felt at the Mandara Spa at Nikko Bali Resort and Spa.
Located in the hotel’s vast garden, the spa’s compound, designed by Gede Kusuma Wijaya, charms guests with authentic Balinese atmosphere.
A pair of beautiful carved wooden doors welcomes guests who seek treatment in any of the spa’s eight double villas.
Further inside, the interior design surprisingly shows more a modern concept while still evoking a Balinese ambience through carved decorations, such as those adorning its walls and ceilings.
The spa also makes strong use of stone and wood, dominated with natural colors, while the layout still allows a flow of sunshine while keeping a perfect level of shade at the treatment area.
At the Mandara Spa’s villa, the footbath area faces the mesmerizing garden, so guests can enjoy themselves while feeling relaxed seeing lush tropical foliage, water fountains and a pebbly garden footpath.
The bath area is stunning, with a large bathtubs filled with flower petals and scented water are placed on a separate thatched-roof pavilion within the garden — providing a complete healing of the body, mind and spirit through extensive treatments.
Yuli, the manager of the Mandara Spa at Nikko Bali Resort and Spa, said that natural concepts helped guests to feel more relaxed.
“You can imagine a feeling of being immersed in a natural setting. Here, guests love the tranquility and listen to the sound of waves while having a treatment,” she says.
Despite the natural setting, the overall presentation as well as providing Balinese traditional treatment rituals gives an authentic enjoyment when it comes to total rejuvenation – and something that cannot be found in other regions or countries.
“Our concept is Balinese and it’s very traditional, guests want to try something different that can only get in Bali. They want to get that Bali feeling,” Yuli says.