Before 2015 ended, my friends and I decided to take a rejuvenating trip to Bali, Indonesia. We also took the trip because my friend Annie wanted to celebrate her birthday alongside Bali’s breathtaking scenery and a million Indonesian rupiah worth of spa. I expected Bali’s beaches to be nothing short of awesome. It is, after all, known for being spiritually evoking getaway.
We were very excited for our fun-in-the-sun retreat when we arrived at 1am at Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia via Philippine Airlines
. We never really noticed the 4-hour travel time go by, since time flies so fast whenever I’m with these two.
Upon arrival at the airport in the morning, we were welcomed by the land transfer the W Hotel Retreat and Spa
arranged for us. The staff at the W Hotel was very accommodating and welcoming. They immediately attended to us and brought us to our villa. To my surprise, our private villa was spectacular. Outside, there were was a charming gazebo complete with mattress for lounging around by the pool, which was perfect for escaping the scorching heat of the sun. This was just the perfect hideaway!
There was a gazebo outside our villa complete with mattresses, perfect for a day of lounging and relaxing by the pool.
One of the great bathroom amenities at the W Hotel.
The paddy fields-inspired green tones of our room added to the tune of relaxation that we were aiming for.
We had our breakfast by the beach before taking a dip in the pool. We were treated with a view of the beach’s wave-tossed sand and crystal-clear water.
Everything about our first day in the island was turning out perfect. After our sumptuous meal, we headed back to our villa for a quick swim. What started as a day planned for relaxation ended up being a fun-filled day at the pool. What made it even more fun is the fact that we had the pool all to ourselves. Talk about total exclusivity!
We also did a little tour of the hotel amenities. We strolled around the landscape tropical WET® pool and by the scenic beachfront.
Of course, our plan was to unwind; therefore, going to the spa was our top priority – and Away Spa by W Hotels did not disappoint. Upon arriving, we were led by tiled floors that had thought-provoking words straight into an inviting receiving area with a question that caught my eye. When I saw the words “What’s your wish?”, it immediately gave me an idea of how much they really put their clients’ needs at the forefront of their service. Bali is known for exotic natural retreats so imagine my surprise upon finding the modern gem that is Away Spa. Aside from the innovative zero-gravity bed, they had us go through a round of pre-massage rituals before the main session. In my opinion, the massage they gave was probably one of the best ones I have ever had, a very relaxing experience right from start.
We were first given a 90-minute massage that took all our Manila stress away. The gentle strokes released the tied-up tension at my back. The spa’s name Away was just fitting because of the de-stressing effect of their body treatment and meditation. Right afterwards, we were led to a room to cool down our bodies and have a little snack. Next was a detoxifying experience through an oxygen mask and foot massage. The massage was a complete revitalizing experience that allowed me to focus on the rhythm of my own breath, quiet my own mind, and let my own thoughts pass by.
Doing some light reading before experiencing a relaxing escape at the Away Spa.
It was almost sunset when we left the spa. We decided to chill at the Woo Bar and have a couple of drinks by the beach. The cotton candy sky never failed to amaze me just as the sun slowly kissing the horizon did. As I looked around, I realized that the scenery was something enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike. We eventually capped the night with a few cocktails at the bar.
For our second day at Bali, we went on a spiritually uplifting journey. Our morning was greeted by the gentle Indian Ocean breeze as we prepared to visit temples and retreat places ideal for internal purification. We first paid a visit to the Tirta Empul - a Hindu water temple that is believed to carry holy water which will purify anyone who would bathe in it. I took a dip and sought for protective blessings and deliverance from illness while I waded into the holy spring.
Coffee was definitely in our must-taste and visit list. We headed on to Luwak Coffee Plantation for some Coffee 101. We tasted 8 kinds of coffee made from natural ingredients which included the most expensive coffee in the world. As my good friends can attest to, I am and will always be a big fan of coffee. This made the process of making Kopi Luwak really interesting. The coffeemakers fed coffee berries to a civet and when the undigested berries came out as feces, they were washed thoroughly, sun-dried, roasted, and grounded up for drinking.
We were treated to a variety of of tea and coffee variants.
After learning about Kopi Luwak, we headed to The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah
to recharge and unwind. The view of the greenery and the rice fields brushed away our stress & tension. The place was just a home away from home with its enticing 28-meter pool.
Waking up to a refreshing view of the mountain lake resort was a highlight in itself. Apart from the botanical gardens,vI would consider the picturesque sight of the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces one of Bali’s hidden gems. I personally recommend seeing the place. Witnessing its stunning beauty is well worth the $100 overnight stay we paid for.
Our last stop for the day was sunset watching at the pilgrimage rock formation of Tanah Lot Temple, a majestic view that left my friends and I in awe.
After freshening up in our hotel, we thought of going out for the night to celebrate Annie’s upcoming birthday. We decided to go bar hopping and had a blast waiting for the clock to strike twelve. We ended the night with a toast for Annie.
The following day, a grand breakfast from the hotel awaited my friend as a warm birthday greeting. For her birthday lunch, we then moved to the St. Regis Hotel
. We dined at Kayuputi
Restaurant which had a stunning beachfront view and a vast al fresco dining area. The food was also fantastic. With its modern cuisine, I could say that Annie chose one of the best restaurants in Bali. I accidentally spilt my drink on my shirt just when the food was served. It was a shame to see my white button down shirt stained with juice but the manager of the restaurant quickly went to my side to offer me a St. Regis shirt, and to have my shirt cleaned and pressed. After eating, my shirt was returned spotless. Talk about excellent service.
Happy Birthday, Annie! Kudos to the Hotel staff for helping us put together this surprise.
Annie was also treated to another round of cake at the St. Regis.
The Kayuputi is known for their Asian-influenced haute cuisine.
We lounged around the beachfront after. The vibrant beach huts were undeniably eclectic and eye-catching. We strolled around the hotel to see what else we could do and ended up visiting the church at the nearby Ritz Carlton
. That afternoon was just a day of good food and total relaxation—a fitting birthday celebration for Annie.
We then moved to the Bvlgari Hotel Resort
and Spa in Uluwatu, which is one of the finest hotels in this busy side of the island. I highly recommend going here. Aside from fantastic amenities, which we all loved and enjoyed, the Bvlgari Hotel also has one of the best overlooking views. We spent the afternoon drinking cocktails while watching the sun set in the horizon. As the orange, red, and blue hues transformed the sky straight into nighttime, my friends and I gave a toast for what had been a wonderful vacation.
For Annie’s birthday dinner, we sampled Italian cuisine at the Il Ristorante at the Bvlgari Hotel. With a twist of local ingredients, the fusion food definitely deserved two-thumbs up. One of the must-try dishes is their Amaretto Soufflé. It made me realize how touching it is to to witness another page in the chapter of my friend’s life. We had fun singing her a Happy Birthday before blowing her candle. The hotel even gave some flowers, balloons, and a little gift for Annie.
The next day was jam-packed. We had our breakfast at W Hotel and went on for some Moodboard Manila
décor shopping at the Beach House Project. We had a taste of local food at Made’s Warung afterwards and I must say, having their Nasi Campur Special for lunch was absolutely delicious!
Our next stop was the famous Uluwatu Temple where we found furry little friends strolling around with tourists. They told us that these monkeys are somewhat dangerous because they were trained to lure people while their master tries to rob the victim. After taking a photo with a monkey, we strolled away and found a good spot with lush sceneries for a souvenir photograph.
Our last night in the island was spent at the tourist- filled beach in Bali. We had dinner at Jimbaran Beach and although its was Jatiluwih’s total opposite, I felt that experiencing both was actually a good idea.
Going to Bali was truly a rejuvenating experience, just like what they show in movies. It is in this island of gods where we found peace, serenity, and holistic invigoration. We will be back for sure! We hate goodbyes but I also felt a little longing for home. Thank you, Philippine Airlines, for once again giving us a smooth airplane ride.