Situated on the northern side of the island, YTL’s Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali benefits from a three-hour separation from the busy tourist hub of the south. The peaceful, village life feel of the area is most likely what made Bali a popular travel destination many years ago. Unfortunately, that nostalgia is no longer found where most vacationers end up in the bustling areas around the airport. A little extra travel time though rewards guests with a disconnection from modern existence and a piece of what remains of old Bali today.
Black sand beaches, volcanic mountain backdrops and palm-lined shores set the scene for tranquil small town pursuits in Tembok. You’ll find no vendors hustling you a new pair of sunglasses, beach massage or illegal substances, no taxis offering you unsolicited “island tours” and, most certainly, no thumping night clubs or bars with promises of cheap cocktails tonight and harsh hangovers tomorrow. If you’d like that, stay south. For a calm, unhurried pace, head north.
Black Volcanic Sand Beach in front of hotel
Amidst the mayhem of the airport arrivals, a calm, traditionally dressed greeter holds name cards of guests. Warmly welcomed and escorted to a luxury vehicle the trip from the airport to YTL’s Spa Village Resort begins. Cool moist scented towels, mineral water and, a fresh salad of cucumber and pineapple, wipes away the heat and takes the edge off any creeping hunger. A journey guide, bound with natural fibres and a coconut shell hardcover, briefs passengers on a couple of breaks en route and the dinner menu for the evening.
Ready for the luxury van ride to Spa Village
Once out of Denpasar, the roads narrow and bend into a long undulating snake of twists and turns. Weaving through lush forest and slow-moving towns the charming side of Bali is gradually revealed. Crumbling ruins and locals balancing the days’ offerings on their heads border the path. Glimpses of the ocean, rice paddies and triangle peaked mountains are caught through gaps in the foliage.
Lotus Pond en route
Fondly nicknamed, “the birth canal,” the entrance to Spa Village Tembok Bali is a narrow laneway lined with bamboo trees. It is via this passageway that the final disengagement with the outside world takes place. The tunnel leads to an open walled lobby where a cool lime and mint tea hydrates, while harried thoughts are washed away with a footbath and head, neck and shoulder massage – all of this before check-in.
Bamboo Tree Lined Entrance
Welcome Foot Bath and Neck, Shoulder and Head Massage
Paperwork is left for later in the comfort of the room. A tour of the property and a settling-in seems of greater importance so the guest relation’s officer orientates new arrivals to the resort.
Welcome Ginger Spice Tea
The village is built around a central lawn, which rolls down to an infinity pool seemingly spilling over to the sea. Rows of palms border all sides, shading the area, fulfilling a tropical promise. Natural wood and stone make solid structures that blend with the abutting jungle. Further enhanced by thatched roofs, the resort breathes rusticity, yet a humble luxuriousness at the same time.
A two-storey row of rooms (31 in total) overlooks the central green on one side. The spa, restaurant and, recreation room, wall the opposite edge. The huge gazebo like reception closes the U, but the box is left unclosed with the top unfurling to the steady rise and fall of the ocean.
The Lawn and Accommodation
Private Spa Villa
The spa is the reason why many visitors choose this resort. Being so far from restaurants and other facilities most guests buy a full board package, which not only includes accommodation and meals, but too comes with a daily spa treatment. Natural products found locally are the primary ingredients used in therapies and, the healing rituals of Balinese culture are too held in high esteem. All treatments begin with a 30-minute ritual of a footbath and glass of refreshing Jamu (herbal medicinal drink). A body-steaming in a private pavilion bedded with black volcanic sand follows. From here on, any number of massages, facials, scrubs, wraps and combinations can be chosen.
Spa Waiting Lounge
100% natural products used in the spa
The open-air Wantilan Restaurant offers captivating views of the palm lined shore and rippling sea. At first glance the menu appears a small selection of local and international dishes that change daily. Chefs though, encourage diners to share with them what they feel like eating and, in turn, prepare dishes on the spot from the day’s catch and morning market procurements.
Strawberries and Ice Cream – Wantilan Restaurant
Lumba-Lumba is a lightly used recreation centre. Some dumb bells and a few cardio machines face the sea and, a television and reading room gather dust. A bundle of daily complimentary guided activities keep guests busy instead. For the active, yoga (Nyuun, Hatha, Swing) and walking excursions (beach, creativity, balance) are held every day. Classes teaching lontar carving (inscribing palm leaves), Jamu (herbal tonic) and boreh (body scrub) preparation, candle making, weaving, dance, pencak silat (martial arts) and cooking are taught by local experts. Starlight Gazing, where participants float on blow-up mattresses in the pool while listening to galactic music and admiring the heavens, is a perfect unwind before bed.
Daily Yoga on the Lawn
If that’s not enough to satisfy, a collection of additional field trips can be arranged. Hiking, biking, boating, diving – all lend themselves to the surrounding areas. A popular morning activity is a one-hour cycle and 20 minute walk to the base of a nearby waterfall. While guests take a dip in the stream or a pounding from the cascade, guides set up a picnic breakfast of fresh fruits, pastries, sandwiches, breads, juices and fresh coconuts. Refueled, the downhill hike and ride back to the resort is a breeze.
One of the optional activities – a bike and hike to the waterfall
All activities encourage disengagement with modern life and a reconnection to self and the natural environment.
Breakfast Picnic at the Waterfall
This “unplugging” is further nurtured in the rooms, where an absence of television and Internet forces even the most stubborn to disconnect. (For addicts, free Wi-Fi runs in the lobby and, a TV and book room is opened 24 hours in the recreation centre.) Provision of Balinese fisherman’s pants, top and slippers urges a stripping of layers from the outside world and a donning of cool breathable cotton, removing the need to think about what to wear (and if you’re clever, saves some luggage space too!).
Bedroom and Living Area looking out to Balcony
A spacious bedroom opens via glass sliding doors onto a balcony overlooking the community green and down to the pool and sea. Cool air conditioning within, or fresh sea air out, either location is well suited to a good book and cup of tea.
View from Room Balcony
In Room Tea and Coffee Facilities
The bathroom is pleasantly adorned with reusable ceramics holding bath products, fluffy white towels and, frangipani flowers. A bathtub is filled during turn down service and scattered with colourful blossoms for a scented floral soak before bed.
Eco Friendly Storage of Bath Products
And… with soft mattress, high quality linens and a day of yoga, lessons, sun and sea… sleep well you will.
Reason to visit: relaxed feel of small village life, luxury as only YTL know how, a wellness getaway, good for couples but also just as viable for those needing an escape from the modern world, a place to disconnect and
gosh, talk about an eye-popping setting for a resort! it sure doesn't get better than this in bali, eh. looks amazing! 😀
Gosh! That is such a lovely getaway!
wow… what a retreat! Love the bamboo lined entrance and the starlight gazing… gosh… fly me there now!!
The bamboo avenue is so welcoming.
And the welcome drink looks so refreshing!