Less than a year old, one of the latest additions to Bali’s luxury wellness scene is already making waves. Perched on a cliff-edge on Bali’s southern tip, Six Senses Uluwatu brings together the brand’s signature attention to sustainability and stellar service, while integrating local traditions in wellness and spirituality in this stunning new resort. Creative Director and avid yoga practitioner Gretchen Lagrange, who has previously worked with Conde Nast, Travel+Leisure, Women’s Health and Swire Hotels, checked into the clifftop resort for a weekend of infinity pools, destressing massages and complimentary ice cream… who said wellness retreats can’t be a little indulgent? Read on for Gretchen’s full review of her wellness weekend at Six Senses Uluwatu…
The 45-minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) airport to Six Senses Uluwatu began in the busy bustle of Southern Bali, jammed with motorbikes and too many cars on the small streets dotted with hotels and newly-opened coffee shops. But once we reached Pecatu, which is at the southernmost tip of the island, the traffic disappeared and we slowly meandered down a gorgeous tree-lined path leading up to the dramatic entrance of the cliff-top resort. Uluwatu is known for its dramatic vistas and cliff-top ocean views and is also an area that boasts some of the best surfing spots in Bali. Uluwatu is also home to Pura Uluwatu, a sacred temple which is considered one of the island’s main spiritual centres.
Discretely built into the cliffs sloping down toward the Indian Ocean, the resort has been carefully designed with locally-sourced materials and the cliff’s own limestone to seamlessly blend in with the natural, lush environment of Uluwatu. There are many steps, stairways and paths weaving in and around the limestone walls to reach the various facilities, and most days I chose to walk but there are also drivers in buggies at the ready to take you around if you so wish.
Looking out over the resort I almost felt as if I was in Greece the way the architecture is built into the side of the cliff and the villas dot the landscape. The facilities include a zen spa with 10 treatment rooms, a fully-equipped fitness centre, a yoga studio surrounded by a lily pond so it looks like a glass floating island, an extensive list of cultural experiences and day trips.
There is also a beautifully-curated boutique featuring caftans and crafts from Bali and beyond and my personal favourite: a homemade ice cream cart, where I could grab a delicious cone at any time of the day—on the house. My favourite flavours: avocado with chocolate nibs and tequila with caramel and organic vanilla bean.
Even though the resort was busy, it never felt crowded and most times when I was walking from place to place I was alone, except for the staff who were always ready to lend a hand or give me a ride in their buggy. During my stay, I saw mostly couples as the resort setting is very romantic, but there is also a large playroom and other activities for children and families.
All 103 villas and suites showcase stunning views of the Indian Ocean and some of the most incredible sunsets I’ve seen on the island, or anywhere for that matter. I stayed in a Cliff Pool Villa, which like all the villas, was designed in cool and soothing shades of blues and greens and inspired by local Balinese architecture.
My villa opened up to a large wooden deck where I could start my mornings with a sunrise meditation and yoga practice (all villas have a yoga mat for guest use) just by walking out of the floor to ceiling sliding glass doors.
The deck area also has a covered daybed where I lounged in the shade to get out of the heat of the afternoons in between activities. Right off the deck is a stunning outdoor plunge pool which endlessly blends into the view of the Indian Ocean. A sweet touch is the small traditional temple at the entrance to the villa which is a common feature in all Balinese homes.
The huge open bathroom has both an indoor and outdoor shower and a highlight is the ocean-facing standing bathtub, which was a dreamy way to end my day before diving into the cosy mosquito-net covered bed. The bathroom also has a twin vanity for couples and two large closets. All the villas are also very high-tech with wireless speakers, Japanese toilets, smart televisions and digital bed-side controls.
There are two main restaurants at the property where I had my meals during my stay. Executive Chef Ricardo Lujan has put a strong focus on sustainability so most of the meats and fish are locally sourced and a lot of the produce is grown right on the property. Ricardo is also always around and was happy to talk me through the menus and offer his recommendations, which never disappointed.
At Crudo, the cuisine is an interesting mix of Japanese and Latin American. I chose the set menu when I dined there which combined choices of fresh sushi or sashimi to start with the most decadent mix of handmade tacos including pork belly and soft shell crab for my entree. They also made me the most delightful fresh spicy ginger tea.
Rocka offers seasonal dishes from Europe, Asia and Indonesia and is also where I had my daily breakfast. Breakfast included an endless buffet of international cuisine and homemade breads and pastries, as well as Indonesian dishes. There is also an a la carte menu, where I ordered small plates of avocado toast and gluten-free banana bread to die for. All of the restaurants give a choice for every diet, and there’s the option of nut or coconut milk with tea and coffee. When I had dinner at Rocka, I had a mix of small Indonesian plates like spicy sate ayam (chicken satay) with peanut sauce and savoury pork belly curry which was subtly spicy and so flavorful.
All dishes on the menus throughout the resort are marked with dietary notes, so if you partake in a wellness assessment you clearly know what you should and shouldn’t order. The highlight of all the venues for me was Cliff Bar, where I could sit and have an icy cocktail from the signature list of drinks while sitting outside to watch the stunning sunset before heading off to dinner.
Six Senses Uluwatu offers a variety of integrated wellness programmes for health-conscious guests, including focussed yoga, detox and sleep programmes alongside bespoke retreats designed by Ivan, the resort’s integrated wellness practitioner.
Unfortunately, Ivan had to be away last-minute during my stay so I was unable to get a wellness screening and personalised programme—but for guests who would like to schedule one, Ivan will work one-on-one and tailor a programme for their stay. This covers everything from fitness and wellness treatments to all meals and even the way you sleep. The screening is a non-invasive health screening, which measures your key physiological biomarkers.
There are also Yogic programmes (three, five or seven nights) where you can choose between Detox and Sleep programmes. Because I wanted to relax after a hectic work month, I instead chose “a la carte” from the spa’s menu of massage treatments and also joined the complimentary daily meditation and yoga classes offered. The classes I attended were very intimate and semi-private, so I felt I got one-on-one attention from each instructor. There is also aerial yoga for yogis who want to take their practice to the next level. I chose to take advantage of the many complimentary classes offered daily, but there are also private classes offered in yoga, personal training, TRX, aerial yoga, Pranayama, HIIT and more.
Each of my massage treatments began with a short sound-healing with the massage therapist, using a traditional bronze Tibetan Singing Bowl. I had never experienced this before and it put me into an immediate deep relaxation before the treatment even started, and the massage ended with singing bowls too. All the therapists were extremely knowledgeable and were able to pinpoint and focus on my tight spots. The spa’s signature coconut massage oil is also super-moisturising, so my skin was soft and glowing after each treatment.
My stay at Six Senses Uluwatu was the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate after a hectic work schedule. Although I wasn’t able to take part in the wellness assessment, it does appear to be incredibly comprehensive and would be a good way for a newbie to try a wellness retreat to get a feel for a tailored wellness programme, or simply for a relaxed healthy holiday in Bali.
What we loved…
What I loved about the resort beside the amazing views, the gorgeous modern, high-tech villas and the free-flow homemade ice-cream was that I could be decadent and have a delicious Balinese feast, but then could also choose an organic fresh salad and homemade kombucha the next day for lunch for a mini-detox. It wasn’t a rigid programme, which was perfect for someone like me whose main goal was relaxation.
When I arrived in the dramatic open reception area of Six Senses Uluwatu with 180-degree views of the Indian Ocean, I was greeted by the lovely General Manager, Manish Puri and shown to the open-air lounge area and handed a scented cold towel. As I filled out my registration, a homemade “Jamu” made with lemon, tumeric and honey and a platter of delicious homemade cookies and granola arrived. Throughout my stay, there was never a lack of homemade treats (healthy or not) around the resort or in my villa. A delicious touch for the holiday-goer, but maybe a little too tempting for the “trying to be health conscious” traveller — however, when I enquired, I was told the resort snacks could be tailored to every diet and palette, so take note and make your requests when you arrive to avoid unnecessary temptation.