MANDAPA, BALI, INDONESIA
BEST FOR: ALL-OUT RELAXATION FOR THE MIND, BODY AND SOUL
NOT FOR: THOSE NEEDING AN URBAN BUZZ. IT’S LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE HERE
Even before getting stuck into any wellness agendas, all-new Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, nurtures with a therapeutic and re-energising sanctuary which aims to “relax one’s mind, body and soul” – the ancient Sanskrit word Mandapa further translates as ‘temple.’ Typical of all Ritz-Carlton boutique Reserves – this, their third globally – Mandapa comes inspired by a sense of place, here, the highland town of Ubud, for centuries, a hotbed of spirituality, natural healing traditions, healers and practitioners, or ‘Balians,’ who work with divine energy and ancient rituals to promote well-being. Secluded away from daily distractions, Mandapa immerses guests in Ubud culture, nature and traditional village life – albeit with Ritz-Carlton’s off-the-charts standards.
Surrounded by lush rainforest, this outrageously luxe property comes spectacularly tiered down a ravine to an “S” bend on the Ayung River; centre-stage are working rice paddies where guests go native, planting and harvesting – some of the interactive cultural experiences available. Health and wellness aspects permeate throughout, starting with the welcome drink infused with indigenous herbs to the selective, yet superior, buffet breakfasts, with fresh wheatgrass shots, blueberries and homemade yoghurts plus à la carte options covering organic oatmeal with blueberries. The sumptuous 35 suites and 25 private pool villas, blending colonial-style elegance with island craftwork, are the ultimate in pampering, assisted by a 24-hour Patih (personal assistant to Balinese kings and queens).
Mandapa Spa, is however where the real wellness kicks-in. A timbered complex strung along the riverbank, treatment huts and the relaxation lounge are semi-open, allowing sounds of the fast-flowing rapids to induce complete zone-out. Complimentary inclusions cover daily yoga sessions in the yoga studio and vitality pool, elevated above the river. Treatments draw inspiration from Ubud’s heritage of herbal medicinal remedies with a strongly rooted connection to age-old healing therapies: highlights include Ceremonies for Two, evoking traditional Balinese rituals, with the blissful Royal Spice Ceremony (2.5 hours) and Yoga Meditation, with an Ubud yoga Swami practicing Pranawayu, a unique Balinese-style yoga that he created, which focuses on awareness and energy from within the body.
Mandapa’s signature is holistic wellness and lifestyle programmes, based on six pillars and contributing to life-changing rejuvenation, optimal health and natural healing elements. Balinese Spa, Detox, Nutrition, Alternative Therapy, Body Therapy and Healing programmes are overseen by a dedicated health and wellness consultant, who from personal wellness consultations and body assessments formulizes bespoke programmes for individual needs. These are inclusive of hand-picked, international and local health specialists, authentic healers and therapists, spa facilities and Mandapa’s regular classes and weekend workshops, with activities ranging from couple’s massage and traditional Balinese dancing to juice workshops.
Nutrition, Detox and Body Therapy programmes are tailor-made for guest stays, incorporating menus of health-conscious, wholesome food with the freshest ingredients from surrounding farms and in-house organic gardens. Cleansing Detox comes supported by carefully selected treatments, therapists and healers, while Body Therapy maximises the therapeutic benefits of the vitality pool and “heat experiences” combining the sauna, herbal steam room and ice-fountain.
Three Wellness Retreats offer 3, 5 or 7-day residential options: the ultimate spa and pampering journey, Taste of Mandapa highlights an invigorating Padi (rice) massage inspired by Bali’s ubitiquous foodstuff, a four-hand synchronised massage, plus private Pranawayu yoga class within Mandapa’s Hindu village temple, while Alternative Therapy incorporates a healing hands massage, two-hour private yoga spa session, meditation and health-giving cooking class. It is however, Balinese Traditional Healing that goes full-tilt immersing guests in an authentic Ubud healing-fest; magical experiences extend to a purification ritual with a Hindu priest, private Tai Chi and Qi Gong classes and deeply relaxing Mepijet massage, incorporating Balinese and Javanese techniques.
Mandapa draws from an extraordinary pool of local healers, administering their indigenous energy, body and mind work in the retreats. “Stars” include a royal healer and shaman, who happens to be the last King of Ubud’s grandson and a celebrity favourite, a gifted blind reflexologist who uses her intuitive awareness, body scanning and energy channeling to heal and a Reiki master whose powerful sessions cleanses guests of negative energy; he also doubles as a Rain Stopper – an in-demand Balinese occupation for important events.
PRICE: From £367 per night including breakfast, based on two people sharing
CONTACT: Tel: +62 361 4792777; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEAREST AIRPORT: Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport
TRANSFER TIME: One hour
First-Hand Visit Write-Up By: Samantha Coomber