Feeling frazzled? Book a stay at this sensational spiritual spa in beautiful Bali
'That's what I meant to tell you!' I say to my husband James as we approach Fivelements, 'It's a raw food resort!'. His face falls but not for long – he soon spots the beautiful healing retreat that will be our home for the next 24 hours and all is forgiven (for now!).
We're on our honeymoon in the centre of Bali and have decided to spend a night at Fivelements – an eco-conscious holistic healing retreat that promotes the Balinise tradition of creating harmony between mind, body and soul. Having seen the website, I was expecting a luxe spa but it's that and so much more. We're greeted by Chicco, the Italian expat who co-founded Fivelements two years ago and based its ethos on balancing the five elements of water, air, earth, fire and space, which modern life has a tendancy to destroy.
After a refreshing welcome drink of lemongrass and ginger tonic, we get a quick tour of the resort's beautiful gardens, healing centre, restaurant and yoga spaces, all of which is situated next to the sacred Ayung river, meaning there's the constant calming sound of trickling water, then we're shown to our private bamboo enclosure, which houses our tipi-style bedroom, outdoor bathroom (it's OK, we're in balmy Bali, remember!) and open-air bath tub complete with seven different lighting options reflecting the seven chakras. We're given a crash course in how to use the high-tech iPad-style control for the lights and music (relaxing spa music is played throughout the resort but you can control the volume in your room or turn it off altogether if it gets too much!).
Then, it's time for my 'panca mahabhuta' – a reiki-style healing treatment involving prayers, meditation and healer Pak Wayan passing his hands over my body to clear any unhealthy energy. At the end of the session (which is so relaxing, I'm in a state of semi-sleep for most of it), he tells me everything is OK (phew!) but asks if I smoke. HEAVEN FORBID! He tells me he senses heat coming from my throat. I'm impressed – I have a cold, so he's clearly picking up on my airways being congested.
Next, it's lunch. James is dubious about his first raw-food, vegan experience – a daunting prospect for someone who once went out to buy a lettuce and came back with a cabbage ('This lettuce is really heavy, Lynds'), but when he realises he's able to order a pizza (made with cashew cheese and a sundried almond crust) and a chocolate milkshake (made with almond milk), his fears float away. I'm impressed with the juice menu because the names of them describe what they do. For example, there's the blood sugar regulator (carrot, cucumber, tomato and spinach), the stomach soother (aloe vera, honey and lime-aid), the colon cleanser (beetroot, carrot and celery), and even the heathy bones & blood (cashew milk, banana, Borneo bee pollen and cinammon). I have the 'super immunity booster (broccoli, dark leafy greens, celery, parsley, turmeric, ginger, apple and orange) to accompany my 'live' lasagne (made with cashew cheese and courgette slices in place of pasta). We're both impressed with how tasty our choices are – perhaps we'll be raw food converts after all.
After a laze by the amazing pool, we're have a couple's treatment: a deep muscle relaxation body massage and crystal sea salt exfoliation to aid the skin's ability to remain hydrated and promote cell renewal, all followed by a revitalising petal bath, in which lemongrass is used to aid our circulation, slices of orange and lime provide vitamins for our skin, and padan leaves and ginger help clear our heads. Drinking ginger tea while relaxing with my new hubby in the warm bath as the sun sets is the ultimate bliss-out.
After a delicious dinner of aubergine stuffed with marinated tofu served with coconut black rice and baby spinach and a divine chocolate 'cheese' cake (made with raw cocoa, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla bean on a wholenut crust - yum!), we head off to bed, proud we've managed to not only get through an evening without happy-hour cocktails, but not even missed them. Much.
The next morning, we go for an early-morning swim, then reward ourselves with a hearty breakfast. We both have a fruit salad with coconut yoghurt, then I opt for the seed and goji berry granola with nut milk and berries (one of the nicest breakfasts I've ever had!), while James sticks to what he knows with wholegrain toast, tropical fruit jam and almond butter.
We're sad to say goodbye to Fivelements but despite only being here for 24 hours, we both feel relaxed, rejuvinated and bursting with health. My cold has all-but disappeared and the blissed-out benefits stay with us for days afterwards (only cut short when a monkey tries to swipe my banana at the next resort!).
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