Bali is the place to “get your glow on”…
Every hotel has a spa, at all levels of indulgent luxury. There’s a spa/salon every few steps in between cafes and shops. We’re spoilt for choice.
I’ve honed my favourite treatments down to a few spas in Ubud. I have a personal ticklist of preferences…. products using natural ingredients based on authentic recipes, garden surrounds, relaxed friendly vibe from the staff, (I’m not a fan of super quiet, over polite formal spa service!) along with prices that don’t crush the budget.
You can’t leave Bali without trying the classic ‘mandi lulur’ treatment.
Think full body massage, all over exfoliating scrub and relaxing in a bathtub filled with fragrant flowers. Its 90 minutes of pure bliss. You’ll find it on every spa menu.
There’s no better place than Nur Salon, one of the most original spas In Ubud for this treatment. Established in 1978 by Ibu Nur, it’s a family home that blends home, temple, garden, art and spa into an enchanting space. Leave the hustle of Ubud behind you once you step through the entrance.
There’s a wide range of body treatments using seaweed, coffee, ginger and more. For a truly exotic experience try the aloe and lavender banana leaf wrap. Being wrapped in banana leaves is quite wonderful!
I know you’ll want to go back so leave time to work through the full menu of body treatments, pedicures, hair treatments etc. Located in one of my fave streets Jl Hanoman.
Prices: range from $25 – $45 or you can book in for a package of 4 treatments for 3-4 hours for $70- $90.
Contact & Location: http://nursalonubud.com/
I have been walking to the other side of town for more than 10 years for the best hair treatment at Cantika Alami.
It’s a tiny spa more outdoors than in, with an absolutely no rush vibe (you’ll find the girls happily napping if there’s no customers), on a small path 10 mins off the main road.
Jasi, the owner has been making her own products, using ingredients from the garden, for many years. I can only think of them as ‘delicious’.
The hair treatment starts with coconut shampoo, patchouli water and a head massage. Next up fresh aloe vera gel is applied, coating your scalp and hair with nutritious goodness. The deliciousness continues. A neck, shoulder and arm massage with a fragrant coconut, ginger and floral oil is a pleasant distraction whilst the aloe does its good work.
The aloe is rinsed away, a final bowl of cool patchouli water is poured over as conditioner. There’s no styling or blow-drying. Just a comb through with a final spray of rose, coconut or frangipani tonic.
It takes an hour. Sip on the lemongrass tea. Relax.
I also drop in here for an equally delicious facial and I can’t leave without buying the coconut shampoo and hair tonic. Love to try this at home? Jasi runs workshops on how to create the products using ingredients that you can find at home.
Prices: less than $20 to give your hair the best treat in town.
Contact & Location: http://www.cantikazestbali.com/#alami
Tucked away in a quiet street is Narasoma.
A homestay that has grown into a retreat centre with a lovely spa, the ambience is Bali yogi style. Peaceful. Clean. Considered. The treatments only use fresh natural ingredients and follow traditional recipes.
A 30 minute salt foot bath left my feet feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. I got to sip on Rosella tea whilst exploring a pack of crystal cards. The garden views calmed the mind. This is a quiet place to drop off the world.
It’s small, only 4 staff, so you may have to plan ahead.
Prices: so reasonable, the 45 min body scrub treatments approx $12. Check the full menu on their website.
Contact & Location: http://www.narasoma.com/body-spa.html
For waxing, its cheap and cheerful at Milano Salon on Monkey Forest Rd. This is very basic. Not at all salubrious. No website. Head down the lane near the soccer field.
For quiet sophistication I go to Skin Spa & Organic Waxing Salon. It’s a popular place with expats so book ahead.
Prices: Start at $7 for eyebrows. Check the full menu on their website.
Contact & Location: http://ubudskinorganic.com/wp/
Anyone with injuries or generally riddled with aches and pains, I send to Wayan at Restu Spa for excellent massages. Trained by a famous guru, he gets very booked out, but its worth the wait. His staff are good for relaxing massages.
Prices: Around $25 for one hour massage.
Contact & Location: PH: 0361 970483
Both Skin and Restu are located on Gautama St, a very cool lane to wander whilst you wait for your appointment. The shopping varies from boho chic to tattoos, there’s a chocolate store and every version of a smoothie you can imagine at the various organic cafes. I like to drop into Biah Biah for tasty Balinese tapas.
In my opinion Bali is not the place for a cut and blowdry.
It’s risky and really not worth it as it lasts for minutes in the humid conditions! The only time I venture into this zone is when I need a little help with my hair and makeup for professional photos.
Typically, Balinese hair and makeup artists are trained for weddings and temple ceremonies. Think glamourous and dramatic. Fresh and light is not a concept so I was happy to discover Ibu Jero from Bliss Salon who understands what we’re after. You can take a photo in as a guide. She’s very adaptive and resourceful.
The salon is very local style. Dark, shabby in a nice way, loads of well-thumbed old magazines to flick through whilst you wait.
Prices: Local prices. So inexpensive for the time and effort Ibu Jero gives you.
Contact & Location: Jammed in next to a mini-market on Monkey Forest Rd south of the soccer field. Ibu Jero isn’t in the salon every day, so book ahead. ph: (0361) 976396
For those with fond memories of body treatments at Sharing Bali, you’ll be pleased to know Wayan now has a simple village salon.
If you feel like a day out of town, head to Wayan’s place for massages, facials and pedicures. No views, but the girls are as lovely as always. And if I’m home you can drop by for a glass of lemongrass and ginger tea and have a little furball time with Cantik.
Prices: Starting at $10.
Contact & Location: 50 mins from Ubud.Awful phone signal so best to contact Wayan via FB messenger.
So that’s my wrap. Its a very personal list. I hope you find something that’s right for you.
My big tip: Take time to treat yourself. Squeezing a spa treatment in between hectic activities is not the way to go! Dashing back out into the hustle of Ubud will instantly dissolve your 90 mins or so of bliss.
Slow down, wander into the spa, take in the smells, the quietness, the gentleness. Leave at a graceful pace. Hold on to the glow……
PS. I don’t receive any benefits from sharing my favourite places with you, I’m happy to give them all a shoutout.