Ubud, the spiritual heart of Bali, is famous for its spas, so it’s no wonder that Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan delivers a first-class experience.
Chloe Burcham journeyed to this oasis of calm, a space almost hidden within the island’s lush green foliage, to discover how ancient Balinese healing rituals can provide a powerful reset for your mind and body. Read on to find out more about our April Spa of the Month.
THE PACKING EDIT
“Dream, dare and discover” is the ethos behind this secluded Four Seasons Resort in the small village of Sayan, just 10-minutes from the bustling cultural heart of Bali: Ubud. While the two-hour drive from Denpasar International Airport is bumpy, the Four Seasons cool airport transfer (complete with air con, wifi and cooling lemongrass towels) makes for a welcome arrival after the 18-hour flight from the UK.
On arrival at the hotel, you step onto a beautiful wooden suspension bridge that skims the forest canopy below and are immediately taken by the ripples of the Ayung River and the colourful hum of jungle wildlife. Designed by British-Malaysian architect John Heah (the brains behind The Berkeley), the Four Seasons in Sayan is designed to resemble a rice bowl – a Balinese offering to Hindu Gods – and is set over three floors. Each descending floor is hidden expertly from view offering privacy; one of the many reasons the hotel attracts A-list names including the Obama family, Julia Roberts and most recently, French president, Emmanuel Macron. Sprawling gardens filled with herbs and flowers (grown and harvested for use by the Four Seasons’ in-house chefs) allow this 17-acre space to feel vast yet cosy.
Built within the crevices of the winding Ayung River, each of the blissful spa treatments at The Four Seasons Sayan draw upon the water’s energy and ancient Balinese healing rituals. Whether it’s a lymphatic drainage facial or a soothing massage, The Sacred River Spa menu caters to all.
A must-try treatment is the 120-minute Muladhara Chakra Ceremony. Overlooking the tranquil rice paddies and lotus pond, the treatment starts with a traditional cleansing Balinese kemenyan smoke ceremony. Guests sit upon a steaming Frankincense stool for a cleansing yoni steam and shoulder massage – a unique but utterly grounding experience. Next, you’re moved to a plush bed and treated to a long, relaxing massage; sweeping stretches combined with delicate abdominal massage to the soothing sounds of singing bowls – a perfect post-plane cleanse and revitalising reset.
If you’re still feeling groggy: re-energise with sunrise laughter yoga at the beautiful Lotus Pond with unobstructed 360-degree views of the jungle. Need more rest: immerse yourself with a Sacred Nap, where you’re suspended in a silk hammock and gently rocked by resident wellness mentor and former Buddhist nun, Ibu Fera.
With 60 rooms in total, the resort offers 18 suites in the main building, with a further 42 one, two and three bedroom villas throughout the property. Complete with a meditation terrace, serene lily pond and plunge pool overlooking the river or jungle view, each villa is secluded and private; it’s more like you’re staying at a private residency than a resort. Rooms are decorated with a mix of traditional Balinese decor, modern luxuries and boast more storage than one could ever need. Expect grand and glossy teak cabinets, exquisite marble bathrooms and soft, airy fabrics.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dining at The Four Seasons Sayan. Breakfast is served each morning from the Ayung Terrace, overlooking the river and jungle views. The menu is comprehensive – fresh fruits, pastries, cheese and breads are offered, together with an à la carte that features a mix of traditional Indonesian dishes, eggs, avocado and pancakes.
For dinner, your choices are just as vast. Head back to Ayung Terrace for a fresh and health-conscious menu serving Pan-Asian and Indonesian specialities. If you want something more relaxed, The Riverside Café located next to the pool offers Mediterranean inspired dishes, cocktails and snacks. On a Monday, Wednesday or Friday – book in at Sokasi, an eight-seat private chefs table with Head Chef Wayan Sutariawan (Suta). Hosted at an intimate outside riverside table, the exquisite seven-course menu samples Bali’s most famous recipes, including babi guling: a four-hour spit-roasted suckling pig.
THE LITTLE EXTRAS
You couldn’t ask for better service than at The Four Seasons Resort Bali At Sayan. Happy to cater to any request, there are daily excursions on offer that the staff are more than happy to assist with. Take a day trip into Ubud and visit local Balinese temples and historic sites before immersing yourself in a water purification ritual. The Four Seasons staff know how to avoid bustling tourist areas, meaning you feel submerged into the real Ubud. Feeling energised after a relaxing day at the spa? Opt for a hands-on cooking class, hike Mount Batur or explore the Balinese jungle with a private river rafting tour. Whether you’re wanting to dream, dare or discover, The Four Seasons Sayan has it all.
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