Find The Personal Touch In Life-Building Bali

11 January 2015
Read Time: 3.8 mins

Truth be told, returning to Bali was not on this seasoned traveller’s list. Been there, done that – or so I thought.

But then an invitation landed on the desk that was too tempting to refuse.

Now you may be thinking this involved being wined and dined in a high-end hotel and reclining poolside in a deck chair sipping cocktails. Not quite. Luxury was definitely a part of this invitation, but daily activities were far from typical Bali holidays filled with bar hopping and hotel buffets.

Instead this was a chance to take part in one of the many tailor-made health-inspired programs designed by Nuala Retreats.

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Nourishment For Body, Mind And Spirit

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Run and devised by experienced Byron Bay yoga teacher Varney Magill, Nuala’s choices are entirely flexible and aimed at everyone from singles to groups, families and corporates looking for a healthy way to run a conference.

In essence, Nuala stands apart from usual health retreats by personalising each guest's experience to exactly what they need to rejuvenate - not just their bodies but also their minds and spirits.

 Fresh coconuts are always on hand

Choices cover everything from the ever-popular weight loss and detoxing, yoga and meditation, a raw food and juice fast or a combination of any of the above. Or none: yes you can rent a villa at Nuala’s Umalas base, a luxurious complex of suites built around a sparkling pool, or one of the many stunning villas Nuala uses across the island, and do nothing but laze on deck chairs and be waited on by staff.

Another tempting option was the medi-spa and retail therapy trip.

This involved holistic treatments at the recently opened and highly regarded Cocoon Spa, plus shopping trips with a private driver. There was also a long list of activities Ms Magill’s team will arrange – think island hopping, touring the POD chocolate factory or climbing Mount Batur at sunrise.

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Soulful Seminars Attract The Stars

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If you don’t want to individualise your trip, Nuala offers a range of set programs and the invitation that landed on the desk was exactly that - a five-day Detox Your Life course that sounded too intriguing to pass up.

Devised and led by two-time former British gymnastics champion Mark “Skip” Skipper, these soulful seminars run regularly in Asia and Europe and attract many A-type personalities, high achievers who simply want to improve every aspect of their lives.

 Happy and healthy guests

In short it is no ordinary motivational “you can do it!” retreat.

This detox was a full immersion in clearing out your body as well as your mind. The former meant a five-day juice fast – a concept that made many feel nervous at going hungry but then strangely left us feeling more full than when eating regularly.

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Our Minds Were Never Clearer

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Our minds were fed positive information about health and ways of bringing out the best in our characters during Skip’s twice-daily sessions. With humour and compassion he led us through key components of living a healthy life in a format he had devised over years as an elite athlete and then a leading dancer and entertainer in Europe.

 Togetherness in action

Depending on participants' health at the start, this detox was either a baptism of fire or a slightly difficult way back to full health. Either way, by the end, everyone – without exception – felt the best they had their entire lives.

Our minds had never been clearer, the whites of our eyes so clear and everyone was sparkling with happiness and a renewed hope.

People who had suffered accidents years ago that left them unable to sleep comfortably found their pain relieved. Older people with aching joints who at the start had trouble climbing a few stairs were moving freely by the retreat’s end.

Daily gentle yoga sessions – particularly easy as many had not tried the practice before – combined with the special juice diet meant everyone’s flexibility improved. It was amazing to find how open, light and bendy your body can become when drinking highly nutritious juices instead of munching away on breakfast cereal, sandwiches and downing coffee to stay alert.


Want more Bali day spa options? Top 4 Over-The-Top Bali Day Spa Treatments

Find Bali's peaceful places. Top Five Tranquil Bali Beaches


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Experience That 'Eureka' Moment

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Many people had “eureka” style inspirational moments too. A clearer more relaxed mind meant problems were suddenly solved and new avenues to make money or improve relationships popped into people’s heads.

 A hit of health-packed juice

These experiences proved that the all-round approach to a health retreat – tackling the body, mind and soul - truly worked. The results were astonishing.

Couching any discomfort we may have felt in the initial stages of the detox was the incredibly plush accommodation, too.

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Poolside Cocktails Will Have To Wait

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Nuala ensures every one of its retreats takes place in stunning surroundings. Detox Your Life clients stayed in a complex of five adjoining Balinese compounds that were worthy of rock stars.

Each compound held a few stunning villas displaying the best of the local modern architectural styles. Perched right on the sand with direct access to the beach, they all had infinity pools, generous rooms, huge bathrooms and dedicated staff.

Ours had a poolside cabana where during our four free hours a day we could have massages, pedicures, manicures and generally enjoy the sort of pampering that would be prohibitively expensive in the Western world.

 The pool is for more than swimming

But champagne toasts by the infinity pool to our short stay in the lap of Balinese luxury had to wait. Instead there were three enormous juices served a day, and fresh coconuts to drink any time we liked should we feel a need for more energy or a hunger pang to quell.

Juices comprised of vitamin-packed vegies and fruit - kale, spinach, avocado, lemon, watermelon and anything else that Skip deemed could rid our bodies of the effects meat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine and processed food.

And on the fifth day when salad was served as the first solid meal, followed by raw chocolate blended with banana, it felt like a real feast and tasted truly delicious. There were no cravings – just a bunch of glowing people who could not believe they felt so alive.

 Relaxation time

The Detox Your Life retreat is definitely on the more extreme end of Nuala programs, but is just one example of what can be achieved with a bit of effort, a lot of thought, and the best intentions to ensure you become as healthy and happy as possible. And who wouldn’t want that?

P.S. Nuala will soon partner with the 5-star luxury retreat Karma Kandara at Uluwatu to hold corporate and other styles of retreats on the cliff top hotel that has seen everyone from prime ministers to movie stars as guests.

Bronwen Gora

Bronwen Gora is a former news reporter who has worked mainly with Australia’s largest selling newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, in Sydney. A versatile writer with a passion for skiing, she has covered everything from the Sydney Olympics to health and real estate. Now freelance, her lifestyle and travel articles are seen regularly in luxury and inflight magazines both here and overseas.