Instead of “Island of the Gods,” Bali could easily be referred to as “Island of the Spas.” The sheer abundance of spas and wellness centers is overwhelming, which sometimes makes it difficult to settle on one. Venues to pamper oneself range from the relatively cheap to high-end luxury, from traditional Balinese massages and Japanese shiatsu treatment to reflexology and facials.
Among this plethora of choices, the Karma Spa stands out because of its stunning location.
Set atop a high cliff at Bali’s southernmost tip, overlooking the Indian ocean, the view alone provides reason enough for a visit.
Guests enter through a wooden door and are welcomed at an open-air spa lounge furnished with comfortable rattan chairs.
A couple of steps further you will find one of the two treatment huts, both designed to accommodate two people.
The real jewel of the spa— once again due to the extraordinary view — is the open-air pavilion that features a sauna, a steam room and a jacuzzi.
While taking a dip in a jacuzzi is always rejuvenating, it can be made even better by watching a tropical sunset and listening to the distant sound of waves breaking on the rocks.
When I visited Karma Spa, it was late in the afternoon and the staff asked me to have a seat in the lounge first, where they served me refreshments.
The fresh sea breeze made it hard to concentrate on filling out the few forms they gave me inquiring about any health conditions I might have — such as high blood pressure, allergies or injuries — and whether I’d like light, medium or deep pressure for my massage.
The treatments at Karma Spa range from oxygen facials and reiki treatments to traditional massage and reflexology. They also offer yoga sessions and wellness packages that last up to three days.
One of the most popular treatments at Karma Spa is the oxygen infusion facial, which allegedly lifts the skin after only one treatment and is favored by celebrities like Madonna and Eva Longoria.
A chat with the staff revealed that the spa receives many outside visitors, most of whom are lured there by the stunning setting and views.
Many resort guests also apparently take up the offer of being massaged in their private villas.
After a little consultation, I opted for the 90 minutes Balinese massage.
Not only did I think it was kind of mandatory — I was in Bali after all — but the staff also assured me that the massage would be helpful for people who are tied to their desks and sit in front of their computers all day long.
All therapists — or “bodywokers,” as they are called at Karma Spa — have been trained by sports massage therapists, Chinese medical practitioners, reflexologists and traditional healers.
Yanti, my therapist for that afternoon, led me to one of the treatment huts. After slipping into a comfortable robe, the Balinese massage began.
The usual lulling music was also played over the speakers at Karma Spa — but the chill out tracks didn’t need the additional sound of waves, as I was able to hear the real ocean through the windows.
Yanti started to massage my feet and legs using organic coconut oil, first with gentle strokes before eventually increasing the pressure.
She then repeated the technique on my arms, combining the strokes with acupressure on certain points on my hands.
Not for one second was I under the impression that Yanti was rushing through the treatment.
She took her time to loosen every tight muscle of my body, and, as per my request, focused especially on my neck and shoulders.
She asked me from time to time if I felt comfortable and relaxed enough. The treatment ended with a head and light face massage.
When she quietly announced that she was done, she left the room while I changed back into my clothe. I had some trouble getting up at first because, in my mind, I had already reached a nirvana that, frankly, I wasn’t quite ready to depart just yet.
I have been to plenty of spas, but this turned out to be a completely different experience.
Maybe it was the overall ambience of the place that filled me with a deep sense of relaxation and inner tranquility or perhaps it was the combination of the superb massage and the stunning location.
All I know is, the whole experience left me much more refreshed than I have felt in a very long time.
Karma Spa at Karma Kandara
Jl. Villa Kandara Banjar Wiyaja Kusuma Ungasan, Bali
Tel: 0361 848 2200