Only opened in March last year, REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort is yet to celebrate its first birthday, but it’s already shaken up Bali’s wellness scene in the luxe southern neighbourhood of Nusa Dua. Now set to expand into wellness cruises, two new wellness resort locations as well as launching two new day spa concepts, things are only just getting started for this wellness resort. We chat to the brains behind the brand, Laurie Mias about how the REVĪVŌ concept came about and the new specialised expert retreats coming up in 2019.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Were you always interested in wellness? Wellness has always been a part of my life. I’ve practised yoga for 15 years, and I’m a yoga instructor. I worked in Paris for the brand Buddha Bar and some of its sister companies, creating concepts and opening bars. I moved to Hong Kong seven years ago and I started Mr Green Juice, the cold-pressed organic juice company.
How did REVIVO get started? I was meeting with investors for Mr Green Juice, and Gordon (Oldham), the founder of Pavilions Hotel and Resorts Group, was one of them. After my pith, he told me that he wasn’t interested in investing in the juice company, but he asked how much I knew about wellness. “Do you like spas?” he asked me, and I said yes, so sent me to Bali with my boyfriend to Bali to the Aman in Nusa Dua to do some market analysis.
I did some work on their spa, but they closed shortly after due to leasing issues. The villas they’d been managing were all luxury, so it wasn’t suitable for the Pavilions. I said, “Well why don’t we do a new brand?” Competition is fierce in Nusa Dua, the property isn’t on the beach, and Nusa Dua isn’t as hot as it was in the ‘80s—Ubud is where everyone wants to go now. I drafted a pitch for three months, based around a wellness core, and they loved it. So that’s when REVIVO was born.
What is REVĪVŌ’s three wellness pillars based around? I really wanted to change the habits of people and improve their lives. Wellness for me is very much related to happiness. How do we achieve happiness? I read a lot of research and people like Matthieu Ricard, the French translator for the Dalai Lama, inspired me a lot. He did a TED Talk called “The Habits of Happiness”: he was a biochemist who was very much down to earth until he met with the Dalai Lama: he convinced Ricard that through meditation you can actually achieve happiness. Mind training is a skill that everybody can learn—you just need to practice it and have the tools to continue practising. So that’s one of the main ideas behind REVĪVŌ, which is Latin for, “I will live again.”
Who is REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort for? It’s for everybody, but specifically, those who are going through a change in their life, some kind of emotional or physical trauma, and ready to address it. Most of our guests book with two weeks notice—I thought people plan ahead more, but its very last minute. Our guests are having a moment in their life where they’re going through a ‘break’ whether that’s relationships or business. We have a lot of professionals, entrepreneurs and people in finance, especially from Hong Kong. Everyone at REVIVO is there to take some time for themselves.
How have you adapted your retreats to meet these needs? Now we are doing sleep retreats because lots of our guests have sleeping issues—they are very stressed at work and they are lacking sleep terribly. It’s a special sleep retreat, with sleep guru Tristian Kelly coming from Australia: she used to be a creative director at Ogilvy in Singapore, the advertising agency. She was working non-stop and she couldn’t sleep, so she decided to stop everything. For the last seven years, she’s been studying nutrition, insomnia and sleeping issues. So she’s going to host the retreat in January and we have already got guests coming from Hong Kong.
Another one we have coming up is a couple’s retreat around Valentine’s Day. It’s being hosted by Cecilia Commo, the famous psychologist and sex therapist from Paris. The programme focuses on how to rebuild trust in themselves and how to be more intimate, using techniques in mindfulness and yoga. She has a conversation with the couple before and after the retreat. Sex is often hugely under-talked about, and it’s a gap in wellness that nobody else is really doing. Hopefully, guests will learn something again to back home with their partner.
What makes REVĪVŌ unique? We really want to be a life-changing experience. We have a team of experts in-house: a nutritionist, acupuncturist, doctor, certified Yoga and Pilates teacher. It’s the team who really make the experience. The culture of Bali plays a part too—spirituality is part of their culture already, so the holistic approach comes very easily. In the West, if you have a sore hand, they would treat your hand, but in Asia, the culture is to treat your whole body. We are offering this holistic experience with a more down-to-earth feeling.
In your own life, what wellness rituals do you have to keep you balanced? A lot of small stuff. I force myself to drink, and I’m very strict with my sleeping so I don’t go out later than 10pm at night, and I wake up early at 6:30am every day. Then I spend one hour with my son (who is seven months old) and we play in the morning—it’s a very special time before I go to work at eight. With my diet, I eat what I feel like: I really try to listen to my body and not just eat because it’s lunchtime or something. It’s so important to try to listen to your body. Do you need to go out and breathe? Do it. Sometimes I just go to Tamar Park and I remove my shoes and I walk or starfish on the grass for five minutes before I go back to work—it feels so powerful.
What wellness trends do you see coming up in the next year? More wellness technology because it’s just so convenient and so helpful. There’s been a lot of talk about the wellness DNA testing, and the fact that you can predict diseases or potential risk areas in your genes so that you can take preventative measures, but I think even tech that just monitors your heartbeat or your sleeping patterns will become more popular. The future of wellness is also going to be more about social—you can be really well-balanced in your mind and your body, but still not happy because you have nobody to share it with. Magic mushrooms have also been in a lot of studies around love and happiness and wellbeing—I don’t know how long it’ll take for it to become mainstream, but it’s interesting to look at how it’s evolving.
See also: The Wellness Trends To Watch In 2019
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given? For me, it’s a sentence: it always seems impossible until it’s done.
What is coming up for REVĪVŌ in 2019? We are launching wellness cruises in the Komodo Islands, Raja Ampat and Papua New Guinea that are starting this year, offering a retreat programme on board. Opening later this year we have the REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort just outside of Barcelona surrounded by vineyards, and our first REVĪVŌ Wellness Club in Rome, Italy. In early 2020, also we have a resort opening in Chateau de Fiac, France, which will be more focussed on anti-aging, and then another wellness club in Niseko, Japan—it has a natural hot spring.